Always be suspicious of conclusions that reinforce uncritical hope and follow comforting traditions of Western thought.

-Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould

Look in the mirror, and don't be tempted to equate transient domination with either intrinsic superiority or prospects for extended survival.

Stephen Jay Gould
I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know.
Stephen Jay Gould

Scientists have power by virtue of the respect commanded by the discipline... We live with poets and politicians, preachers and philosophers. All have their ways of knowing, and all are valid in their proper domain. The world is too complex and interesting for one way to hold all the answers.

Stephen Jay Gould
They have this absurd notion that something that occurs in the past and that is not subject to direct observation is not provable. That's nonsense .... There is a mystery as to how evolution occurs, but there is not a whole lot of doubt as to whether it occurs.
Stephen Jay Gould

We who revel in nature's diversity and feel instructed by every animal tend to brand Homo sapiens as the greatest catastrophe since the Cretaceous extinction.

Stephen Jay Gould
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 perfectly well that good performers can always find a way to trick people.
Stephen Jay Gould

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
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

We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity, not the expected results of evolutionary principles that yearn to produce a creature capable of understanding the mode of its own necessary construction.

Stephen Jay Gould
People talk about human intelligence as the greatest adaptation in the history of the planet. It is an amazing and marvelous thing, but in evolutionary terms, it is as likely to do us in as to help us along.