Quotes

Evolution and Progress

The inhabitants of each successive period in the world's history have beaten their predecessors in the race for life, and are, insofar, higher in the scale of nature; and this may account for that vague yet ill-defined sentiment, felt by many palaeontologists, that organisation on the whole has progressed.

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, Chapter 10

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. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, Chapter 14

I'm deadly serious: we humans have never been able to replicate something more complicated than what we ourselves are, yet natural selection did it without even thinking. Don't underestimate the power of survival of the fittest. And don't ever make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence much too much credit.

Linus Torvalds

I see the triumph of good over evil as a manifestation of the error-correcting process of evolution.

Jonas Salk

So far from a gradual progress towards perfection forming any necessary part of the Darwinian creed, it appears to us that it is perfectly consistent with indefinite persistence in one state, or with a gradual retrogression.

Thomas Huxley, Criticisms on The Origin of the Species, 1864

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