The Origin of Species
Difficulties on Theory
ong before having arrived at this part of my work, a crowd of difficulties will have
occurred to the reader. Some of them are so grave that to this day I can never reflect on them
without being staggered; but, to the best of my judgment, the greater number are only apparent,
and those that are real are not, I think, fatal to my theory.
These difficulties and objections may be classed under the following heads:-Firstly, why, if
species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere
see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species
being, as we see them, well defined?
Secondly, is it possible that an animal having, for instance, the structure and habits of a bat,
could have been formed by the modification of some animal with wholly different habits? Can
we believe that natural selection could produce, on the one hand, organs of trifling importance,
such as the tail of a giraffe, which serves as a fly-flapper, and, on the other hand, organs of such
wonderful structure, as the eye, of which we hardly as yet fully understand the inimitable
Thirdly, can instincts be acquired and modified through natural selection? What shall we say to
so marvellous an instinct as that which leads the bee to make cells, which have practically
anticipated the discoveries of profound mathematicians?
Fourthly, how can we account for species, when crossed, being sterile and producing sterile