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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in August 2008. The date format is dd/mm/yy.
See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec]
4/08/2008 "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) 8/08/2008 "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) 8/08/2008 "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) 8/08/2008 "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," , Banner of Truth: Edinburgh UK, Reprinted, 1985, p.27. Emphasis original) 8/08/2008 "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) 8/08/2008 "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. http://www.designinference.com/documents/2002.06.Skepticism_CSICOP.htm) 8/08/2008 "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," , Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.25. Emphasis original) 8/08/2008 "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," , Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.25. Emphasis original) 8/08/2008 "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," , Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26. Emphasis original) 9/08/2008 "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 original) 8/08/2008 "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," , Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26. Emphasis original) 8/08/2008 "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," , Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1976, p.26) 9/08/2008 "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) 9/08/2008 "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) 9/08/2008 "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) 9/08/2008 "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) 9/08/2008 "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, p.85) 9/08/2008 "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) 9/08/2008 "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) 11/08/2008 "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, p.101) 11/08/2008 "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) 11/08/2008 "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) 11/08/2008 "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) 12/08/2008 "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.