Charles Robert Darwin was an English author, biologist, geologist, and naturalist famously known for his theory of evolution.
Born in 1809 at The Mount, Shropshire, England, Darwin was the fifth child of Robert and Susannah. They were a wealthy family and part of the high society. With his brother Erasmus, Darwin was sent to the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1825. Unfortunately, he found the classes dull and uninteresting, except for his taxidermy class.
Neglecting medical school much to his father’s disappointment, Darwin pursued other interests like beetle collecting and geology. In 1831, he went on a five-year voyage with a few other naturalists and stopped over in many places like Chile, Cape Verde, and the Galapagos Islands.
After the publication of his book On the Origin of Species, the majority of the scientific community and the educated public accepted evolution as a fact. Darwin further studied human evolution and published more books like The Descent of Man.
We have collected some of the most famous Charles Darwin quotes and sayings that reveal his thoughts on science, knowledge, society, and many more.
1. “We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities… still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
2. “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”
3. “A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.
4. “I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions.”
5. “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.”
6. “Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence.”
7. “The very essence of instinct is that it’s followed independently of reason.”
8. “We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”
9. “Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits.”
10. “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
11. “An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”
12. “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.”
13. “My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.”
14. “Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.”
15. “What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horribly cruel work of nature!”
16. “I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.”
17. “On the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific explanation.”
18. “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
19. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
20. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
21. “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”
22. “A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives – of approving of some and disapproving of others.”
23. “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.”
24. “I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.”
25. “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.”
26. “It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine.”
27. “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world.”
28. “How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.”
29. “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
30. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
If you’d like to read some of Charles Darwin’s best works, we suggest you start with The Origin of Species.