there is grandeur in this view of life
Charles Darwin closed the last paragraph of the first edition, (publication date 24 November 1859), of his On the Origin of Species with this sentence:-
closing sentence to Charles Darwins
On the Origin of Species
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.It happened, however, that many persons felt that there was not enough ' grandeur ' to ' the view of life ' being offered by Charles Darwin in his On the Origin of Species such that Darwin it necessary to insert an additional "creationist" phrase in this closing sentence as it appears in subsequent editions from as early as January 1860:-
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
In March, 1863, Darwin wrote about this inclusion of the three significant words ~ by the Creator ~ to his friend and scientific confidante Joseph Hooker:-
"I have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion & used Pentateuchal term of creation, by which I really meant “appeared” by some wholly unknown process. It is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of origin of life; one might as well think of origin of matter."
There are many entertaining and instructive quotations about, or attributable to, Charles Darwin:-
For instance as a boy of sixteen his father said to him:-
"You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family."Darwin was keenly interested in Natural History as a young man and his Autobiography mentions one particular beetle hunt in detail:-
"I will give a proof of my zeal: one day on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as well as the third one".
Our own favourite Darwin quote is, however, a very significant one which is to be found in a confidential letter of 11 January 1844 to a fellow scientist named Joseph Hooker.
In this letter Darwin, speaking about how he had spent his time after his voyaging on HMS Beagle, wrote that:-
"I have been now ever since my return engaged in a very presumptuous work & which I know no one individual who wd not say a very foolish one.— I was so struck with distribution of Galapagos organisms &c &c & with the character of the American fossil mammifers, &c &c that I determined to collect blindly every sort of fact, which cd bear any way on what are species.— I have read heaps of agricultural & horticultural books, & have never ceased collecting facts— At last gleams of light have come, & I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a “tendency to progression” “adaptations from the slow willing of animals” &c,—but the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his—though the means of change are wholly so— I think I have found out (here's presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends.— You will now groan, & think to yourself ‘on what a man have I been wasting my time in writing to.’— I shd, five years ago, have thought so.— "
The Faith versus Reason Debate
The Wisdoms and Insights available on our
site include some about Human Existence itself:-
If Charles Darwin were alive today we at Age-of-the-Sage would be urgently seeking to interest him in our discovery of the fact that there is close agreement between several major World Faiths, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Shakespeare in suggesting that Human Wisdom / Spirituality is relative to Human Desire / Materialism and to Human Wrath / Ethnicity.