Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Derek Ager Quotes

Derek Ager
(21 Apr 1923 - 8 Feb 1993)

English geologist and writer who served a term as President of the British Geologocal Association. He wrote books that analyzed geological processes in an entertaining and readable manner accessible to non-experts.

Science Quotes by Derek Ager (10 quotes)


Changes, cyclic or otherwise, within the solar system or within our galaxy, would seem to be the easy and incontrovertible solution for everything that I have found remarkable in the stratigraphical record.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 83.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Cycle (26)  |  Galaxy (38)  |  Incontrovertible (5)  |  Record (56)  |  Solar System (48)  |  Solution (168)  |  Stratigraphy (6)

Experts always tend to obscure the obvious.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Expert (42)  |  Obscure (19)  |  Obvious (54)

Geology got into the hands of the theoreticians who were conditioned by the social and political history of their day more than by observations in the field. … We have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into avoiding any interpretation of the past that involves extreme and what might be termed “catastrophic” processes. However, it seems to me that the stratigraphical record is full of examples of processes that are far from “normal” in the usual sense of the word. In particular we must conclude that sedimentation in the past has often been very rapid indeed and very spasmodic. This may be called the “Phenomenon of the Catastrophic Nature of the Stratigraphic Record.”
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (3rd ed., 1993), 70.
Science quotes on:  |  Avoidance (9)  |  Catastrophe (17)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Conditioning (3)  |  Example (57)  |  Extreme (36)  |  Field (119)  |  Geology (187)  |  Hand (103)  |  History (302)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Involving (2)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Normal (21)  |  Observation (418)  |  Often (69)  |  Past (109)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Politics (77)  |  Process (201)  |  Rapid (17)  |  Record (56)  |  Sense (240)  |  Social (93)  |  Stratigraphy (6)  |  Term (87)  |  Theorist (24)  |  Word (221)

In the preface to his great History of Europe, H. A. L. Fisher wrote: “Men wiser than and more learned than I have discerned in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another as wave follows upon wave …” It seems to me that the same is true of the much older [geological stratigraphical] history of Europe.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 79.
Science quotes on:  |  Concealed (3)  |  Discerning (7)  |  Emergency (6)  |  Following (16)  |  Geology (187)  |  Harmony (55)  |  History (302)  |  Learned (20)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Plot (9)  |  Predetermined (3)  |  Rhythm (12)  |  Stratigraphy (6)  |  Wave (55)  |  Wisdom (151)

It may be said of many palaeontologists, as Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper said recently of 18th century historians: “Their most serious error was to measure the past by the present”.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  18th Century (17)  |  Error (230)  |  Historian (30)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Paleontologist (15)  |  Past (109)  |  Present (103)  |  Serious (37)

Let us make an arbitrary decision (by a show of hands if necessary) to define the base of every stratigraphical unit in a selected section. This may be called the Principle of the Golden Spike. Then stratigraphical nomenclature can be forgotten and we can get on with the real work of stratigraphy, which is correlation and interpretation.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 73.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (187)  |  Stratigraphy (6)

Palaeontologists cannot live by uniformitarianism alone. This may be termed the Phenomenon of the Fallibility of the Fossil Record.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Fossil (107)  |  Paleontologist (15)

Sedimentation in the past has often been very rapid indeed and very spasmodic. This may be called the Phenomenon of the Catastrophic Nature of the Stratigraphical Record.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record, (1973), 42.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (187)  |  Stratigraphy (6)

Several very eminent living paleontologists frequently emphasise the abruptness of some of the major changes that have occurred, and seek for an external cause. This is a heady wine and has intoxicated palaeontologists since the days when they could blame it all on Noah's flood. In fact, books are still being published by the lunatic fringe with the same explanation. In case this book should be read by some fundamentalist searching for straws to prop up his prejudices, let me state categorically that all my experience (such as it is) has led me to an unqualified acceptance of evolution by natural selection as a sufficient explanation for what I have seen in the fossil record
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 19-20.
Science quotes on:  |  Abruptness (2)  |  Acceptance (41)  |  Blame (17)  |  Book (181)  |  Cause (231)  |  Change (291)  |  Eminent (6)  |  Emphasis (14)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Experience (268)  |  Explanation (161)  |  External (45)  |  Fossil (107)  |  Fundamentalist (4)  |  Heady (2)  |  Intoxication (5)  |  Major (24)  |  Natural Selection (79)  |  Occurrence (30)  |  Paleontologist (15)  |  Prejudice (58)  |  Prop (6)  |  Publish (18)  |  Reading (51)  |  Record (56)  |  Search (85)  |  Seeking (30)  |  Straw (5)  |  Sufficient (24)  |  Wine (23)

Though the theories of plate tectonics now provide us with a modus operandi, they still seem to me to be a periodic phenomenon. Nothing is world-wide, but everything is episodic. In other words, the history of any one part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror.
— Derek Ager
In The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record (1973), 100.
Science quotes on:  |  Plate Tectonics (20)  |  Theory (582)


See also:
  • Derek Ager - context of quote “The earth, like the life of a soldier” - Medium image (500 x 250 px)
  • Derek Ager - context of quote “The earth, like the life of a soldier” - Large image (800 x 400 px)
  • The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History, by Derek Ager. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.