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

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.

Our personal life is a hundred times finer, longer, and more valuable than that of the savage, because it is a hundred times richer in interests, experiences, and pleasures.

These two branches of our science--on the one side ontogeny or embryology, and on the other phylogeny, or the science of race-evolution--are most vitally connected. The one cannot be understood without the other.

Phylogenesis is the mechanical cause of ontogenesis.

They throw light first of all on the "natural history of creation," then on psychology, or "the science of the soul," and through this on the whole of philosophy. And as the general results of every branch of inquiry are summed up in philosophy, all the sciences come in turn to be touched and influenced more or less by the study of the evolution of man.

Comparative psychology teaches us to recognize a very long series of successive steps in the development of soul in the animal kingdom. But it is only in the most highly developed vertebrates-birds and mammals--that we discern the first beginnings of reason, the first traces of religious and ethical conduct. In them we find not only the social virtues common to all the higher socially-living animals,--neighborly love, friendship, fidelity, self-sacrifice, etc.,--but also consciousness, sense of duty, and conscience; in relation to man their lord, the same obedience, the same submissiveness, and the same craving for protection, which primitive man in his turn shows towards his "gods."

Phylogeny and ontogeny are, therefore, the two coordinated branches of morphology. Phylogeny is the developmental history [Entwickelungsgeschichte] of the abstract, genealogical individual; ontogeny, on the other hand, is the developmental history of the concrete, morphological individual.

This demand, that the doctrine of descent should be grounded on experiment, is so perverse and shows such ignorance of the very essence of our theory, that though we have never been surprised at hearing it continually repeated by ignorant laymen, from the lips of a Virchow it has positively astounded us. What can in this case be proved by experiment, and what can experiment prove?

Everybody knows that the butterfly emerges from the pupa, and the pupa from a quite different thing called a larva, and the larva from the butterfly's egg.

Politics is applied biology.

Though the great differences in the mental life and the civilisation of the higher and lower races are generally known, they are, as a rule, under-valued, and so the value of life at the different levels is falsely estimated. It is civilisation, and the fuller development of the mind that makes civilisation possible, that raise mans so much above the other animals, even his nearest animal relatives, the mammals. But this is, as a rule, peculiar to the higher races, and is found only in a very imperfect form or not at all among the lower. These lower races (such as the Veddahs or Austrailan negroes) are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilised Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives.

I trust we may be able to arouse the same interest in this delicate field of inquiry as has been excited already in other branches of science; though we shall meet more obstacles here than elsewhere.

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