Charles Darwin: So much misery in the world

“I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.”

—Charles Darwin.

Angela Saini: Narratives

“As Charles Darwin’s work in the nineteenth century proves, the narratives have often been shaped by the attitudes of the time. Even he, the father of evolutionary biology, was so affected by a culture of sexism that he believed women to be the intellectually inferior sex.”
—Angela Saini, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story.

Charles Darwin: Serviceable

“I have steadily endeavoured to keep my mind free so to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown to be opposed to it. Indeed, I have had no choice but to act in this manner, for with the exception of the Coral Reefs, I cannot remember a single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a time to be given up or greatly modified. This has naturally led me to distrust greatly deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences. On the other hand, I am not very sceptical,–a frame of mind which I believe to be injurious to the progress of science. A good deal of scepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid much loss of time, but I have met with not a few men, who, I feel sure, have often thus been deterred from experiment or observations, which would have proved directly or indirectly serviceable.” – Charles Darwin.