Biology Quotes

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For a biologist the alternative to thinking in evolutionary terms is not to think at all.

Peter Medawar

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Life is simply the reification of the process of living.

Ernst Mayr

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Natural selection is a mechanism for generating an exceedingly high degree of improbability.

Ronald Fisher

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There can be no eternal life because the very basis of life is its transient and dynamic nature.

Addy Pross

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Evolution is cleverer than you are.

Francis Crick

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Life (...) is a relationship between molecules.

Linus Pauling

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The human mind, or even the mind of a cat, is more interesting in its complexity than an entire galaxy if it is devoid of life.

Martin Gardner

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Evolution is a process that depends on amplifying things that almost never happen.

Daniel Dennett

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You can never pinpoint the exact moment that a species came to be, because it never did. Just like how you used to be a baby and now you're older, but there was no single day when you went to bed young and woke up old. (...) There was no first human. It sounds like a paradox, it sounds like it breaks the whole theory of evolution, but it's really a key to truly understanding how evolution works. Evolution happens like a movie, with frames moving by both quickly and gradually, and we often can't see the change while it's occurring. Every time we find a fossil, it's a snapshot back in time, often with thousands of frames missing in between, and we're forced to reconstruct the whole film. Life is what happens in between the snapshots. Instead of a nice smooth road this is a journey on stepping stones and we give each one their own name.

Joe Hanson

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Darwin`s idea of evolution by natural selection is, in my opinion, the single best idea that anybody has ever had, because in a single bold stroke it unites meaning with matter, two aspects of reality that appear to be worlds apart. On one side, we have the world of our minds and their meanings, our goals, our hopes, and our yearnings, and that most honored - and hackneyed - of all philosophical topics, the Meaning of Life. On the other side, we have galaxies ceaselessly wheeling, planets falling pointlessly into their orbits, lifeless chemical mechanisms doing what physics ordains, all without purpose or reason. Then Darwin comes along and shows us how the former arises from the latter, creating meaning as it goes, a bubble-up vision of the birth of importance to overthrow the trickle-down vision of tradition.

Daniel Dennett

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It is estimated that well over 99 percent of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without having had offspring. And yet here you are: of all your billions of ancestors over the years, from single cells to worms to fish to reptiles to mammals to primates, not a single one of them died childless. How lucky you are! Of course every blade of grass has an equally long and proud heritage, and every mosquito, and every elephant and every daisy.

Daniel Dennett

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Evolution results in better answers, not necessarily more complicated ones.

Ray Kurzweil

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The first law of ecology: everything is connected to everything else.

Barry Commoner

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Instinct is a marvellous thing, [...] It can neither be explained nor ignored.

Agatha Christie

Species evolve only to meet the pressures of new environments. In a stable environment, a species may remain unchanged for millions of Centuries. Primitive man evolved rapidly because his environment was a harsh and changing one. Once, however, mankind learned to create his own environment, he created a pleasant and stable one, so he just naturally stopped evolving.

Isaac Asimov

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