[Quotes] [Evolution, #2, #3, #4]
"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve." (Futuyma D.J., "Evolutionary Biology," , Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, Second Edition, 1986, p.7)[top]
"It is now possible, however, to redescribe the evolutionary process in the language of modern genetics. Evolution can be broadly defined as a change in the heredity of a population. Population genetics permits an even more precise definition: evolution is any change in gene frequency in a population." (Wilson E.O., et al., "Life on Earth," , Sinauer Associates: Sunderland MA, 1975, reprint, p.772)[top]
"The definition widely adopted in recent decades-`Evolution is the change of gene frequencies in populations'-refers only to the transformational component. It tells us nothing about the multiplication of species nor, more broadly, about the origin of organic diversity. A broader definition is needed which would include both transformation and diversification." (Mayr E., "The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1982, p400).[top]
"All phenomena have a historical aspect. From the condensation of nebulae to the development of the infant in the womb, from the formation of the earth as a planet to the making of a political decision, they are all processes in time; and they are all interrelated as partial processes within the single universal process of reality. All reality, in fact, is evolution, in the perfectly proper sense that it is a one-way process in time, unitary; continuous; irreversible; self-transforming; and generating variety and novelty during its transformations. (Huxley J.S., "Evolution in Action," , Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1963, reprint, p.12)[top]
"This centennial celebration is one of the first occasions on which it has been frankly faced that all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers, from fish and flowers to human societies and values - indeed that all reality is a single process of evolution. And ours is the first period in which we have acquired sufficient knowledge to begin to see the outline of this vast process as a whole." (Huxley J.S., "The Humanist Frame," in "Essays of a Humanist," , Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1969, reprint, p.78)[top]
"Evolution comprises all the stages of the development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. Attempts to restrict the concept of evolution to biology are gratuitous. Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic nature, and man is a product of the evolution of life." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Changing Man," Science, 27 January 1967, Vol. 155, No. 3761, p409)[top]
"What is the relationship between organic and other kinds of evolution? During the century and more since Darwinism came into being, the concept of evolution has been applied not only to the living world but to the nonbiological as well. Thus, we speak of the evolution of the entire universe, the solar system, and the physical earth, apart from the organisms that inhabit it.... the origin of life is best explained as the outcome of precellular chemical evolution, which took place over millions of years. We also speak of social or cultural evolution. ... the present state of mankind on the earth is the outcome of three kinds of evolution: chemical, organic and social or cultural evolution." (Dobzhansky T.G., Ayala F.J., Stebbins G.L. & Valentine J.W., "Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1977, p.9)[top]
"This centennial celebration is one of the first occasions on which it has been frankly faced that all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers, from fish and flowers to human societies and values - indeed that all reality is a single process of evolution." (Huxley J.S., "The Humanist Frame," in "Essays of a Humanist," , Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1969, reprint, p.78)[top]
"Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow." ( Teilhard de Chardin P., "The Phenomenon of Man," , Fontana: London, 1967, Fifth Impression, p.241)[top]
"They survived by swiftness and cunning. And then, only a moment ago, some small arboreal animals scampered down from the trees. They became upright and taught themselves the use of tools, domesticated other animals, plants and fire, and devised language. The ash of stellar alchemy was now emerging into consciousness. At an ever- accelerating pace, it in vented writing, cities, art and science, and sent spaceships to the planets and the stars. These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution. It has the sound of epic myth, and rightly. But it is simply a description of cosmic evolution as revealed by the science of our time. We are difficult to come by and a danger to ourselves. But any account of cosmic evolution makes it clear that all the creatures of our Earth, the latest manufactures of the galactic hydrogen industry, are beings to be cherished." ( Sagan C., "Cosmos," , Macdonald: London, 1981, reprint, pp.337-339)[top]
"There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the "Special Theory of Evolution " and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experiments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the "General Theory of Evolution" and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. It is not clear whether the changes that bring about speciation are of the same nature as those that brought about the development of new phyla. The answer will be found by future experimental work and not by dogmatic assertions that the General Theory of Evolution must be correct because there is nothing else that will satisfactorily take its place." (Kerkut G.A., "Implications of Evolution," in Kerkut G.A., ed. "International Series of Monographs on Pure and Applied Biology, Division: Zoology," Volume 4, Pergamon Press: New York NY, 1960, p.157).[top]
"To have a theory of evolution we need a theory of development; but to have a theory of development we need a theory of molecular interactions during the construction of an organism. We don't have a theory of interactions and so it is difficult to have a comprehensive theory of evolution. Indeed, I shall argue that we can no more have a theory of developmental interactions than we can have a theory of history, despite the attempts to produce one. So can we really have a true theory of evolution? Both individual development and evolution are the result of chance, ungoverned by any 'laws' of nature." (Dover G., "Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 2000, reprint, pp.xii-xiii)[top]
"The museum [British Museum of Natural History] is the primary source or authority for the general theory of evolution by natural selection, the theory that is taught in schools and universities the world over. Like millions of people in Britain, I have visited the museum many times to stare in wonder at its contents. But I have been unable to see with my own eyes the decisive evidence for the synthetic theory of evolution. I have been able to see many marvels and to study mountains of evidence: the Geological Column that reconstructs the geological and biological history of the Earth; the dinosaur skeletons and myriad other fossils; marvels like the skeleton of Archaeopteryx, seemingly half bird, half reptile; the reconstructed evolution of the horse family. But unlike its counterpart at Teddington [National Physical Laboratory], the museum is unable to exhibit the unchallengeable authority that conclusively demonstrates that evolution by natural selection has taken place and is established as fact. This is very far from saying that scientists have failed to make the case for neo- Darwinist evolution. On the contrary, no rational person can visit the Natural History Museum and not be deeply impressed by the evidence that has been painstakingly assembled. Evidence of historical development over geological time; of similarity of anatomical structure in many different species; of change and adaptation to changing environments. But, frustratingly, even with all this evidence, it is impossible for the genuinely objective person to say, 'Here is the conclusive scientific proof that I have been looking for.'" (Milton R., "The Facts of Life: Shattering the Myth of Darwinism", Fourth Estate, London, 1992, p.2).[top]
"All scholarly subjects seem to go through cycles, from periods when most of the answers seem to be known to periods when no one is sure that even the questions are right. Such is the case for evolutionary biology. Twenty years ago Mayr, in his Animal Species and Evolution, seemed to have shown that if evolution is a jigsaw puzzle, then at least all the edge pieces were in place. But today we are less confident and the whole subject is in the most exciting ferment. Evolution is both troubled from without by the nagging insistencies of antiscientists and nagged from within by the troubling complexities of genetic and developmental mechanisms and new questions about the central mystery-speciation itself. In looking over recent literature in and around the field of evolutionary theory, I am struck by the necessity to reexamine the simpler foundations of the subject, to distinguish carefully between what we know and what we merely think we know. The first and strongest of our critics to be answered should be ourselves." (Thomson K.S., "The Meanings of Evolution," American Scientist, Vol. 70, pp.529-531, September-October 1982, p.529).[top]
"For many years population genetics was an immensely rich and powerful theory with virtually no suitable facts on which to operate. It was like a complex and exquisite machine, designed to process a raw material that no one had succeeded in mining. Occasionally some unusually clever or lucky prospector would come upon a natural outcrop of high-grade ore, and part of the machinery would be started up to prove to its backers that it really would work. But for the most part the machine was left to the engineers, forever tinkering, forever making improvements, in anticipation of the day when it would be called upon to carry out full production. Quite suddenly the situation has changed. The mother-lode has been tapped and facts in profusion have been poured into the hoppers of this theory machine - And from the other end has issued - nothing. It is not that the machinery does not work, for a great clashing of gears is clearly audible, if not deafening, but it somehow cannot transform into a finished product the great volume of raw material that has been provided. The entire relationship between the theory and the facts needs to be reconsidered." (Lewontin R.C., "The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change," Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1974, p.189).[top]
"The reader may well ask whether, irrespective of the eventual fate of Darwin's predictions, his teachings have had any direct effect on the later development of classificatory practice. The answer appears to be, very little before the end of the nineteenth century, a certain amount in the earlier part of the present century (at least as far as species are concerned), but very little again today. ... Curiously enough, one section of the contents of a recent volume is likely to preserve a recognizable similarity to the corresponding parts of a century ago- the purely systematic papers. ... the systematists, alone among mid- Victorian zoologists, would probably find the works of their present-day successors intelligible. The context suggests that Darwin expected the revolution to show itself particularly in systematics, whereas it is precisely this field which has not undergone any drastic change in the last century. ... In a sense it could be said that the revolution in systematics had taken place in the century which ended in 1858, that its initiator was Linnaeus (the bicentenary of whose first employment of the `binomial system' we also celebrate in 1958) and that Darwin himself was a product rather than a cause of it. Well before the appearance of the Origin, systematists were seeking for what they already called a natural system (one that corresponded to the `Plan of Creation') which Darwin himself equated with his genealogical one, and in their discussions they used phrases like `closely related to' and `referable to the same basic type as' which needed only to be taken literally instead of more or less metaphorically to give them a Darwinian content. So it is understandable that the acceptance of the theory of evolution made no great difference to the practice of systematics, and in the decade or two after 1858 no evident disparity showed itself between the practice of those systematists who accepted Darwin's doctrine and those who did not." (Crowson R.A., "Darwin and Classification," in Barnett S.A., ed., "A Century of Darwin," , Mercury Books: London, 1962, pp.119,121-122).[top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
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Created: 23 November, 1999. Updated: 1 July, 2003.