Best 68 of Natural selection quotes - MyQuotes

By Anonym 16 Sep

August Weismann

Evidently neither cats nor dogs, nor other animals that listen to human music, were constituted for the appreciation of it, for it is not of the slightest use to them in the struggle for existence. Moreover, they and their organs of hearing were much older than man and his music. Their power of appreciating music is therefore an uncontemplated side-faculty of a hearing apparatus which has become on other grounds what we find it to be. So it is, I believe, with man. He has not acquired his musical hearing as such, but has received a highly developed organ of hearing by a process of selection, because it was necessary to him in the selective process ; and this organ of hearing happens also to be adapted to listening to music.

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 14 Sep

Ronald Fisher

Natural selection is not evolution.

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 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 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 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

Abhijit Naskar

Nature deemed God worthy and hence chose it as her slave to serve the humans appearing as the master.

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 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 18 Sep

Ed Yong

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

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 14 Sep

Richard Dawkins

Natural selection is anything but random.

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 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 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

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 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 14 Sep

Charles Darwin

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

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

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

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 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.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Abhijit Naskar

Biology is run by intricate cellular mechanisms. Cellular mechanisms are run by Nature. Thus, the more we attempt to understand Nature, the more we get closer to our existential properties.

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 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 14 Sep

Lynn Margulis

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

By Anonym 17 Sep

Karl Popper

Natural selection has destroyed the proof for the miraculous specific intervention of the Creator. But it has left us with the marvel of the creativeness of the universe, of life, and of the human mind.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Charles Darwin

We shall best understand the probable course of natural selection by taking the case of a country undergoing some physical change, for instance, of climate. The proportional numbers of its inhabitants would almost immediately undergo a change, and some species might become extinct. We may conclude, from what we have seen of the intimate and complex manner in which the inhabitants of each country are bound together, that any change in the numerical proportions of some of the inhabitants, independently of the change of climate itself, would most seriously affect many of the others. If the country were open on its borders, new forms would certainly immigrate, and this also would seriously disturb the relations of some of the former inhabitants. Let it be remembered how powerful the influence of a single introduced tree or mammal has been shown to be. But in the case of an island, or of a country partly surrounded by barriers, into which new and better adapted forms could not freely enter, we should then have places in the economy of nature which would assuredly be better filled up, if some of the original inhabitants were in some manner modified; for, had the area been open to immigration, these same places would have been seized on by intruders. In such case, every slight modification, which in the course of ages chanced to arise, and which in any way favoured the individuals of any of the species, by better adapting them to their altered conditions, would tend to be preserved; and natural selection would thus have free scope for the work of improvement.

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 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 16 Sep

E F Schumacher

It is therefore scientifically correct to say that 'natural selection has been proved to be an agent of evolutionary change' - we can, in fact, prove it by doing. But it is totally illegitimate to claim that the discovery of this mechanism - natural selection - proves that the cause of evolution 'was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design'.

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 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

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 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 17 Sep

Nick Bostrom

Nature might be a great experimentalist, but one who would never pass muster with an ethics review board – contravening the Helsinki Declaration and every norm of moral decency, left, right, and center.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Abhijit Naskar

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

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

Human vice is proof that biological adaption is, speaking literally, a thing of the past. Our minds are adapted to the small foraging bands in which our family spent ninety-nine percent of its existence, not the topsy-turvy contingencies we have created since the agricultural and industrial revolutions. [...] People do not divine what is adaptive for them or their genes; their genes give them thoughts and feelings that were adaptive in the environment in which the genes were selected.

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 18 Sep

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Christians who engaged in infamous persecutions and shameful inquisitions were not evil men but misguided men. The churchmen who felt they had an edict from God to withstand the progress of science, whether in the form of a Copernican revolution or a Darwinian theory of natural selection, were not mischievous men but misinformed men.

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 17 Sep

Paul Greenberg

Natural selection has a new aspect, one that is psychological denial. Such denial where the “individual benefits as an individual from his ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, which he is apart, suffers”.

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 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 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 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 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

Charles Darwin

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