I occasionally find obscure and often brilliant quotes and add them to a little collection. Because I come across some in weird places, they usually aren’t quotes I see regularly posted anywhere else, so I thought I’d start sharing them here. This one combines many of my interests including evolution, developmental biology, creationism, and a healthy dose of 19th century wit and sarcasm.
“What say the schools to this case? Whence and for what purpose, if the Serpulae were produced or created as ready-formed species, these lateral filaments of the opercular peduncle? To allow them to sprout forth merely for the sake of an invariable plan of structure, even when they must be immediately retracted again as superfluous, would certainly be an evidence rather of childish trifling or dictatorial pedantry, than of infinite wisdom. But no, I am mistaken; from the beginning of all things the Creator knew, that one day the inquisitive children of men would grope about after analogies and homologies, and that Christian naturalists would busy themselves with thinking out his Creative ideas; at any rate, in order to facilitate the discernment by the former that the opercular peduncle of the Serpulae is homologous with a branchial filament, He allowed it to make a détour in its development, and pass through the form of a barbate branchial filament.”
– Fritz Müller, Facts and Arguments for Darwin (English translation of Für Darwin), 1869, p.114.