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Thursday, November 26, 2015


I'm creating a post where I can store quotations so I can link to them from other posts. Enjoy.
The great fear of many leading creationists and the misunderstanding of many creationist students is that accepting MN [methodological naturalism] rules for doing science will necesarily lead to a supernaturalless/Godless worldview.
Brian Alters (2005) p. 77

Persons in this faction [of theists] basically accept evolutionary theory with the proviso that the God of the Bible, not chance, decided the human outcome by directly guiding the process. Such theists are most commonly referred to as theistic evolutionists.
Brian Alters (2005) p. 62

Science reveals where religion conceals. Where religion purports to explain, it actually resorts to tautology. To assert that "God did it" is no more than an admission of ignorance dressed deceitfully as an explanation...
Peter Atkins

The defective design of organisms could be attributed to the gods of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, who fought with one another, made blunders, and were clumsy in their endeavors. But, in my view, it is not compatible with special action by the omniscient and omnipotent God of Judaism, Christianlity, and Islam.
Francisco J. Ayala (2004) p. 71

In conclusion, then, macroevolutionary processes are underlain by microevolutionary phenomena and are compatible with microevolutionary theories, but macroevolutionary studies require the formulation of autonomous hypotheses and models (which must be tested using macroevolutionary evidence). In this (epistemologically) very important sense, macroevolution is decoupled from microevolution: macroevolution is an autonomous field of evolutionary study.
Francisco J. Ayala (1983) p. 131

Science is not committed to the nonexistence of God, as it would be if it were based on metaphysical naturalism. Science is committed to naturalistic explanations. Science does not count any explanation that appeals to God or to supernatural phenomena as a scientific explanation (thus it is committed to methodological naturalism).
Lynn Rudder Baker (2000)

I once made the remark that two things disappeared in 1990: one was communism, the other was biochemistry and that only one of them should be allowed to come back.
Sydney Brenner (2000)

There will be no difficulty in computers being adapted to biology. There will be luddites. But they will be buried.
Sydney Brenner

One of the most frightening things in the Western world, and in this country in particular, is the number of people who believe in things that are scientifically false. If someone tells me that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, in my opinion he should see a psychiatrist.
Francis Crick

The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cell and their associated molecules.
Francis Crick (1994)

My own view is that conclusions about the evolution of human behavior should be based on research at least as rigorous as that used in studying nonhuman animals. And if you read the animal behavior journals, you'll see that this requirement sets the bar pretty high, so that many assertions about evolutionary psychology sink without a trace.
Jerry Coyne (2009)

Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine. It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as "plan of creation," "unity of design," etc., and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact. Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory.
Charles Darwin (1859)

The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly
seemed to me to be so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.

Charles Darwin (c1880)

An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: 'I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.' I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
Richard Dawkins

Theologians, if they want to remain honest, should make a choice. You can claim your own magisterium, separate from science's but still deserving of respect. But in that case you have to renounce miracles. Or, you can keep your Lourdes and your miracles ... But then you must kiss goodbye to separate magisteria and your high-minded aspiration to converge on science. The desire to have it both ways is not surprising in a good propagandist. What is surprising is the readiness of liberal agnostics to go along with it; and their readiness to write off, as simplistic, insensitive extremists, those of us with the temerity to blow the whistle.
Richard Dawkins (2003) p.150

It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet someone who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).
Richard Dawkins (1989)

... those evolutionists who see no conflict between evolution and their religious beliefs have been careful not to look as closely as we have been looking, or else hold a religious view that gives God what we might call a merely ceremonial role to play.
Daniel C. Dennett (1995) p.310

Operational science takes no position about the existence or non-existence of the supernatural; it only requires that this factor is not to be invoked in scientific explanations. Calling down special-purpose miracles as explanations constitutes a form of intellectual "cheating."
Richard E. Dickerson (1992) p.119

Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts—some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.
Theodosius Dobbzhansky (Dobzhansky 1973)

It is wrong to hold creation and evolution as mutually exclusive alternatives. I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God's, or Nature's method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.
Theodosius Dobbzhansky (Dobzhansky 1973)

Under the conditions described [for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium], there is a genetic inertia in mendelian populations. Unless mutation, selection, differential migration, certain changes in the mating pattern, or a drop in population size disturbs the equilibrium, there is no change in the genetic structure of the population. To a very large degree, overcoming this inertia (especially changing of the gene frequency) is what is described as "evolution."
Paul R. Ehrlich and Richard W. Holm (1963) p.95

Speciation is critical to conserving the results of both natural selection and genetic drift. Speciation is obviously central to the fate of genetic variation, and a major shaper of patterns of evolutionary change through evolutionary time. It is as if Darwinians—neo- and ulra- most certainly included—care only for the process generating change, and not about its ultimate fate in geological time.
Niles Eldredge (1995) p.106

Macroevolution is more than repeated rounds of microevolution.
Douglas H. Erwin (2000)

Just as mutation and drift introduce a strong random component into the process of adaptation, mass extinctions introduce chance into the process of diversification. This is because mass extinctions are a sampling process analogous to genetic drift. Instead of sampling allele frequenceis, mass extinctions samples species and lineages. ... The punchline? Chance plays a large role in the processes responsible for adaptation and diversity.
Freeman and Herron (1998) p.520

It is naïve to think that if a species' environment changes the species must adapt or else become extinct.... Just as a changed environment need not set in motion selection for new adaptations, new adaptations may evolve in an unchanging environment if new mutations arise that are superior to any pre-existing variations.
Douglas Futuyma

There is no justification for teaching creationism in the science classroom. But if it were taught, would it be subjected to the same critical analysis as the creationists insist should be brought to bear on evolution?
Douglas J. Futuyma (1982) p.217

I have championed contingency, and will continue to do so, because its large realm and legitimate claims have been so poorly attended by evolutionary scientists who cannot discern the beat of this different drummer while their brains and ears remain tuned to only the sounds of general theory.
Stephen Jay Gould (2002) p. 1339

The essence of Darwinism lies in its claim that natural selection creates the fit. Variation is ubiquitous and random in direction. It supplies raw material only. Natural selection directs the course of evolutionary change.
Stephen Jay Gould (1980)

Progress is a noxious, culturally embedded, untestable, nonoperational, intractable idea that must be replaced if we wish to understand the patterns of history.
Stephen Jay Gould (1988)

The shift of gene frequencies in local populations is an adequate model for all evolutionary processes—or so the current orthodoxy states.
Stephen Jay Gould (1980) p. 187

Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers "just-so stories." When evolutionists try to explain form and behavior, they also tell just-so stories—and the agent is natural selection. Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
Stephen Jay Gould (1980)

Since 'change of gene frequencies in populations' is the 'official' definition of evolution, randomness has transgressed Darwin's border and asserted itself as an agent of evolutionary change.
Stephen Jay Gould (1983) p. 335

The first commandment for all versions of NOMA might be summarized by stating: "Thou shalt not mix the magisteria by claiming that God directly ordains important events in the history of nature by special interference knowable only through revelation and not accessible to science." In common parlance, we refer to such special interference as "miracle"—operationally defined as a unique and temporary suspension of natural law to reorder the facts of nature by divine fiat.
Stephen Jay Gould (1999) p. 84

[My diagram] accepts the Darwinian contention that microevolutionary modes and principles can build grand patterns by cumulation through geological immensity, but rejects the argument that such extrapolations can render the entire panoply of phenomena in life's history without adding explicitly macroevolutionary modes for distinctive expression of these processes at higher tiers of time ...
Stephen Jay Gould (2002) p. 21

The world is not inhabited exclusively by fools, and when a subject arouses intense interest, as this one has, something other than semantics is usually at stake.
Stephen Jay Gould (1982)

We wish to question a deeply engrained habit of thinking among students of evolution. We call it the adaptationist programme, or the Panglossian paradigm.
S.J. Gould & R.C. Lewontin (1979) p. 584

We welcome the richness that a pluralist approach, so akin to Darwin's spirit, can provide.
S.J. Gould & R.C. Lewontin (1979) p. 584

My practise as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public.
J.B.S. Haldane

Since religion ... stands or falls with the question of cosmic purpose, the Darwinian debunking of design—and with it the apparent undoing of cosmic teleology as well—strikes right at the heart of the most prized religious intuition of humans, now and always.
John F. Haught (2004) p. 230

Whatever the God implied by evolutionary theory may be like, He is not the Protestant God of waste not, want not. He is also not a loving God who cares about his productions. He is not even the awful God portrayed in the book of Job. The God of the Galapagos is careless, wasteful, indifferent, almost diabolical. He is certainly not the sort of God to whom anyone would be inclined to pray.
David I. Hull (1991) p. 486

Johnson finds the commitment of scientists to totally naturalistic explanations dogmatic and close-minded, but scientists have no choice. Once they allow reference to God or miraculous forces to explain the first origin of life or the evoluton of the human species, they have no way of limiting this sort of explanation.
David I. Hull (1991) p. 486

This evolutionary procedure —the formation of a dominant neocortex coupled with the persistence of a nervous and hormonal system partially, but not totally, under the rule of the neocortex—strongly resembles the tinkerer's procedure. It is somewhat like adding a jet engine to an old horse cart. It is not surprising ... that accidents, difficulties, and conflicts can occur.
François Jacob (1977) p.1166
Jacob, F. (1977) Evolution and Tinkering Sci. 196:1161-1166.

Natural selection has no analogy with any aspect of human behavior. However, if one wanted to play with a comparison, one would have to say that natural selection does not work as an engineer works. It works like a tinkerer—a tinkerer who does not know exactly what he is going to produce but uses whatever he finds around him whether it be pieces of string, fragments of wood, or old cardboards; in short it works like a tinkerer who uses everything at his disposal to produce some kind of workable object.
François Jacob (1977) p.1163

It is hard to realize that the living world as we know it is just one among many possibilities; that its actual structure results from the history of the earth. Yet living organisms are historical structures: literally creations of history. They represent, not a perfect product of engineering, but a patchwork of odd sets pieced together when and where opportunities arose. For the opportunism of natural selection is not simply a matter of indifference to the structure and operation of its products. It reflects the very nature of a historical process full of contingency.
François Jacob (1977) p.1166

Ecologists and microevolutionists are beginning to appreciate the importance of events over larger time scales than the decades or centuries that are their usual bounds, and a new effort is needed from both neontological and paleontological sides to get beyond a simple extrapolation of ecological phenomena into macroevolutionary time scales.
Jablonski, D. et al (1997)

Many biochemists find it easy to accept the concept that large portions of protein molecules serve mainly to bring the molecule up to suitable size and shape and have very little specific function as compared with small specialized active sites. Most of a protein molecule, according to this concept, can evolve freely by random drift
Thomas H. Jukes (1980) p.204

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the importance of random genetic drift as a major cause of evolution. We must be liberated, so to speak, from the selective constraint posed by the neo-Darwinian (or the synthetic) theory of evolution.
Motoo Kimura (1991)

In contrast to the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, the neutral theory emphasizes the great importance of random genetic drift (due to finite population size) and mutation pressure as the main causes of molecular evolution.
Motoo Kimura (1991)

According to the neutral mutation–random drift hypothesis of molecular evolution and polymorphism1,2, most mutant substitutions detected through comparative studies of homologous proteins (and the nucleotide sequences) are the results of random fixation of selectively neutral or nearly neutral mutations. This is in sharp contrast to the orthodox neo-Darwinian view that practically all mutant substitutions occurring within species in the course of evolution are caused by positive Darwinian selection.
Motoo Kimura (1977)

Calculating the rate of evolution in terms of nucleotide substitutions seems to give a value so
high that many of the mutations involved must be neutral ones

Motoo Kimura 1968

Selective elimination of definitely deleterious mutants and random fixation of selectively neutral or very slightly deleterious mutants occur far more frequently in evolution than positive Darwinian selection of definitely advantageous mutants.
Motoo Kimura and Tomoko Ohta (1974)

The main tenet of the neutral theory is that the great majority of evolutionary changes at the molecular level are caused not by Darwinian selection but by random fixation of selectively neutral (or very nearly neutral) alleles through random sampling drift under continued mutation pressure.
Motoo Kimura (1989)

There appears to be considerable latitude at the molecular level for random genetic changes that have no effect upon the fitness of the organism. Selectively neutral mutations, if they occur, become passively fixed as evolutionary changes through the action of random genetic drift.
J.L King and T.H. Jukes (1969) p.789

The idea of selectively neutral change at the molecular level has not been readily accepted by many classical evolutionists, perhaps because of the pervassiveness of Darwinian thought.
J.L King and T.H. Jukes (1969) p.788

The suggestion that macroevolution should be divorced from microevolution provides Creationists only with a debating point. It allows Creationists to say that there are some evolutonary theorists who distinguish the mechanisms studied in classical population genetics from those they take to be involved in large-scale evolutionary change ... But this is not to suppose that the distinction drawn by heterodox evolutionists is that favored by the Creationists.
Philip Kitcher (1982) p.150

Overheard at breakfast on the final day of a recent scientific meeting: "Do you believe in macroevolution?" Came the reply: "Well, it depends on how you define it.".
Roger Lewin (1980) p.884.

The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.
Roger Lewin (1980) p.884.

The fact is that almost the entire theoretical apparatus of random genetic drift and directional selection can be derived from a haploid model of the genome and that the introduction of diploidy and sexual recombination makes no qualitative chane and only trivial quantitative changes in the predictions of evolution under these forces.
Richard C. Lewontin (1974) p.83

The [neoclassical] theory does not deny adaptive evolution but only that the vast quantity of molecular variation within populations and, consequently, much of the molecular evolution among species, has anything to do with that adaptive process
Richard C. Lewontin (1974) p.85

The false view of evolution as a process of global optimizing has been applied literally by engineers who, taken in by a mistaken metaphor, have attempted to find globally optimal solutions to design problems by writing programs that model evolution by natural selection.
Richard Lewontin

Evolution is a process of change in the genetic makeup of populations, with the most basic component being change in allele frequencies with time.
Wen-Hsiung Li (1997) p.35

... the independence of macroevolution is affirmed not only by species selection but also by other processes such as effect sorting among species.
Bruce S. Lieberman and Elisabeth S. Vrba (2005)

Macroevolution is given expanded meaning by punctuated equilibrium, which is a theory more about species and their reality and individuality (sensu Hull 1980) than about speciation.
Bruce S. Lieberman and Elisabeth S. Vrba (2005)

The universe doesn't seem to me to be like the kind of entity that could have a higher purpose. I literally don't know what it would mean to say that the universe has a higher purpose. But I also have to say just simply as far as my own personal experience is concerned I have not found it a depressing doctrine. I do not find myself in the least depressed by feeling that if there is a purpose it's a purpose in my friends in my people I love and myself and human beings. It's a product of human beings it's not something that's sort of you know comes out the physical universe because the universe was created.
John Maynard Smith (1998)

Molecular genetics has found that mutations frequently occur in which the new allele produces no change in the fitness of the phenotype. Kimura (1983) has called the occurrence of such mutations neutral evolution, and others have referred to it as non-Darwinian evolution. Both terms are misleading. Evolution involves the fitness of individuals and populations, not of genes. When a genotype, favored by selection, carries along as hitchhikers a few newly arisen and strictly neutral alleles, it has no influence on evolution. This may be called evolutionary 'noise' but it is not evolution. However, Kimura is correct in pointing out that much of the molecular variation of the genotype is due to neutral mutations. Having no effect on the phenotype, they are immune to selection.
Ernst Mayr (2001) p.199

... I pointed out more than a decade ago (1977) that 'the reductionist explanation, so widely adopted in recent decades— Evolution is a change in gene frequencies in populations—is not only not explanatory, but is in fact misleading. Far more revealing is the definition: 'Evolution is change in the adaptation *and* in the diversity of populations of organisms.'
Ernst Mayr (2001) p.162

Neither the discovery of numerous new facts relating to evolution nor the development of new concepts of speciation and genetic variation have required any essential revision of the picture of evolution as developed during the evolutionary synthesis. I emphatically deny the claims of various authors that these recent developments have led to an end of Darwinism, or of neo-Darwinism, or of the evolutionary synthesis.
Ernst Mayr (1988) p.191

The attack directed by Gould and Lewontin against unsupported adaptationist explanations in the literature is fully justified. But the most absurd among these claims were made several generations ago, not by modern evolutionists.
Ernst Mayr (1988) p.152

[referring to Tielhard de Chardin] ... it's author can be accused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself.
Peter Medawar (1961) p.1

Although not completely random, chance does affect which mutations, which mistakes, appear in which individuals. ... this inherent unpredictability is not a matter of inadequate scientific knowledge. Rather, it is a reflection that the behavior of matter itself is indeterminate, and therefore unpredictable. It is one of the reasons why we cannot predict, with any detailed certainty, the future path of evolution.
Kenneth R. Miller (1999) p. 233

... evolution is as much a fact as anything we know in science. It is a fact that we humans did not appear suddenly on this planet, de novo creations without ancestors, and it is a fact that the threads of ancestry are clear for us and for hundreds of other species and groups.
Kenneth R. Miller (1999) p. 233

No question about it. Rewind that tape, let it run again, and events might come out differently at every turn. Surely this means that mankind's appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here not as the products of an inevitable procession of evolutionary success, but as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out. I agree.
Kenneth R. Miller (1999) p. 233

In any discussion of the question of "Intelligent Design," it is absolutely essential to determine what is meant by the term itself. If, for example, the advocates of design wish to suggest that the intricacies of nature, life, and the universe reveal a world of meaning and purpose consistent with an overarching, possibly Divine, intelligence, then their point is philosophical, not scientific. It is a philosophical point of view, incidentally, that I share, along with many scientists.
Kenneth R. Miller (2004) p. 94

The thesis I shall present in this book is that the biosphere does not contain a predictable class of objects or of events but constitutes a particular occurrence, compatible indeed with first principles, but not deducible from those principles and therefore essentially unpredictable.
Jacques Monod (1971) p.43

All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying its own contingency."
Jacques Monod (1971) p.44

Another curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it. I mean philosophers, social scientists, and so on. While in fact very few people understand it, actually, as it stands, even as it stood when Darwin expressed it, and even less as we now may be able to understand it in biology.
Jacques Monod (1974)

... I must correct a wrong idea that has been spreading for the past three or four years. It was discovered some years ago that in some cases, the transcription of step from DNA to RNA works in the reverse direction. That is nothing surprising. ... it could be predicted that such events could occur. They do occur, indeed, but this must not be taken to mean that information from protein could possibly go back to the genome. ... I am ready to take any bet you like that this is never going to turn out to be the case.
Jacques Monod (1974) p.394

The privilege of living beings is the possession of a structure and of a mechanism which ensures two things: (i) reproduction true to type of the structure itself, and (ii) reproduction equally true to type, of any accident that occurs in the structure. Once you have that, you have evolution, because you have conservation of accidents. Accidents can then be recombined and offered to natural selection to find out if they are of any meaning or not.
Jacques Monod (1974) p.394

The aspect of evolutionary theory that is unacceptable to many enlightened people, either scientists or philosophers, or idelogists of one kind or another, is the completely contingent aspect which the existence of man, societies, and so on, must take if we accept this theory.
Jacques Monod (1974) p.394

We must conclude that the existence of any particular species is a singular event, an event that occurred only once in the whole of the universe and therefore one that is also basically and completely unpredictable, including that one species which we are, namely man.
Jacques Monod (1974) p.395

While de Vries' and Goldschmidt's views on the origin of species were extreme and unrealistic, from our current knowledge of genetics, de Vries' ideas led Morgan (1925, 1932) to propose a more resonable theory of evolution. ... In his view, selection plays a less important role than mutation, its chief role being to preserve useful mutations and eliminate unfit genotypes. That is, natural selection is regarded merely as a sieve to choose beneficial mutations. For this reason, his theory is often called mutationism, but a better terminology would be mutation-selection theory or classical theory in Dobzansky's sense, since he did not neglect natural selection.
Masatoshi Nei (1987) p.406

At the DNA level, most new genes seem to have been produced by gene duplication and subsequent nucleotide changes .... In these cases, the mutational change of DNA (duplication and nucleotide substitution) is clearly responsible for creating a new gene of character. Natural selection plays no such role. The role of natural selection is to eliminate less fit genotypes and save a beneficial one when there are many different genotypes in the same environment. Therefore, it seems clear that at the molecular level evolution occurs primarily by mutation pressure, though positive selection certainly speeds up gene substitution in populations.
Masatoshi Nei (1987) p.415

... are all individual differences in morphological and physiological characters adaptive as claimed by extreme neo-Darwinians? More than 4 billion people live on this planet, and all of them except identical twins are different with respect to morphological and physiological characters. Are all these differences adaptive? Is random genetic drift unimportant for generating morphological and physiological diversity among organisms? It seems to me that in some morphological characters a substantial part of genetic variation is nonadaptive.
Masatoshi Nei (1987) p.422

In this book, I have examined various aspects of molecular evolution and concluded that mutation is the driving force of evolution at the molecualr level. I have also extended this view to the level of phenotypic evolution and speciation, though I do not deny the importance of natural selection in evolution. I have challenged the prevailing view that a population of organisms contains virtually all sorts of variation and that the only force necessary for a particular character to evolve is natural selection. I have also emphasized the unpredictability of the evolutionary fate of organisms caused by uncontrolable external factors such as rapid climatic changes, geological catastrophes, or even asteroid impacts.
Masatoshi Nei (1987) p.431

The primary cause of evolution is the mutational change of genes. A mutant gene or DNA sequence caused by nucleotide substitution, insertions/delections, recombination, gene conversion, and so forth may spread through the population by genetic drift and/or natural selection and eventually be fixed in the species.
Masatoshi Nei and Sudhir Kumar (2000) p.4

Most new mutations are deleterious, and most mutations with very small effects are likely to be very slightly deleterious. Such mutations are selected against in large populations, but behave as if neutral in small populations.
Tomoko Ohta (1996) p.96

Mutation is a fundamental process for evolution. Under the orthodox view, mutations are raw materials on which natural selection works and organismal evolution is mainly governed by selection. With the accumulation of molecular data, the importance of random drift is being reevaluated. If the effect of a mutant is very small, random drift rather than selection determines its fate.
Tomoko Ohta (1998) p.83

Are we here because of a natural superiority (opposable thumbs, big brains and so on), or are we just plain lucky? In other words, is the evolution of life a fair game, as the survival-of-the-fittest doctrine so strongly implies?
David Raup (1991) p.xi

Is extinction through bad luck a challenge to Darwin's natural selection? No. Natural selection remains the only viable, naturalistic explanation we have for sophisticated adaptations like eyes and wings. We would not be here without natural selection. Extinction by bad luck merely adds another element to the evolutionary process, operating at the level of species, families, and classes, rather than the level of local breeding populations of single species. Thus, Darwinism is alive and well, but, I submit, it cannot have operated by itself to produce the diversity of life today.
David Raup (1991) p.192

Evolution at the molecular level appeared to have properties that would not have been predicted if it were driven by natural selection; and much of molecular evolution is now widely (if not universally) thought to be non-adaptive.
Mark Ridley (1997) p.4

A habit has grown up among some molecular biologists of using homology to mean similarity, regardless of whether the similarity is due to descent from a common ancestor. They thus talk about the "% homology" between two molecules, meaning the percentage of amino acid, or nucleotide sites that are the same in the two molecules. They are often criticized for their unorthodox usage .
M. Ridley (1997) p.208

The working biologist's reaction on learning that evolutionary theory does not fit some philosophical criterion for what a scientific theory should be like is—so much the worse for philosophy.
M. Ridley (1997) p.368

... Kimura's original radical claim, that most molecular evolution proceeds by drift, not selection, remains intact in the nearly neutral theory. It still contrasts strongly with the view that molecular evolution is powered by Darwinian natural selection.
M. Ridley (1997) p.78

Many universes can exist, with all possible combinations of physical laws and constants. In that sense, we just happen to be in the particular one that was suited for the the evolution of our form of life. When cosmologists refer to the anthropic principle, this is all they usually mean. Since we live in this universe, we can assume it possesses qualities suitable for our existence.
Eugenie C. Scott (2004)

... the thesis that evolution is primarily driven by natural selection is sometimes called Darwinism. Unfortunately, many people misapply the term to refer to the concept of descent with modification itself, which is erroneous. Natural selection is not the same as evolution.
Eugenie C. Scott (2004) p.34

Scientists sometimes colloquially refer to macroevolution as "evolution above the species level," but this term does not do justice to the complexity of topics included within the concept.
Eugenie C. Scott (2004) p.183

Micro- and macroevolution are thus different levels of analysis of the same phenomenon: evolution. Macroevolution cannot solely be reduced to microevolution because it encompasses so many other phenomena: adaptive radiation, for example, cannot be reduced only to natural selection, though natural selection helps bring it about.
Eugenie C. Scott (2004) p.183

If God is intervening into our world, he must be doing so in some measurable way. That's what we do with science. We measure.
Michael Shermer (2006)

If a sect does officially insist that its structure of belief demands that evolution be false, then no compromise is possible. An honest and competent biology teacher can only conclude that the sect's beliefs are wrong and that its religion is a false one.
George Gaylord Simpson (1964)

I do not think that evolution is supremely important because it is my speciality. On the contrary, it is my speciality because it is supremely important.
George Gaylord Simpson (1961)

The extreme view that evolution is basically or over all an orthogenetic process is evidence that some scientists' minds tend to move in straight lines, not that evolution does.
George Gaylord Simpson (1949)

Macroevolution is decoupled from microevolution, and we must envision the process governing its course as being analogous to natural selection but operating at a higher level of organization.
Steven M. Stanley (1975) p.648

The microevolutionary process that adequately describes evolution in a population is an utterly inadaquate account of the evolution of the earth's biota. It is inadequate because the evolution of the biota is more than the mutational origin and subsequent survival or extinction of genes in gene pools. Biotic evolution is also the cladogenetic origin and subsequent survival and extinction of gene pools in the biota.
George C. Williams (1992) p.31

I'm not going to be one of these scientists who keep wafling and saying "oh well, science has it's role, religion has it's role... science has it's own kind of truth and religion has it's own kind of truth... somehow, as we work more and more they will somehow come together." I don't believe that for a minute. I don't think that Darwin would have believed it.
Edward O. Wilson

The fundamantal evolutionary event is a change in the frequency of genes and chromosome configurations in a population. If a population of butterflies shifts through time from 40 percent blue individuals to 60 percent individuals, and if the color blue is hereditary, evolution of a simple kind has occurred.
Edward O. Wilson (1992) p.75

That evolution involves nonadaptive differentiation to a large extent at the subspecies level is indicated by the kinds of differences by which such groups are actually distinguished by systematicists. It is only at the subfamily and family levels that clear-cut adaptive differences become the rule. The principal evolutionary mechanisms in the origin of species must thus be an essentially nonadaptive one.
Sewell Wright (1932) p.38

(concerning more evidence for evolution) Some beating of dead horses may be ethical, where here and there they display unexpected twitches that look like life.
Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling (1965) p.101

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  1. "You are a pathetic snivelling coward."
    Barry Arrington 2014

    OK, not as noteworthy as the others, but it does summarize the debate tactics of the IDiot.

  2. "Darwin — the Man with the Ugly Mug"
    Robert Louis Stevenson, letter to W. E. Henley, July 10, 1881.