I cannot think that "natural selection," working upon small, fortuitous, indefinite, unintelligent variations, would produce the results we see around us. One wants something that will give a more definite aim to variations, and hence, at times, cause bolder leaps in advance. One cannot but doubt whether so many plants and animals would be being so continually saved "by the skin of their teeth"...
-from "Lamarck and Mr. Darwin"
George Bernard Shaw called him "the greatest English writer of the latter half of the nineteenth century." Samuel Butler, the son of an Anglican clergyman who grew up to be one of the most prominent freethinkers of the Victorian era, was a vocal apologist for theism, and his Life and Habit, published in 1877, is a beautifully written critique of Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection, one that laments its lack of call for a creative mind behind the evolution of life.
This is a vital work for appreciating Butler's other criticisms of scientific rationalism, including his 1879 book Evolution, Old and New, as well as the evolution of the concept of evolution itself.
Also available from Cosimo Classics: Butler's God the Known and God the Unknown.
British author SAMUEL BUTLER (1835-1902) is best known for his satire Erehwon.
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