Robert Green Ingersoll had many memorable things to say about a great many topics. He loved Shakespeare and Thomas Paine above all other authors. Most people have never heard of him, but he was one of America’s most famous speakers in the late nineteenth century.
Ingersoll had this to say about Darwin’s then-novel theory of evolution by natural selection:
“I believe that man came up from lower animals. When I first heard of that doctrine I did not like it. My heart was filled with sympathy for those people who have nothing to be proud of except ancestors. I thought, how terrible this will be upon the nobility of the Old World. Think of their being forced to trace their ancestry back to the duke Orang Outang, or to the princess Chimpanzee.
After thinking it over, I came to the conclusion that I liked that doctrine.”
And so should we.