Best 68 of Natural selection quotes - MyQuotes

By Anonym 15 Sep

Michael Pollan

Darwin called such a process artificial, as opposed to natural, selection, but from the flower’s point of view, this is a distinction without a difference: individual plants in which a trait desired by either bees or Turks occurred wound up with more offspring.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Steven Pinker

People who are depressed at the thought that all our motives are selfish are [confused]. They have mixed up ultimate causation (why something evolved by natural selection) with proximate causation (how the entity works here and now). [A] good way to understand the logic of natural selection is to imagine that genes are agents with selfish motives. [T]he genes have metaphorical motives — making copies of themselves — and the organisms they design have real motives. But they are not the same motives. Sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is wire unselfish motives into a human brain — heartfelt, unstinting, deep-in-the-marrow unselfishness. The love of children (who carry one's genes into posterity), a faithful spouse (whose genetic fate is identical to one's own), and friends and allies (who trust you if you're trustworthy) can be bottomless and unimpeachable as far as we humans are concerned (proximate level), even if it is metaphorically self-serving as far as the genes are concerned (ultimate level). Combine this with the common misconception that the genes are a kind of essence or core of the person, and you get a mongrel of Dawkins and Freud: the idea that the metaphorical motives of the genes are the deep, unconscious, ulterior motives of the person. That is an error.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Natalie Angier

I'm an Atheist. I don't believe in God, Gods, Godlets or any sort of higher power beyond the universe itself, which seems quite high and powerful enough to me. I don't believe in life after death, channeled chat rooms with the dead, reincarnation, telekinesis or any miracles but the miracle of life and consciousness, which again strike me as miracles in nearly obscene abundance. I believe that the universe abides by the laws of physics, some of which are known, others of which will surely be discovered, but even if they aren't, that will simply be a result, as my colleague George Johnson put it, of our brains having evolved for life on this one little planet and thus being inevitably limited. I'm convinced that the world as we see it was shaped by the again genuinely miraculous, let's even say transcendent, hand of evolution through natural selection.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Pierce Brown

They believe civilization weakens natural selection. They do nature’s work so that we do not become a soft race.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Pierre-louis Moreau De Maupertuis

Might one not say that in the chance combination of nature's production, since only those endowed with certain relations of suitability could survive, it is no cause for wonder that this suitability is found in all species that exist today? Chance, one might say, produced an innumerable multitude of individuals; a small number turned out to be constructed in such fashion that the parts of the animal could satisfy its needs; in another, infinitely greater number, there was neither suitability nor order: all of the later have perished; animals without a mouth could not live, others lacking organs for reproduction could not perpetuate themselves: the only ones to have remained are those in which were found order and suitability; and these species, which we see today, are only the smallest part of what blind fate produced.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Lynn Margulis

Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn't create.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Michael J. Behe

The most essential prediction of Darwinism is that, given an astronomical number of chances, unintelligent processes can make seemingly-designed systems, ones of the complexity of those found in the cell. ID specifically denies this, predicting that in the absence of intelligent input no such systems would develop. So Darwinism and ID make clear, opposite predictions of what we should find when we examine genetic results from a stupendous number of organisms that are under relentless pressure from natural selection. The recent genetic results are a stringent test. The results: 1) Darwinism’s prediction is falsified; 2) Design’s prediction is confirmed.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Charles Darwin

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree...The difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection , though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Thomm Quackenbush

When I see the moon on a clear night, I do say "blessed be" and I remind myself to be grateful to the universe that I happen to exist in such a lovely and wondrous world, even and especially as I can rattle on about magma cooling, abiogenesis, and natural selection.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Nicole Williams

...and specimens like this confirmed there had been some kind of divine rule in the universe because no natural selection process was up to the task of creating something like him. This was some god’s, somewhere’s, handiwork.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Robert Wright

Perhaps the most legitimately dispiriting thing about reciprocal altruism is that it is a misnomer. Whereas with kin selection the "goal" of our genes is to actually help another organism, with reciprocal altruism the goal is that the organism be left under the impression that we've helped; the impression alone is enough to bring the reciprocation.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Herbert Spencer

And yet, strange to say, now that the truth [of natural selection] is recognized by most cultivated people...now more than ever, in the history of the world, are they doing all they can to further the survival of the unfittest.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Richard Dawkins

There was something built into the human brain by natural selection which was once useful, and which now manifests itself as religion.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Jean-baptiste Lamarck

It is not the organs—that is, the character and form of the animal's bodily parts—that have given rise to its habits and particular structures. It is the habits and manner of life and the conditions in which its ancestors lived that have in the course of time fashioned its bodily form, its organs and qualities.

By Anonym 15 Sep

R. W. Van Bemmelen

An example of such emergent phenomena is the origin of life from non-living chemical compounds in the oldest, lifeless oceans of the earth. Here, aided by the radiation energy received from the sun, countless chemical materials were synthesized and accumulated in such a way that they constituted, as it were, a primeval “soup.” In this primeval soup, by infinite variations of lifeless growth and decay of substances during some billions of years, the way of life was ultimately reached, with its metabolism characterized by selective assimilation and dissimilation as end stations of a sluiced and canalized flow of free chemical energy.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Charles Darwin

Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Niels Kaj Jerne

More about the selection theory: Jerne meant that the Socratic idea of learning was a fitting analogy for 'the logical basis of the selective theories of antibody formation': Can the truth (the capability to synthesize an antibody) be learned? If so, it must be assumed not to pre-exist; to be learned, it must be acquired. We are thus confronted with the difficulty to which Socrates calls attention in Meno [ ... ] namely, that it makes as little sense to search for what one does not know as to search for what one knows; what one knows, one cannot search for, since one knows it already, and what one does not know, one cannot search for, since one does not even know what to search for. Socrates resolves this difficulty by postulating that learning is nothing but recollection. The truth (the capability to synthesize an antibody) cannot be brought in, but was already inherent.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Lee Spetner

Common sense says that the amazing complexity of life cannot arise out of a random process. The neo-Darwinians use clever arguments to show why evolution should work and why common sense is wrong. One after the other of them has explained that although the variability occurs randomly, the selection process gives it direction and makes it nonrandom. . . . if the arguments were solid and correct they should have put the theory on a stable and reliable foundation. The neo-Darwinians would like everyone to believe they have done that.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Richard Dawkins

Natural selection is anything but random.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Ernst Mayr

{On to contributions to evolutionary biology of 18th century French scientist, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon} He was not an evolutionary biologist, yet he was the father of evolutionism. He was the first person to discuss a large number of evolutionary problems, problems that before Buffon had not been raised by anybody.... he brought them to the attention of the scientific world. Except for Aristotle and Darwin, no other student of organisms [whole animals and plants] has had as far-reaching an influence. He brought the idea of evolution into the realm of science. He developed a concept of the "unity of type", a precursor of comparative anatomy. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the acceptance of a long-time scale for the history of the earth. He was one of the first to imply that you get inheritance from your parents, in a description based on similarities between elephants and mammoths. And yet, he hindered evolution by his frequent endorsement of the immutability of species. He provided a criterion of species, fertility among members of a species, that was thought impregnable.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Charles Darwin

One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Jacques Monod

Even today a good many distinguished minds seem unable to accept or even to understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could have drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates upon the products of chance and can feed nowhere else; but it operates in a domain of very demanding conditions, and from this domain chance is barred. It is not to chance but to these conditions that evolution owes its generally progressive course, its successive conquests, and the impression it gives of a smooth and steady unfolding.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Abhijit Naskar

Our present intricate humanly consciousness evolved after a long journey of struggle. And the beauty of natural selection is that our struggle against nature made us worthy of being rewarded with the 3 lbs. lump of highly advanced biological computer by our Mother Nature herself.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Steven Pinker

It looks as if the offspring have eyes so that they can see well (bad, teleological, backward causation), but that's an illusion. The offspring have eyes because their parents' eyes did see well (good, ordinary, forward causation).

By Anonym 16 Sep

Steven Pinker

George Williams, the revered evolutionary biologist, describes the natural world as “grossly immoral.” Having no foresight or compassion, natural selection “can honestly be described as a process for maximizing short-sighted selfishness.” On top of all the miseries inflicted by predators and parasites, the members of a species show no pity to their own kind. Infanticide, siblicide, and rape can be observed in many kinds of animals; infidelity is common even in so-called pair-bonded species; cannibalism can be expected in all species that are not strict vegetarians; death from fighting is more common in most animal species than it is in the most violent American cities. Commenting on how biologists used to describe the killing of starving deer by mountain lions as an act of mercy, Williams wrote: “The simple facts are that both predation and starvation are painful prospects for deer, and that the lion's lot is no more enviable. Perhaps biology would have been able to mature more rapidly in a culture not dominated by Judeo-Christian theology and the Romantic tradition. It might have been well served by the First Holy Truth from [Buddha's] Sermon at Benares: “Birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful...”” As soon as we recognize that there is nothing morally commendable about the products of evolution, we can describe human psychology honestly, without the fear that identifying a “natural” trait is the same as condoning it. As Katharine Hepburn says to Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, “Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Hans Selye

Indeed, not all attacks—especially the bitter and ridiculing kind leveled at Darwin—are offered in good faith, but for practical purposes it is good policy to assume that they are.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Karl Pearson

The starting point of Darwin's theory of evolution is precisely the existence of those differences between individual members of a race or species which morphologists for the most part rightly neglect. The first condition necessary, in order that any process of Natural Selection may begin among a race, or species, is the existence of differences among its members; and the first step in an enquiry into the possible effect of a selective process upon any character of a race must be an estimate of the frequency with which individuals, exhibiting any given degree of abnormality with respect to that, character, occur. The unit, with which such an enquiry must deal, is not an individual but a race, or a statistically representative sample of a race; and the result must take the form of a numerical statement, showing the relative frequency with which the various kinds of individuals composing the race occur.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Abhijit Naskar

For a man, the optimal evolutionary strategy is to disseminate his genes as widely as possible, given his few minutes (or, alas, seconds) of investment in each encounter. It all makes simple evolutionary sense, since a woman invests a good deal of time and effort -a nine month long, risky, strenuous pregnancy, in each offspring. Naturally she has to be very discerning in her choice of sexual partners.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Steven Magee

Any species that devours its natural environment will eventually fall victim to the resulting silence and I call the toxicity of silence: Extinction Silence

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ronald Fisher

Natural selection is not evolution.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Richard Dawkins

But the very fact that Darwinism is true makes it even more important for us to fight against the naturally selfish and exploitative tendencies of nature.We can do it.Probably no other species of animal or plant can. We can do it because our brains (admittedly given to us by natural selection for reasons pf short-term Darwinian gain) are big enough to see into the future and plot long-term consequences.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Garrett Hardin

Natural selection favors the forces of psychological denial. The individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is a part, suffers. Education can counteract the natural tendency to do the wrong thing, but the inexorable succession of generations requires that the basis for this knowledge be constantly refreshed.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Richard Dawkins

It is a strange fact, incidentally, that religious apologists love the anthropic principle. For some reason that makes no sense at all, they think it supports their case. Precisely the opposite is true. The anthropic principle, like natural selection, is an alternative to the design hypothesis. It provides a rational, design-free explanation for the fact that we find ourselves in a situation propitious to our existence.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Ronald A. Fisher

It will be noticed that the fundamental theorem proved above bears some remarkable resemblances to the second law of thermodynamics. Both are properties of populations, or aggregates, true irrespective of the nature of the units which compose them; both are statistical laws; each requires the constant increase of a measurable quantity, in the one case the entropy of a physical system and in the other the fitness, measured by m, of a biological population. As in the physical world we can conceive the theoretical systems in which dissipative forces are wholly absent, and in which the entropy consequently remains constant, so we can conceive, though we need not expect to find, biological populations in which the genetic variance is absolutely zero, and in which fitness does not increase. Professor Eddington has recently remarked that 'The law that entropy always increases—the second law of thermodynamics—holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of nature'. It is not a little instructive that so similar a law should hold the supreme position among the biological sciences. While it is possible that both may ultimately be absorbed by some more general principle, for the present we should note that the laws as they stand present profound differences—-(1) The systems considered in thermodynamics are permanent; species on the contrary are liable to extinction, although biological improvement must be expected to occur up to the end of their existence. (2) Fitness, although measured by a uniform method, is qualitatively different for every different organism, whereas entropy, like temperature, is taken to have the same meaning for all physical systems. (3) Fitness may be increased or decreased by changes in the environment, without reacting quantitatively upon that environment. (4) Entropy changes are exceptional in the physical world in being irreversible, while irreversible evolutionary changes form no exception among biological phenomena. Finally, (5) entropy changes lead to a progressive disorganization of the physical world, at least from the human standpoint of the utilization of energy, while evolutionary changes are generally recognized as producing progressively higher organization in the organic world.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Abhijit Naskar

Homosexuality is nature’s way of keeping the population in check.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Thomas Henry Huxley

In Paley's famous illustration, the adaptation of all the parts of the watch to the function, or purpose, of showing the time, is held to be evidence that the watch was specially contrived to that end; on the ground, that the only cause we know of, competent to produce such an effect as a watch which shall keep time, is a contriving intelligence adapting the means directly to that end. Suppose, however, that any one had been able to show that the watch had not been made directly by any person, but that it was the result of the modification of another watch which kept time but poorly; and that this again had proceeded from a structure which could hardly be called a watch at all—seeing that it had no figures on the dial and the hands were rudimentary; and that going back and back in time we came at last to a revolving barrel as the earliest traceable rudiment of the whole fabric. And imagine that it had been possible to show that all these changes had resulted, first, from a tendency of the structure to vary indefinitely; and secondly, from something in the surrounding world which helped all variations in the direction of an accurate time-keeper, and checked all those in other directions; then it is obvious that the force of Paley's argument would be gone. For it would be demonstrated that an apparatus thoroughly well adapted to a particular purpose might be the result of a method of trial and error worked by unintelligent agents, as well as of the direct application of the means appropriate to that end, by an intelligent agent. Now it appears to us that what we have here, for illustration's sake, supposed to be done with the watch, is exactly what the establishment of Darwin's Theory will do for the organic world. For the notion that every organism has been created as it is and launched straight at a purpose, Mr. Darwin substitutes the conception of something which may fairly be termed a method of trial and error. Organisms vary incessantly; of these variations the few meet with surrounding conditions which suit them and thrive; the many are unsuited and become extinguished.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Ed Yong

The brutal contract of natural selection ensures that if one partner is unnecessary, it gets dumped.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Steven Magee

The human skin evolved in a natural electromagnetic radiation environment and is now in a very unnatural man-made one that is making many people sick.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Charles Darwin

It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war lurking just below the serene facade of nature.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Steven Magee

The human has genetic adaptation to natural electromagnetic radiation. Increasing, reducing or removing the natural radiation exposures results in a sickened human that may progress onto a diseased state.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Herbert Spencer

Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity, and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Andrew T Kelly

if ideas were viruses, then, like any virus, they would mutate rapidly and often arbitrarily, with only the fitter ideas spreading and continuing their lineage. We simply do not see this with any sort of knowledge.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Charles Darwin

I think it can be shown that there is such an unerring power at work in Natural Selection, which selects exclusively for the good of each organic being.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Peter Watts

While a number of people have pointed out the various costs and drawbacks of sentience, few if any have taken the next step and wondered out loud if the whole damn thing isn't more trouble than it's worth. Of course it is, people assume; otherwise natural selection would have weeded it out long ago. And they're probably right. I hope they are. "Blindsight" is a thought experiment, a game of "Just suppose" and "What if". Nothing more. On the other hand, the dodos and the Steller sea cows could have used exactly the same argument to prove their own superioirity, a thousand years ago: "if we're so unfit, why haven't we gone extinct?" Why? Because natural selection takes time, and luck plays a role. The biggest boys on the block at any given time aren't necessarily the fittest, or the most efficient, and the game isn't over. The game is never over; there's no finish line this side of heat death. And so, neither can there be any winners. There are only those who haven't yet lost.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Richard Dawkins

Natural selection is not only a parsimonious, plausible and elegant solution; it is the only workable alternative to chance that has ever been suggested. Intelligent design suffers from exactly the same objection as chance. It is simply not a plausible solution to the riddle of statistical improbability. And the higher the improbability, the more implausible intelligent design becomes. Seen clearly, intelligent design will turn out to be a redoubling of the problem. Once again, this is because the designer himself (/herself/itself) immediately raises the bigger problem of his own origin. Any entity capable of intelligently designing something as improbable as a Dutchman's Pipe (or a universe) would have to be even more improbable than a Dutchman's Pipe. Far from terminating the vicious regress, God aggravates it with a vengeance.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Richard Dawkins

The arms race between [predators] and [prey] is asymmetric, in which success on either side is felt as failure by the other side, but the nature of the success and failure on the two sides is very different. The two sides are 'trying' to do very different things. [Predators] are trying to eat [prey]. [Prey] are not trying to eat [predators], they are trying to avoid being eaten by [predators]. From an evolutionary point of view asymmetric arms races are more [likely] to generate highly complex weapons systems.

By Anonym 16 Sep

James Hutton

...if an organised body is not in the situation and circumstances best adapted to its sustenance and propagation, then, in conceiving an indefinite variety among the individuals of that species, we must be assured, that, on the one hand, those which depart most from the best adapted constitution, will be the most liable to perish, while, on the other hand, those organised bodies, which most approach to the best constitution for the present circumstances, will be best adapted to continue, in preserving themselves and multiplying the individuals of their race.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Herbert Spencer

This survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest. {The phrase 'survival of the fittest' was not originated by Charles Darwin, though he discussed Spencer's 'excellent expression' in a letter to Alfred Russel Wallace (Jul 1866).}

By Anonym 16 Sep

Charles Darwin

I fully agree with all that you say on the advantages of H. Spencer's excellent expression of 'the survival of the fittest.' This, however, had not occurred to me till reading your letter. It is, however, a great objection to this term that it cannot be used as a substantive governing a verb; and that this is a real objection I infer from H. Spencer continually using the words, natural selection. (Letter to A. R. Wallace July 1866)

By Anonym 19 Sep

Thomas Henry Huxley

The tendency to variation in living beings, which all admitted as a matter of fact; the selective influence of conditions, which no one could deny to be a matter of fact, when his attention was drawn to the evidence; and the occurrence of great geological changes which also was matter of fact; could be used as the only necessary postulates of a theory of the evolution of plants and animals which, even if not at once, competent to explain all the known facts of biological science, could not be shown to be inconsistent with any.