From The Philosophy of Nature by George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
The two forms under which the serial progression of Nature is conceived are evolution and emanation. The way of evolution, which starts from the imperfect and formless, is as follows: at first there was the liquid element and aqueous forms of life, and from the water there evolved plants, polyps, molluscs, and finally fishes; then from the fishes were evolved the land animals, and finally from the land animals came man. This gradual alteration is called an explanation and understanding; it is a conception which comes from the Philosophy of Nature, and it still flourishes. But though this quantitative difference is of all theories the easiest to understand, it does not really explain anything at all.
Nature's formations are determinate, bounded, and enter as such into existence. So that even if the earth was once in a state where it had no living things but only the chemical process, and so on, yet the moment the lightning of life strikes into matter, at once there is present a determinate, complete creature, as Minerva fully armed springs forth from the head of Jupiter. The Mosaic story of creation is still the best in its quite na´ve statement that on this day plants came into being, on another day the animals, and on another day man. Man has not developed himself out of the animal, nor the animal out of the plant; each is at a single stroke what it is. In this individual, evolutionary changes do occur: at birth it is not yet complete, but is already the real possibility of all it is to become. The living thing is the point, this particular soul (Seele), subjectivity, infinite form, and thus immediately determined in and for itself. Already in the crystal, as a point, the entire shape is at once present, the totality of the form; the crystal's capacity for growth is only a quantitative alteration. Still more is this the case in the living thing.
|A couple of great quotations from Hegel on evolution. In the first one, he provides a summary and critique of evolution. In the second, he offers his own view on the origin of species.|