John Muir



Download Full Text (3.5 MB)

Kimes Entry Number


Original Date


William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

During the three days that French Strother spent with John Muir at his horne in Alhambra Valley, there was ample time to gain Muir's views on many subjects. Of the several the author relates, the following reveals Muir's thinking on a topic of the times. "There are no accidents in Nature," Muir told his visitor. "Every motion of the constantly shifting bodies in the world is timed to the occasion for some definite, fore ordered end. The flowers blossom in obedience to the same law that marks the course of constellations, and the song of a bird is the echo of a universal symphony." Muir commented that "the greatest delight of observation and study is to discover new unities in this all-embracing and eternal harmony. "Little men, with only a book knowledge of science, have seized upon evolution as an escape from the idea of God. 'Evolution!'-a wonderful, mouth-filling word, isn't it? It covers a world of ignorance. Just say 'evolution' and you have explained every phenomenon of Nature and explained away God. It sounds big and wise. Evolution, they say, brought the earth through its glacial periods, caused the snow blanket to recede, and the flower carpet to follow it, raised the forests of the world, developed animal life from the jelly-fish to the thinking man. But what caused evolution? There they stick," Muir answered. "To my mind, it is inconceivable that a plan that has worked out, through unthinkable millions of years, without one hitch or one mistake, the development of beauty that has made every microscopic particle of matter perform its function in harmony with every other in the universe-that such a plan is the blind product of an unthinking abstraction. No," he mused, "somewhere, before evolution was, was an Intelligence that laid out the plan, and evolution is the process, not the origin, of the harmony. You may call that Intelligence what you please; I cannot see why so many people object to call it God."


The World's Work, v. 17, no. 5


pp. 11355-11358

Three Days With John Muir. Conversations With The Man Who Has A Most Intimate Knowledge of Nature. . . .



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.