|Section 3: Quotations from Scientists|
Darwin's Confidence and His Argument
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1971), p. 170.
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.
Ibid., pp. 167-170
To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess absurd in the highest degree...
[Note: After two pages of highly speculative argument designed to persuade the reader to believe, he continues:]
...To arrive, however, at a just conclusion regarding the formation of the eye, with all its marvelous yet not absolutely perfect characters, it is indispensable that the reason should conquer the imagination; but I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at others hesitating to extend the principle of natural selection to so startling a length.
[Note: Now he describes the imaginary evolution of the eye in very general terms, by slight mutations and natural selection, and concludes:]
Let this process go on for millions of years; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?