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Newly Detected Quotable Quotes

Francis Crick

Francis Crick, famous co-decoder of DNA and Nobel Prize, has this to say about the nature of life:

Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.

(Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit [New York: Basic Books, 1988], p. 138.)

Actually, the rest of the paragraph --which begins with the sentence above -- is pretty interesting:

It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large role in guiding biological research, but that is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To try to figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary arguments can usefully be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood. (pp. 138-139; emphasis in original.)


Richard Lewontin:

The famous Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin explained the true basis of evolutionary science recently, in a remarkably candid essay in the New York Review of Books (Jan. 9, 1997, p. 31). Lewontin has as low an opinion of the adaptationist "just-so" stories of the neo-Darwinists. In spite of his skepticism, however, he accepts the basic story of evolutionary naturalism because, in his own words,

we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

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