Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darwin: A Geological Quote

“About thirty years ago there was much talk that geologists ought only to observe and not theorize, and I well remember someone saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!”

- Charles Darwin, in an 1861 letter to Henry Fawcett, quoted in "Dinosaurs in the haystack" by Steven J. Gould in the March, 1992 issue of Natural History, v. 101, no. 3, p. 2-13.

- Also quoted in "The really hard science" by Michael Shermer in the October, 2007 issue of Scientific American.

- A quote posted here for Darwin Day, on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

More Info on Darwin:
The above photo of Darwin is from the Wikimedia Commons.


Michael said...

Good stuff - and just a note to say that I've been having fun this week going through Darwin's correspondence online and extracting geological stuff for a series of posts on

GeologyJoe said...

some days I feel like a sand grain counter.

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Michael - and I've seen your exceptional posts about Darwin. Very nice!

Silver Fox said...

GeoJoe, I think I know what you mean...