97+ Best Charles Darwin Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Charles Robert Darwin, FRS FRGS FLS FZS was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. Profoundly inspirational Charles Darwin quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

Famous Charles Darwin Quotes

I was a young man with uninformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them. – Charles Darwin

The main conclusion arrived at in this work, namely that man is descended from some lowly-organized form, will, I regret to think, be highly distasteful to many persons. But there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians. – Charles Darwin

Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care. – Charles Darwin

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. – Charles Darwin

Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress. – Charles Darwin

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world. – Charles Darwin

It is not the biggest, the brightest or the best that will survive, but those who adapt the quickest. – Charles Darwin

Not one change of species into another is on record … we cannot prove that a single species has been changed. – Charles Darwin

Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy. – Charles Darwin

Light may be shed on man and his origins. – Charles Darwin

I long to set foot where no man has trod before. – Charles Darwin

An agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind. – Charles Darwin

Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music. – Charles Darwin

It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. – Charles Darwin

I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects. – Charles Darwin

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. – Charles Darwin

With highly civilized nations continued progress depends in a subordinate degree on natural selection; for such nations do not supplant and exterminate one another as do savage tribes. – Charles Darwin

The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic. – Charles Darwin

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness. – Charles Darwin

He who is not content to look, like a savage, at the phenomena of nature as disconnected, cannot any longer believe that man is the work of a separate act of creation … Man is the co-descendant with other mammals of a common progenitor. – Charles Darwin

When the views entertained in this volume on the origin of species, or when analogous views are generally admitted, we can dimly forsee that there will be a considerable revolution in natural history. – Charles Darwin

It’s not the strongest, but the most adaptable that survive. – Charles Darwin

The most energetic workers I have encountered in my world travels are the vegetarian miners of Chile. – Charles Darwin

Wherever the European has trod, death seems to pursue the aboriginal. – Charles Darwin

It is not the conscience which raises a blush, for a man may sincerely regret some slight fault committed in solitude, or he may suffer the deepest remorse for an undetected crime, but he will not blush… It is not the sense of guilt, but the thought that others think or know us to be guilty which crimsons the face. – Charles Darwin

Building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice. – Charles Darwin

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. – Charles Darwin

Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love. – Charles Darwin

The more efficient causes of progress seem to consist of a good education during youth whilst the brain is impressible, and of a high standard of excellence, inculcated by the ablest and best men, embodied in the laws, customs and traditions of the nation, and enforced by public opinion. – Charles Darwin

It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life. – Charles Darwin

I believe there exists, & I feel within me, an instinct for the truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the instinct of virtue, & that our having such an instinct is reason enough for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from them. – Charles Darwin

Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive. – Charles Darwin

I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. – Charles Darwin

Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. – Charles Darwin

To suppose that the eye could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree – Charles Darwin

Man, wonderful man, must collapse, into nature’s cauldron, he is no deity, he is no exception. – Charles Darwin

Even when we are quite alone, how often do we think with pleasure or pain of what others think of us – of their imagined approbation or disapprobation. – Charles Darwin

In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God … I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind. – Charles Darwin

In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment. – Charles Darwin

He who remains passive when over-whelmed with grief loses his best chance of recovering his elasticity of mind. – Charles Darwin

When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. – Charles Darwin

We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it. – Charles Darwin

That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection. – Charles Darwin

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts. – Charles Darwin

The more I study nature, the more I become impressed with ever-increasing force with the conclusion, that the contrivances and beautiful adaptations slowly acquired through each part occasionally varying in a slight degree but in many ways, with the preservation or natural selection of those variations which are beneficial to the organism under the complex and ever-varying conditions of life, transcend in an incomparable degree the contrivances and adaptations which the most fertile imagination of man could suggest with unlimited time at his disposal. – Charles Darwin

The more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become, – that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us, – that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, – that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses; – by such reflections as these… I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. – Charles Darwin

Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions. – Charles Darwin

Looking to future generations, there is no cause to fear that the social instincts will grow weaker… the social instincts, – the prime principle of man’s moral constitution – with the aid of active intellectual powers and the effects of habit, naturally lead to the golden rule, As ye would that men should do to you; do ye to them likewise; and this lies at the foundation of morality. – Charles Darwin

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. – Charles Darwin

I have tried lately to read Shakespeare and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. – Charles Darwin

What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one-man attack another bitterly. – Charles Darwin

At no time am I a quick thinker or writer: whatever I have done in science has solely been by long pondering, patience and industry. – Charles Darwin

I fully subscribe to the judgement of those writers who maintain that of all the differences between man and the lower animal, the moral sense of conscience is by far the most important….It is the most noble of all the attributes of man. – Charles Darwin

There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery. – Charles Darwin

Thus, we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length, but not, it may be said, of noble quality. – Charles Darwin

On the ordinary view of each species having been independently created, we gain no scientific explanation. – Charles Darwin

Whenever I have found that I have blundered, or that my work has been imperfected, and when I have been contemptuously criticized, and even when I have been overpraised, so that I have felt mortified, it has been my greatest comfort to say hundreds of times to myself that ‘I have worked as hard as I could, and no man can do more than this.’ – Charles Darwin

I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men – Charles Darwin

We cannot fathom the marvelous complexity of an organic being; but on the hypothesis here advanced this complexity is much increased. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm–a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven. – Charles Darwin

The formation of different languages and of distinct species and the proofs that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel. – Charles Darwin

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? – Charles Darwin

A language, like a species, when extinct, never… reappears. – Charles Darwin

Only the fittest will survive. – Charles Darwin

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. – Charles Darwin

From my early youth I have had the strongest desire to understand or explain whatever I observed. … To group all facts under some general laws. – Charles Darwin

Sympathy for the lowest animals is one of the noblest virtues with which man is endowed. – Charles Darwin

The more one thinks, the more one feels the hopeless immensity of man’s ignorance. – Charles Darwin

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future. – Charles Darwin

It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine. – Charles Darwin

Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relationship to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. – Charles Darwin

I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. – Charles Darwin

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change, that lives within the means available and works co-operatively against common threats. – Charles Darwin

It is really laughable to see what different ideas are prominent in various naturalists’ minds, when they speak of ‘species’; in some, resemblance is everything and descent of little weight-in some, resemblance seems to go for nothing, and Creation the reigning idea-in some, descent is the key,-in some, sterility an unfailing test, with others it is not worth a farthing. It all comes, I believe, from trying to define the undefinable. – Charles Darwin

How so many absurd rules of conduct, as well as so many absurd religious beliefs, have originated, we do not know; nor how it is that they have become, in all quarters of the world, so deeply impressed on the minds of men; but it is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, while the brain is impressionable, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason. – Charles Darwin

The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable—namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them. – Charles Darwin

Of all the differences between man and the lower animals, the moral sense or conscience is by far the most important. This sense, as Mackintosh remarks, has a rightful supremacy over every other principle of human action; it is summed up in that short but imperious word ought, so full of high significance. It is the most noble of all the attributes of man, leading him without a moment’s hesitation to risk his life for that of a fellow-creature; or after due deliberation, impelled simply by the deep feeling of right or duty, to sacrifice it in some great cause. – Charles Darwin

Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than humans would at first suppose. – Charles Darwin

The love of a dog for his master is notorious; in the agony of death he has been known to caress his master, and everyone has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection, who licked the hand of the operator; this man, unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life. – Charles Darwin

For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs-as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions. – Charles Darwin

I never gave up Christianity until I was forty years of age. – Charles Darwin

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. – Charles Darwin

The world will not be inherited by the strongest, it will be inherited by those most able to change. – Charles Darwin

On the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand the full meaning of that old canon in natural history, Natura non facit saltum. This canon, if we look only to the present inhabitants of the world, is not strictly correct, but if we include all those of past times, it must by my theory be strictly true. – Charles Darwin

It is absurd to talk of one animal being higher than another…we consider those, where the intellectual faculties most developed as the highest. – A bee doubtless would [use] … instincts as a criteria. – Charles Darwin

It is a truly wonderful fact – the wonder of which we are apt to overlook from familiarity – that all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other in group subordinate to group. – Charles Darwin

The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed. – Charles Darwin

Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy the interposition of a great deity. More humble and I believe true to consider him created from animals. – Charles Darwin

From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly follows. – Charles Darwin

It is impossible to conceive of this immense and wonderful universe as the result of blind chance or necessity. – Charles Darwin

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus, the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. – Charles Darwin

Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life – Charles Darwin

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. – Charles Darwin

We thus learn that man is descended from a hairy quadruped, furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World. – Charles Darwin

We behold the face of nature bright with gladness. – Charles Darwin

I trust and believe that the time spent in this voyage … will produce its full worth in Natural History; and it appears to me the doing what little we can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue. – Charles Darwin

Even the humblest mammal’s strong sexual, parental, and social instincts give rise to ‘do unto others as yourself’ and ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’. – Charles Darwin

I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as the facts are shown to be opposed to it. – Charles Darwin

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