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.
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:-
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
"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.