The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil.
We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.
Now when naturalists observe a close agreement in numerous small details of habits, tastes and dispositions between two or more domestic races, or between nearly-allied natural forms, they use this fact as an argument that all are descended from a common progenitor who was thus endowed; and consequently that all should be classed under the same species. The same argument may be applied with much force to the races of man. As it is improbable that the numerous and unimportant points of resemblance between the several races of man in bodily structure and mental faculties I do not here refer to similar customs should all have been independently acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who were thus characterised.
But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels.
But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me.
Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress. Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague conclusions to which I have been driven.
The old argument from design in Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man.
There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. But I have discussed this subject at the end of my book on the Variation of Domesticated Animals and Plants, and the argument there given has never, as far as I can see, been answered.
But I was very unwilling to give up my belief;—I feel sure of this for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished.
The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.
- You Deserve Love: Inspirational Words to Encourage Self-Acceptance.
- A Lake Surfers Journey?
- Chapter 11-The Home Construction Contractor (The Pat Fay Method)?
- Counting Heads - Journeys to Noumea, Tahiti and France;
Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws. Darwin's material is often misquoted. See Notable Charles Darwin misquotes.
The Educational Significance of Human and Non-Human Animal Interactions
Darwin for the greater part of his book Origin of the Species [sic] has simply massed fact upon fact without any theorising, and only towards the end has formulated his conclusion which, because of the sheer weight of testimony behind it, becomes almost irresistible. Yes I have criticised even Darwin's generalisation as being unwarranted. A few years ago I set out to canvass the literature on Charles Darwin. I do not know how many books have been written about him, but there seem to be thousands, and each year more appear.
Why are there so many? Part of the answer is, of course, that he was a tremendously important figure in the history of human thought. He was an immensely likeable man, modest and humane, with a personality that continues to draw people to him even today. In The Animal in the Secret World of Darwin , author Michel Bergeron discuses the effects on the sciences caused by the presence of questions on humanity only answerable with religious beliefs.
His investigation suggests that significant elements of perceived humanity have remained sufficiently narrowly defined to continue to agree with religious beliefs over the entire period starting with the scientific revolution centuries ago and reaching the present.
Instead, he questions, could we be the simple animal who can only live on the belief not to be a simple animal? To alleviate these biases on the sciences of life, Bergeron advocates a different synthesis between Darwinism and Lamarckism. He further asks: How can sciences pretend to a cosmology neutral in term of religious influence since all of its complex mathematical developments were made under the constraint that we can link the present directly to the Big Bang?
From scattershot variations, culled and accreted, it produces pragmatic forms of order. Its driving factors are hyperfecundity and mortal competition; its products and by-products are adaptation, complexity, and diversity. It embodies a deep chanciness that is contradictory to the notion that Earth's living creatures, their capacities including human capacities , their histories, their indigenousness to particular locales, and their interrelations all reflect some sort of divinely preordained plan.
Charles Darwin, Natural Novelist | The New Yorker
It was a profoundly radical idea, offered to the world by a very cautious man. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Darwin's Abominable Volume". Read preview. Read preview Overview. Style, Vol. Skeptic Altadena, CA , Vol.
Natural History, Vol. Science, Sex and History. Longinus fl.