Stephen E. Jones

Creation/Evolution Quotes: Unclassified quotes: August 2008

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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in August 2008. The date format is dd/mm/yy.
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"From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of Aristotle's merits, but I had not the most remote 
notion what a wonderful man he was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different 
ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle. How very curious, also, his ignorance on some 
points, as on muscles as the means of movement. I am glad that you have explained in so probable a manner 
some of the grossest mistakes attributed to him. I never realized, before reading your book [Ogle, W., 
"Aristotle on the Parts of Animals," 1882], to what an enormous summation of labour we owe even our 
common knowledge. I wish old Aristotle could know what a grand Defender of the Faith he had found in 
you." (Darwin, C.R., Letter to W. Ogle, February 22, 1882, in Darwin F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles 
Darwin," Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1898, Reprinted, 1959, p.427)

"Greek Evolution ... The rise, decline, revival, and final decline of the Greek Natural History and Greek 
conception of Evolution. Of this period were Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, 
Empedocles, Democritus, Anaxagoras, Aristotle, Epicurus, Lucretius ..." (Osborn, H.F., "From the Greeks to 
Darwin: An Outline of the Development of the Evolution Idea," Charles Scribner's Sons: New York NY, 1894, 
Reprinted, 1924, p.10. Emphasis original) 

"DEMOCRITUS (450- B.C.), the founder of the Atomistic philosophy, and precursor of materialism, studied 
and compared the principal organs of man and the lower animals. Cuvier has called him the first comparative 
anatomist. He did not, as Zeller points out, further the Evolution idea, because his teaching was not 
constructive in the way of advancing explanations of natural phenomena; it was simply destructive as 
regards Teleology. He perceived Design and admired the adaptations of Nature, but left their origin 
unexplained. As Zeller observes, Democritus had a gift for observing the purposeful direction and the 
functions of bodily organs, and was in every way inclined, one would think, to explain these adaptations 
upon the principles of his mechanical philosophy, for be stood far from a teleological conception of Nature, 
yet he advanced no explanations. He denied that the Universe was created or ordered by reason. He 
adopted the older views as to the origin of animals and plants directly from the terrestrial slime. His main 
indirect contribution to the sub-structure of Evolution was his perception of the principle of the adaptation 
of single structures and organs to certain purposes, - an important step in advance, for Empedocles' notion 
of adaptation extended only to organisms as a whole." (Osborn, H.F., "From the Greeks to Darwin: An 
Outline of the Development of the Evolution Idea," Charles Scribner's Sons: New York NY, 1894, Reprinted, 
1924, pp.41-42. Emphasis original) 

"No Novelty The evolution hypothesis is, indeed, no novelty. It is, after all its pretended modern 
experiments, but a revival of the `atomic theory' of the Greek atheist, Democritus, adopted by the Epicurean 
school. Its application to the descent of man from some lower animal, has often been attempted, as by Lord 
Monboddo, who almost exactly anticipated Dr. Chas. Darwin's conclusion. In the eyes of some modern 
Physicists, however, it has received new plausibility from the more intelligent speculations of the Naturalist 
La Marck, and the `Vestiges of Creation' ascribed to Mr. Robert Chambers. But it appears in its fullest form, 
in the ingenious works of Dr. Chas. Darwin, `Origin of Species,' and `Descent of Man.' I therefore take this as 
the object of our inquiry." (Dabney, R.L.*, "Systematic Theology," [1871], Banner of Truth: Edinburgh UK, 
Reprinted, 1985, p.27. Emphasis original)

"In Ancient Greece, there raged a great debate about the nature of change. Some philosophers, such as 
Heraclitus, maintained that everything is in a state of flux; nothing escapes change of some sort. On the 
other hand, Parmenides argued that everything is what it is, so that it cannot become what it is not. Thus, 
change was incompatible with being, so that only the permanent aspects of the world could be considered 
truly real. In the fifth century BC an ingenious escape from this dilemma was proposed by Democritus. He 
hypothesized that all matter is made up of tiny indestructible units, which he called atoms. The atoms 
themselves remained unchanging, having fixed properties such as size and shape, but they could move 
about in space and combine together in various ways, so that the macroscopic bodies which they constitute 
might seem to alter. In this way, permanence and flux could be reconciled; all change in the world was 
attributed simply to the rearrangement of atoms in the void. Thus began the doctrine of materialism." 
(Davies, P.C.W. & Gribbin, J., "The Matter Myth: Beyond Chaos and Complexity," Penguin: London, 1991, 
Reprinted, 1992, p.4)

"Skepticism's love affair with evolution predates Darwin. In fact, it is easily traceable to the atomist and 
mechanical philosophers of antiquity like Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius. Evolution throughout the 
ages has taught that all aspects of nature, biological complexity included, result from material mechanisms. 
Within contemporary biology, these include principally the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and 
random variation, but also include other mechanisms (symbiosis, gene transfer, genetic drift, the action of 
regulatory genes in development, self-organizational processes, etc.). These mechanisms are just that: 
mindless material mechanisms that do what they do irrespective of intelligence. To be sure, mechanisms can 
be programmed by an intelligence. But any such intelligent programming of evolutionary mechanisms is not 
properly part of evolutionary theory." (Dembski, W.A., "Skepticism's Prospects for Unseating Intelligent 
Design," Fourth World Skeptics Conference of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of 
the Paranormal (CSICOP), Burbank, California, 21 June 2002.

"Pre-Socratic philosophers Philosophers thought about evolution as early as antiquity. When we read 
these early theories in view of what is known today, we find that the earliest evolutionary theories often 
contain only a few components of what we now call evolution. The bits and pieces that these early 
philosophers formulated formed a mosaic that served as a philosophical basis for the relater elaboration of 
the evolutionary theory Evolution was not the result of centuries of scientific progress, since we find such 
thinking in the writings of the people we consider to be the earliest natural scientists. These Ionic 
philosophers and scientists, who lived in the 6th Century B.C., were bolder in one aspect than many more 
recent evolutionists; they did not see a border between living and non-living matter and sought to explain 
the world as a single, self-developing system." (Peters, D.S. & Gutmann, W.F., "The History of the Theory 
of Evolution," in Grzimek, B., ed., Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Evolution," [1972], Van Nostrand Reinhold: New 
York, 1976, p.25. Emphasis original)

"Thales of Miletus (640-584 B.C.) thought that all matter arose from water. His student Anaximandros 
(611-546 B.C.) [Anaximander], in contrast, held the view that the primeval material could no longer be found. 
Water arose from this hypothetical basic building block, and land developed from water. Living organisms 
supposedly arose initially in water and later developed into terrestrial organisms. Man originated from a 
sharklike fish according to Anaximandros." (Peters, D.S. & Gutmann, W.F., "The History of the Theory of 
Evolution," in Grzimek, B., ed., Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Evolution," [1972], Van Nostrand Reinhold: New 
York, 1976, p.25. Emphasis original)

"Although these early writings show that there was some evolutionary thought among the Ionic 
philosophers, it appears that their main concern was not with evolution but with identifying the primeval 
material from which all else arose. This line of thinking was carried on by another Miletus philosophers 
Anaximenes (588-524 B.C.). He felt that air was the most important `element', stating that air was the basis 
of all matter. Differences that man perceived in various materials, were allegedly due to differing 
concentrations of air. Democritus of Abdera (ca. 460-370 B.C.) carried this line of reasoning even further, 
postulating that atoms were the basic building blocks of all matter." (Peters, D.S. & Gutmann, W.F., "The 
History of the Theory of Evolution," in Grzimek, B., ed., Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Evolution," [1972], Van 
Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26. Emphasis original)

"Democritus (c.460-c.370 B.C.), Greek pre-Socratic philosopher. He was born at Abdera, in Thrace. 
Building on Leucippus and his atomism, he developed the atomic theory in The Little World-system and 
numerous other writings. In response to the Eleatics' argument that the impossibility of not-being entailed 
that there is no change, the atomists posited the existence of a plurality of tiny indivisible beings - the atoms 
- and not- being - the void, or empty space. Atoms do not come into being or perish, but they do move in 
the void, making possible the existence of a world, and indeed of many worlds. For the void is infinite in 
extent, and filled with an infinite number of atoms that move and collide with one another. Under the right 
conditions a concentration of atoms can begin a vortex motion that draws in other atoms and forms a 
spherical heaven enclosing a world. In our world there is a flat earth surrounded by heavenly bodies carried 
by a vortex motion. Other worlds like ours are born, flourish, and die, but their astronomical configurations 
may be different from ours and they need not have living creatures in them. The atoms are solid bodies with 
countless shapes and sizes, apparently having weight or mass, and capable of motion. All other properties 
are in some way derivative of these basic properties. The cosmic vortex motion causes a sifting that tends to 
separate similar atoms as the sea arranges pebbles on the shore. For instance heavier atoms sink to the 
center of the vortex, and lighter atoms such as those of fire rise upward. Compound bodies can grow by the 
aggregations of atoms that become entangled with one another. Living things, including humans, originally 
emerged out of slime. Life is caused by fine, spherical soul atoms, and living things die when these atoms 
are lost. Human culture gradually evolved through chance discoveries and imitations of nature. ... Although 
Democritus was one of the most prolific writers of antiquity, his works were all lost. ... Democritus had no 
immediate successors, but a century later Epicurus transformed his ethics into a philosophy of consolation 
founded on atomism. Epicureanism thus becwhich atomic theory was transmitted to 
the early modern period." (Graham, D.W., "Democritus," in Audi, R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of 
Philosophy," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1995, Reprinted, 1996, pp.188-189. Emphasis 

"Empedocles of Akragas (ca. 490-430 B.C.) also thought about ultimate matter. He believed there were four 
elements earth, water, air, and fire. His views were held to be true for centuries. According to Empedocles, 
living matter developed from non-living mattered with the lower organisms arising first and the more highly 
developed ones coming later. He formulated a rather adventurous sort of proto-reproduction non-living 
matter did not give rise to complete, living organisms but only to parts of them (limbs, heads, etc.), and these 
components would later join and form entire organisms. This theory quite successfully explained some of 
the monstrosities of Greek mythology (such as centaurs). The most important part of Empedocles's theory 
for us is that they contained, along with many erroneous notions, the rudiments of the concept of natural 
selection, which was not completely formulated until Darwin's work in the 19th Century. According to 
Empedocles, only the viable forms from the random joining of body parts would continue to exist, while the 
non-viable ones would die off." (Peters, D.S. & Gutmann, W.F., "The History of the Theory of Evolution," in 
Grzimek, B., ed., Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Evolution," [1972], Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26. 
Emphasis original)

"Lucretius (96-55 B.C.), a Roman philosopher, also emphasized the role of natural selection. He included 
domestic animals in his discussions and said that human care was necessary for these animals to be able to 
exist. Wild animals could survive because of their own special abilities (what we today would call 
adaptations) making them superior to certain other species, the lesser endowed ones becoming extinct." 
(Peters, D.S. & Gutmann, W.F., "The History of the Theory of Evolution," in Grzimek, B., ed., Grzimek's 
Encyclopedia of Evolution," [1972], Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26)

"As we read the news and watch world events unfolding on our television screens, it is impossible not to 
compare what we see and hear with what is written in the Bible. We have witnessed the return of Jewish 
people to the Land of Israel. Clearly this fulfils, at least in part, the promises of God, proclaimed by the 
Jewish prophets, that the day would come when the Jewish people who were scattered across the face of 
the earth would return to Zion. The Scriptures teach that the Land of Israel was promised by covenant to the 
Jewish people. And when we see this land in Jewish hands, as we do on the 60th birthday of Israel's 
reestablishment as a nation, we are assured that the coming of the Lord is near. How close? That is a 
mystery! But we would be prudent to take careful note of the signs of the times as we see prophecy unfold 
before our very eyes." (Hirsch, L.*, "The Messianic Movement: A Bright and Promising Future," Celebrate 
Messiah Newsletter, Vol. 14, No.3, July 2008, pp.2-3)

"Even in Roman times, atomism had enjoyed a major revival, with a consequent downplaying of intention 
and design. The late Athenian philosopher Epicurus (c. 341-270 BC) had not only adopted the Democritan 
ontology-small particles in infinite space or void, churning about endlessly without purpose or intention-but 
had tied this to a general philosophy of life that stressed the distance and indifference of the gods and 
urged a life of contentment and moderation and (since there is nothing beyond) consequent lack of fear of 
death. In De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), the Roman poet Lucretius (c. 95-52 BC) had penned 
7,500 hexameter lines in praise of this vision (Lucretius 1969, 32-33): The nature of everything is dual-
matter And void; or particles and space, wherein The former rest or move. We have our senses To tell us 
matter exists. Denying this, We cannot, searching after hidden things, Find any base of reason whatsoever. 
So much for organized complexity. So much for minds or Mind, outside the material. So much for trying to 
make any ultimate sense of anything beyond the immediate." (Ruse, M.E., "Darwin and Design: Does 
Evolution Have a Purpose?," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 2003, pp.25-26)

"Criticisms of the design argument have never been in short supply. In classical times, Democritus (c. 
460-370 B.C.), Epicurus (c. 342-270 B.C.) and Lucretius (c. 99-55 B.C.) conceived of the natural world as 
a whirl of particles in collision, which sometimes chanced to form stable configurations exhibiting order 
and complexity. David Hume (1711-1776) referred to this critique of design as `the Epicurean 
hypothesis.' Modern variants of this critique remain with us in the form of inflationary cosmologies, 
many-worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics and certain formulations of the anthropic principle 
... " (Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent 
Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, p.69) 

"The second Greek tradition, that of philosophy, originated with the Ionian philosophers Thales, 
Anaximander, Anaximenes, and their followers, who started a radically new approach. They related natural 
phenomena to natural causes and natural origins, not to spirits, gods, or other supernatural agents. In their 
search for a unifying concept that would account for many different phenomena, they often postulated an 
ultimate cause or element from which all else originated, such as water, air, earth, or nondescript matter. 
Apparently, these Ionian philosophers had considerable knowledge of the achievements of the Babylonian 
and other near Eastern cultures and adopted some of their interpretations, primarily those relating to 
inanimate nature. The speculations of the Ionians on the origin of living beings had no lasting influence. Of 
a little more significance were their thoughts about human physiology. The real importance of the Ionian 
school is that it signifies the beginnings of science; that is, they sought natural causes for natural 
phenomena." (Mayr, E.W., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," 
Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p.85)

"The center of philosophical thinking shifted later, in the sixth and in the fifth century B.C., to the Greek 
colonies in Sicily and southern Italy, where the key figures were Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Parmenides, and 
Empedocles. Pythagoras, with his emphasis on numbers and quantities, started a powerful tradition 
affecting not only the physical sciences but also biology. Empedocles seems to have thought more about 
biological matters than any of his predecessors, but little of his teaching is preserved. He is now best known 
for his postulation of the existence of four elements: fire, air, water, and earth. The entire material world, 
according to him, is composed of varying combinations of these four elements, either leading to greater 
homogeneity or else to greater mixing. A belief in these four elements continued for more than two thousand 
years. A concern with heterogeneity versus homogeneity appears again in the writings of the nineteenth-
century zoologist K. E. von Baer and in those of the philosopher Herbert Spencer." (Mayr, E.W., "The 
Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, 

"The ensuing decades saw the establishment of two great philosophical philosophical traditions, that of 
Heraclitus, who stressed change ('Everything is in flux') and that of Democritus, the founder of atomism, 
who by contrast stressed the unchanging constancy of the atoms, the ultimate components of everything. 
Democritus seems to have written a great deal about biological matters, though little survives, and some of 
Aristotle's ideas are believed to have been derived from him. Apparently he was the first to have posed a 
problem that has split philosophers ever since: Does organization of phenomena, particularly in the world of 
life, result purely from chance or is it necessary, owing to the structure of the elementary components, the 
atoms? Chance or necessity has ever since been the theme of controversies among philosophers. It 
provided Monod (1970) with the title of his well-known book. It was Darwin, more than 2,200 years later, 
who showed that chance and necessity are not the only two options, and that the two-step process of 
natural selection avoids Democritus's dilemma." (Mayr, E.W., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, 
Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, pp.85-86) 

"What view of nature (and hence science) could advance Epicurus's moral goal? He found such a view of 
nature ready at hand, the materialist atomism of the philosopher Democritus. If we are to understand the 
hold which materialism has on contemporary minds, we must very carefully examine the reasons Epicurus 
offered for why and how the materialist account of nature was so useful for his moral goal, and that will 
mean we must carefully investigate the way he supported this materialist atomism by argument. We must 
first make an obvious point, since it is the obvious we are most inclined to overlook. Microscopes were 
invented near the close of the sixteenth century, and were only powerful enough to peer into the subatomic 
world by the twentieth. None of Epicurus's arguments in favor of materialism was based on direct 
evidence. That means, of course, that other, nonmaterialist arguments were viable alternatives as long as 
they explained the visible phenomena equally well or better. Since Epicurus could not rely on direct 
evidence, he had to rely on argument alone." (Wiker, B.D.*, "Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists," 
InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, p.34. Emphasis original)

"Finally, and without going into too much detail, Aristotle's account of nature was itself partially forged 
against the atomism of Democritus (both Epicurus and Lucretius lived after Aristotle), and Epicurus and 
Lucretius borrowed heavily from Democritus. Since, as we shall see, Darwinism is simply a modern form of 
Epicureanism, it turns out that Aristotle's account of nature is directly opposed to Darwinism as well." 
(Wiker, B.D.*, "Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, 

"If we may provide the briefest statement that characterizes the Galilean-Newtonian revolution, we might call 
it the vindication of atomism through the victory of mathematics. A quick victory it was too. For at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century Galileo was questioned by the Inquisition and put under house arrest, 
and by the dawn of the eighteenth century Newton was considered a demigod who had unlocked every 
secret of nature, a mortal whose thoughts were identical with God's. With the complete theoretical victory of 
Epicurean materialism, all the essential elements of Epicurus's system-the eternal and indestructible atoms, 
the infinite universe with the unlimited number of worlds, the banishment of the creator God, the rejection of 
miracles, the displacement of design in nature by chance and material necessity, and the elimination of the 
immaterial soul-fell into place during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." (Wiker, B.D.*, "Moral 
Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, p.112)

"In charting the, ascendancy of materialist atomism during this period, we must avoid confusion concerning 
what is really at issue. At stake is not whether there exist material constituents smaller than the naked eye 
could see. Everyone, materialist and nonmaterialist alike, has always held that such subvisible constituents 
exist. The question was and is, Are these elements of such a nature that they form a closed material system 
of nature that excludes both divine action and the existence of the immaterial soul? In other words, are the 
fundamental constituents of the universe really as Epicurus and Lucretius described them?" (Wiker, B.D.*, 
"Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, p.112)

"In this regard, we must realize that, ironically, the complete theoretical victory of ancient atomism in the 
seventeenth century was not the result of having seen an atom, nor of providing any experiment that 
proved decisively that atoms, as described by Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius, existed. The fields of 
victory were actually in the visible heavens (by astronomy), and to a lesser extent in the earthly sciences of 
mechanics and ballistics, but these victories were applied to the invisible, microscopic realm ... To clarify, 
while the microscopic world (where such atoms as Epicurus described might exist) was invisible, there were 
analogies to atomism in the sky and on the visible earth. Planets, stars and comets, from our distant 
perspective, could be taken to act like points of matter moving through the void of the sky. Looking into the 
heavens, then, could have the same effect as suddenly being shrunken to the microscopic world to witness 
the whirling of the atoms through the void. The same could be said of the earthly study of inert projectiles in 
ballistics: a cannonball could be treated like a greatly magnified atom. If such objects could be successfully 
described using Epicurus's principles, then, it seemed, one could infer that actual microscopic atoms existed. 
As we shall see, by such intellectual borrowing, the successes of Galileo and Newton seemed to vindicate 
the fundamental principles of Epicurus. Furthermore, it was the (apparently) complete victory of Newtonian 
atomism that allowed-nay, demanded-that Epicureanism as an entire system, both theoretical and moral, be 
firmly planted in modern soil." (Wiker, B.D.*, "Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists," InterVarsity 
Press: Downers Grove IL, 2002, pp.113-114. Emphasis original)

"Like nearly everything else, evolution was invented, or almost invented, by the Greeks. From Heraclitus 
and Anaximander came the suggestion that animal species are mutable; from Aristotle, the idea of a graded 
series of organisms, the idea of continuity in nature or the shading of one class into another, and a model of 
evolutionary process in the development of the germ into the plant. From both the Stoics and the 
Epicureans, and particularly from Lucretius, came the doctrine that man is a part of nature and that his 
origins are animal and savage rather than godlike and idyllic." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: 
The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, pp.83-84)

* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of
an asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.


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Created: 4 August, 2008. Updated: 20 March, 2010.