Stephen Jay Gould Quotes

Unfortunately, all life on earth – the only life we know – Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Earth Quotes

Unfortunately, all life on earth - the only life we know - represents, for all its current variety, the results of a single experiment , for every earthly species evolved from the common ancestry of a single origin. We desperately need a repetition of the experiment (several would be better, but let's not be greedy!) in order to make a judgement. Mars represents our first real hope for a second experiment - the sine qua non - for any proper answer for the question of questions.

When scientists need to explain difficult points of theory, illustration by hypothetical Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Picture Quotes

When scientists need to explain difficult points of theory, illustration by hypothetical example - rather than by total abstraction - works well (perhaps indispensably) as a rhetorical device. Such cases do not function as speculations in the pejorative sense - as silly stories that provide insight into complex mechanisms - but rather as idealized illustrations to exemplify a difficult point of theory. (Other fields, like philosophy and the law, use such conjectural cases as a standard device.

When we seek a textbook case for the proper operation of science, Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Promise Quotes

When we seek a textbook case for the proper operation of science, the correction of certain error offers far more promise than the establishment of probable truth. Confirmed hunches, of course, are more upbeat than discredited hypotheses. Since the worst traditions of "popular" writing falsely equate instruction with sweetness and light, our promotional literature abounds with insipid tales in the heroic mode, although tough stories of disappointment and loss give deeper insight into a methodology that the celebrated philosopher Karl Popper once labeled as "conjecture and refutation.

Rifkin’s assertions bear no relationship to what I have observed and practiced Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Misunderstanding Quotes, Science Quotes, Understanding Quotes, World Quotes

Rifkin's assertions bear no relationship to what I have observed and practiced for 25 years ... Either I am blind or he is wrong - and I think I can show, by analyzing his slipshod scholarship and basic misunderstanding of science, that his world is an invention constructed to validate his own private hopes ... Rifkin shows no understanding of the norms and procedures of science: he displays little comprehension of what science is and how scientists work.

Complex organisms cannot be construed as the sum of their genes, nor Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Alone Quotes, Behavior Quotes

Complex organisms cannot be construed as the sum of their genes, nor do genes alone build particular items of anatomy or behavior by themselves. Most genes influence several aspects of anatomy and behavior as they operate through complex interactions with other genes and their products, and with environmental factors both within and outside the developing organism. We fall into a deep error, not just a harmful oversimplification, when we speak of genes "for" particular items of anatomy or behavior.

I like to summarize what I regard as the pedestal-smashing messages of Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Progress Quotes

I like to summarize what I regard as the pedestal-smashing messages of Darwin's revolution in the following statement, which might be chanted several times a day, like a Hare Krishna mantra, to encourage penetration into the soul: Humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which, if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again, or perhaps any twig with any property that we would care to call consciousness.

I am not […] asserting that humans are either genial or aggressive by Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Lie Quotes, Nature Quotes

I am not [...] asserting that humans are either genial or aggressive by inborn biological necessity. Obviously, both kindness and violence lie within the bounds of our nature because we perpetrate both, in spades. I only advance a structural claim that social stability rules nearly all the time and must be based on an overwhelmingly predominant (but tragically ignored) frequency of genial acts, and that geniality is therefore our usual and preferred response nearly all the time. [...] [T]he center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days.

A complete theory of evolution must acknowledge a balance between “external” forces Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Environment Quotes

A complete theory of evolution must acknowledge a balance between "external" forces of environment imposing selection for local adaptation and "internal" forces representing constraints of inheritance and development. Vavilov placed too much emphasis on internal constraints and downgraded the power of selection. But Western Darwinians have erred equally in practically ignoring (while acknowledging in theory) the limits placed on selection by structure and development what Vavilov and the older biologists would have called "laws of form.

Orchids manufacture their intricate devices from the common components of ordinary flowers, Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Wisdom Quotes

Orchids manufacture their intricate devices from the common components of ordinary flowers, parts usually fitted for very different functions. If God had designed a beautiful machine to reflect his wisdom and power, surely he would not have used a collection of parts generally fashioned for other purposes. Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components. Thus, they must have evolved from ordinary flowers.

We debase the richness of both nature and our own minds if Stephen Jay Gould Picture Quote

Nature Quotes

We debase the richness of both nature and our own minds if we view the great pageant of our intellectual history as a compendium of new information leading from primal superstition to final exactitude. We know that the sun is hub of our little corner of the universe, and that ties of genealogy connect all living things on our planet, because these theories assemble and explain so much otherwise disparate and unrelated information not because Galileo trained his telescope on the moons of Jupiter or because Darwin took a ride on a Galápagos tortoise.