On the Origin of Species is 150 years old!

I can think of no higher tribute on this the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species than quoting in full its final paragraph:

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled 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 on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. 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 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.

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4 comments to On the Origin of Species is 150 years old!

  • “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.”

    Not to start out too far off-topic, but this sentence gives a whole new meaning to considerations of how human culture replicates the same struggle of improvement through conflict and suffering.

  • [...] speaking of last sentences, I enjoyed this tribute from The Mormon Organon — he just quotes the last paragraph of On the Origin of Species and lets [...]

  • Rich

    A day late to the celebration, but I too am thankful for Darwin’s brilliance and courage. And for this site, which helps keep my sanity intact. From one fellow mutant to another, Danke Schoen!

  • [...] speaking of last sentences, I enjoyed this tribute from The Mormon Organon — he just quotes the last paragraph of On the Origin of Species and lets [...]

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