10 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2022
    1. “I had [...]during many years followed a golden rule, namely, that whenever apublished fact, a new observation or thought came across me, whichwas opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of itwithout fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such factsand thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory thanfavorable ones. Owing to this habit, very few objections were raisedagainst my views, which I had not at least noticed and attempted toanswer.” (Darwin 1958, 123)

      Charles Darwin fought confirmation bias by writing down contrary arguments and criticisms and addressing them.

  2. Jan 2022
    1. Charles Darwin wrote an entire book about humans being social creatures. He wrote that any Hobbesian human would be an “unnatural monster.”

      Relate this back to Graeber/Wengrow's thesis.

  3. Nov 2021
    1. For if I wait out the uncomfortable night by the river,I fear that the female dew and the evil frost togetherwill be too much for my damaged strength, I am so exhausted, and in themorning a chilly wind will blow from the river; 470 but if I go up the slopeand into the shadowy forest,and lie down to sleep among the dense bushes, even if the chill andweariness let me be, and a sweet sleep comes upon me,I fear I may become spoil and prey to the wild animals.’

      There's something about the description here that reminds me of the closing paragraph of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of the Species (p 489):

      It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, [...]

      Both authors are writing about riverbanks, life, and uncertainty.

  4. Nov 2018
  5. Apr 2017
    1. How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?

      Reminds me of Thoreau:

      We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

    2. If it could be proved that the Hottentot had descended from the Negro, I think he would be classed under the Negro group, however much he might differ in colour and other important characters from negroes.

      He removes this later.

    3. Finally, with respect to the comparative value of the various groups of species, such as orders, sub-orders, families, sub-families, and genera, they seem to be, at least at present, almost arbitrary. Several of the best botanists, such as Mr Bentham and others, have strongly insisted on their arbitrary value. Instances could be given amongst plants and insects, of a group of forms, first ranked by practised naturalists as only a genus, and then raised to the rank of a sub-family or family; and this has been done, not because further research has detected important structural differences, at first overlooked, but because numerous allied species, with slightly different grades of difference, have been subsequently discovered.

      Read by Tamashasky: "Getting away from making flat assertions by defending your claims."

    1. We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests; as, for instance, that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. This was not the light in which I hoed them. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages. History, Poetry, Mythology!—I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can, old man—you who have lived seventy years, not without honor of a kind—I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels.

      Reminds me of Darwin:

      How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation! Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinarily shaped pieces of bone? As Owen has remarked, the benefit derived from the yielding of the separate pieces in the act of parturition of mammals, will by no means explain the same construction in the skulls of birds. Why should similar bones have been created in the formation of the wing and leg of a bat, used as they are for such totally different purposes? Why should one crustacean, which has an extremely complex mouth formed of many parts, consequently always have fewer legs; or conversely, those with many legs have simpler mouths? Why should the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils in any individual flower, though fitted for such widely different purposes, be all constructed on the same pattern ?