Monday, January 12, 2009

By Means of Higgledy Piggledy

Apparently, some criticisms of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection were as sophomoric in the 19th century as they are today. Darwin's response to one such criticism is typical of his own good humor.

Word got round that the great John Herschel called natural selection the law of higgledy piggledy. "What exactly this means I do not know," wailed Darwin, "but it is evidently very contemptuous."

-Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, Janet Brown, pg 107.


Mark Peters said...

Thought you might enjoy this piece on words like higgledy-piggledy:

Jay said...

cool article!