Talk:Charles Darwin

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Small Inaccuracy[edit]

  • 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.
    • Close of the First edition. After the controversies generated by his book, the sixth edition here included the phrase "by the Creator" to read:
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.

I have the fifth edition (1869) in front of me, and this edition already has the addition of the phrase "by the creator". In the table of additions and corrections (pp. xi - xiii), there is no mention of the addition of this phrase subsequent to the fourth edition.

--- I've checked Darwin Online. In fact the phrase "by the Creator" is in editions 2 through 6. I've changed the page to reflect this. DanStyer (talk) 00:55, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

The Strongest Of The Species[edit]

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most responsive to change."

This quote appears to be dicey and despite being all over the internet is not found in a primary source. Ryz 17:32, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I have just found an earlier source than was previously found [Improving the Quality of Life for the Black Elderly: Challenges and Opportunities : Hearing before the Select Committee on Aging, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, first session, September 25, 1987 (1988)] attributing it to Clarence Darrow, who seems a more likely author, as it seems a paraphrase of some of Darwin's ideas, and have moved it to the misattributed section. ~ Kalki 17:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Lost quote[edit]

I'm looking for a quote that I read several months ago, but can no longer find. I think it was on Wikiquote, most likely this page, although I can't be sure. The quote was by Charles Darwin, stating roughly that natural selection is a scientific theory, while evolution is conjecture. Can anyone help me find the quote? –Cúthalion (talk) 14:32, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposed merge from The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms[edit]

I am reinstating the tag suggesting that "Worms" be merged into this article. Below is a copy of comments from various user_talk pages, assembled in chronological order, to facilitate coherent discussion of the proposal in one place:

[start of copied discussion][edit]

[To User talk:Ningauble.] Why did you merge this page without notifying me or giving any explanation on any talk page or in any edit summary? Do you have any particular reason why I shouldn't unmerge it? Please reply on my talk page. Richard001 07:45, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk: Richard001.] Sorry if I was a bit hasty, I should have dropped you a note. The merge was originally proposed by UDScott (dif) and I thought it was a good idea. We typically collect quotes from an author in a single article, and break out the works if the main article becomes too large. For a major influential figure like Darwin, a single article showing the range and depth of his ideas is a very good thing. That said, the practice at Wikiquote is by no means consistent.
I confess I have an ulterior motive for preferring this approach: I often feel the desire to "cover the thesis" myself. Working within the context of an author page helps one to focus on selecting the most widely quoted, most remarkably quotable passages, and to resist the temptation to create a condensed edition of a whole work. ~ Ningauble 14:07, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk:Ningauble.] In this case the page I started was fairly clearly incomplete, yet it was still too long for a merge. Imagine what would happen if every book of his had such a section. Now, maybe I misunderstand what Wikiquote is for, but why do you say "and to resist the temptation to create a condensed edition of a whole work."? What's wrong with doing that? It's exactly what I was trying to do (along with, ideally, some quotes from reviews etc about the book, though I'm doubtful if I'll add any myself). Unless the quotes added have to be widely quoted in independent sources, it seems enough that the book itself is notable. Perhaps you could point me to a guideline if this isn't the case. Richard001 06:14, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk: UDScott.] If you'd like to give your reasons for adding a merge tag to this article please edit my talk page. For now I have undone the merge you suggested, for failure of anyone to provide a good reason for it. Judging by the way both of you acted it seems like you felt the merge was obviously necessary, so perhaps I have missed something. Richard001 06:19, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk:Ningauble.] Also, regarding formatting, isn't adding a whole new line just to say which page the quote came from a bit excessive? If Wikiquote is really pedantic about that sort of thing I guess I'll have to format it this way, but it seems especially unnecessary in this case. Richard001 06:27, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk: Richard001.] Re. your response at my talk page: I think there is a qualitative difference to be recognized between Wikiquote's objective of a "collection of notable quotations" and your stated intention for a "condensed edition of a whole work." Don't you agree? ~ Ningauble 03:19, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk: UDScott.] Note the discussion started previously on my talk page and Richard001's talk page. I believe I am at fault for acting on your merge proposal without preliminary discussion, but it also appears that my explanation or my thinking is unclear. Would you care to share your thoughts? ~ Ningauble 03:23, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk:Ningauble.] I don't agree because you're misquoting the page. It says "We limit ourselves to quotations which are notable. A quotation can be notable either because it has achieved fame by itself, but more usually because it was said by someone notable, or appeared in a notable work." It doesn't say anywhere that the quotations themselves have to be notable. Richard001 07:15, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
[To User talk: UDScott.] Actually I believe that you have properly stated the reasons for the merge proposal. My original intent in placing the tag was that, as you stated, we usually try to capture quotes from a literary work on the author's page (unless the work itself is so notable and has so many notable quotes that it deserves its own page - think Charles Dickens. But in this case, I highly doubt that there are that many notable quotes from this work. Many of the quotes shown here do not meet what I would call a threshold of notability, but instead are more technical in nature and it is dubious that they would be considered memorable by most. Ultimately, I feel that it would be better to have these quotes on Darwin's page, and that they be pared down to a smaller set that are truly memorable. ~ UDScott 13:37, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

[end of copied discussion][edit]

Well none of this is clear from WQ:WQ. I guess WQ:N is a bit clearer on the matter. If you just want quotes that other people have quoted from the book, some could be obtained from Desmond and Moore and other sources; I can probably do this myself if you like. If this is the case then the book, despite being notable enough for Wikipedia, will have to be largely ignored here and two or three quotes from it placed in a small section on this page. What we really need is a wiki where synopses, extensive quotes etc from a work are appropriate, though I doubt one will ever exist. Richard001 00:54, 14 February 2009 (UTC)


I added a quote from Chapter III, p 61, about the metaphorical meaning Darwin gave to this expression. It should be a notable quote if it isn't already. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mondin (talkcontribs) 21:16, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Size of page[edit]

I think we're trying to do too much with one page. There doesn't seem to be any use of summary style. We probably need four or more 'subpages' to cover the subject well. Books like Origin and Descent of Man should have their own page, and perhaps others could be somewhat arbitrarily grouped together like the subarticles on Darwin at WP. That's what I think should be the goal anyway. Might be a while before anyone does anything. Richard001 01:09, 4 October 2009 (UTC

deleted info on survival of species, all was correct, is there one person who can control these vandals?

real quotes?[edit]

"The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory, is it then a science or faith?"

“I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.”

Explain a change[edit]

This page used to have a quote that "I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can." attributed to London Illustrated News (21 April 1862).

This is a suspicious quote: (1) Darwin wrote a very similar thing in a letter to Asa Gray, quoted later in this page. (2) The journal name is actually "Illustrated London News", not "London Illustrated News". (3) Darwin rarely spoke of "Creation". But for me, the kicker is (4) The Illustrated London News was published on Saturdays, (see ), but 21 April 1862 was a Monday.

For these reasons, I have deleted that quote. But I have bolded the corresponding sentence in the letter to Asa Gray.

DanStyer (talk) 00:41, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

The given source "London Illustrated News (21 April 1862)" was probably taken from Famous Quotes from 100 Great People (2011). Otherwise, I could find that quote as far back as 1906, but your concerns seem valid. ~ DanielTom (talk) 00:50, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
I put the apparently paraphrased version into a comment below that more well documented quote, simply to clarify its probable origin as a paraphrase. ~ Kalki·· 01:24, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
I have searched the Historical Archive of the Illustrated London News (1842-2003). (Thanks to Gale Digital Collections for the free trial!) There were six articles that contained all three words "darwin" and "dog" and "newton". None of them contained the quote in question. DanStyer (talk) 01:14, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Personal Opinions and Personal Interpretations added to the article[edit]

I was wondering, are we allowed to add our own opinions, or own interpretations or own perceptions on Darwin's book??
There is a quote by Mahatma Ghandi stating:

"A seeker after Truth cannot afford to indulge in generalisation.

Darwin for the greater part of his book Origin of the Species [sic] has simply massed fact upon fact without any theorising, and only towards the end has formulated his conclusion which, because of the sheer weight of testimony behind it, becomes almost irresistible. Yes I have criticised even Darwin's generalisation as being unwarranted."~ Mahatma Ghandi

Then, there is a comment added by a user which wrote a comment right under the quote by Mahatma Ghandi. The user added: "Anyone reading On the Origin of Species will realize that Ghandi was mistaken in more than the book's title. Darwin amasses fact in each of the book's 14 chapters, but the theorizing begins in chapter 3 and continues, mixed with fact presentation, for the rest of the book"
Obviously, this is by no means a neutral comment, and by no means encyclopedic insofar as it is not saying what people believe, but saying "what is so." It is implying that "anyone" disagreeing with Darwin's view has not read his book, or that anyone who has read the Origin, must agree with the user and disagree with Ghandi. Yet, I've known of a number of people and figures who have read Darwin's book and had the same impression Ghandi had. But, then, are we allowed, as WikiUsers, to add our own interpretations or views or opinions? Are we allowed to dismiss the quotes of someone with whom we diseagree and defend those with whom we agree? Wasn't this supposed to be a repository of quotes without our personal remarks of those quotes? Because if we are not allowed (as I am sure Wikiquote guidelines state), that comment should be removed and we should let each person decide.abr>Yet, that is not the only comment there. There are many others like these, which completely break the policy of Neutral point of view. There are similar remarks in the article (all in favor of Darwin, and all dismissing Darwin's critics as mistaken fools):

  • "An example of the misconception countered in three quotes above" under a quote by Michael Behe
  • "Another example of misconceptions countered above" in another quote of the same author.
  • "(If it were true that "a theory of historical reconstruction … is impossible to verify", then this truth would invalidate not only evolution, but also all of forensic science.) (It took Darwin twenty-one years (from 1838 to 1859) to develop the core of the theory of evolution, and the theory keeps developing even to the present day. No one considers it "self-evident".)"
  • (Note that Denton's objections, made in 1986, had already been answered by Huxley in 1860!

Wikiquote is not a place for essays, it it? All those remarks are Value judgment and I wonder what they are doing in an article that is meant to be encyclopedic and neutral. Wikiquote is meant to be neutral in everything, but those statements are prejudicedly, a priori, in favor of those who praise Darwin, and against all critics.--Goose friend (talk) 21:49, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Though "absolute neutrality" or "absolute objectivity" are things I tend to regard as convenient fictions or delusions of rather casual thought processes, many of the comments you have pointed out were clearly highly prejudicial editorializing, rather than the simple provision of relevant information. I was attending to your concerns by removing many of these, and ran into an unfortunate edit conflict with you on the page. I believe I preserved your additions as well as my alterations in the subsequent edit. I probably won't be around much longer, but had just been browsing around on a few things to do before leaving, and decided to attend to the problem before doing so. ~ Kalki·· 22:30, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Clearing up Quotes about Darwin[edit]

Should we further categorize the quotes about Darwin? The section is full of both attacks and exaltations on his work, on his character, and on the science that has developed from his work. Maybe subcategorizing the quotes into "Quotes about On the Origin of Species" and "Quotes about Charles Darwin" would be best, cutting out commentary on evolution without reference to Darwin. We could also split into Quotes Critical of X" and another category, with X=either Darwin or Origin. -- 17:51, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Netflix series quote 'idea that would outrage society'[edit]

I started watching a new Netflix series about genetic engineering called 'Unnatural Selection'. I noticed that near the beginning it prominently featured a quote attributed to Charles Darwin: "If you had an idea that would outrage society would you keep it to yourself?" I doubt whether this is a genuine quote from Darwin, because: a) on searching Google for the text I didn't find any examples with an actual reference to Darwin's works, letters, etc. b) I am fairly familiar with Darwin's work, but I don't recall this quotation c) the language of the quote doesn't seem right for the period, or for Darwin. The word 'outrage' was sometimes used as a verb in Victorian England, e.g. to 'outrage decency' or to 'outrage public morality' (examples given in Murray's New English Dictionary), but to 'outrage society' sounds more like a 20th century phrase. Also, the use of 'you' instead of 'one' is surprising. I suspect that like some other bogus quotes this one originates in a work about (not by) Darwin, and has got mistakenly attributed to him. But I can't be sure of this. Can anyone here confirm or refute it?2A00:23C8:7907:4B01:9110:CA24:87BC:6FB9 10:54, 22 August 2021 (UTC) [Added: I think I've found a likely source for the 'quote'. It was used in publicity material for an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London in 2009 on 'Darwin's Big Idea'. See an image here: But it is not actually described as a quote from Darwin himself. Note also that the photo of Darwin accompanying it is clearly a mock-up. ] 2A00:23C8:7907:4B01:E4F0:CB7C:16B1:1763 11:51, 22 August 2021 (UTC)