Thursday, February 12, 2009

Born on this day, 200 years ago. He wasn't an old man with a white beard all his life. Here he is just after he'd circumnavigated the globe in a sailing ship.

"It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life..."

from "The Origin of Species" (1859)

1 comment:

Aidan Semmens said...

There is grandeur there indeed. If it's appropriate to own up to heroes, I'll happily own up to Darwin.