Home \ Resources \ Design Kit \ Section 3b | --Next>>

Section 3: Quotations from Scientists

Darwin Doubting

Charles Darwin, Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, vol. II, Francis Darwin, editor (D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1899), p. 90, a letter from C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 3 April 1860.

...I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!

Ibid., vol. II, p. 174, a letter to Asa Gray, 11 Dec. 1961.

...With respect to Design, I feel more inclined to show a white flag than to fire my usual long-range shot...If anything is designed, certainly man must be: one's rudimentary mammae...were designed. if I was to say I believed this, I should believe it in the same incredible manner as the orthodox believe the Trinity in Unity. You say that you are in a haze; I am in thick mud; the orthodox would say in fetid, abominable mud; yet I cannot keep out of the question. My dear Gray, I have written a deal of nonsense.

[Note: Modern knowledge of human genetics eliminates Darwin's problem with the human male rudimentary mammae. The organs connected with sexual reproduction develop from the same embryonic tissues, the different courses and ends of the embryonic development being controlled largely by the different hormones active in the male and female fetuses. This explains completely the male rudimentary mammae.]

Ibid., vol. II, p. 146, a letter to Asa Gray, 26 Nov. 1860.

...But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world as we see it, is the result of chance; and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design... Again, I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle.

Previous PageTable of ContentsNext Page