Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous.
—Barbara Ehrenreich (1941–2022) American Social Critic, Essayist
There are no shortcuts in evolution.
—Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) American Jurist
Evolution seems to close the heart to some of the plainest spiritual truths while it opens the mind to the wildest guesses advanced in the name of science.
—William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) American Political leader, Diplomat, Politician
All the evolution we know of proceeds from the vague to the definite.
—Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) American Philosopher, Logician, Mathematician
After listening to a lecture on evolution by a science professor, a student wrote a poem and titled it “The Amazing Professor.” The poem read: Once I was a tadpole when I began to begin. Then I was a frog with my tail tucked in. Next I was a monkey on a coconut tree. Now I am a doctor with a Ph.D.
Evolution is fascinating to watch. To me it is the most interesting when one can observe the evolution of a single man.
—Shana Alexander (1925–2005) American Journalist, Editor, Author
Man has lost the basic skill of the ape, the ability to scratch its back. Which gave it extraordinary independence, and the liberty to associate for reasons other than the need for mutual back-scratching.
—Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) French Sociologist, Philosopher
The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces—in nature, in society, in man himself.
—Leon Trotsky (1879–1940) Russian Marxist Revolutionary
We are the product of 4.5 billion years of fortuitous, slow biological evolution. There is no reason to think that the evolutionary process has stopped. Man is a transitional animal. He is not the climax of creation.
—Carl Sagan (1934–96) American Astronomer
All one’s work might have been better done; but this is a sort of reflection a worker must put aside courageously if he doesn’t mean every one of his conceptions to remain forever a private vision, an evanescent reverie.
—Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) Polish-born British Novelist
Promise yourself to live your life as a revolution and not just a process of evolution.
—Anthony J. D’Angelo
The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity
—Richard Dawkins (b.1941) British Evolutionary Biologist, Atheist
The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival.
—Eric Hoffer (1902–83) American Philosopher, Author
The more specific idea of Evolution now reached is—a change from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity, accompanying the dissipation of motion and integration of matter.
—Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) English Polymath, Philosopher, Sociologist, Political Theorist
The evolution of the brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use
—Arthur Koestler (1905–83) British Writer, Journalist, Political Refugee
The tide of evolution carries everything before it, thoughts no less than bodies, and persons no less than nations
—George Santayana (1863–1952) Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
It is disturbing to discover in oneself these curious revelations of the validity of the Darwinian theory. If it is true that we have sprung from the ape, there are occasions when my own spring appears not to have been very far.
—Cornelia Otis Skinner (1899–1979) American Actress, Playwright
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 (1809–82) English Naturalist
Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.
—W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) English Dramatist, Librettist, Poet, Illustrator
Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
Two million years from now the scientists can start a row by claming that the creatures of that period descended from us.
The goal of evolution is self – conquest
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Evolution is gaining the psychic zones of the world… life, being and ascent of consciousness, could not continue to advance indefinitely along its line without transforming itself in depth. The being who is the object of his own reflection, in consequence, of that very doubling back upon himself becomes in a flash able to raise himself to a new sphere.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) French Jesuit Philosopher, Paleontologist
Creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefore cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense.
—Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002) American Paleontologist, Science Writer
Biologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of all its successful individuals since the beginning.
—H. G. Wells (1866–1946) English Novelist, Historian, Social Thinker
Evolution is not a force but a process. Not a cause but a law.
—John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn (1838–1923) British Political Leader, Writer, Editor, Journalist
It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in Man for his nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could conscientiously have traced man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been spared to the doctrine of Evolution.
—Havelock Ellis (1859–1939) British Sexologist, Physician, Social Reformer
The question is this—Is man an ape or an angel? My Lord, I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence these new fanged theories.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat