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Letter 2832A

Lyell, Charles to Darwin, C. R.

15 June 1860

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    Rejects CD's comparison of natural selection with the architect of a building. The architect who plans and oversees construction should not be confused in his function with the wisest breeder. That would be to deify natural selection.


June 15— 1860

-- Your comparison of Selection to the Architect—variations to the stones, is

what I deduced from some passages but cannot accept. The architect who plans beforehand & executes his thoughts & invents the Corinthian & other styles of architecture & then by means of machinery, living & inanimate, cranes & horses & even sometimes intelligent men (forman allowed some discretion & power of choosing) such an architect must not be confounded in his functions with the humble office of the most sagacious of breeders. As I have said all along it is the deification of Natural Selection.

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    f1 2832a.f1
    See preceding letter and letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 [June 1860]. The transcript has been taken from Lyell's scientific journal. It is headed by the note `Extract from letter of C. L. to Darwin'. It is also printed in Wilson ed. 1970, p. 445.
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