Stephen Jay Gould Quotes



Best 12 Other Quotes by Stephen Jay Gould

“H*mo sapiens are a tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree.”

“Life is short, and potential studies infinite. We have a much better chance of accomplishing something significant when we follow our passionate interests and work in areas of deepest personal meaning.”

“Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview – nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.”

“Nothing matches the holiness and fascination of accurate and intricate detail.”

“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.”

“Science is not a heartless pursuit of objective information; it is a creative human activity.”

“Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism – and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.”

“The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question.”

“The most important tactic in an argument next to being right is to leave an escape hatch for your opponent so that he can gracefully swing over to your side without an embarrassing loss of face.”

“We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher answer’ – but none exists.”

“We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes — one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximum freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way.”

“When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.”

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“The most important question facing humanity is this: Can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?”


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