Did British naturalist Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to the evolutionary theory in biology, who died in 1882, predict "the rise of The Woke," a modern-day slang term frequently used by the opponents of those raising awareness of social and racial issues? No, that's not true. Lead Stories performed numerous searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and Google Books, using as search terms the entire quote in question, separate sentences from that quote and keywords in addition to a close look at Darwin's work "On the Origine of Species." These searches produced no relevant results proving that the British naturalist (or anyone else) indeed said the words from a picture shared on social media.
The claim appeared in a post published on Facebook on February 25, 2023. A shared picture did not have any description, and the entire claim was placed in the add-on text in the image. It opened:
Charles Darwin predicts the rise of The Woke
At some stage, the Human Species will divide. Whilst most will continue to evolve, a minority of those lacking the intellectual capacity of thought, will develop as a sub-species. Being easily lead, form into Packs attempting to control the majority. They will deny biology, attempt to undo the centuries of human development by re-writing history, and gradually revert to their Primate Origins. They will expect all to conform to their point of view without questions.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 27 16:48:26 2023 UTC)
The post reused the image from the cover of a 2011 printing of Charles Darwin's book "On the Origin of Species."
Via electronic access to the New York Public Library resources available remotely with a valid library card, Lead Stories searched the quote in question sentence by sentence, but it did not return any results:
(Source: NYPL screenshot taken on Mon Feb 27 17:22:10 2023 UTC)
(Source: NYPL screenshot taken on Mon Feb 27 17:18:11 2023 UTC)
In addition to the 1859 edition available via the NYPL, Gutenberg Project provides access to the 1860 and 1872 editions. It also repeatedly showed the absence of such a quote:
(Source: Guttenberg Project screenshot taken on Mon Feb 27 17:54:09 2023 UTC)
Darwin did use the term "sub-species," but in a very different context:
The geographical races or sub-species are local forms completely fixed and isolated; but as they do not differ from each other by strongly marked and important characters.
Then he continued:
It has been seen in the last chapter that among organic beings in a state of nature there is some individual variability: indeed I am not aware that this has ever been disputed. It is immaterial for us whether a multitude of doubtful forms be called species or sub-species or varieties; what rank, for instance, the two or three hundred doubtful forms of British plants are entitled to hold, if the existence of any well-marked varieties be admitted. But the mere existence of individual variability and of some few well-marked varieties, though necessary as the foundation for the work, helps us but little in understanding how species arise in nature.
The founder of the evolutionary theory said nothing in this book about people who "deny biology" or "revert to their Primal origins."
Google shows no such a quote attributable to anyone:
(Source: Google screenshot taken on Mon Feb 26 18:43:00 2023 UTC)
Another Lead Stories fact check about Darwin's evolutionary theory can be found here.