Top 10 Quotes by Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould

I dreamed of becoming a scientist, in general, and a paleontologist, in particular, ever since the Tyrannosaurus skeleton awed and scared me.

Stephen Jay Gould
Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview.
Stephen Jay Gould

We pass through this world but once.

Stephen Jay Gould
If I have any insight at all to contribute it is this: find out what you are really good at and stick to it.
Stephen Jay Gould

Zoocentrism is the primary fallacy of human sociobiology, for this view of human behavior rests on the argument that if the actions of "lower" animals with simple nervous systems arise as genetic products of natural selection, then human behavior should have a similar basis.

Stephen Jay Gould
American history without Lincoln.
Stephen Jay Gould

But if we laugh with derision, we will never understand. Human intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years so far as we can tell. If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding of their world, not in their distorted perceptions.

Stephen Jay Gould
In their recently aborted struggle to inject Genesis literalism into science classrooms, fundamentalist groups followed their usual opportunistic strategy of arguing two contradictory sides of a question when a supposed rhetorical advantage could be extracted from each ...
Stephen Jay Gould

Sigmund Freud often remarked that great revolutions in the history of science have but one common, and ironic, feature: they knock human arrogance off one pedestal after another of our previous conviction about our own self-importance.

Stephen Jay Gould
It is so hard for an evolutionary biologist to write about extinction caused by human stupidity. [...] Let me then float an unconventional plea, the inverse of the usual argument. [...] The extinction of Partula is unfair to Partula . That is the conventional argument, and I do not challenge its primacy. But we need a humanistic ecology as well, both for the practical reason that people will always touch people more than snails do or can, and for the moral reason that humans are legitimately the measure of all ethical questions for these are our issues, not nature's.