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An entangled bank

The grandeur of the evolutionary worldview.
By Charles Darwin
Spring 2009 2.15.09

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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. . . . 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.

From the concluding paragraph of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, which introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin was born 200 years ago on February 12, 1809; The Origin of Species was published 150 years ago in November 1859. Darwin’s mother, Susannah Wedgwood, was part of a Unitarian family and took Charles to a Unitarian chapel before her death in 1817, but he grew up nominally Anglican after her death.


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