Collected papers, Volumen 2

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Página 114 - History warns us, however, that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions...
Página 119 - On this doctrine of the extermination of an infinitude of connecting links between the living and extinct inhabitants of the world, and at each successive period between the extinct and still older species, why is not every geological formation charged with such links? Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life ? We meet with no such evidence, and this is the most obvious and plausible of the many objections which may be...
Página 119 - Primary and direct evidence in favour of evolution can be furnished only by palaeontology. The geological record, so soon as it approaches completeness, must, when properly questioned, yield either an affirmative or a negative answer : if evolution has taken place, there will its mark be left ; if it has not taken place, there will lie its refutation.
Página 115 - appeared now, it would meet with a very different reception from that which greeted it in 1859. One-and-twenty years ago, in spite of the work commenced by Hutton and continued with rare skill and patience by Lyell, the dominant view of the past history of the earth was catastrophic. Great and sudden physical revolutions, wholesale creations and extinctions of living beings, were the ordinary machinery of the geological epic brought into fashion by the misapplied genius of Cuvier. It was gravely...
Página 116 - It is an obvious consequence of this theory of descent with modification, as it is sometimes called, that all plants and animals, however different they may now be, must, at one time or other, have been connected by direct or indirect intermediate gradations, and that the appearance of isolation presented by various groups of organic beings must be unreal. No part of Mr. Darwin's work ran more directly counter to the prepossessions of naturalists twenty years ago than this. And such prepossessions...
Página 119 - ... general effect of these investigations has been to introduce to us a multitude of extinct animals, the existence of which was previously hardly suspected ; just as if zoologists were to become acquainted with a country, hitherto unknown, as rich in novel forms of life as Brazil or South Africa once were to Europeans. Indeed, the fossil fauna of the Western Territories of America bids fair to exceed in interest and importance all other known Tertiary deposits put together...
Página 114 - Take it if you can compel it. The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.
Página 116 - As all the living forms of life are the lineal descendants of those which lived long before the Silurian epoch, we may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence we may look with some confidence to a secure future of equally inappreciable length.
Página 113 - I think it is to the credit of our age that the war was not fiercer, and that the more bitter and unscrupulous forms of opposition died away as soon as they did.
Página 114 - Origin of Species" is not traceable; the foremost men of science in every country are either avowed champions of its leading doctrines, or at any rate abstain from opposing them; a host of young and ardent investigators seek for and find inspiration and guidance in Mr. Darwin's great work; and the general doctrine of evolution, to one side of which it gives expression...

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