— J. B. S. Haldane
A possibly apocryphal reply to theologians who inquired if there was anything that could be concluded about the Creator from the study of creation; as described in "Homage to Santa Rosalia, or why are there so many kinds of animals" by G. Evelyn Hutchinson in American Naturalist (May-June 1959); This alludes to the fact that there are more types of beetles than any other form of insect, and more insects than any other kind of animal.
The Creator, if He exists, has "an inordinate fondness for beetles".
If one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of creation, it would appear that God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles.
The Creator, if He exists, has a special preference for beetles, and so we might be more likely to meet them than any other type of animal on a planet that would support life.
As discussed [http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/06/23/beetles/#more-734 here], a slightly different wording can be found in Haldane's 1949 book What is Life? The Layman's View of Nature, p. 248: <blockquote>The Creator would appear as endowed with a passion for stars, on the one hand, and for beetles on the other, for the simple reason that there are nearly 300,000 species of beetle known, and perhaps more, as compared with somewhat less than 9,000 species of birds and a little over 10,000 species of mammals. Beetles are actually more numerous than the species of any other insect order. That kind of thing is characteristic of nature.</blockquote>
Stephen Jay Gould also discussed the quote in the article "A Special Fondness for Beetles" in the January 1993 issue of Natural History (Issue 1, Volume 2), which was reprinted on p. 377 of his book Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History. Here he mentioned that Haldane had given a speech to the British Interplanetary Society in 1951, and that a report on the speech was included in Volume 10 of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society which says that "he concluded that the Creator, if he exists, has a special preference for beetles." Gould also says that in a letter to the August 1992 issue of The Linnean, a friend of Haldane's named Kenneth Kermack said that both he and his wife Doris remembered Haldane using the phrase "an inordinate fondness for beetles": <blockquote>I have checked my memory with Doris, who also knew Haldane well, and what he actually said was: "God has an inordinate fondness for beetles." J.B.S.H. himself had an inordinate fondness for the statement: he repeated it frequently. More often than not it had the addition: "God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles." . . . Haldane was making a theological point: God is most likely to take trouble over reproducing his own image, and his 400,000 attempts at the perfect beetle contrast with his slipshod creation of man. When we meet the Almighty face to face he will resemble a beetle (or a star) and not Dr. Carey [the Archbishop of Canterbury]."</blockquote>
The eminent nineteenth-century German theologian Matthias Joseph Scheeben had also been struck by "the hundreds of thousands of beetle species with their numerous specimens to each species" (Handbuch der katholischen Dogmatik, Vol. 2, 1878. Cf. Scheeben, The Holy Spirit, ed. F. Fuchs, 1974, p. 144), but, unlike Haldane, he did not accord it any theological significance.