The history of biology is littered with horrifying examples of the misuse of genetics (and evolutionary theory) to justify power and inequality: evolutionary justifications for slavery and colonialism, scientific explanations for rape and patriarchy, and genetic explanations for the inherent superiority of the ruling elite.
It is so hard for an evolutionary biologist to write about extinction caused by human stupidity. […] Let me then float an unconventional plea, the inverse of the usual argument. […] The extinction of Partula is unfair to Partula . That is the conventional argument, and I do not challenge its primacy. But we need a humanistic ecology as well, both for the practical reason that people will always touch people more than snails do or can, and for the moral reason that humans are legitimately the measure of all ethical questions for these are our issues, not nature's.stephen jay gould
The theologian could rewrite the Epic of Evolution by expanding on the story told by the scientist. The theologian could declare that this evolutionary story has had a plot all along. When God created the world in the beginning, according to this option, God placed a potential into creation which now through evolution is becoming actualized.
The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialisation, 'Western civilisation' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.john n. gray
I like to summarize what I regard as the pedestal-smashing messages of Darwin's revolution in the following statement, which might be chanted several times a day, like a Hare Krishna mantra, to encourage penetration into the soul: Humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which, if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again, or perhaps any twig with any property that we would care to call consciousness.stephen jay gould
We have an evolutionary revulsion from slime, the site of our biologic origins. Every month, it is woman's fate to face the abyss of time and being, the abyss which is herself.camille paglia
I can think of a few microorganisms, possibly the tubercle bacillus, the syphilis spirochete, the malarial parasite, and a few others, that have a selective advantage in their ability to infect human beings, but there is nothing to be gained, in an evolutionary sense, by the capacity to cause illness or death. Pathogenicity may be something of a disadvantage for most microbes, carrying lethal risks far more frightening to them than to us. The man who catches a meningococcus is in considerably less danger for his life, even without chemotherapy, than meningococci with the bad luck to catch a man.lewis thomas
What kind of God can one infer from the sort of phenomena epitomized by the species on Darwin's Galapagos Islands? The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror.… The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.david hull
I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen.timothy leary
Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going.timothy leary
People who wish to salute the free and independent side of their evolutionary character acquire cats. People who wish to pay homage to their servile and salivating roots own dogs.Anna Quindlen
Year-end financial statements … express a truth about office life which is no less irrefutable yet also, in the end, no less irrelevant or irritating than an evolutionary biologist’s proud reminder that the purpose of existence lies in the propagation of our genes.Alain de Botton
This is perhaps the most important book on evolutionary genetics ever written"ronald fisher
I want to argue that the “sudden” appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. […] evolutionary “sequences” are not rungs on a ladder, but our retrospective reconstruction of a circuitous path running like a labyrinth, branch to branch, from the base of the bush to a lineage now surviving at its top.stephen jay gould
How ironic. In order to avoid the "nutty" theory of inversion, Gaskell invented the even odder notion of stomachs turning into brains with new guts forming below. No wonder then, that later biologists cast a plague on both speculative houses and opted instead for the obvious alternative: arthropods and vertebrates do not share the same anatomical plan at all, but rather represent two separate evolutionary developments of similar complexity from a much simpler common ancestor that grew neither a discrete gut nor a central nerve cord.stephen jay gould
Independent derivation meshed beautifully with the triumph, from the 1930's on, of a strict version of Darwinism based on the near ubiquity of adaptive design built by natural selection... Arthropods and vertebrates do share several features of functional design. But those similarities only reflect the power of natural selection to craft optimal structures independently in a world of limited biomechanical solutions to common functional problems - an evolutionary phenomenon called convergence .stephen jay gould
We can now determine, easily and relatively cheaply, the detailed chemical architecture of genes ; and we can trace the products of these genes ( enzymes and proteins ) as they influence the course of embryology . In so doing we have made the astounding discovery that all complex animal phyla - arthropods and vertebrates in particular - have retained, despite their half-billion years of evolutionary independence, an extensive set of common genetic blueprints for building bodies.stephen jay gould
In short, the root-head turns the crab into a Darwinian cipher, a feeding machine working entirely in the parasite's service. The castrated crab can make no contribution to its own evolutionary history; its "Darwinian fitness" has become flat zero. ...But ever so carefully, for the parasite must maintain the crab in constant and perfect servitude - not draining the host enough to kill this golden goose, but not letting the crab do anything for its own Darwinian benefit.stephen jay gould
I am willing to believe that my unobtainable sixty seconds within a sponge or a flatworm might not reveal any mental acuity that I would care to call consciousness. But I am also confident […] that vultures and sloths, as close evolutionary relatives with the same basic set of organs, lie on our side of any meaningful (and necessarily fuzzy) border and that we are therefore not mistaken when we look them in the eye and see a glimmer of emotional and conceptual affinity.stephen jay gould
Repression is an evolutionary adaptation permitting us to function under the burden of our expanded consciousness. For what we are conscious of could drive us mad.camille paglia
One cannot ignore half of life for the purposes of science, and then claim that the results of science give a full and adequate picture of the meaning of life. All discussions of 'life' which begin with a description of man's place on a speck of matter in space, in an endless evolutionary scale, are bound to be half-measures, because they leave out most of the experiences which are important to use as human beings.colin wilson
The first thing I would like to point out is that each of us have a different purpose that we have to serve in the evolutionary scheme of things. We are not all equally endowed to do everything. When I speak about teleological evolution, I speak about the idea of "telos," purpose.
I speak about universal evolution and teleological evolution, because I think the process of evolution reflects the wisdom of nature. I see the need for wisdom to become operative. We need to try to put all of these things together in what I call an evolutionary philosophy of our time.
We freely acknowledge that there is room for differences of opinion on such problems as species formation and the mechanisms of evolutionary change. Nevertheless, we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious dispute.
What kind of God can one infer from the sort of phenomena epitomized by the species on Darwin's Galapagos Islands? The evolutionary process is rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror.… The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.
Capitalism is not so much an aberration as a step on an evolutionary path, and one that contains within it some of the answers to its own contradictions.
The evolutionary vision is agnostic in regard to systems in the universe of greater complexity than those of which human beings have clear knowledge . It recognizes aesthetic, moral, and religious ideas and experiences as a species, in this case of mental structures or of images, which clearly interacts with other species in the world's great ecosystem.kenneth boulding
The secular picture ... proposes a purely physical and purposeless universe, inhabited by evolutionary accidents whose sense of self is probably illusory.