Top 170 Quotes & Sayings by Famous Biologists

Explore popular quotes by famous biologists.
But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
Evolutionists ... have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
We are all musicians in a great human orchestra, and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You are not required to play a solo, but you are required to know what instrument you hold and play it as well as you can. You are required to find your place in the score. What we love we must protect. That’s what love means. From the right to know and the duty to inquire flows the obligation to act.
When a living system is suffering from ill health, the remedy is found by connecting with more of itself. β€” Β© Francisco Varela
When a living system is suffering from ill health, the remedy is found by connecting with more of itself.
You can do the best science in the world but unless emotion is involved it's not really very relevant. Conservation is based on emotion. It comes from the heart and one should never forget that.
Yet what is more awesome: to believe that God created everything in six days, or to believe that the biosphere came into being on its own, with no creator, and partially lawlessly? I find the latter proposition so stunning, so worthy of awe and respect, that I am happy to accept this natural creativity in the universe as a reinvention of 'God.'
A hypothesis is empirical or scientific only if it can be tested by experience. A hypothesis or theory which cannot be, at least in principle, falsified by empirical observations and experiments does not belong to the realm of science.
Where it is in his own interest, every organism may reasonably be expected to aid his fellows. Where he has no alternative, he submits to the yoke of communal servitude. Yet given a full chance to act in his own interest, nothing but expediency will restrain him from brutalizing, from maiming, from murdering his brother, his mate, his parent, or his child. Scratch an 'altruist' and watch a 'hypocrite' bleed.
Ants offer special advantages for some important kinds of basic biological research. The colony is a superorganism. It can be analyzed as a coherent unit and compared with the organism in the design of experiments, with the individuals treated as the rough analogues of cells.
I think we must ask ourselves if this is really what we want to do to God's creation, to drive it to extinction? Because extinction really is irreversible; species that go extinct are lost forever. This is not like Jurassic Park. We can't bring them back.
Small steps taken by many people in their backyards add up.
Man is a megalomaniac among animals-if he sees mountains he will try to imitate them by pyramids, and if he sees some grand process like evolution, and thinks it would be at all possible for him to be in on that game, he would irreverently have to have his whack at that too. That daring megalomania of his-has it not brought him to his present place?
I think what drives scientists is this tremendous intellectual adventure - pushing the boundaries of knowledge, walking down a track that nobody has walked down before, not knowing what's around the corner and then seeing a landscape that is so extraordinarily beautiful and complex, being part of the community that is driving the boundaries of knowledge and giving us insight into the amazing process of life.
We're looking for something that sounds like a member of the Republican Party. The reality is, he's playing for the Democratic vote at this point ... but he has to give something to create energy among conservatives.
If... deceit is fundamental to animal communication, then there must be strong selection to spot deception and this ought, in turn, to select for a degree of self-deception, rendering some facts and motives unconscious so as not to betray - by the subtle signs of self-knowledge - the deception being practiced.' Thus, 'the conventional view that natural selection favors nervous systems which produce ever more accurate images of the world must be a very naive view of mental evolution.
One of the biggest benefits of playing box for a young lacrosse player is in the development of lacrosse IQ. Because everyone plays with a short stick [in box lacrosse], you have to focus on being a complete lacrosse player versus specializing as an attackman or d-man. That is how your IQ grows and skills improve.
Most animals are like the unfortunate Gregor Samsa after metamorphosis. They are Kafka-creatures, organisms with rich thoughts and emotions but no system for translating what they think into something that they can express to others.
We feel the beauty of nature because we are part of nature and because we know that however much in our separate domains we abstract from the unity of Nature, this unity remains. Although we may deal with particulars, we return finally to the whole pattern woven out of these.
I had fought on behalf of man against the sea, but I realized that it had become more urgent to fight on behalf of the sea against men. β€” Β© Alain Bombard
I had fought on behalf of man against the sea, but I realized that it had become more urgent to fight on behalf of the sea against men.
It is probably fair to estimate the frequency of a majority of mutations, in higher organisms, between one in ten thousand and one in a million per gene per generation.
Industrialized countries have disproportionately more cancers than countries with little or no industry (after adjusting for age and population size). One half of all the world's cancers occur in people living in industrialized countries, even though we are only one-fifth of the world's population. Closely tracking industrialization are breast cancer rates, which are highest in North America and northern Europe, intermediate in southern Europe and Latin America, and lowest in Asia and Africa.
All our suffering is associated with this pre-occupation. All loss and gain, pleasure and pain arise because we identify so closely with this vague feeling of selfness that we have. We are so emotionally involved with and attached to this "self" that we take it for granted.
Most of the damage suffered by the ocean up until now has been caused by local insults - overfishing, pollution, and destruction of habitats. If we tackle these problems now, we buy ourselves time to work on climate change.
The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place.
I have come to believe that extracting natural gas from shale using the newish technique called hydrofracking is the environmental issue of our time. And I think you should, too.
If I ask you who is the most famous scientist who ever lived, or the greatest scientist who ever lived you'll say either Einstein or Newton or something like that because their claims were supposed to apply universally. But the claim of somebody who is studying a particular feature of the evolutionary process like whether it's very fast or very slow, or occurs in steps and so on, that's not a universal claim, that's a rather specialised claim and so you can't claim to great fame and great success.
Insect resistance to a pesticide was first reported in 1947 for the Housefly (Musca domestica) with respect to DDT. Since then resistance to one or more pesticides has been reported in at least 225 species of insects and other arthropods. The genetic variants required for resistance to the most diverse kinds of pesticides were apparently present in every one of the populations exposed to these man-made compounds.
I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society. I believe that whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of the earth, we have retarded some part of man's spiritual growth.
Like all biologists I simply acknowledge the gravity of the current situation. There are scenarios under which things work out well and to that extent I'm a cautious optimist.
The scientific analysis that is supposed to provide our Governor the facts and information he needs to make a crucial decision was crafted with the guidance of the gas industry, not of the state's scientists.
An ecosystem, you can always intervene and change something in it, but there's no way of knowing what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect the environment. We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don't get one rude shock after another.
We know of no behavior in ants or any other social insects that can be construed as play.
If I put myself on the side of those who see the world as warming up in a bad way, who see the general march of industrial culture as something undesirable, the one thing I must be beware of doing and which my colleagues on that side don't beware of doing, we must beware of saying we've got to stop changing the environment. There is no 'the' environment which we can change, the world is changing all the time.
Here in the United States, a study of nearly 700 women in California showed an increased risk of fetal death among babies whose mothers lived near crops when certain pesticides were sprayed. The largest risks were found among pregnant women exposed during the critical first trimester and among those who lived in the same square mile where pesticides were used.
The foreign policy aim of ants can be summed up as follows: restless aggression, territorial conquest, and genocidal annihilation of neighboring colonies whenever possible. If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week.
A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.
Every mystery solved brings us to the threshold of a greater one.
The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves.
To understand the living present, and the promise of the future, it is necessary to remember the past. β€” Β© Rachel Carson
To understand the living present, and the promise of the future, it is necessary to remember the past.
Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience.
The chimpanzee and the human share about 99.5 percent of their evolutionary history, yet most human thinkers regard the chimp as a malformed, irrelevant oddity, while seeing themselves as stepping stones to the Almighty.
A ruin is not just something that happened long ago to someone else; its history is that of us all, the transience of power, of ideas, of all human endeavors.
We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature.
Drink in the beauty and wonder at the meaning of what you see.
There are never victories in conservation. If you want to save a species or a habitat, it's a fight forevermore. You can never turn your back.
Even in the vast and mysterious reaches of the sea we are brought back to the fundamental truth that nothing lives to itself.
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
The vulgarization of Darwinism that sees the "struggle for existence" as nothing but the competition for some environmental resource in short supply ignores the large body of evidence about the actual complexity of the relationship between organisms and their resources.
Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?
Between the late 1950s and the late 1980s, more than 750 million tons of chemical wastes were discarded.
Scientists are educated from a very early time and a very early age to believe that the greater scientist is the scientist who makes discoveries or theories that apply to the greatest ambit of things in the world. And if you've only made a very good theory about snails, or a very good theory about some planets but not about the universe as a whole, or about all the history of humankind, then you have in some sense accepted a lower position in the hierarchy of the fame of science as it's taught to you as a young student.
It is not half so important to know as to feel.
The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.
History has got a lot to do with unique circumstances under certain particular cases and grand theories will always find counter cases. I don't think that people whose expertise lies in one thing should try to make grand theories about something (a) where it's very hard to get the evidence to prove that you're right and (b) where it's much too easy to make up stories that seem right.
We can change our thinking. Rather than viewing the chemical adulteration of our environment and our bodies as the inevitable practice of convenience and progress, we can decide that cancer is inconvenient and toxic pollution archaic and primitive. We can start seeing the creation of carcinogens as the result of outmoded technologies. We can demand green engineering and green chemistry. We can let our systems of industry and agriculture know that they are suffering from a design flaw.
We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven't become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man's attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.
The Choice, after all, is ours to make. β€” Β© Rachel Carson
The Choice, after all, is ours to make.
Conservation is a cause that has no end. There is no point at which we will say our work is finished.
Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions and they do not exist side by side with a lust for destruction.
Indeed, the quantity of PCBs still in use plus the quantity still languishing in waste dumps exceeds the total amount that has already escaped into the general environment. Without a program to recall and contain them, semivolatile PCBs will continue to insinuate themselves into the food chain for decades.
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