One of the naturalists had argued that On the Origin of Species was too theoretical, that Darwin should have just “put his facts before us and let them rest.” In response, Darwin reflected that science, to be of any service, required more than list making; it needed larger ideas that could make sense of piles of data. Otherwise, Darwin said, a geologist “might as well go into a gravel-pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours.” Data without generalizations are useless; facts without explanatory principles are meaningless. Michael Shermer, Why Darwin Matters. The Case Against Intelligent Design. (page 1). Note: I also placed this quote in issue #26 of Chance News
You can find an earlier version of this page on my old website.