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.
Asian Homo erectus died without issue and does not enter our immediate ancestry (for we evolved from African populations); Neanderthal people were collateral cousins, perhaps already living in Europe while we emerged in Africa... In other words, we are an improbable and fragile entity, fortunately s
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.
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.
Science can't tell us what our life means ethically. It can't tell us what we are meant to do as moral creatures. But, insofar as science can understand what we're made of, and what we're related to, the Darwinian revolution completely revised our ideas about who we are and what we're related to and
Evolution is a process of constant branching and expansion.
Science is not 'organized common sense'; at its most exciting, it reformulates our view of the world by imposing powerful theories against the ancient, anthropocentric prejudices that we call intuition.
The contingency of history (both for life in general and for the cultures of Homo sapiens ) and human free will (in the factual rather than theological sense) are conjoined concepts, and no better evidence can be produced than the "experimental" production of markedly different solutions in identica
Is uniformitarianism necessary?
The vigorous branching of life's tree, and not the accumulating valor of mythical marches to progress, lies behind the persistence and expansion of organic diversity in our tough and constantly stressful world. And if we do not grasp the fundamental nature of branching as the key to life's passage a
Recapitulation provided a convenient focus for the persuasive racism of white scientists; they looked to the activities of their own children for comparison with normal adult behavior in lower races.
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.
The equation of evolution with progress represents our strongest cultural impediment to a proper understanding of this greatest biological revolution in the history of human thought.
Some beliefs may be subject to such instant, brutal and unambiguous rejection. For example: no left-coiling periwinkle has ever been found among millions of snails examined. If I happen to find one during my walk on Nobska beach tomorrow morning, a century of well nurtured negative evidence will col
If evolution almost always occurs by rapid speciation in small, peripheral isolates, then what should the fossil record look like? We are not likely to detect the event of speciation itself. It happens too fast, in too small a group, isolated too far from the ancestral range ...
All organisms vary, and it's just folk knowledge. You just have to look around a room of people, and everybody knows that it's true. Darwin didn't know the mechanism of heredity, but you don't have to. You just need to know the fact of it.
It seems the height of antiquated hubris to claim that the universe carried on as it did for billions of years in order to form a comfortable abode for us. Chance and historical contingency give the world of life most of its glory and fascination. I sit here happy to be alive and sure that some reas
Phony psychics like Uri Geller have had particular success in bamboozling scientists with ordinary stage magic, because only scientists are arrogant enough to think that they always observe with rigorous and objective scrutiny, and therefore could never be so fooled while ordinary mortals know perfe
[E]volutionists sometimes take as haughty an attitude toward the next level up the conventional ladder of disciplines: the human sciences. They decry the supposed atheoretical particularism of their anthropological colleagues and argue that all would be well if only the students of humanity regarded
No one supposed that dinoflagellates might actively kill fish as an evolved response for their own specific advantage, including a potential nutritional benefit for the algal cells. And yet the dinoflagellates do seem to be killing and eating fishes in a manner suggesting active evolution for this m
Heydrich, Eichmann, and company therefore invoke the usual trick of argument for breaking a true continuum that lacks a compelling point for separation: choose an arbitrary dividing line and then treat it as a self-evident law of nature.
As a word, ecology has been so debased by recent political usage that many people employ it to identify anything good that happens far from cities and without human interference.
No more harmful nonsense exists than [the] common supposition that deepest insight into great questions about the meaning of life or the structure of reality emerges most readily when a free, undisciplined, and uncluttered (read, rather, ignorant and uneducated) mind soars above mere earthly knowled
Guessing right for the wrong reason does not merit scientific immortality.
The intricate and different life cycles of both male and female root-heads, and the great behavioral sophistication shown by the female in reconfiguring a host crab as a support system, all underscore the myopia of our conventional wisdom in regarding rhizocephalans as degenerate parasites because t
Forelimbs of people, porpoises, bats and horses provide the classic example of homology in most textbooks. They look different, and do different things, but are built of the same bones. No engineer, starting from scratch each time, would have built such disparate structures from the same parts.
Most impediments to scientific understanding are conceptual locks, not factual lacks. Most difficult to dislodge are those biases that escape our scrutiny because they seem so obviously, even ineluctably, just. We know ourselves best and tend to view other creatures as mirrors of our own constitutio
Man, I gave you a brain. Use it, OK?
The myriad valleys could have arisen anywhere on the landscape. The current positions are quite accidental. If we could repeat the experiment, we might obtain no valleys at all, or a completely different system. Yet we now stand at the shore line contemplating the fine spacing of valleys and their e
Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.