If you look at the universe and study the universe, what you find is that there is no evidence that we need anything other than the laws of physics and the other laws of science to explain everything we see. There's absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god. -- Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
There is probably no other notion in any field of science that has been as extensively tested and as thoroughly corroborated as the evolutionary origin of living organisms. -- Encyclopedia Britannica
FAITH. No one word personifies the absolute worst and most wicked properties of religion better than that. Faith is mind-rot. It’s the poison that destroys critical thinking, undermines evidence, and leads people into lives dedicated to absurdity. It’s a parasite regarded as a virtue. -- PZ Myers
Religion is the antithesis of science, an anesthetic for the mind that disables critical thought and encourages the acceptance of inanity as fact, and wishful thinking as evidence. -- PZ Myers

Monday, February 14, 2011

Darwin's Origin of Species can be read online "with selections by prominent scientists of their favorite passages".

What I like about this particular quote is how Darwin was averse to the simplifications of many contemporary popularizers of evolutionary biology. One often hears that nature is where the strong survive, and that might is right, so that those who are too weak to do well not only may perish, but in fact ought to perish. Darwin didn't endorse any such views, and didn't see nature as the gladiator's show that his public defender, Thomas Henry Huxley, projected onto it. For him, the term "struggle" was not limited to physical combat. Darwin considered it possible that some animals survive through cooperation, depending on one another, and that others survive simply by being better at finding food, fighting off diseases, or withstanding the cold or dryness of their climate. Fitness in a given environment may mean having a thick fat layer, or possessing sharp eyes. Physical strength is only one out of thousands of traits that determine which individuals will do well.This contains a profound lesson for those who wish to apply Darwinism to society around us, going so far as calling Wall Street a “Darwinian jungle.” Wall Street hasn't done too well with its simplistic dog-eat-dog view, and should pay more attention to true evolutionary theory, which stresses adaptability to change rather than direct competition. -- Frans B. M. de Waal, C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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