Happy 210th Birthday, Charles Darwin!

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
Public Domain. Charles Darwin in 1840 by George Richmond

And God bless the one-third of Americans who actually believe in natural selection.

It's Charles Darwin's 210th birthday today. According to Pew, only 33 percent of Americans believe that humans evolved through natural selection without any involvement with a higher power like God. Another 48 percent believe that evolution has happened, but was guided by a higher power; 18 percent reject the theory of evolution entirely.

On his 200th birthday we rounded up some quotes you can believe in.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

"In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment."

"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."

Charles Darwin drawn by Julia Margaret Cameron

Charles Darwin drawn by Julia Margaret Cameron/Public Domain

"I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them."

"To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real."

"Believing as I do that man in the distant future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued slow progress."

The legendary naturalist may have revolutionized modern science, but he also loved backgammon, dabbled in Buddhism and couldn't stand the sight of blood.