Stephen Jay Gould Quotes

Most popular Stephen Jay Gould Quotes

The facts of nature are what they are, but we can only view them through the spectacles of our mind.

facts

Science is all those things which are confirmed to such a degree that it would be unreasonable to withhold one's provisional consent.
— Stephen Jay Gould

science theory

There are no shortcuts to moral insight. . . .  They reside, like the kingdom of God, within us—the most difficult and inaccessible spot for any discovery or consensus.

insight

When we are caught in conceptual traps, the best exit is often a change in metaphor...because we need a shift to more fruitful perspectives, and metaphor is often the best agent of conceptual transition.

metaphor

The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.

science arrogance

In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
— Stephen Jay Gould

science

Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day.
— Stephen Jay Gould

environment

Orthodoxy can be as stubborn in science as in religion. I do not know how to shake it except by vigorous imagination that inspires unconventional work and contains within itself an elevated potential for inspired error. As the great Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto wrote: 'Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.' Not to mention a man named Thomas Henry Huxley who, when not in the throes of grief or the wars of parson hunting, argued that 'irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.'
— Stephen Jay Gould

science