File under: quote-mining

There really is no excuse for a tweet like this. Unless, of course, you are a creationist or antievolutionist (or simply anti-Darwin) and you are knowingly spreading false information.

File under: quote-mining

4 thoughts on “File under: quote-mining

  1. Source: Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle For Life (New York: The Modern Library, 1993), p. 227

    “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 degree.””

    That’s not quote mining, that’s quoting a source.

    Now if you continue reading from there you find that Darwin tried to justify the evolution of the eye in lite of it “seaming” absurd.

    ““When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any 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, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.””

    Please not the number of “ifs” it takes for him to justify the evolution of the eye to fit his “reason”. Also note that Darwin calls the eye “perfect” and he says that each evolutionary step of the eye must be useful to its generation. even Richard Dawkins will tell you that the human eye is less than perfect, and the increased number of eye glass wearers tells us that the human eye is not evolving to a more useful organ but is getting worst with each generation.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. I am not going to argue about the evolution of the eye, but as a historian, I find it dishonest to quote that first part without mentioning the next. Whether or not you think Darwin is correct, taking a quote out of context is sloppy. And in the case of this quote, it is done intentionally. What Darwin does here is characteristic in his writings – he states something that could be used as an argument against an idea of his, then immediately gives reasons against that.

    Quotes should be provided in their context. Please see:

    Also, from the Answers in Genesis website:
    “Did the eye cause Darwin to doubt evolution? No, it didn’t. The “doubtful Darwin” is another argument Christians should not use.” (

  3. Anyone with an ounce of logical ability would avoid using these, even a creationist. If Darwin was trying to conceal the fact that he didn’t think that evolution could account for the development of the human eye, why would he put it in the book that he was using to make the case for NS? Quote Miners must think very little of their audience.

  4. But, Mike, since this tactic continues, what does that say about some folks having “an ounce of logical ability”? Quote-miners must also think very little of themselves.

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