quotations The Best Quotes About Evolution  

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A list of the best evolution quotes and sayings, including the names of each speaker or author when available. This list is sorted by popularity, so only the most famous evolution quotes are at the top. The authors of these historic evolution quotes are displayed next to each quote, so if you see one you like be sure to check out other inspirational evolution quotes from that same writer.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best quotes about evolution?" and "What are inspirational evolution quotes?"

This list includes notable evolution quotes by various authors, writers, playwrights, speakers, politicians, athletes, poets, and more. Vote on your favorites so that the greatest evolution quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. Don't let your favorite evolution sayings get to the bottom of the list.

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There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. Charles Darwin

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It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in Man for his nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could conscientiously have traced man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been spared to the doctrine of Evolution. Havelock Ellis

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Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous. Barbara Ehrenreich

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An extra-terrestrial philosopher, who had watched a single youth up to the age of twenty-one and had never come across any other human being, might conclude that it is the nature of human beings to grow continually taller and wiser in an indefinite progress towards perfection; and this generalization would be just as well founded as the generalization which evolutionists base upon the previous history of this planet. Bertrand Russell

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Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance. Bertrand Russell

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Evolution is the law of policies: Darwin said it, Socrates endorsed it, Cuvier proved it and established it for all time in his paper on The Survival of the Fittest. These are illustrious names, this is a mighty doctrine: nothing can ever remove it from its firm base, nothing dissolve it, but evolution. Mark Twain

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It is hard for the ape to believe he descended from man. H. L. Mencken

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Man has lost the basic skill of the ape, the ability to scratch its back. Which gave it extraordinary independence, and the liberty to associate for reasons other than the need for mutual back-scratching. Jean Baudrillard

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“‘Creation science’ has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and because good teachers understand exactly why it is false.” Stephen Jay Gould

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Evolution is gaining the psychic zones of the world... life, being and ascent of consciousness, could not continue to advance indefinitely along its line without transforming itself in depth. The being who is the object of his own reflection, in consequence, of that very doubling back upon himself becomes in a flash able to raise himself to a new sphere. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival. Eric Hoffer

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Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved. Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

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God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed -- that is the meaning of evolution. Graham Greene

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"Maybe god created an ape, who doesn't like to think he's an ape."

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The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces -- in nature, in society, in man himself. Leon Trotsky

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Two million years from now the scientists can start a row by claming that the creatures of that period descended from us.

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The question is this -- Is man an ape or an angel? My Lord, I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence these new fanged theories. Benjamin Disraeli

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I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey. Mark Twain

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Our school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud, by teaching evolution as fact. Tom DeLay

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“Humans arose ... as a fortuitous and contingent outcome of thousands of linked events, any one of which could have occurred differently and sent history on an alternative pathway that would not have led to consciousness.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Still, our creationist incubi, who would never let facts spoil a favorite argument, refuse to yield, and continue to assert the absence of all transitional forms by ignoring those that have been found, and continuing to taunt us with admittedly frequent examples of absence.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Why, then, do I continue to claim that creationism isn't science? Simply because these relatively few statements have been tested and conclusively refuted.” Stephen Jay Gould

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After listening to a lecture on evolution by a science professor, a student wrote a poem and titled it The Amazing Professor. The poem read: Once I was a tadpole when I began to begin. Then I was a frog with my tail tucked in. Next I was a monkey on a coconut tree. Now I am a doctor with a Ph.D.

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"... many folks take them seriously because they just ‘know’ that evolution can never be seen in the immediate here and now. In fact, a precisely opposite situation prevails: biologists have documented a veritable glut of cases for rapid and eminently measurable evolution on timescales of years and decades.” Stephen Jay Gould

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Biologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of all its successful individuals since the beginning. H. G. Wells

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"Sigmund Freud often remarked that great revolutions in the history of science have but one common, and ironic, feature: they knock human arrogance off one pedestal after another of our previous conviction about our own self-importance." Stephen Jay Gould

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Evolution has developed man to such a high degree that he builds zoos to keep his ancestors in cages.

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"[L]ife shows no trend to complexity in the usual sense—only an asymmetrical expansion of diversity around a starting point constrained to be simple.” Stephen Jay Gould

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... each with its own beauty, and each with a story to tell. Stephen Jay Gould

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The more specific idea of Evolution now reached is -- a change from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity, accompanying the dissipation of motion and integration of matter. Herbert Spencer

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“Charles Darwin viewed the fossil record more as an embarrassment than as an aid to his theory ..." Stephen Jay Gould

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“Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components.” Stephen Jay Gould

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

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“History does include aspects of directionality, and the present range of causes and phenomena does not exhaust the realm of past possibilities.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Sure we fit. We wouldn't be here if we didn't. But the world wasn't made for us and it will endure without us.” Stephen Jay Gould

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"... For Dawkins, evolution is a battle among genes, each seeking to make more copies of itself. Bodies are merely the places where genes aggregate for a time ..." Stephen Jay Gould

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“[S]ome evolutionists will protest that we are caricaturing their view of adaptation. After all, do they not admit genetic drift, allometry, and a variety of reasons for nonadaptive evolution?” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Developmental constraints, a subcategory of phyletic restrictions, may hold the most powerful rein of all over possible evolutionary pathways. In complex organisms, early stages of ontogeny are remarkably refractory to evolutionary change, presumably because the differentiation of organ systems and their integration into a functioning body is such a delicate process so easily derailed by early errors with accumulating effects. Von Baer's fundamental embryological laws (1828) represent little more than a recognition that early stages are both highly conservative and strongly restrictive of later development. Haeckel's biogenetic law, the primary subject of late nineteenth century evolutionary biology, rested upon a misreading of the same data (Gould, 1977). If development occurs in integrated packages and cannot be pulled apart piece by piece in evolution, then the adaptationist programme cannot explain the alteration of developmental programmes underlying nearly all changes of Bauplan Stephen Jay Gould

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“Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Our creationist detractors charge that evolution is an unproved and unprovable charade—a secular religion masquerading as science. They claim, above all, that evolution generates no predictions, never exposes itself to test, and therefore stands as dogma rather than disprovable science. This claim is nonsense. We make and test risky predictions all the time; our success is not dogma, but a highly probable indication of evolution's basic truth.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“The myriad valleys could have arisen anywhere on the landscape. The current positions are quite accidental. If we could repeat the experiment, we might obtain no valleys at all, or a completely different system. Yet we now stand at the shore line contemplating the fine spacing of valleys and their even contact with the sea. How easy it is to be misled and to assume that no other landscape could possibly have arisen.” Stephen Jay Gould

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One of the stupidest theories of Western life. Malcolm Muggeridge

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“The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. It in fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record. It is gradualism that we must reject, not Darwinism. " Stephen Jay Gould

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“If evolution almost always occurs by rapid speciation in small, peripheral isolates, then what should the fossil record look like? We are not likely to detect the event of speciation itself. It happens too fast, in too small a group, isolated too far from the ancestral range ..." Stephen Jay Gould

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“Speciation does not necessarily promote evolutionary change; rather, speciation 'gathers in' and guards evolutionary change by locking and stabilization for sufficient geological time within a Darwinian individual of the appropriate scale. If a change in a local population does not gain such protection, it becomes—to borrow Dawkins's metaphor at a macroevolutionary scale—a transient duststorm in the desert of time, a passing cloud without borders, integrity, or even the capacity to act as a unit of selection, in the panorama of life's phylogeny.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“The literal record was not a hopelessly and imperfect fraction of truly insensible gradation within large populations but an accurate reflection of the actual process identified by evolutionists as the chief motor of biological change. The theory of punctuated equilibrium was, in its initial formulation, little more than this insight adumbrated.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“In their recently aborted struggle to inject Genesis literalism into science classrooms, fundamentalist groups followed their usual opportunistic strategy of arguing two contradictory sides of a question when a supposed rhetorical advantage could be extracted from each ..." Stephen Jay Gould

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“I emphatically do not assert the general ‘truth’ of this philosophy of punctuational change. Any attempt to support the exclusive validity of such a grandiose notion would border on the nonsensical.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.” Stephen Jay Gould

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“Forelimbs of people, porpoises, bats and horses provide the classic example of homology in most textbooks. They look different, and do different things, but are built of the same bones. No engineer, starting from scratch each time, would have built such disparate structures from the same parts.” Stephen Jay Gould