Unquotable:Charles Darwin

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“Frankly, this whole controversy regarding my theory of evolution has been hardest of all on my poor nephew. He's constantly taunted and tormented at school by people calling him 'ape' and 'monkey'... It's a good thing he weighs 800 pounds, or else Konga's life would be completely miserable.”

~ Charles Darwin

"Maybe it's just as well that I've been dead since 1882. That was pretty much the last year anything cool happened anyway."

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), naturalist, biologist, tobacconist, and author of The Origin of Species (1859) and Priscilla Likes It Clean-Shaven (1869), is perhaps best known as the father of the Theory of Evolution. He is also one of the most misquoted scientific figures of all time, surpassing even Einstein for sheer depth of quotability.

To this day, however, Darwin's theories continue to be hotly contested by religious conservatives, for no other reason than the mere fact that they challenge the very foundations of their belief systems. Indeed, some have gone so far as to suggest that evolutionary theory could be entirely compatible with the concept of an omnipotent and benevolent "designer," but the existence of the platypus effectively disproves this notion.

Darwin on Evolution[edit]

  • "Nothing in my Theory of Natural Selection precludes the idea of a creator - only a benevolent one."
  • "There are plenty of holes in the theory of natural selection. Those are from the time it was used for target practice by my next-door neighbor."
  • "The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory. Is it then a science, a faith, or just a big marketing ploy? Or even more importantly, why the fuck does everybody care so goddamn much?"
  • "On seeing the marsupials in Australia for the first time and comparing them to placental mammals, an unbeliever might exclaim, 'surely I have better things to do while vacationing in a nice country like Australia than compare mammalian reproductive systems'?"
  • "Marmots are cuter than weasels."
  • "The expression often used by Mr. Herbert West of the 'Survival of Chemically-Induced Undead Brain-Eaters' is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient, when referring to the fact that zombies will eventually take over the world."

Darwin on Religion[edit]

"I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so remarkable in some clever men."
  • "After I published The Origin of Species, I was universally shunned by all of my religious friends. But that only lasted until I started cashing those big royalty checks."
  • "I suppose I could see how some might view the concept of evolution as a justification for atheism, but isn't Oscar Wilde enough?"

Darwin on Intelligent Design[edit]

  • "Design, sure, but Intelligent? That's a bit of a stretch."
  • "Let's suppose there really is a God, and let's further suppose this God created the universe in a relatively short period of time. Let's also suppose that this God had a good working knowledge of biology and biochemistry. Finally, let's assume that this God had some sort of legitimate reason to create innumerable species of living biological organisms, specifically to inhabit this planet, for some unfathomable purpose. All well and good, but I still want to know just one thing: What's the point of Miley Cyrus?"
  • "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars. However, if the intention was to have them feed within the living bodies of people from Lancashire, that would be perfectly understandable."

Darwin on Darwin[edit]

  • "I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts, grinding out conclusions, and assembling self-propelled lawn mowers."
  • "Despite what the church says about me, I'm really a decent guy. So, can I buy you a drink? And, like, what's your sign?"
  • "At first I thought it would be nice if people could all just... ahhh, forget it."

Darwin on Science[edit]

  • "Physiological experiment on animals is completely unjustifiable for mere damnable and detestable curiosity, but such experiments on 20-year-old sectarian bigots is okay."
  • "We can allow satellites, planets, suns, the universe — nay, whole systems of universes — to be governed by laws, but DMCADMCA is just going a step too far."

Darwin on Traveling the World[edit]

  • "You could actually get quite good mai-tai's on the Galapagos Islands, until the Americans moved in."
  • "Actually, my favourite place to observe natural selection at work was probably the local tavern."

See also[edit]