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Letter 7273

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

12 July [1870]

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    Has not heard of Curtis on Dionaea.

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    Duke of Argyll is clever, but it is a sin to speak of a real old Duke as a "little beggar".

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    "My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design."

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    On spontaneous generation and Bastian.

Transcription

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E. July 12th My dear Hooker

Two of the kinds of seeds will be very useful to me; but why the others were sent by Col. Playfair, I know not, except from the abundance of his kindness.—

I am sure I never heard of Curtis' observations on Dioneæa; nor have I met with anything more than general statements about this plant or about Nepenthes catching insects &c—

I have always thought the D. of Argyll wonderfully clever; but as for calling him ``a little beggar'' my inherited, instinctive feelings wd. declare it was a sin thus to speak of a real old Duke.—

Your conclusion that all speculation about preordination is idle waste of time is the only wise one: but how difficult it is not to speculate. My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind in the details.—

As for each variation that has ever occurred having been preordained for a special end, I can no believe in it, than that the spot on which each drop of rain falls has been specially ordained.—

Spontaneous generations seems almost as great a puzzle as preordination; I cannot persuade myself that such a multiplicity of organisms can have been produced, like crystals, in Bastian's solutions of the same kind.— I am astonished that as yet I have met with no allusion to Wyman's positive statement that if the solutions are boiled for 5 hours, no organisms appear; yet, if my memory serves me, the solutions when opened to air, immediately became stocked. Against all evidence I cannot avoid suspecting that organic particles (my gemmules from the separate cells of the lower creatures!) will keep alive & afterwards multiply under proper conditions. What an interesting problem it is.—

Your affect | C. Darwin

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