Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

Ernst
Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel
1834
1919

German Biologist, Naturalist, Philosopher, Physician, Professor and Artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology

Author Quotes

I will endeavor to be as plain as possible in dealing with this branch of science.

The causal character of the relation which connects embryology with stem-history is due to the action of heredity and adaptation.

We need but mention the mighty influence which irrational dogmas still exercise on the elementary education of our youth, we need but mention that the state yet permits the existence of cloisters and of celibacy, the most immoral and baneful ordinance of the “only-saving” church; we need but mention that the civilized state yet divides the most important parts of the civil year in accordance with church festivals; that in many countries it allows the public order to be disturbed by church processions, and so on.

In consequence of Darwin's reformed Theory of Descent, we are now in a position to establish scientifically the groundwork of a non-miraculous history of the development of the human race... If any person feels the necessity of conceiving the coming into existence of this matter as the work of a supernatural creative power, of the creative force of something outside of matter, we have nothing to say against it. But we must remark, that thereby not even the smallest advantage is gained for a scientific knowledge of nature. Such a conception of an immaterial force, which as the first creates matter, is an article of faith which has nothing whatever to do with human science. Where faith commences, science ends.

The common origin of man and the other mammals from a single ancient stem-form can no longer be questioned; nor can the immediate blood-relationship of man and the ape.

We see that man entirely resembles the higher mammals, and most of all the apes, in embryonic development as well as in anatomic structure. And if we seek to understand this ontogenetic agreement in the light of the biogenetic law, we find that it proves clearly and necessarily the descent of man from a series of other mammals, and proximately from the primates.

In many of these languages there are numerals only for one, two, and three: no Australian language counts beyond four. Very many wild tribes can count no further than ten or twenty, whereas some very clever dogs have been made to count up to forty and even beyond sixty.

The difference between the reason of a Goethe, a Kant, a Lamarck, or a Darwin, and that of the lowest savage, a Vedda, an Akka, a native Australian, or a Patagonian, is much greater than the graduated difference between the reason of the latter and the most "rational" mammals, the anthropoid apes, or even the papiomorpha, the dog, or the elephant.

Yet it is an astonishing fact that the science of the evolution of man does not even yet form part of the scheme of general education. In fact, educated people even in our day are for the most part quite ignorant of the important truths and remarkable phenomena which anthropogeny teaches us.

In order to be convinced of this important result, it is above all things necessary to study and compare the mental life of wild savages and of children. At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes.

The doctrine of derivation, or theory of descent, as a comprehensive theory of the natural origin of all organisms, assumes that all compound organisms are derived from simple ones, all many-celled animals and plants from single-celled ones, and these last from quite simple primary organisms—from monads. As we see the organic species, the multiform varieties of animals and plants, vary under our eyes through adaptation, while the similarity of their internal structure is reasonably explicable only by inheritance from common parent-forms, we are forced to assume common parent-forms for at least the great main divisions of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and for the classes, orders, and so forth.

In the course of individual development, inherited characters appear, in general, earlier than adaptive ones, and the earlier a certain character appears in ontogeny, the further back must lie in time when it was acquired by its ancestors.

The doctrine of elimination, or the selection theory, as the doctrine especially of "choice of breed or selection," assumes that almost all, or at any rate most, organic species have originated by a process of selection; the artificial varieties under conditions of domestication—as the races of domestic animals and cultivated plants—through artificial choice of breeds; and the natural varieties of animals and plants in their wild state by natural choice of breeds: in the first case, the will of man effects the selection to suit a purpose; in the second, it is effected in a purposeless way by the "struggle for existence." In both cases the transformation of the organic forms takes place through the reciprocal action of the laws of inheritance and of adaptation; in both cases it depends on the survival or selection of the better-qualified minority.

In this mighty “war of culture,” affecting as it does the whole history of the World, and in which we may well deem it an honor to take part, no better ally that Anthropogeny can, it seems to me, be brought to the assistance of struggling truth. The history of evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth.

The gulf between this thoughtful mind of civilized man and the thoughtless animal soul of the savage is enormous -- greater than the gulf that separates the latter from the soul of the dog.

It is, however, a most astonishing but incontestable fact, that the history of the evolution of man as yet constitutes no part of general education. Indeed, our so-called “educated classes" are to this day in total ignorance of the most important circumstances and the most remarkable phenomena which Anthropogeny has brought to light.

The progressive expansion of Christianity has killed every science, but above all natural philosophy, which necessarily had to oppose it in a hostile manner!

Neither of the primitive men we have spoken of, nor of those who immediately succeeded them, can we rightly predicate any knowledge of nature.

The purpose of this candid confession of monistic faith is twofold. First, it is my desire to give expression to that rational view of the world which is being forced upon us with such logical rigor by the modern advancements in our knowledge of nature as a unity, a view in reality held by almost all unprejudiced and thinking men of science, although but few have the courage (or the need) to declare it openly. Secondly, I would fain establish thereby a bond between religion and science, and thus contribute to the adjustment of the antithesis so needlessly maintained between these, the two highest spheres in which the mind of man can exercise itself; in monism the ethical demands of the soul are satisfied, as well as the logical necessities of the understanding.

Ontogeny is a short and quick repetition, or recapitulation, of Phylogeny, determined by the laws of Inheritance and Adaptation.

The real cause of personal existence is not the favor of the Almighty, but the sexual love of one's earthly parents.

Our concern is rather with the unparalleled influence that Darwinism, and its application to man, have had during the last forty years on the whole province of science; and at the same time, with its irreconcilable opposition to the dogmas of the Churches.

The science of comparative anatomy. Its task is, by comparing the fully-developed bodily forms in the various groups of animals, to learn the general laws of organisation according to which the body is constructed; at the same time, it has to determine the affinities of the various groups by critical appreciation of the degrees of difference between them.

Our monistic view of the world belongs, therefore, to that group of philosophical systems which from other points of view have been designated also as mechanical or as pantheistic.

The value of the life of these lower savages is like that of the anthropoid apes, or very little higher. All recent travelers who have carefully observed them in their native lands, and studied their bodily structure and psychic life, agree in this opinion.

Author Picture
First Name
Ernst
Last Name
Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel
Birth Date
1834
Death Date
1919
Bio

German Biologist, Naturalist, Philosopher, Physician, Professor and Artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology