E. O. Wilson Quotes

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E. O. Wilson Quotes & Sayings

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E. O. Wilson Quotes #339680
#1. We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity.
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#2. When all else fails, men turn to reason.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #790983
#3. Every kid has a bug period, I like to say, and I just got so fascinated and I had that experience, that wonderful life of being able to go out on my own without really any supervision at all. I just lucked out that way. I was trusted as a kid.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1585694
#4. The time has come to link ecology to economic and human development. When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all. What is happening to the rain forests of Madagascar and Brazil will affect us all.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #61562
#5. Once I feel I'm right, I have enjoyed provoking.
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#6. I was a senior in high school when I decided I wanted to work on ants as a career. I just fell in love with them, and have never regretted it.
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#7. We are not afraid of predators, we're transfixed by them, prone to weave stories and fables and chatter endlessly about them, because fascination creates preparedness, and preparedness, survival. In a deeply tribal way, we love our monsters ...
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#8. The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper
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#9. To the extent that philosophical positions both confuse us and close doors to further inquiry, they are likely to be wrong.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1075994
#10. In some ways, I had a traditional 'old South' upbringing, meaning that I spent some time in a military school, and acquired an inoculum of the military ethic that is still with me today: honor, duty, loyalty.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #700748
#11. I had in mind a message, although I hope it doesn't intrude too badly, persuading Americans, and especially Southerners, of the critical importance of land and our vanishing natural environment and wildlife.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1049689
#12. Overall, the human brain is the most complex object known in the universe - known, that is, to itself.
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#13. But once the ants and termites jumped the high barrier that prevents the vast variety of evolving animal groups from becoming fully social, they dominated the world.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #865568
#14. The solutions like freezing zygotes, fertilized eggs, of all kinds of animals and so on, or keeping them in zoos and having arboreta where we have trees, all these things have been promoted. Even getting the complete genetic code of various fishes so we can let them pass away and then we'll pull them back. That is science fiction run amok.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #491244
#15. The laws of biology are written in the language of diversity.
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#16. Blind faith, no matter how passionately expressed, will not suffice. Science for its part will test relentlessly every assumption about the human condition.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1010047
#17. The commitment must be much deeper - to let no species knowingly die; to take all reasonable action to protect every species and race in perpetuity.
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#18. Of course, there is no reconciliation between the theory of evolution by natural selection and the traditional religious view of the origin of the human mind.
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#19. The variety of genes on the planet in viruses exceeds, or is likely to exceed, that in all of the rest of life combined.
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#20. Religious belief itself is an adaptation that has evolved because we're hard-wired to form tribalistic religions.
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#21. In 2010, my two Harvard mathematician colleagues and I dismantled kin-selection theory, which was the reigning theory of the origin of altruism at the time.
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#22. To genetic evolution, the human lineage has added the parallel track of cultural evolution.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #105454
#23. Jehovah had nothing to say to Moses and the others about the care of the planet. He had plenty to say about tribal loyalty and conquest.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #312633
#24. Man's destiny is to know, if only because societies with knowledge culturally dominate societies that lack it. Luddites and anti-intellectuals do not master the differential equations of thermodynamics or the biochemical cures of illness. They stay in thatched huts and die young.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #318510
#25. Destroying a tropical rainforest for profit is like burning all the paintings of the Louvre to cook dinner.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #436580
#26. By any reasonable measure of achievement, the faith of the Enlightenment thinkers in science was justified.
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#27. If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people,
E. O. Wilson Quotes #625405
#28. America in particular imposes an horrendous burden on the world. We have this wonderful standard of living but it comes at enormous cost.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #214153
#29. People respect nonfiction but they read novels.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1363846
#30. The great paradox of determinism and free will, which has held the attention of the wisest of philosophers and psychologists for generations, can be phrased in more biological terms as follows: If our genes are inherited, and our environment is a train of physical events set in motion before we were born, how can there be a truly independent agent within the brain? The agent itself is created by the interaction of the genes and the environment. It would appear that our freedom is only a self delusion.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1378112
#31. It's always been a dream of mine, of exploring the living world, of classifying all the species and finding out what makes up the biosphere.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1159142
#32. Hands-on experience at the critical time, not systematic knowledge, is what counts in the making of a naturalist. Better to be an untutored savage for a while, not to know the names or anatomical detail. Better to spend stretches of time just searching and dreaming.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #359183
#33. When you get into the whole field of exploring, probably 90 percent of the kinds of organisms, plants, animals and especially microorganisms and tiny invertebrate animals are unknown. Then you realize that we live on a relatively unexplored plan.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #279244
#34. It's the technique, I think, of writing a novel that is difficult for a nonfiction writer.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #630201
#35. In the attempt to make scientific discoveries, every problem is an opportunity - and the more difficult the problem, the greater will be the importance of its solution.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #815304
#36. If someone could actually prove scientifically that there is such a thing as a supernatural force, it would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. So the notion that somehow scientists are resisting it is ludicrous.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #160918
#37. Far more important throughout the rest of science is the ability to form concepts, during which the researcher conjures images and processes by intuition.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1114770
#38. Evolution by natural selection is not an idle hypothesis. The genetic variation on which selection acts is well understood in principle all the way down to the molecular level.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #191581
#39. So in my freshman year at the University of Alabama, learning the literature on evolution, what was known about it biologically, just gradually transformed me by taking me out of literalism and increasingly into a more secular, scientific view of the world.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #495057
#40. [Bacteria are the] dark matter of the biological world [with 4 million mostly unknown species in a ton of soil].
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#41. If religion and science could be united on the common ground of biological conservation, the problem would be soon solved. If there is any moral precept shared by people of all beliefs, it is that we owe ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and healthful environment.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1164991
#42. Darwin's dice have rolled badly for Earth. The human species is, in a word, an environmental abnormality. Perhaps a law of evolution is that intelligence usually extinguishes itself.
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#43. Even as empiricism is winning the mind, transcendentalism continues to win the heart.
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#44. Wonderful theory, wrong species. (On Marxism, which he considered more suited to ants than to humans.
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#45. The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology.
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#46. Go as far as you can, [young scientists]. The world needs you badly.
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#47. From the freedom to explore comes the joy of learning. From knowledge acquired by personal initiative arises the desire for more knowledge. And from mastery of the novel and beautiful world awaiting every child comes self-confidence.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #875087
#48. On the lawn next to the sidewalk a fire ant colony is swarming. The ants are pouring out of a mound nest, here no more than an irregular pile of dirt partly flattened by the last pass of a lawnmower. Winged queens and males are taking off on their nuptial flight, protected by angry-looking workers that run up and down the grass blades and out onto the blistering-hot concrete of the sidewalk. The species is unmistakably Solenopsis geminata, the native fire ant.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #710847
#49. Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it ... Eliminate one species, and another increases to take its place. Eliminate a great many species, and the local ecosystem starts to decay.
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#50. In a purely technical sense, each species of higher organism-beetle, moss, and so forth, is richer in information than a Caravaggio painting, Mozart symphony, or any other great work of art.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #9578
#51. We ought to recognize that religious strife is not the consequence of differences among people. It's about conflicts between creation stories.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1128792
#52. The genes hold culture on a leash. The leash is very long, but inevitably values will be constrained in accordance with their effects on the human gene pool. The brain is a product of evolution. Human behavior-like the deepest capacities for emotional respone which drive and guide it-is the circuitous technique by which human genetic material has been and will be kept intact.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #609071
#53. I'm very much a Christian in ideals and ethics, especially in terms of belief in fairness, a deep set obligation to others, and the virtues of charity, tolerance and generosity that we associate with traditional Christian teaching.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1344118
#54. The closer the genetic relationship of the family members, as for example father-to-son, as opposed to uncle-to-nephew, the higher the degree of cooperation.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #428346
#55. Mating Strategy is influenced by the cardinal fact that women have more at stake in sexual activity than men, because of the limited age span in which they can reproduce and the heavy investment required of them with each child conceived. In courtship women consistently emphasize commitment of resources and material security.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #454272
#56. I thought perhaps it should be recognized that religious people, including fundamentalists, are quite intelligent, many of them are highly educated, and they should be treated with complete respect.
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#57. I turned to the teeming small creatures that can be held between the thumb and forefinger: the little things that compose the foundation of our ecosystems, the little things, as I like to say, who run the world.
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#58. If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.
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#59. I doubt that most people with short-term thinking love the natural world enough to save it.
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#60. An ideal scientist thinks like a poet and only later works like a book-keeper.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #883879
#61. Ants make up two-thirds of the biomass of all the insects. There are millions of species of organisms and we know almost nothing about them.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1075771
#62. We don't know nearly enough about the complexities of Nature. If we think we can eliminate natural ecosystems and substitute prosthetic devices, i.e. clean air or water with fusion energy - we are kidding ourselves.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #234428
#63. Character is in turn the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others. It is not obedience to authority, and while it is often consistent with and reinforced by religious belief, it is not piety.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1354521
#64. These slender little people (Homo Habilis), the size of modern 12 year olds, were devoid of fangs and claws and almost certainly slower on foot than the four legged animals around them. They could have succeeded in their new way of life only by relying on tools and sophisticated cooperative behavior
E. O. Wilson Quotes #354290
#65. So, the ant way of life is very ancient and very successful. As far as human beings are concerned, we've been around for only one million years
too soon be sure.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1522726
#66. Science is the global civilization of which I am a citizen. The spread of its democratic ethic and its unifying powers provides my faith in humanity. The astonishing depths of wonders in the universe, continuously revealed by science is my temple. The capacity of the informed human mind, liberated at last by the understanding that we are alone and thus the sole stewards of earth, is my religion. The potential of humanity to turn this planet into a paradise for future generations is my afterlife.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #222305
#67. The price of these failures has been a loss of moral consensus, a greater sense of helplessness about the human condition ... The intellectual solution to the first dilemma can be achieved by a deeper and more courageous examination of human nature that combines the findings of biology with those of the social sciences.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1307548
#68. We are compelled to drive toward total knowledge, right down to the levels of the neuron and the gene. When we have progressed enough to explain ourselves in these mechanistic terms ... the result might be hard to accept.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1101426
#69. I think that's my nature, to want to bring people together rather than to try to bombard them into agreement.
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#70. Companies that are willing to share, to withhold in order to further the growth of the company, willing to try to get a better atmosphere through a demonstration of democratic principles, fairness and cooperation, a better product, those will win in the end.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #51258
#71. While ants exist in just the right numbers for the rest of the living world, humans have become too numerous. If we were to vanish today, the land environment would return to the fertile balance that existed before the human population explosion. Only a dozen or so species, among which are the crab louse and a mite that lives in the oil glands of our foreheads, depend on us entirely. But if ants were to disappear, tens of thousands of other plants and animal species would perish also, simplifying and weakening land ecosystems almost everywhere.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1636472
#72. [T]he true natural sciences lock together in theory and evidence to form the ineradicable technical base of modern civilization. The pseudosciences satisfy personal psychological needs ... but lack the ideas or the means to contribute to the technical base.
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#73. We use pandas and eagles and things. I'd love to see a wilderness society with an angry-looking wolverine as their logo.
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#74. I've found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they're communicating but it tells you a great deal - by dialect and tone, content and circumstance - about the quality of the character.
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#75. Political ideology can corrupt the mind, and science.
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#76. Change will come slowly, across generations, because old beliefs die hard even when demonstrably false.
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#77. Not all ants use violence to dominate their world, some use more subtle methods.
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#78. In the process of natural selection, then, any device that can insert a higher proportion of certain genes into subsequent generations will come to characterize the species.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1017536
#79. I had reached a point in my career in which I was ready to try something new in my writing, and the idea of a novel has always been in the back of my mind.
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#80. One thing I did was grow up as an ardent naturalist. I never grew out of my bug period.
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#81. There doesn't seem to be any other way of creating the next green revolution without GMOs.
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#82. Religious beliefs evolved by group-selection, tribe competing against tribe, and the illogic of religions is not a weakness but their essential strength.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #698201
#83. I think we will make it. Because one quality people have - certainly Americans have it - is that they can adapt when they see necessity staring them in the face. What to avoid is what someone once called the definition of hell: truth realized too late.
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#84. To be anthropocentric is to remain unaware of the limits of human nature, the significance of biological processes underlying human behavior, and the deeper meaning of long-term genetic evolution.
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#85. Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.
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#86. In addition I wanted to write a Southern novel, because I'm a Southerner.
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#87. No barrier stands between the material world of science and the sensibilities of the hunter and the poet,
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#88. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #764269
#89. If we lose half the species, which could happen by the end of the century if we don't do anything, that's going to create a big difference down the line in the stability and even the economic potential in the living world. Irreversibly.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1275700
#90. It was inspiring to learn of the new Bachelor of Environmental Studies Program, and I congratulate you for it. Singapore is geographically in the right central position for an influence in Asia and Australia, and NUS has the reputation and academic strength to make it effective.
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#91. There can be no purpose more enspiriting than to begin the age of restoration, reweaving the wondrous diversity of life that still surrounds us.
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#92. The historical circumstance of interest is that the tropical rain forests have persisted over broad parts of the continents since their origins as stronghold of the flowering plants 150 million years ago.
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#93. We exist in a bizarre combination of Stone Age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology.
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#94. In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story.
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#95. Real biologists who actually do the research will tell you that they almost never find a phenomenon, no matter how odd or irrelevant it looks when they first see it, that doesn't prove to serve a function. The outcome itself may be due to small accidents of evolution.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1029068
#96. Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?
E. O. Wilson Quotes #201395
#97. Biophilia, if it exists, and I believe it exists, is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #118942
#98. If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months.
E. O. Wilson Quotes #604838
#99. Common sense is merely unaided intuition, and unaided intuition is reasoning performed in the absense of instruments and the tested knowledge of science. Common sense tells us that massive satellites cannot hang suspended 36,000 kilometers above the one point on the earth's surface, but they do ...
E. O. Wilson Quotes #1403313
#100. I would say that for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faiths. But certainly not eliminating the natural yearnings of our species or the asking of these great questions.

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