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Stephen Jay Gould Quotes

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Is uniformitarianism necessary  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) ... a fortuitous cosmic afterthought  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) The world is full of signals that we don’t perceive  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) The median isn’t the message  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Antiessentialist thinking forces us to view the world differently. We must accept shadings and continua as fundamental. We lose criteria for judgment by comparison to some ideal: short people, retarded people, people of other beliefs, colors, and religions are people of full status  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) If a man dies of cancer in fear and despair, then cry for his pain and celebrate his life. The other man, who fought like hell and laughed in the end, but also died, may have had an easier time in his final months, but took his leave with no more humanity  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) I emphatically do not assert the general ‘truth’ of this philosophy of punctuational change. Any attempt to support the exclusive validity of such a grandiose notion would border on the nonsensical  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) The essence of Darwinism lies in its claim that natural selection creates the fit. Variation is ubiquitous and random in direction. It supplies raw material only. Natural selection directs the course of evolutionary change  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Surely the mitochondrion that first entered another cell was not thinking about the future benefits of cooperation and integration; it was merely trying to make its own living in a tough Darwinian world  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Goethe died in 1832. As you know, Goethe was very active in science. In fact, he did some very good scientific work in plant morphology and mineralogy. But he was quite bitter at the way in which many scientists refused to grant him a hearing because he was a poet and therefore, they felt, he couldn’t be serious  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) [A]s a graduate student at Columbia University, I remember the a priori derision of my distinguished stratigraphy professor toward a visiting Australian drifter [a supporter of the theory of continental drift]. [...] Today [...] my own students would dismiss with even more derision anyone who denied the evident truth of continental drift a prophetic madman is at least amusing; a superannuated fuddy-duddy is merely pitiful  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Why get excited over this latest episode in the long, sad history of American anti-intellectualism? Let me suggest that, as patriotic Americans, we should cringe in embarrassment that, at the dawn of a new, technological millennium, a jurisdiction in our heartland has opted to suppress one of the greatest triumphs of human discovery  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) People perceive me as a commodity. They just don’t think anything of asking for five minutes of my time. It never occurs to them that if they’re asking for it and another thousand people are asking, I don’t have 1,000 five minutes to give.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) ...we must be wary of granting too much power to natural selection by viewing all basic capacities of our brain as direct adaptations.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Change is more often a rapid transition between two stable states than a continuous transformation at slow and steady rates. . . .Change occurs in large leaps following a slow accumulation of stress that a system resists until it reaches the breaking point. Heat water, and it eventually boils. Oppress the workers more and more and bring on the revolution.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Mass extinctions may not threaten distant futures, but they are decidedly unpleasant for species caught up in the throes of their power.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) I’m not a great deductive thinker, but I will admit to having competence in a very wide range of things - not being afraid to try to write about baseball, choral music and dinosaurs in the same week and see connections among them.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Contrary to current cynicism about past golden ages, the abstraction known as ‘the intelligent layperson’ does exist - in the form of millions of folks with a passionate commitment to continuous learning.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) We are storytelling animals, and cannot bear to acknowledge the ordinariness of our daily lives  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Precise adaptation, with each part finely honed to perform a definite function in an optimal way, can only lead to blind alleys, dead ends, and extinction.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Something deep within us drives accurate messiness into the neat channels of canonical stories  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) If I don’t make it, I’ll be very sad that there are things I didn’t do, but I’m happy that I’ve done what I have.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) We live in a profoundly nonintellectual culture, made all the worse by a passive hedonism abetted by the spread of wealth and its dissipation into countless electronic devices that impart the latest in entertainment and supposed information - all in short (and loud) doses of easy listening.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) What an odd time to be a fundamentalist about adaptation and natural selection - when each major subdiscipline of evolutionary biology has been discovering other mechanisms as adjuncts to selection’s centrality.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Organisms are not billiard balls, propelled by simple and measurable external forces to predictable new positions on life’s pool table. Sufficiently complex systems have greater richness. Organisms have a history that constrains their future in myriad, subtle ways.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) The journalistic tradition so exalts novelty and flashy discovery, as reputable and newsworthy, that standard accounts for the public not only miss the usual activity of science but also, and more unfortunately, convey a false impression about what drives research.  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) Science simply cannot adjudicate the issue of God’s possible superintendence of nature  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes) If new species arise very rapidly in small, peripherally isolated local populations, then the great expectation of insensibly graded fossil sequences is a chimera. A new species does not evolve in the area of its ancestors; it does not arise from the slow transformation of all its forbears. co-author with Niles Eldridge  (Stephen Jay Gould Quotes)
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