Though evolution, as such, did encounter resistance, particularly from some religious groups, it was by no means the greatest of the difficulties the Darwinians faced. That difficulty stemmed from an idea that was more nearly Darwin’s own. All the well-known pre-Darwinian evolutionary theories—those of Lamarck, Chambers, Spencer, and the German Naturphilosophen—had taken evolution to be a goal-directed process.

The “idea” of man and of the contemporary flora and fauna was thought to have been present from the first creation of life, perhaps in the mind of God. That idea or plan had provided the direction and the guiding force to the entire evolutionary process.

For many men the abolition of that teleological kind of evolution was the most significant and least palatable of Darwin’s suggestions. The Origin of Species recognized no goal set either by God or nature.

Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

This is an interesting historical note, but I am having a hard time seeing why it is a rationality quote. Perhaps as a record of people acting irrationally? Would you mind explaining a bit?

Rationality Quotes Thread February 2016

by elharo 1 min read2nd Feb 201697 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.
  • Post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.