SCHOLAR ISLANDCopyright 2009 SchlarIsland LLC




"Thus , from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life."



"Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realize, though I had read various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn from them."

-Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin


"I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of a new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work."

-Charles Darwin


"There is no law of progress. Our future is in our own hands, to make or to mar. it will be an uphill fight to the end, and would we have it otherwise? Let no one suppose that evolution will ever exempt us from struggles. "You forget," said the Devil, with a chuckle, "that I have been evolving too."

-William Ralph Inge   British Theologian


"Again, sympathy thwarts the law of development, of evolution, of the survival of the fittest. It preserves what is ripe for extinction....It is the principal tool for the advancement of decadence."

-Friedrich Nietzsche



"Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of evolution is its ability to generate cooperation in a competitive world. Thus, we might add 'natural cooperation' as a third fundamental principle of evolution beside mutation and natural selection."

-Martin Nowak Science Magazine



"Certain it is, that entirely unforeseen by any, the same factors of evolution that during only the first three quarters of the twentieth century have transformed humanity from an Omni-isolated to an Omni-integrated planetary relationship and from a condition of 99 percent poverty and destitution to a condition in which more than 52 percent of all world's peoples are enjoying a standard of living far superior to than of any monarch of all history up to the opening of the twentieth century, while concurrently doubling their life span, will go on to produce progressive advancement of human life support and "expectancy" at the rate already established, which clearly promises total physical success for all humanity before the close of the twentieth century. This unheralded event has been utterly transcendental to any of humanity's political or economic planning. Within only one century humanity will have been transformed from a condition of local, ignorant self-survival preoccupation to an awareness of the Omni-interrelated and Omni-interdependent ecology not only of planet earth but of Omni-regenerative universe itself."

-R Buckminster fuller

Tetrascroll: Goldilocks and the Three Bears


   "A suspicion that the world's animals  and plants were not identical replicas of originals out of the heavenly workshop had been lurking in human minds since Babylon (where they were interested in  the varying manes of horses). The minds included those of Bacon, Buffon, Goethe, Lamarck, Herbert Spencer and Sir Charles Lyell.Lyell was a geologist, who gave Darwin  the idea of interpreting the continuing present from  the evolving past, as in rocks. Genetic ideas occurred also to Augustinian monk Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-84) of Moravia, who crossed the varieties of garden peas which he sowed in 1853 in Brno, and which blushed unseen in the scientific air until the end of the century. And to Darwin's own grandfather, Dr. Erasmus. Darwin had in  the meanwhile married a first cousin and fathered ten children, seven surviving, and developed hypochondria.

   Darin's confirmation that Sir Thomas Browne had the right idea 225 years earlier, by his suggesting in Religio Medici that Genesis was not as reliable as the Victorians' railway timetables, was taken as an affront of science to the Church. This culminated on 30 June d1860, amid uprorar with sobbing and fainting ladies, in the University Museum beside the Parks at Oxford.

   The church had a case. Everyone knew the world was created in 4004 BC, at 9 o'clock on the Sunday morning of 23 October, it had been worked out a couple of centuries earlier by the Archbishop of Armagh and the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. So whose word did you take? Darwin's? Or the Word of God?

   'Soapy Sam' Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, was out 'to smash Darwin' at the thirtieth annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which was conveniently held on the Episcopal doorstep. he sarcastically dismissed a hostile doubter: "Is it through Mr Huxley's grandmother or grandfather that he claims to have descended from the apes?' This pnce-nezed scientific wasp, Dr. Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95), replied: 'I should most certainly rather be descended from an ape than from a man who prostitutes his education and his eloquence to the worship of prejudice and falsehood.' Such ya-boo was thought as shocking as flicing ink-balls in the upper sixth of the late Dr. Arnold's Rugby. One of Darin's detractors that Oxford tea-time was Vice-Admiral Robert Fitz Roy, ex-captain of Beagle, who had read a paper on 'British Storms' and now brandished his Bible at his former shipmate in violent anger, and five years later cut his own throat....."

-Richard Gordon

The Alarming History of Medicine



"I go back, and so do you, like it or not, to a single Ur-ancestor, whose remains are on  display in rocks dated approximately 3.5 thousand million years ago, born a billion or so years after the earth itself took shape and began cooling down....I cannot get that out of my head. It has become the most important thing I know, the obligatory beginning of any memoir, the long-buried source of language. We derive from a lineage of bacteria, and a very long line at that. Never mind our embarrassed indignation  when we were first told that we came from a family of apes and had chimps as near-cousins. That was relatively easy to accommodate, having at least the distant look of a set of relatives. But this new connection, already fixed by recent science beyond any hope of disowning the parentage , is something else again...We are all in the same family-grasses, seagulls, fishes, fleas and voting citizens of the republic...Humble origins indeed."

-Lewis Thomas



"A mind like that of Darwin can never sin wittingly against either fact or law.’



"Some of my critics have said, "Oh, he is a good observer, but he has no power of reasoning. " I do not think that this can be true, for the Origin of Species is one long argument from the beginning to the end, and it has convinced not a few able men. No one could have written it without having some power of reasoning."



   "...with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy."

Darwin (Letter of July 3,1881)


   "But, as we delve into the relative merits of Darwin's groundbreaking work, we should bear in mind that one man presaged Darwin's theory of natural selection some 1,000 years before the English scientist. Al-Jahiz, a scientist working in 8th and 9th century Baghdad-then the capital of the Muslim world-wrote in his zoological text, the Book of animals: "Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."

-Alasdair Soussi    "When the Mideast Led Science: On the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory, it is worth noting that there was a Middle Eastern precursor of his ideas." The Jerusalem Report, April 13, 2009



".....What then, was a minister nodding his head in agreement supposed to do? Well, not much, at first: how much would parishioners trouble themselves over German epistemology? But what Hegel's find-sounding words meant soon became clear, when the latest shipment of British books reached Conway's hands. As an occasional editor and reviewer for a local magazine, he saw them before almost anyone else in Cincinnati. But one volume in this shipment stood above anything else. He read it, and ascended to his pulpit a changed man yet again. That December day in 1859, his parishioners got the shock of their religious lives.

"This formidable man...." he said, indicating a modest-looking octavo volume that none of them had heard of yet, "did not intend to give Dogmatic Christianity its deathblow, he meant to utter a simple theory of nature. But henceforth all temples not founded on the rock of natural science are on the sand where the angry tides are setting in." That tide took away much of his congregation, who were appalled by the new book he held in his hand- The Origin of Species- and by its notion that everything, including humanity, was mutable. Conway's congregation fractured, with the traditionalists moving to a different building altogether. ..."

Paul Collins

The Trouble With Tom: The Strange Afterlife And Times of Thomas Paine


"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled 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 upon each other is so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.....

   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, 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."

-Charles Darwin ,1855



   "The religious reaction was every bit as vehement as Darwin had feared, but much of it was so florid, compared to Darwin's quiet reasonableness, that it flowed around the Origin like water around a rock. Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford set the tone for the long burlesque that was to follow. A passionate lecturer, called "Soapy Sam" after his habit of rubbing his hands together as he preached, Wilberforce condemned Darwin's theory as "a dishonoring view of Nature.....absolutely incompatible with the word of God," A prisoner of his own passion, he soon overplayed his hand. The scene was a meeting of the British association for the Advancement of Science, at Oxford on June 30, 1860. Taking part in the discussion was Thomas Huxley, who loved a good argument and styled himself "Darin's bulldog" for his tireless sallies against the opponents of evolution. With a sarcastic smile, Wilberforce turned to Huxley and asked "was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he (Huxley) claimed his descent from a monkey?"

   The Lord hath delivered him into mine hands, " whispered Huxley to his friend Benjamin Brodie, seated beside him. Then he rose, savoring the moment, and replied:

   A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel

shame in recalling it would rather be a man-a man of restless and versatile intellect-who, not content with success in his

own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by

an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled

appeals to religious prejudice.

   The audience broke into laughter. In the general excitement that followed, one Lady Bruster fainted and had to be carried from the hall, while Captain Fitz-Roy of the Beagle marched up and down the aisles, holding a bible aloft and chanting, "The Book, the Book!"

The drama of Darwinism versus Christian fundamentalism went on to play packed houses in the Dayton, Tennessee, courthouse where Clarence Darrow defended John Scopes, and road-show productions were still drawing crowds to the so-called "creation science" trials of the 1980s. One such case reached the Supreme Court of the United States, which voted in 1987 that the state of Louisiana did not have the right to require that creationism be taught alongside evolution in the public schools (Chief Justice William Rehnquist dissenting). But science is not rhetoric, and the evolutionary debaters, though entertaining, were always more show than substance..."

-Timothy Ferris

Coming of Age in the Milky Way




"What the devil determines each particular variation?"



"I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey."

-Mark Twain



"I sometimes think that God, in creating men, somewhat overestimated his ability."

-Oscar Wilde




"In lectures on evolution, 'everything is O.K. until the apes stand up."

-Dr Pervez A. Hoodbhog   Atomic Physicist Queid-e-Azam University in Pakistan

(commenting on the attitude of Islamic people hearing about the Theory of Evolution)



"Descended from apes! My dear, we will hope it is not true. But if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known."

-attributed to the wife of the Bishop of Worcester



".....a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man-a man of restless and versatile intellect-who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice."

-Thomas Henry Huxley

Life and Letters


NY Times July 9,2008

"Many scientists admit that they have never read Darwin's "Origin of Species."


"The publication of the origin of Species marks the Hegira of Science from the idolatries of special creation to the purer faith of Evolution."



"Darwin's ideas ushered in a new era in our thinking about the nature of man. The intellectual revolution it caused and the impact it had on man's concept of himself and the world were greater than those caused by the works of Copernicus, Newton, and the great physicists of more recent times."

Ernst Mayr


"Evolution really is mistaken for explanation. It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the impression that they do understand it and everything else; just as many of them live under a sort of illusion that they have read the Origin of Species."

-G.K. Chesterton


"Darwinism is an example of muddled thinking arising out of a partial deification of a law of nature."

J.B.S. Haldane


"It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe."

-Richard Dawkins


"There is warrant for the belief that Evolution can end only in the establishment of the greatest perfection and the most complete happiness."



   "Play must have been extremely important in recent evolution, all the more so because it entails a number of major disadvantages. It uses up energy which might be better devoted to feeding, resting, or less vigorous as socializing, and often results in serious injuries from-falls and collisions with rocks and trees. Furthermore, young animals may be so completely absorbed in their games that they become careless and extra-vulrnerable to predators. To outweigh the risks play must offer especially high survival premiums, such as providing training or practice for real-life fighting and escape tactics, and promoting friendships and cooperation among individuals who will be spending many years together."

    If you look very far into the literature on play, you encounter Johan Huzinga, the rector of Leyden University in Holland, who published a book in 1938 with the title Homo Ludens (man, the player). Huixinga followed the strands of subject matter that are woven into the topic of play-philological, mythological, anthropological, psychological-and ended up in roughly the same place as some of today's cognitive scientists. Play, particularly symbolic play, is where cognition and culture meet. It's a mental can-opener for liberating new ideas. it is also the first thing most people do when they find themselves immersed in a virtual world."

-Howard Rheingold

Virtual Reality: The Revolutionary Technology of Computer-Generated Artificial Worlds-and How It promises to Transform Society


"Created to Evolve"  (bumper sticker)


See Article: "Darwinists For Jesus" by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee NEW YORK Times Sun June 16,2008

   "The message is laid out in Dowd's book, Thank God for Evolution," published by Council Oaks Books last November and acquired this spring by Viking Penguin for $750,000. In the book and in his sermons, Michael Dowd presents evolution as a sacred epic of emerging complexity that can be seen as "14 billion years of grace,". He sidesteps the question of whose grace this is supposed to be, although the book's title offers  a hint. Dowd makes it clear that he's not talking about an intelligent designer. Instead, he he exhorts his audience to supplant-or complement-their individual notions of God with sometimes-fuzzy concepts like "cosmic creativity."

 Of course, Dowd is hardly the first religious figure to reconcile God and evolution. In 1996, Pope John Paul II declared that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis." And next year, the Vatican will hold a conference to mark the 150th anniversary of Darwin's "On the Origins of Species." In many respects, Dowd's work echoes the once highly influential writings of the 20th century French Jesuit and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who described evolution as a part of God's plan, driving all of creation toward a sort of magnetic pole of higher consciousness that he called the Omega Point. In the 1060s, treatises by Chardin like "The Phenomenon of Man' and "The Future of Man' were campus best sellers. Such an interpretation transforms evolution from a process of random mutations with no purpose-which is how most scientists see it-to a more hopeful narrative. Though Dowd shies away from ascribing a divine plan to the unfolding of the cosmos, he finds it spiritually satisfying to look back at the unfolding and see in it a pattern of emerging complexity......."



"When someone substitutes the evolutionary theory for God, he marks himself as a rebel against God. The theory is not compatible with the clearly revealed facts of Scripture that state God is Creator."

-Theodore H. Epp  (Founder of Back to the Bible Broadcast)


"I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true."

supposedly said by Darwin


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."

-Charles Darwin

The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)


"Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know."

-Charles Cotton



"It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be guided by an intelligent design"

F.C.S. Schiller (1897) Oxford Scholar


"….We are all evolutionists, not merely in the legitimate sense of accepting what science tells us about genetics and genesis; we are evolutionists in the sense that on our own account we explain things by their origins, take conditions for causes, and cannot resist the lure of profundity."

Jacques Barzun

Darwin, Marx, Wagner



"Evolution, the process that produced humanity, possesses only one goal: create gene machines maximally capable of producing copies of themselves. In retrospect, this is the only way complex structures such as life could possibly arise in an unintelligent universe. But this goal often comes into conflict with human interests, causing death, suffering, and short life spans. The past progress of humanity has been a history of shattering evolutionary constraints."

-Michael Anissimov


   "Several theories of the their origin exist *(virus), and these theories are not mutually exclusive. Evidence exists to support all of them, and different viruses may have developed in different ways.

   A minority view suggests that viruses originated independently as the most primitive molecules capable of replicating themselves. If this is so, more advanced life forms could have evolved from them.

   More virologists think the opposite: that viruses began as more complex living cells and evolved-or, more accurately, devolved-into simpler organisms. This theory does seem to fit some organisms, such as the "rickettsia" family of pathogens. Rickettsia used to be considered viruses but are now thought of as halfway between bacteria and viruses; researchers believe they once possessed but lost activities necessary for independent life. The leprosy bacillus also seems to have moved from complexity-doing many things-toward simplicity-doing fewer. A third theory argues that viruses were once part of a cell, an organelle, but broke away and began to evolve independently.

   Whatever the origin, a virus has only one function: to replicate itself. But unlike other life forms (if a virus is considered a life form), a virus does not even do that itself. it invades cells that have energy and then, like some alien puppet master, it subverts them, takes them over, forces them to make thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of new viruses. The power to do this lies in their genes."

-John M. Barry

The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History


"Hence the savage competition which certain evolutionists have raised to the dignity of a scientific law under the name of "struggle of existence", whose logical consequences is that only the strongest, in the narrowly material sense of the word, have a right to exist."

-Rene Guenon

The Crisis of the Modern World



"In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of consciousness and "consciousness" cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will and "will" cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and "doing" cannot be the result of things which "happen."

G.I. Gurdjieff


"Parasites are, perhaps, the organisms in which evolution is most obvious"

-Miriam Rothschild


"Perhaps the most admirable among the admirable laws is the survival of the weakest."

-Vladimir Nabokov




"Competition, power and violence over convention, ethics, and religion. Thus it has come a portmanteau of nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and dictatorship, of the cults of the hero, the superman, and the master race."

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution


"...In a civilized world, states cannot secure themselves by making other states insecure. Much of the 20th century was dominated by a march toward conquest by countries that adopted mutations of "social Darwinism" as a kind of secular religion that suffused their thinking about domestic life as well. For such states and ideologies, the life of their nations was a struggle for survival of the fittest. War was natural and inevitable. The purpose of life was to prepare for the struggle in power to prevail. Reliance on others was weakness.

   Fortunately, the governments most dedicated to the principle of the survival of the fittest did not in fact survive. But the brought civilization to the brink of ruin, not just by their own acts but also by what the victors needed to do in order to prevail. Though the phrase "mutual security' may call to mind either euphemisms of the Cold War or the extravagant optimism  of theorists (like Norman Angell then and John Mueller now) who posit the obsolescence of war, we must remember that the ghastly violence of the 20th century depended on large populations convinced that their security could only be achieved by destruction or conquest, even at great cost to themselves. So cooperative prosperity and mutual security are reciprocal principles."

-Ernest R. May & Philip D. Zelikow "An Open, Civilized World " article in The American Interest Autumn 2008


"Someone in Vice President Dick Cheney's office has gotten everybody on this city holiday party circuit talking, simply by floating an unlikely Iraq proposal that is worthy of a certain mid-19th century British naturalist with a fascination for natural selection.

We shall call it the Darwin Principle.

The Darwin Principle, Beltway version, basically says that Washington should stop trying to get Sunnis and Shiites to get along and instead just back the Shiites, since there are more of them anyway and they're likely to win in a fight to the death. After all , the proposal goes, Iraq is 65 percent Shiite and only 20 percent Sunni. 

   Sorry, Sunnis.

   The Darwin Principle is radical, decisive and most likely not going anywhere. But the fact that it has even been under discussion, no matter how briefly, says a lot about the dearth of good options facing the Bush administration and the yearning in this city for some master-stroke to restore optimism about the war."

Article "The Whispers and the Why Nots" by Helene Cooper New York Times Dec 17,2006


"In the intellectual world it is considered bad form to hold any proposition beyond the pale of rigorous criticism and debate. No matter of concern to the human mind is considered resolved and therefore closed to further question. Well, almost, the fact is, there is one proposition that has been largely spared from the constant carping that surrounds most intellectual questions. It seems that Darwin’s theory of evolution has been granted a reprieve of sorts. For decades it has enjoyed a rather privileged position within the academic community. Many would be quick to defend its special status."

Jeremy Rifkin



   "The Darwin bashers and boosters can both be refuted with simple and venerable arguments. To the bashers, I can assert only that Darwinian evolution continues to grow in vibrancy and cogency as the centerpiece of the biological sciences-and, more generally, that no scientific truth can pose any threat to religion rightly conceived as a search for moral order and spiritual meaning."

Stephen Jay Gould

I Have Landed


"….Why do scientists to this day speak with considerable warmth of the "fact of evolution." As if it were in the same category as the fact of combustion, which "may be observed by anyone who take the necessary trouble?" One answer is that Darwinism acted as a test case for freedom of scientific inquiry, by which is to be understood not unlimited intellectual freedom but freedom for scientists. It gave over to them everything in heaven and earth without restriction. They had their way, their way in clerical as well as in civil courts, in education as well as in the popular mind. The spread of evolution was truly world-wide. The Origin of species was translated into the language of "newly awakened Japan and that of hardly emancipated Hindustan". The scientists won on vaccination and vivisection. Bible teaching and table rapping. By won, I mean that opposition to their views on all these things put one in a minority even in the opinion of the ignorant. Materialism, conscious or implicit, superseded, all other beliefs…."

Jacques Barzun

Darwin ,Marx, Wagner


"It is the religion of the day, and to doubt of its efficacy is to be a dangerous utopian. Science loudly proclaims that the struggle of each against all is the leading principle of nature, and of human societies as well. To that struggle Biology ascribes the progressive evolution of the animal world. History takes the same line of argument; and political economists, in their naïve ignorance, trace all progress of modern industry and machinery to the "wonderful" effects of the same principle. The very religion of the pulpit is a religion of individualism, slightly mitigated by more or less charitable relations to one’s neighbors, chiefly on Sundays. "Practical" men and theorists, men of science and religious preachers, lawyers and politicians, all agree upon one thing-that individualism may be more or less softened in its harshest effects by charity, but that it is the only secure basis for the maintenance of society and its ulterior progress.’

Peter Kropotkin


"We may fairly conclude that a Darwinian politics is a largely conservative politics."

John O. McGinnis


"Darwin's theory is essentially an extension to the animal and vegetable world of Laissez-faire economics."

-Bertrand Russell


"I have a hard time believing that billions of years ago two protozoa bumped into each other under a volcanic cesspool and evolved into Cindy Crawford."

Robert G. Lee


"On one side spiritual freedom and truth, reason and culture, evolution and progress stand under the bright banner of science; on the other side, under the  black flag of hierarchy, stand spiritual slavery and falsehood, irrationality and barbarism, superstition and retrogression....Evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth."

Ernst Haeckel  (written in 1874)



"The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are becoming more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge, nor does it suffice for our theoretical grasp of the facts. The Darwinian theory of descent has not a single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result of scientific research, but purely the product of imagination."

Professor Albert Fleishman


"It is one of the strangest phenomena of humanity; it is utterly destitute of proof."

Sir William Dawson

Story of Earth and Man


"Evolution is baseless and quite incredible."

Sir Ambrose Fleming


"The major obstacle to a religious renewal is the intellectual classes who believe that science has left atheism as the only respectable intellectual stance. Freud, Marx, and Darwin, according to the conventional accounts, routed the believers. Freud and Marx are no longer taken as irrefutable by intellectuals, and now it appears to be Darwin's turn to undergo a devaluation."

Robert Bork

Slouching Towards Gomorrah


   "Charles Darwin's idea convinced many that God had not created all living things, and that instead the genesis of the living order was to be explained in terms of blind, material causation. Most importantly for the general public, the origin of our species could be explained in materialistic terms. These ideas led to many crisis of faith, and the vilification of Darwin by some of the devout. Unlike Newton, Darwin was set against the entire established order of Western Christendom, since he himself became an atheist. And Darin's work led to the eventual unseating of Christianity from the center of Western scientific thought."

Michael R. Rose

Darwin's Spectre: Evolutionary Biology in the Modern World


"Last year I had a sudden realization. For over twenty years I had thought I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night; and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not a thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long….So for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people….Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that is true?….all I got…was silence….if you had thought about it at all, you have experienced a shift of evolution as knowledge to faith. I know that it’s true of me and I think it is true of a good many of you here….Evolution not only conveys no knowledge but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge."

Dr. Patterson

(in a speech to American Museum of Natural History Nov 5, 1981)


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it."

Jacques Moned


"It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe."

-Richard Dawkins


"Public disbelief in evolution is 'surpassingly strange.'

Edward O. Wilson PhD.


"Let me assure you that evolution is not a necessary induction from known facts; it is a creed held in spite of facts."

Dr. Arthur I Brown


"I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton."

Asa Gray (1860)


"No rational mind can question the invincible nature of the evolutionary case."

H.G. Wells

Mind at the End of its Tether


"I have been reluctant to admit it….but if Mayr’s characterization of the synthetic theory is accurate, then that theory, as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as text-book orthodoxy."

Stephen Jay Gould


"The ferocity with which many evolutionists set forth their views and the high level of intolerance they demonstrate toward alternative frames of reference should be cause enough for pause, if not alarm. In their behaviors, one senses a familiar pattern, one that has been with us since the first time man began to formulate a cosmology. The evolutionist today is every bit the "true believer," Baptized in the theory of natural selection, he is prepared to spread the good news and bring his fellow human beings to spread Darwin’s teaching."

Jeremy Rifkin



"What has got into circulation is a caricature of Nature-an exaggeration of part of the truth. For while there is in wild Nature much stern shifting, great infantile and juvenile mortality, much redness of tooth and claw….there is much more. In face of limitation and difficulties, one organism intensifies competition, but another increases parental care; one sharpens its weapons, but another makes some experiment in mutual aid…The fact is that the struggle for existence need not be competitive at all; it is illustrated not only by ruthless self-assertiveness, but also by all the endeavors of parents for offspring, of mate for mate, of kind for kin. The world is not only the abode of the strong, it is also the home of the loving."

John Arthur Thompson & Patrick G. Geddes

Life: Outlines of General Biology


"It may appear little more than a truism to state that the individuals that are best adapted to survive have a better chance of surviving than those not so well adapted to survive."

T.H. Morgan (Nobel Prize winner)


"The survivors, having survived, are thence judged to be the fittest.

Gertrude Himmelfarb



"They (the Darwinists) are unable or unwilling to realize that the citadel they are defending lies in ruins."

Arthur Koestler


"I think the fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable and so far from the criteria otherwise applied in "hard" science, has become a dogma, can only be explained on sociological grounds. Society and science have been so steeped in the ideas of mechanism, utilitarianism and the economic concept of free competition, that instead of God, selection was enthroned as ultimate reality."

Ludwig von Bertalamffy


"At certain periods in the development of human knowledge, it may be profitable and even essential for generations….to act on a theory which is philosophically quite ridiculous."

C.D. Broad

(Cambridge University)


"Nor can we deny that we all eat and that each of us has grown strong on the bodies of innumerable animals. Here each of is a king in a field of corpses."

Elias Canetti (Nobel Prize Winner)


(There is) …one general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die."



"It’s not surprising that Darwin might reason this way, since this was precisely the view that the average Victorian gentleman held about himself in those middle decades of the nineteenth century."

Jeremy Rifkin



"Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a psuedoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case."

Dr. Pierre P. Grasse

Evolution of Living Organisms


"This situation, where men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to define scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science."

W.R. Thompson


"When we descend to details, we can prove that no species has changed (i.e. we cannot prove that a single species has changed); nor can we prove that the supposed changes are beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory."

Darwin (in a letter in 1863)


"The preoccupation with the choice of a mate both by male and female I regard as a continuing echo of the major selective force by which we have evolved."

Jacob Brownowski

The Accent of Man

(See:  The Story of V  by Catherine Blackledge...for more on this idea)


We crave progress as our best hope for retaining human arrogance in an evolutionary world."

Stephen Jay Gould

Full House


"Mechanical man, apparently a break in organic evolution, is actually more in the true tradition of a further evolution….The new life which conserves none of the substance and all of the spirit of the old would take its place and continue its development. Such a change would be as important as that in which life first appeared on the earth’s surface."

J.D. Bernal


"Telephony, computers, and CD-ROMs are all specialized mechanisms we've built to bind us together. Now evolution takes place in microseconds....We're taking off. We're at that point analogous to when single-celled organisms were turning into multicelled organisms. We are amoebas and we can't figure out what the hell this thing is that we're creating....We are not evolution's ultimate product. There's something coming after us, and I imagine it is something wonderful. But we may never be able to comprehend it, any more than a caterpillar can comprehend turning into a butterfly."

Danny Hillis   Wired Magazine


   "I hate to be the one who brings this news to the tribe, to the magic Digikingdom, but the simple truth is that the Web, the Internet, does one thing. It speeds up the retrieval and dissemination of information, partially eliminating such chores as going outdoors to the mailbox or the adult bookstore, or having to pick up the phone to get hold of your stockbroker or some buddies to shoot the breeze with. That one thing the Internet does, and only that. All the rest is Digibabble."

-Tom Wolfe

Hooking Up


"We are survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment. Though I have known it for years , I never seem to get fully used to it."

Richard Dawkins


"Think of it: Zillions of organisms running around, each under the hypnotic spell of a single truth, all these truths identical, and all logically incompatible with one another. ‘My hereditary material is the most important material on earth; its survival justifies your frustration, pain, even death.’ And you are one of these organisms, living your life in the thrall of a logical absurdity."

Robert Wright

The Moral Animal


"There is grandeur in this view of life."



First I was an amoeba

In the sea

Then I was a tadpole

With my tail tucked

Under me

Then I was an ape in

A bamboo tree.

Now I am a professor

With a PHD.



"That man can interrogate as well as observe nature, was a lesson slowly learned in his evolution."

Sir William Osler


"It was at a particular moment in the history of my own rages that I saw the Western world conditioned by the images of Marx, Darwin and Freud; and Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western world. The simplistic popularization of their ideas has thrust our world into a mental straitjacket from which we can only escape by the most anarchic violence."

William Golding



"Darwinism has been seized upon by all parties as a strong bulwark in defense of their contradictory preconceptions. On the one hand Nietzsche, on the other Marx, and between them most shades of aristocracy, Democracy, Individualism, Socialism, Capitalism, Militarism, Materialism and even Religion.’

Geoffrey West

Charles Darwin; A portrait


"The whole Darwinist teaching of the struggle for existence is simply a transference from society to nature of Hobbes’ doctrine of bellum omnium contra omnes and of the bourgeois economic doctrine of competition. Together with Malthus; theory of population. When the conjurer’s trick has been performed….the same theories are transferred back again from organic nature to history and it is now claimed that their validity as eternal laws of human society has been proved."

Freiderich Engels (in a letter 1875)


   "Many of Darwin's immediate followers thought of evolution primarily in terms of struggle, a concept consistent with and based on Darwinian selection, but not carried to such excess by Darwin himself. They evolved what T.H. Huxley called "the gladiatorial theory of existence" and concluded that the evolutionary ethic must be, first, every man for himself, then every tribe, every nation, every class, and so on, for itself in the "struggle for existence." Such tooth-and-claw ethics suited the book of Victorian laissez faire capitalism, and also, with only rather superficial remodeling, of its opposing ideology in Marxist socialism. Those who were not suited by this wholly superficial interpretation of an ill-understood natural process found themselves in a serious dilemma. They could not believe that unbounded personal competition, exploitation and dominance of one group by another, class and national warfare, and the other concomitants of a gladiatorial existence were ethically right. But on the other hand they believed that these are the essential features of the evolutionary process. T.H. Huxley concluded that evolution, although it is a fact that must be faced, is ethically bad. Man's problem then becomes not the forwarding of the evolutionary process but its thwarting. Huxley accepted "the essential evil of the world" and only hoped it could be abated by ethical human conduct. He endorsed and accepted the intuitive ethics of his time as non-, in fact anti-evolutionary and did not even discuss their origin or validity."

-George Gaylord Simpson

The Meaning of Evolution


"Faith in a heaven and in an ultimate reward for a good life does not owe itself to the Christian Fathers or to the Old or New Testament, but to the fact-that evolution has pointed toward a better future for billions of years."

Arthur M. Young

The Reflexive Universe


"Whether or not it is possible to see the situation as it really exists in nature, the general public of our century has never departed from the Darwinian faith that the scientist is the man to do it."

Jacques Barzun

Darwin,Marx, Wagner


At a certain moment of time, the temperature of the Earth was such that it became most favorable for the aggregation of carbon atoms and oxygen with the nitrogen-hydrogen combination, and that from random occurrences of large clusters molecules occurred which were most favorably structured for the coming about of life, and from that point it went on through vast stretches of time, until through processes of natural selection a being finally occurred which is capable of choosing love over hate, and justice over injustice, of writing poetry like that of Dante, composing music like that of Mozart, and making drawings like those of Leonardo….Such a view of cosmogenesis is crazy. And I do not at all mean crazy in the sense of slangy invective but rather in the technical meaning of psychotic. Indeed such a view has much in common with certain aspects of schizophrenic thinking."

Karl Stern

The Flight from Women


   "The establishment of the fact that man is a primate, with all its evolutionary implications, early gave rise to fallacies for which there is no longer any excuse (and never was much) but which still sometimes effect the thinking of evolutionists and the reaction of those who have not yet faced the truth of evolution. These fallacies arise from what Julian Huxley calls "the nothing-but school." It was felt or said that because man is an animal, a primate, and so on, he is nothing but an ape with a few extra tricks. It is a fact that man is an animal, but it is not a fact that he is nothing but an animal. (It is not a fact that man is an ape, extra tricks or no, and so, of course, all the less a fact that he is nothing but an ape.) Such statements are not only untrue, but also vicious for they deliberately lead astray enquiry as to what man really is and so distort our whole comprehension of ourselves and of our proper values."

-George Gaylord Simpson

The Meaning of Evolution


"I am beginning to despair of ever making the majority understand my notions."



"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it."

Jacques Moned



"I am a Christian mother...And I am not going to let that kind of rot go into Texas textbooks."

Miriam Ferguson (former Governor of Texas)


"There was a time when God and Darwin got along."

Susan Jacoby   article: Between Church and State...NY Times, Jan 19,2003


"...In retrospect it seems obvious that there was an equally reasonable alternative hypothesis, that the progression was an idealization of a material historical sequence. It even seems that there was really no legitimate theological issue at stake, for creation according to static pattern is neither more nor less theistic than creation by historical process and the two could, and can, about equally well be accommodated to revelation and to what is really essential in Christian or other religious dogma."

-George Gaylord Simpson

The Meaning of Evolution


"The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin."

-Henry Adams The Education of Henry Adams   Ed note* Who cannot think of George Washington to George Bush


"But the more I think, the more bewildered I become..."

Charles Darwin (in a letter to Professor Asa Gray in 1860


"The world has arisen in some way or other. How it originated is the great question, and Darwin's theory, like all other attempts to explain the origin of life, is thus far merely conjectural. I believe he has not even made the best conjecture possible in the present state of our knowledge."

 Louis Agassiz


"Darwin taught that the direction of evolution was determined mainly by the survival of the fittest. Animals of the same species differ among themselves. One mouse can run faster than the average. Another has better hearing. Still another has sharper teeth. These differences are at least partly inherited. And as there is not room in the world for all the mice born, the fittest on the whole survive, and thus the species gradually changes.

   A character which is useful in one environment may be harmful in another. Thus thick fur is useful in the Arctic and harmful in the tropics. Wings are generally useful to an insect in the middle of a continent, but dangerous on small islands in the ocean, where winged insects are blown out to sea, but wingless ones survive. This is one of the ways in which a species divides into two or more new species.

   Marx and Engels accepted this theory of the struggle for life as the first, temporary, incomplete expression of a recently discovered fact'. They pointed out that 'Darwin discovers among plants and animals his English society' based on unrestricted competition. And, or course, since Darwin's time many theorists have tried to justify cut-throat competition and the oppression of the weak in the name of Darwinism."

J.B.S. Haldane

On Being the Right Size


"Neuroscience, the science of the brain and the central nervous system, is on the threshold of a unified theory that will have an impact as powerful as that of Darwinism a hundred years ago. Already there is a new Darwin, or perhaps I should say an updated Darwin, since no one ever believed more religiously in Darwin the First than does he: Edward O. Wilson.

   As we have seen, Wilson has created and named the new field of sociobiology, and he has compressed its underlying premise into a single sentence. Every human brain, he says , is born not as a blank table (a tabula rasa) waiting to be filled in by experience but as "an exposed negative waiting to be slipped into developer fluid." You can develop the negative well or you can develop it poorly, but either way you are going to get precious little that is not already imprinted on the film. The print is the individual's genetic history, over thousands of years of evolution, and there is not much anybody can do about it. Furthermore, says Wilson, genetics determine not only things such as temperament, role preferences, emotional responses, and levels of aggression but also many of our most revered moral choices, which are not choices at all in any free-will sense but tendencies imprinted in the hypothalamus and limbic regions of the brain, a concept expanded upon in 1993 in a much-talked-about book, The Moral Sense, by James Q. Wilson (no kin to Edward O.)."

Tom Wolfe

Hooking Up


"The resistance to the theory of descent from the apes is clearly due in most men to feeling rather than to reason. They shrink from the notion of such an origin, just because they see in the ape-organism, a caricature of man, a distorted and unattractive image of themselves; because it hurts man's aesthetic complacency and self-ennoblement. It is more flattering to think we have descended from some lofty and godlike being-and so, from the earliest times, human vanity has been pleased to believe in our origin from gods and demi-gods The church with that sophistic reversal of ideas of which it is a master, has succeeded in representing this ridiculous piece of vanity as "Christian Humility," and the very men who reject with horror the notion of an animal origin, and count themselves "children of god," love to prate of their "humble sense of servitude". In most of the sermons that have poured out from the pulpit and altar against the doctrine of Evolution, Human vanity and conceit have been a conspicuous element. Just as most people prefer to trace their family back to some degenerate baron or some famous prince, rather than to an unknown peasant, so most men would rather have as the parent of the race a sinful and fallen Adam than an advancing and vigorous ape. It seems to me that it is a finer thing to be the advanced offspring of a simian ancestor, which has developed progressively from the lower mammals in the struggle for life, than the degenerate descendant of a godlike being, made from a clod, and fallen for his sins, and an Eve created from one of his ribs."

Ernest Haeckel

Evolution of Man


"He who has once seen a savage in his native land will not feel much shame, if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins. For my part, I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper, or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away his young comrade in triumph from the midst of the astonished dogs-as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions."

Charles Darwin

Descent of Man


   "Before Darwin-and continuing after him-came a range of theories in which intention did play a part. Formulated by Jean baptiste Lamarck in the eighteenth century, the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics provided a convincing explanation for how species evolved. Here, the giraffe's long neck really does result from an "intention" to reach the higher branches. Lamarck, and later supporters of his ideas, thought than an individual giraffe, by striving to reach the high branches, could somehow add an imperceptible fraction of a cubit to his height and that this increase cold somehow be passed on to his children. Equipped with that tiny extra bit of height, the child giraffe would grow up, do his own bit of striving, and add a further sliver or so. Over generations, the process would lead to dramatically longer necks.

   There is one factor to note in all this. In the case of the giraffe, the lengthening process is dependent on a change in the environment: the lack of foliage at levels at which the shorter-necked ancestors of the giraffe could eat it and survive.

   By this century, Lamarckian explanations had become rather more sophisticated than the idea of a creature's striving to change to fit into a changing environment. But the principle was the same: some physical change than an individual member of a species underwent during its life could be transmitted in a quite specific way to the new generation."

Karl Sabbagh

A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud


"....In consequence, and by factual necessity, one might say that a hitherto unknown form of religion-one that no one could as yet have imagined or described, for lack of a universe large enough and organic enough to contain it-is burgeoning in the heart of modern man, from a seed sown by the idea of evolution. God is no longer sought in an identification with things that annihilates personality, nor in an escape from things that de-humanizes man. God is attained (and this is infinitely more energizing and brings infinitely truer communion) by entry into the centre of the total sphere that embraces all things-a centre that itself is in process of formation.

   Far from being shaken in my faith by such a revolution, it is with irrepressible hope that I welcome the inevitable rise of this new mysticism and anticipate its equally inevitable triumph.

   For if in the end nothing, absolutely nothing, can prevent man from ultimately coming to rest in the form of belief that activates the cosmic forces of convergence in him to their maximum-then, indeed, we have the finest proof of the transcendence of Christianity. we see it in its remarkable and unique power to find within itself, and present to us at the very time we need it, what at this precise moment in history is absolutely indispensable to our nature if it is to develop its power to act and to worship to the full: and that is a Christ who can be and is commensurate with the universe, in other words a God-the God we look for-of evolution."

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

(Unpublished, in sight of St. Helena, on passage from New York to the Cape, 14 July 1953)


  "Darwin himself was almost horrified by the ideas he introduced to the world. It took him twenty years to produce his Origin of Species, twenty years in which he suffered many afflictions that appeared hypochondriacal in nature and that slowed his work considerably. Darwin's list of symptoms sounds much like Beard's outline of neurasthenia: fatigue and languorousness that at times kept him in bed, trembling swimming in the head, boils on the skin, vomiting, depression, a general feeling of being unwell. His physical and emotional state was tied closely to those around him; he often suffered breakdowns toward the end of his beloved wife's many pregnancies, and his own health deteriorated along with that of his dying father. Darwin attempted several treatments of the time, including electricity and a water cure at a sanatorium-an unpleasant regimen of cold-water scrubs, cold footbaths, and cold compresses worn all day long. Nothing produced a permanent remission, and biographers have suggested that a precipitating factor in Darwin's ailments was his almost existential anxiety about the implications of his work."

Michelle Stacey

The Fasting Girl


"...He had understood nothing, and the only idea he had gathered was that evolution was a dry-as-dust theory, of a lot of little men possessed of huge and unintelligible vocabularies. And now he learned that evolution was no mere theory but an accepted process of development; that scientists no longer disagreed about it, their only differences being over the method of evolution.

   And here was the man Spencer, organizing all knowledge for him, reducing everything to unity, elaborating ultimate realities, and presenting to his startled gaze a universe so concrete of realization that it was like the model of a ship such as sailors make and put into glass bottles. There was no caprice, no chance. All was law. It was in obedience to law that the bird flew, and it was in obedience to the same law that fermenting slime had writhed and squirmed and put out legs and wings and become a bird."

Jack London

Martin Eden


   "By removing the supernatural order, the Darwinian revolution came as a profound shock to the collective psyche, jolting Victorians out of a placid natural world of nested hierarchical life-forms, each in its appointed place, into a sprawling jungle of perpetual conflict and bloodshed, in which God, if He existed, seemed to be an impotent bystander. The 'survival of the fittest' became translated into a widespread social Darwinism that the robber barons of the Gilded Age used to justify the worst kind of capitalist cut-throatedness; it was no accident that Andrew Carnegie became an ardent endower of naturalistic endeavours. As late as 1921 George Bernard Shaw was still railing against Darwinism for sucking the meaning of out of the universe. Darwin himself worried that a natural world ruled by natural selection instead of God would be empty of meaning and purpose, and the traces of teleology in his writing (notably, the unforgettable image of Natural Selection 'daily and hourly scrutinizing.....the slightest variations.....silently and insensibly the improvement of each organic being') are a psychological hangover from the old natural theology he grew up on. Over the years, natural selection began to fill the ontological vacuum left by the old-fashioned creator God, emerging as a kind of cosmic force that 'acted' on things, 'moulding' organisms into ever more perfect creatures. Everything on Earth, from the stamen of a tulip to the toenail of a tree sloth, told a story of adaptation. It was the new religion.

   Many of these adaptive stories sounded plausible, but they were often wholly conjectural, as evolutionary biologists themselves realized. Where was the proof? Where were the data? Natural selection is a principle that seems self-evident, yet turns out to be very, very hard to catch in the act, nature being full of so many things.......

-Judith Hooper

An Evolutionary Tale of Moths and Men: The untold Story of Science and the Peppered Moth


"Words evolve, even those coined by skeptics of evolution. Consider "intelligent design" a phrase used for over a century by critics of Darwin but only recently bursting into prominence as both a concept and a movement intended to explain, its proponents say, the "irreducible complexity" of nature.

   According to the Discovery Institute, a group based in Seattle that promotes intelligent design as an alternative to natural selection, the phrase may have first been used by an Oxford scholar, F.C.S. Schiller, who in 1897 wrote, "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be guided by an intelligent design."

    But paradoxically, one of the most prominent 19th-century scientists to refer to God as an all-knowing designer was a staunch defender of Darwin, a renowned Harvard botanist named Asa Gray

   Professor Gray, a confidant of Darwin's and a deeply religious Christian, agreed with many of Darwin's ideas, defending him against charges of atheism and favorably reviewing "On the Origin of Species." A New York Times review of Professor Gray's 1880 book, "Natural Science and Religion" said he had demonstrated "the harmony of evolution with a belief in intelligent design."

   But Darwin and Professor Gray differed on a fundamental issue: where Darwin saw randomness in nature, Professor Gray saw divine design. he believed, the Times review said, that "variation does not always seem an accident, but often 'guided' in certain lines,' as if by an intelligent power."

   Sara Joan Miles, a science historian, wrote in 2001 that "Darwin could not reconcile the seeming randomness of certain particular events with an overall, foreordained plan" Professor Gray, though "knew from Scripture the attributes of God, and therefore could accept the errors, evil and suffering of Nature," Professor Miles wrote.

   Flash forward to 2005. Once used by Asa Gray to reconcile the theory of natural selection with Christian theology, the concept of intelligent design is now presented as an alternative, a challenge really, to Darwin's ideas. What changed?

   Professor Miles, the founding dean of Esperanza College in Philadelphia says science and religion have become increasingly fearful of and defensive about each other. She recommends they study the cordial debates between Asa Gray and Darwin for clues about how to coexist, or at least talk.

   Indeed, in a letter to Professor Gray in 1860, Darwin, an agnostic, seemed to accept the possibility of an all-wise designer without softening his scientific skepticism. "I can see no reason why a man or other animal, may not have been aboriginality produced by other laws, and that all these laws may have been expressly designed by an omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and consequence." he wrote.

   "But the more I think, the more bewildered I become; as indeed I probably have shown by this letter."


-James Dao    (article called Intelligent Design: The descent of a concept in the Dec NY Times Magazine)


"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 delight proving their falseness."


Descent of Man


   "Just to clean the palate of a century of evolutionists' browbeating everyone into saying evolution is a FACT and we'll see you in court if you criticize the official state religion, we begin with a story from the late Colin Patterson, respected paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Like Diogenes searching for one honest man, Patterson was on a quest to find someone who could tell him-as he puts it-"anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that you think is true." Patterson said, "I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History, and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was a silence for a long time."

   Not surprisingly, the Darwiniacs, as author and columnist Joe Sobran calls them, would apparently prefer to discuss anything but evolution, since they are always pretending evolution means something utterly uncontroversial, like "change over time." Describing "evolution" as "change over time" is like describing abortion as "choice." Aren't we all for "choice? Don't animals change over time? The boring point that organisms "change over time" is not what the Darwiniacs are teaching schoolchildren, and that's not what the fuss is about."

-Ann Coulter

The Church of Liberalism: Godless


"....But I am very poorly today & very stupid & hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.-I am going to write a little Book for Murray on orchids & today I hate them worse than everything so farewell & in a sweet frame of mind, I am..."

Charles Darwin  (letter to the Scottish geologist Charles Lyell in 1861)


   "What the theory of evolution posits is an accidental, law-of-the-jungle, survival-of-the-fittest mechanism for creating new species-as indicated in the title of Darin's book, The Origin of Species.

   Leave aside the thornier issues, like how the accidental process that gave us opposable thumbs could produce a moral sense and consciousness of mortality. Let's consider just the basic steps of evolution.

   The "theory" of evolution is:

1. Random mutation of desirable attributes (highly implausible).

2. Natural selection weeding out the "less fit" animals (pointless tautology)

3. Leading to the creation of new species (no evidence after 150 years of looking)"

-Ann Coulter




The descent of a concept by James Dao

   "Words evolve, even those coined by skeptics of evolution. Consider "intelligent design," a phrase used for over a century by critics of Darwin but only recently bursting into prominence as both a concept and a movement intended to explain, its proponents say the "irreducible complexity" of nature

   According to the Discovery Institute, a group based in Seattle that promotes intelligent design as an alternative to natural selection, the phrase may have first been used by an Oxford scholar, F.C.S. Schiller, who in 1897 wrote, "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of Evolution may be guided by an intelligent design."

   But paradoxically, one of the most prominent 19-th century scientists to refer to God as an all-knowing designer was a staunch defender of Darwin, a renowned Harvard botanist named Asa Gray

   Professor Gray, a confidant of Darwin's and a deeply religious Christian, agreed with many of Darwin's ideas, defending him against charges of atheism and favorably reviewing "On the Origin of Species". A New York Times review of Professor Gray's 1880 book, "Natural Science and Religion," said he had demonstrated "the harmony of evolution with a belief in intelligent design."

   But Darwin and Professor Gray differed on a fundamental issue: where Darwin saw randomness in nature, Professor Gray saw divine design. He believed, the Times review said that "variation does not always seem an accident, but often 'guided in certain lines' as if by an intelligent power."

   Sara Joan Miles, a science historian, wrote in 2001 that Darwin could not reconcile the seeming randomness of certain particular events with an overall, foreordained plan." Professor Gray, though, "knew from Scripture the attributes of God, and therefore could accept the errors, evil and suffering of Nature," Professor Miles wrote.

    Flash forward to 2005. Once used by Asa Gray to reconcile the theory of natural selection with Christian theology, the concept of intelligent design is now presented as an alternative, a challenge really, to Darwin's ideas. What changed?

   Professor Miles, the founding dean of Esperanza College in Philadelphia says science and religion have become increasingly fearful of and defensive about each other. She recommends they study the cordial debates between Asa Gray and Darwin for clues about how to coexist, or at least talk.

   Indeed, in a letter to Professor Gray in 1860, Darwin, an agnostic, seemed to accept the possibility of an all-wise designer without softening his scientific skepticism. "I can see no reason why a man, or other animal, may not have been aboriginally  produced by other laws, and that all these laws may have been expressly designed by an omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and consequence," he wrote.

   "But the more I think, the more bewildered I become; as indeed I probably have shown by this letter."

-James Dao


"Intelligent design must not be taught as science, a writer for the Vatican says."


"The quickest way to commit professional suicide in today's scientific world is to challenge any aspect of Darwinism. The theory is so entrenched as the bedrock of all biological and zoological science that anyone who examines it is attacked with a frightening degree of professional hostility.

   There is no doubt that the evidence for evolution is conclusive, but elements of Darwin's theory of mutation combining with natural selection appear to be flawed. Logically, if Darwin's theory of gradual genetic change was accurate, more evolved creatures should contain complex genetic structures. Comparing the complexity of DNA by looking at the number of chromosome bases shows that humans have 23 pairs compared to a snail's 56. It is an anomaly that orthodox science has not explained.

   An example of the suppression of any scientist who questions any aspect of Darwinian theory is that of British biologist Warwick Collins. In 1976 he wrote a paper on sexual selection as an anomaly in Darwinian theory. As he was about to speak at an international conference to explain his paper, renowned geneticist Professor Maynard Smith stood up and attacked Collins in front of the audience. He told him he would use his influence to block publication of any further papers he wrote. Smith seems to have been true to his word as Collins continues to have his papers rejected for publication for not given reason.

   Respected science journalist and author Richard Milton encountered another form of pro-Darwinist suppression when he was commissioned by the Times Higher Education Supplement to write a critique of Darwinism. It was trailed in the publication the week before with the line "Next Week: Darwinism-Richard Milton goes on the attack". This led scientists to write to the editor to try and stop the article's publication, claiming that Milton was a "secret creationist" (which he is not; his criticisms are purely scientific objections), "loony" and "in need of psychiatric help". Milton has since been attacked by scientists such as American geologist David Leveson merely for asking questions of the theory."

David Southwell

Secrets and Lies


"In the course of reporting a book on the scientific cannon, and pestering hundreds of researchers at the nation's great universities about what they see as the essential vitamins and minerals of literacy in their particular disciplines, I have been hammered into a kind of twinkle-eyed cartoon coma by one recurring message. Whether they are biologists, geologists, physicists, chemists, astronomers, or engineers, virtually all my sources topped their list of what they wish people understood about science with a plug for Darin's dandy idea.

   Would you please tell the public, they implored, that evolution is for real? Would you please explain that the evidence for it is overwhelming, and that an appreciation of evolution serves as the bedrock of our understanding of all life on this planet?

-Natalie Angier

The Scientific Method  The American Scholar  Spring 2004


"......If we are to teach Darwin's theories, we should teach more Darwin, not less. For example, his faulty methods of scientific observation led him to conclude that "women, though generally superior to men in moral qualities, are inferior intellectually..." (1882 letter to Caroline Kennard, emphasis mine), Darwin then followed up with his scientific observation: "Man is more courageous....and has more intuitive genius. His brain is absolutely larger...."(emphasis mine). In Chapter 19 of Descent of Man, scientist Darwin erroneously concluded that "Man has ultimately become superior to woman" (Emphasis mine. Brilliant!

   With regard to the topic of superior and inferior races, Darwin declared in a Feb. 6, 1862, Letter to C. Kingsley that he h ad observed "a good many Barbarians and savage(s)...." Darwin's scientific predictions were: "It is very true what you say about the higher races of men, when high enough, replacing & clearing off the lower races. In 500 years how the Anglo-Saxon race will have spread & exterminated whole nations; & in consequence how much the Human race, viewed as a unit, will have risen in rank." Brilliant!

   Darwin's racist and chauvinistic scientific theories should be taught in our schools along with Darwin's other writings in order that all of his scientific and social theories may be more properly evaluated and understood. Let us bring the dark things to the light for frank examination. it would improve the critical thinking skills of our children.

   I propose that instead of one Darwin Bicentennial Celebration, we have , an annual "Darwinian memorial" fashioned after the annual Holocaust Memorial. After all, before Karl Marx's idea led to the death of tens of millions of people, Marx wanted to dedicate his book, Das Kapital to Darwin, and Adolph Hitler considered Darwin's ideas as giving scientific legitimacy to the Aryan race's intended "rise in rank" through the extermination of a "lower" race. if our children are to be taught Darwinian theories, then the students should learn all, not a selected few, of Darin's scientific teachings-let us educate, not propagandize, our students."

-Bert Robinson/Baton Rouge, LA

Boulder Weekly   October 20,2009



In "10 Worst Evolutionary Designs" you forgot about one of the best arguments against the 'theory' of intelligent design: the shared opening to the esophagus and trachea in humans (and many other mammals). Hundreds of choking deaths occur in the US every year due to food obstructions in the trachea. Doesn't seem too intelligent to purposefully design such a hazard."

Joseph Burdo Assistant Professor of Biology Boston College  Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts


"Lets add human testicles to the list. Seriously, would any decent designer place something so important in such a vulnerable location? Balls=proof against intelligent design.

Excerpted from a comment posted to by  Cecil Green


"And how about that whole "toxic waste disposal drain right in the midst of a recreational area" thing?

Excerpted from a comment posted to  by Philko


"Since the birth of the sun, evolution has been leading to this critical point in the evolution of humankind. Can we contribute consciously to the future of human evolution? Science for man is concerned with the application of knowledge for improving the human condition, or the quality of life."

-Jonas Salk


"Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor by-product of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here."

Paul Davies (professor of mathematical physics at the University of Adelaide)


"In a manner of speaking, human beings are fish out of water."

-Tom Robbins

Half Asleep in frog Pajamas



"The stability of the biosphere as a whole, and its ability to evolve, depend, to a great extent, on the fact that it is a system of relatively independent biomes."

-M.M. Kamshilov


   "We, with our propensity for murder, torture, slavery, rape, cannibalism, pillage, advertising jingles, shag carpets, and golf, how could we be seriously considered as the perfection of a four billion-year-old grandiose experiment? Perhaps as a race, we have evolved as far as we are capable, yet that by no means suggests that evolution has called it quits. In all likelihood, it has something beyond human on the drawing board. We tend to refer to our most barbaric and crapulous behavior as "inhuman," whereas, in point of fact, it is exactly human, definitely and quintessentially human, since no other creature habitually indulges in comparable atrocities. This negates neither our occasional virtues nor our aesthetic triumphs., but if a being at least a little bit more than human is not waiting around the bend of time, then evolution has suffered a premature ejaculation."

-Tom Robbins

half asleep in frog pajamas


"the machines will get good enough at dealing with complexity that they can start dealing with their own complexity, and you'll get systems that evolve."

-Daniel Hillis


"At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost convinced that species are not  (it is like confessing a murder) immutable."

Charles Darwin


"You have been extremely-make that miraculously-fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on  both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to  the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result-eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly-in you."

-Bill Bryson

a Short History of Nearly Everything



"It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe.

-Richard Dawkins"*

*Ed note: Actually- I find  everyman thinks he understands Darwin...the Giraffes neck and all....Only Darwin lamented not understanding it...




"If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would have thus been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature."



Magazine article: "The Crusade Against Evolution" Wired Mag Oct.2004

Magazine article: "Caught Between Church And State" By Susan Jacoby   New York Times Jan 19,2005

EVOLUTION  The New York Times  June 26,2007

Book: "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" by Charles Darwin

Book: "Charles Darwin: The Naturalist Who Started A Scientific Revolution" by Cyril Aydon

Book: "Darwin's Lost Theory of Love" by David Loye

Book: "The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution" by David Quammen

Book: "Charles Darwin, Voyaging" by Janet Browne

Book "Darwin, the Life of a Tormented Evolutions" Desmond & Moore

Book: "The Story of V" by Catherine Blackledge

Book: "Darwin's Spectre" by Michael R. Rose

Book: "Darwin and the Barnacle" by Rebecca Stott

Book: "Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life" by Niles Eldridge

Book: "Darwin, His Daughter & Human Evolution" by Randal Keynes

Book: "In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russell Wallace" by Michael Shermer

Book:" What Evolution Is" by Ernst Mayr

Book: "KLUGE: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind" By Gary Marcus

Book: "Evolution Vs. Creationism" by Eugenie C. Scott

Book: "The Evolution-Creation Struggle" by Michael Ruse

Book: "The Meaning of Evolution" by George Gaylord Simpson

Book: "The Influence of Darwin On Philosophy And Other Essays" by John Dewey

See: "The Science of Dissent" by Josh Tyrangiel,, Time, July 10,200

Book: "Vital Dust: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth"  by Christian de Duve

Book: "Sex, Time & Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution" by Leonard Shalain

Book: "Shattering the Myths of Darwinism" by Richard Milton

Book: "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" by Dan Dennett

Book: "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" by Carl Zimmer

Book: "Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution" by John F. Haught

Book: "The Evolutionists: The Struggle for Darwin's Soul" by Richard Morris

Book: "Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths" by Vine Deloria Jr.

Book: "The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades Around 1900" by Peter J. Bowler

Book: "A Theory in Crisis" by Michael Denton

Book: "Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design" by Thomas Woodward

Book: "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Timaeus and Genesis in Counterpoint." by Jaroslav Pelkan

Book: "Icons of Evolution…Science or Myth? By Jonathan Wells

Book: "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" by Stephen Jay Gould

Book: "Tower Of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism" by Robert T. Pennock

Book: The Lying Stones Of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History" by Stephen Jay Gould

Book: "Creation's Time Mystery" by Richard Gentry

Book: "Why Evolution is True" by Coyne

Book: "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin

Book: "Darwin's Specter: Evolutionary Biology in The Modern World" by Michael R. Rose

Book: "From So Simple A Beginning: The Four Great Books of Charles Darwin" Ed, by Edward O. Wilson

Book: "Darwin's Laboratory: Evolutionary Theory and Natural History in the Pacific" Ed. by R. Macleod & P.F. Rehbock

Book: "The Structure and Confirmation of Evolutionary Theory" by Elisabeth A. Lloyd

Book: "Encyclopedia Of Evolution" 2 vol set ed Mark Pagel

Book: The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900: by Peter J. Bowler

Book: "Aquagenesis: The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Sea" by Richard Ellis

Book: "In The Footsteps of Eve: The Mystery of Human Origins" by Lee R. Berger with B. Hilton-Barber

Book: "Climbing Mount Improbable" by Richard Dawkins

Book: "Darwin and the mysterious Mr. X" by Loren Eiseley

Book: "ROBO SAPIENS; Evolution of a New Species" by P. Menzel & F.D. Alusio

Book: "The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution" by Luigi Luca Cavali-Sforza & Francesco Cavalli-Sforza

Book: "Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding" by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Book: "On Kindness" by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor

Book: "The 10,000 Year Explosion" by Gregory Chochran and Henry Harpending

Book: "Evolution's Captain: The Dark Fate of the Man Who Sailed Charles Darwin Around the World" by Peter Nichols

Book: "The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy And Other Essays" by John Dewey

Book: "Shattering The Myths of Darwinism" by Richard Milton

Book: "Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement" Ed. by John Brockman

Book: "The Evolution Wars: Controversies in Science" by Michael Ruse

Book: "The Edge Of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism" by Michael J. Behe

Book: "Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We teach About Evolution is Wrong" by Jonathan Wells

Book: "The neck of the Giraffe, or where Darwin went wrong" by Francis Hitching

Book: "The Cooperative Gene: How Mendel's Demon Explains the Evolution of Complex Beings" by Mark Ridey

Book: Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species" by Jeffrey H. Schwartz

Book: "Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose?" by Michael Ruse

Book: "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction" by Eugenie C. Scott

Book: "By Design: Science and the Search for God" by Larry Witham

Book: "Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design" by Thomas Woodward

Book: "Intelligent Design" by Mark Perakh

Book: "Where Darwin Meets The Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America" by Larry A. Witham

Book: "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" by Barbara Carroll Forrest

Book: "God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory" by Niall Shanks

Book: "Evolution Vs. Creationism" by Eugenie C. Scott

Book: "The Evolution-Creation Struggle" by Michael Ruse

Book: "Why Evolution is True" by coyne

Book: "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design" by William A. Dembski

Book: "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies--And What It Means To Be Human" by Joel Garreau

Book: "Darwin's Spectre: Evolutionary Biology in the Modern World" by Michael R. Rose


© 2009 Scholarisland LLC



Back to Chrestomathy           Next Page