Darwin believed absolutely that evolution had occurred exactly the way he described it. He was very happy with his own description of the process.
The Facts Are .....
"You will be greatly disappointed [by the forthcoming book]; it will be grievously too hypothetical.
It will very likely be of no other service than collocating some facts; though I myself think I see my way approximately on the origin of species. But, alas, how frequent, how almost universal it is in an author to persuade himself of the truth of his own dogmas." A quote of Charles Darwin from a letter to a colleague in 1858
regarding the concluding chapters of his book "Origin of Species". Quoted in John Lofton's Journal, The Washington Times, February 8, 1984
"For I [ie. Darwin] am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this is here impossible." A confession that Darwin knew that there were other interpretations of his data. Written in the Introduction to "Origin of Species", 1859 p:2, and quoted in John Lofton's Journal', The Washington Times, February 8, 1984
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Written by Charles Darwin in his book "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection", (6th ed. 1872), Senate: London, 1994 reprint, p:146
"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?" A confession of difficulties with his theory of evolution, by Charles Darwin in the first edition of his book "The Origin of Species", (1st. ed. reprint) Avenel Books: New York, 1979 p:205
"..... so must the numbers of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory [of evolution]. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record." An admission by Charles Darwin of the imperfection of the geologic record, in his book "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection", (6th ed. 1872), Senate: London, 1994 reprint, p:292
"Missing links in the sequence of fossil evidence were a worry to Darwin. He felt sure they would eventually turn up, but they are still missing and seem likely to remain so. What we are to make of that fact is still open to debate, but today it is the conventional neo-Darwinians who appear as the conservative bigots and the unorthodox neo-Sedgewickians who rate as enlightened rationalists prepared to contemplate the evidence that is plain for all to see." Spoken by Sir Edmund R. Leach (Professor) in his address to the 1981 Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Recorded in the article "Men, Bishops and Apes" in Nature, Vol. 293, September 3, 1981 p:20
"Natural selection is incompetent to account for the incipient stages of useful structures ....." Charles Darwin abandoning natural selection in the sixth edition of his book "The Origin of Species", (6th ed.) The Modern Library: New York, 1872 p:66
"To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree." Written by Charles Darwin, in his book "The Origin of Species", (6th ed. 1872) Senate: London, 1994 reprint, p:143
Darwin, in his original publication, rejected Lamarck's hypothesis of acquired trfavour of natural selection. Later, subsequent research and debate caused him to return to Lamarck's theory. In the sixth edition of his book Darwin abandoned natural selection as the driving force behind evolution.
This was due to the continuing lack of evidence and of theoretical problems. Charles Darwin, "The Origin of Species", (6th ed.) The Modern Library: New York, 1872 p:66
"His theory had, in essence, preceded his knowledge - that is, he had hit upon a novel and evocative theory of evolution with limited knowledge at hand to satisfy either himself or others that the theory was true. He could neither accept it himself nor prove it to others. He simply did not know enough concerning the several natural history fields upon which his theory would have to be based." Dr Barry Gale (Science Historian, Darwin College, UK) in his book "Evolution Without Evidence". Quoted in John Lofton's Journal', The Washington Times, February 8, 1984
"Darwin's book - On the Origin of Species - I find quite unsatisfactory: it says nothing about the origin of species; it is written very tentatively, with a special chapter on "Difficulties on Theory"; and it includes a great deal of discussion on why evidence for natural selection does not exist in the fossil record ..... As a scientist, I am not happy with these ideas." Written by H. Lipson (Professor of Physics, University of Manchester, UK) in his letter to the editor "Origin of Species" in New Scientist, 14 May, 1981 p:452