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quotations about evolution

After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Unpopular Essays

As natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress toward perfection.

CHARLES DARWIN, The Origin of Species

Some call it evolution,
And others call it God.


The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress.

ISAAC ASIMOV, The Beginning and the End

I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

JOHN MCCAIN, GOP primary debate, May 3, 2007

Higher has always been the trajectory of intelligent evolution.

TIMOTHY LEARY, Your Brain is God

God ... created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed — that is the meaning of evolution.

GRAHAM GREENE, Travels with My Aunt

Once evolution gets a good basic design, it tends to throw away the variants and concentrate on the near-infinite diversity within that design.

DAN SIMMONS, The Rise of Endymion

Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.

RICHARD DAWKINS, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

As a historical science, evolution is confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to its single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, herpetology, entomology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, genetics and population genetics, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life evolved. This is a convergence of evidence. Creationists can demand "just one fossil transitional form" that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils, along with a convergence of genetic comparisons between species, and a convergence of anatomical and physiological comparisons between species, and many other lines of inquiry. For creationists to disprove evolution, they need to unravel all these independent lines of evidence, as well as construct a rival theory that can explain them better than the theory of evolution. They have yet to do so.

MICHAEL SHERMER, Why Darwin Matters

Evolution is a tinkerer.

FRANCOIS JACOB, "Evolution and Tinkering"

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive digust in Man for his nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could conscientiously have traced man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been spared to the doctrine of Evolution.

HAVELOCK ELLIS, Impressions and Comments

Of course, like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.

WOODROW WILSON, letter to Winterton C. Curtis, Aug. 29, 1922

Evolution is like walking on a rolling barrel. The walker isn't so much interested in where the barrel is going as he is in keeping on top of it.

ROBERT FROST, The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?

ED DUSSAULT, attributed, Meditations for New Mothers

It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.

COLSON WHITEHEAD, The Intuitionist

We know from astronomy that the universe had a beginning, from physics that the future is both open and unpredictable, from geology and paleontology that the whole of life has been a process of change and transformation. From biology we know that our tissues are not impenetrable reservoirs of vital magic, but a stunning matrix of complex wonders, ultimately explicable in terms of biochemistry and molecular biology. With such knowledge we can see, perhaps for the first time, why a Creator would have allowed our species to be fashioned by the process of evolution.

KENNETH R. MILLER, Finding Darwin's God

Evolution is a change from an indefinite, incoherent, homogeneity to a definite, coherent, heterogeneity, through continuous differentiations and integrations.

HERBERT SPENCER, First Principles

Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous.

BARBARA EHRENREICH, The Worst Years of Our Lives

Darwinian man though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved!


Why don't we see gradual transition in the sequences of fossils? According to Darwin, and the current neo-Darwinists, the fossil record has gaps in it because of the haphazard way in which fossilization occurs--it is bound to be an imperfect record of the history of life. But is it? Is the jerky and abrupt nature of the record really just due to 'gaps', or does it reflect the way evolution actually happened? There is a strong feeling among leading palaeontologists that the punctuated history shown by fossils reflects the way life has evolved-in leaps and bounds rather than in gradual transition. There is also a growing sense that there is much more to understanding 'macroevolution' — the large-scale picture one gets from the fossils — than the simple idea of natural selection can alone explain.

BRIAN LEITH, "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism"

Man has lost the basic skill of the ape, the ability to scratch its back. Which gave it extraordinary independence, and the liberty to associate for reasons other than the need for mutual back-scratching.


I see nothing in the theory of evolution inconsistent with an Almighty Creator and Protector.

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN, letter to David Brown, Apr. 4, 1874

Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we're a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that's our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.


All modern men are descended from a wormlike creature, but it shows more on some people.

WILL CUPPY, How to Tell Your Friends from the Apes

Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.

SRI AUROBINDO, Thoughts and Aphorisms

This is what evolution means--ordered progress; development from poorer to richer, from lower to higher, from less to greater--progress. In the material universe, progress to higher forms; in the moral universe, progress to higher life.

LYMAN ABBOTT, Problems of Life: Selections from the Writings of Rev. Lyman Abbott

The general direction of evolution is to produce a serially imprinting, multibrained creature able to decipher its own program, create the technology to leave the planet and live in post-terrestrial mini-worlds, decode the aging sectors of the DNA code--thus assuring immortality, and act in harmony with stages of evolution to come.

TIMOTHY LEARY, Musings on Human Metamorphoses

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future.

CHARLES DARWIN, The Descent of Man

All life is evolving, for evolution is God's law; and man grows slowly and steadily along with the rest.

C. W. LEADBEATER, The Science of the Sacraments


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