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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, ... finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell ... whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index B > Category: Biological

Biological Quotes (21 quotes)

Biological evolution is a system of constant divergence without subsequent joining of branches. Lineages, once distinct, are separate forever. In human history, transmission across lineages is, perhaps, the major source of cultural change. Europeans learned about corn and potatoes from Native Americans and gave them smallpox in return.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Across (9)  |  Branch (61)  |  Change (291)  |  Constant (40)  |  Corn (10)  |  Cultural (16)  |  Distinct (29)  |  Divergence (4)  |  European (5)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Forever (42)  |  Give (117)  |  History (302)  |  Human (445)  |  Join (15)  |  Learn (160)  |  Lineage (2)  |  Major (24)  |  Potato (6)  |  Return (35)  |  Separate (46)  |  Smallpox (12)  |  Source (71)  |  Subsequent (11)  |  System (141)  |  Transmission (23)

By their very nature chemical controls are self-defeating, for they have been devised and applied without taking into account the complex biological systems against which they have been blindly hurled.
Silent Spring (1962), 246.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (45)  |  Apply (38)  |  Blindly (2)  |  Chemical (72)  |  Complex (78)  |  Control (93)  |  Devise (11)  |  Hurl (2)  |  Nature (1029)  |  System (141)

For Linnaeus, Homo sapiens was both special and not special ... Special and not special have come to mean nonbiological and biological, or nurture and nature. These later polarizations are nonsensical. Humans are animals and everything we do lies within our biological potential ... the statement that humans are animals does not imply that our specific patterns of behavior and social arrangements are in any way directly determined by our genes. Potentiality and determination are different concepts.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Arrangement (45)  |  Behavior (49)  |  Both (52)  |  Concept (102)  |  Determination (53)  |  Determine (45)  |  Different (110)  |  Directly (15)  |  Everything (120)  |  Gene (68)  |  Homo Sapiens (19)  |  Human (445)  |  Imply (12)  |  Late (28)  |  Lie (80)  |  Linnaeus (2)  |  Mean (63)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Nurture (12)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Polarization (2)  |  Potential (34)  |  Potentiality (6)  |  Social (93)  |  Special (51)  |  Specific (30)  |  Statement (56)

I am not ... asserting that humans are either genial or aggressive by inborn biological necessity. Obviously, both kindness and violence lie with in the bounds of our nature because we perpetrate both, in spades. I only advance a structural claim that social stability rules nearly all the time and must be based on an overwhelmingly predominant (but tragically ignored) frequency of genial acts, and that geniality is therefore our usual and preferred response nearly all the time ... The center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Advance (123)  |  Aggressive (3)  |  Assert (11)  |  Base (43)  |  Both (52)  |  Bounds (5)  |  Center (30)  |  Claim (52)  |  Define (29)  |  Frequency (13)  |  Genial (3)  |  Human (445)  |  Human Nature (51)  |  Ignore (22)  |  Inborn (3)  |  Kindness (10)  |  Lie (80)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Nearly (19)  |  Necessity (125)  |  Obviously (9)  |  Ordinary (44)  |  Overwhelmingly (2)  |  Predominant (2)  |  Prefer (18)  |  Response (24)  |  Root (48)  |  Rule (135)  |  Social (93)  |  Spade (2)  |  Stability (17)  |  Structural (8)  |  Thousand (106)  |  Time (439)  |  Violence (20)

I … object to dividing the study of living processes into botany, zoology, and microbiology because by any such arrangement, the interrelations within the biological community get lost. Corals cannot be studied without reference to the algae that live with them; flowering plants without the insects that pollinate them; grasslands without the grazing mammals.
In The Forest and the Sea (1960), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Alga (2)  |  Arrangement (45)  |  Botany (47)  |  Classify (4)  |  Community (65)  |  Coral (9)  |  Flower (65)  |  Grazing (2)  |  Insect (57)  |  Interrelation (6)  |  Mammal (28)  |  Microbiology (9)  |  Object (110)  |  Plant (173)  |  Pollinate (2)  |  Reference (17)  |  Zoology (28)

In human beings pure masculinity or femininity is not to be found either in a psychological or biological sense.
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), In James Strachey (ed.), The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (1953), Vol. 7, 220, fn 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Feminine (3)  |  Human Being (54)  |  Masculine (3)  |  Psychological (10)  |  Pure (62)  |  Sexuality (11)

It is a strange fact, characteristic of the incomplete state of our present knowledge, that totally opposing conclusions are drawn about prehistoric conditions on our planet, depending on whether the problem is approached from the biological or the geophysical viewpoint.
In The Origins of Continents and Oceans (4th ed. 1929), trans. John Biram (1966), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Approached (2)  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Condition (119)  |  Depending (2)  |  Drawn (2)  |  Fact (609)  |  Incomplete (14)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Planet (199)  |  Prehistoric (5)  |  Present (103)  |  Problem (362)  |  State (96)  |  Strange (61)  |  Totally (4)  |  Viewpoint (6)

It is easy to create an interstellar radio message which can be recognized as emanating unambiguously from intelligent beings. A modulated signal (‘beep,’ ‘beep-beep,’…) comprising the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, for example, consists exclusively of the first 12 prime numbers…. A signal of this kind, based on a simple mathematical concept, could only have a biological origin. … But by far the most promising method is to send pictures.
From 'The Quest for Extraterrestrial Intelligence', in the magazine Smithsonian (May 1978), 43-44. Reprinted in Cosmic Search (Mar 1979), 1, No. 2, 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Interstellar (4)  |  Message (30)  |  Origin (77)  |  Prime Number (3)  |  Radio (27)  |  SETI (3)  |  Signal (14)

Man, biologically considered, and whatever else he may be into the bargain, is simply the most formidable of all the beasts of prey, and, indeed, the only one that preys systematically on its own species.
From 'Remarks at The Peace Banquet' (7 Oct 1904), Boston, on the closing day of the World’s Peace Congress. Printed in Atlantic Monthly (Dec 1904), 845-846. Collected in Essays in Religion and Morality (1982), Vol. 9, 121.
Science quotes on:  |  Beast (32)  |  Formidable (6)  |  Man (345)  |  Prey (9)  |  Species (181)  |  Systematic (25)

Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organisation which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Annihilate (6)  |  Anthropology (51)  |  Behavior (49)  |  Comparative (8)  |  Condemn (6)  |  Constitution (26)  |  Cruel (10)  |  Cultural (16)  |  Culture (85)  |  Depend (56)  |  Differ (13)  |  Fate (38)  |  Greatly (7)  |  Ground (63)  |  Hope (129)  |  Human Beings (19)  |  Improve (39)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Lot (23)  |  Mercy (9)  |  Modern (104)  |  Organisation (5)  |  Pattern (56)  |  Predominate (2)  |  Prevail (13)  |  Primitive (37)  |  So-Called (18)  |  Social (93)  |  Society (188)  |  Strive (35)  |  Teach (102)  |  Type (34)

Most manufacturers take resources out of the ground and convert them to products that are designed to be thrown away or incinerated within months. We call these “cradle to grave” product flows. Our answer to that is “cradle to cradle” design. Everything is reused—either returned to the soil as nontoxic “biological nutrients” that will biodegrade safely, or returned to industry as “technical nutrients” that can be infinitely recycled.
In interview article, 'Designing For The Future', Newsweek (15 May 2005).
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Convert (15)  |  Cradle To Grave (2)  |  Design (92)  |  Flow (31)  |  Ground (63)  |  Industry (91)  |  Infinite (88)  |  Manufacturer (10)  |  Nutrient (4)  |  Product (72)  |  Recycling (4)  |  Resource (47)  |  Return (35)  |  Safety (39)  |  Soil (51)  |  Technology (199)  |  Throw (31)

My visceral perception of brotherhood harmonizes with our best modern biological knowledge ... Many people think (or fear) that equality of human races represents a hope of liberal sentimentality probably squashed by the hard realities of history. They are wrong. This essay can be summarized in a single phrase, a motto if you will: Human equality is a contingent fact of history. Equality is not true by definition; it is neither an ethical principle (though equal treatment may be) nor a statement about norms of social action. It just worked out that way. A hundred different and plausible scenarios for human history would have yielded other results (and moral dilemmas of enormous magnitude). They didn’t happen.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Action (151)  |  Best (129)  |  Brotherhood (5)  |  Contingent (8)  |  Definition (152)  |  Different (110)  |  Dilemma (6)  |  Enormous (33)  |  Equal (53)  |  Equality (21)  |  Essay (9)  |  Ethical (10)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fear (113)  |  Happen (63)  |  Hard (70)  |  Harmonize (4)  |  History (302)  |  Hope (129)  |  Human (445)  |  Hundred (46)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Liberal (8)  |  Magnitude (21)  |  Modern (104)  |  Moral (100)  |  Motto (22)  |  Norm (3)  |  People (269)  |  Perception (53)  |  Phrase (21)  |  Plausible (6)  |  Principle (228)  |  Probably (21)  |  Reality (140)  |  Represent (27)  |  Result (250)  |  Scenario (3)  |  Single (72)  |  Social (93)  |  Statement (56)  |  Summarize (7)  |  Think (205)  |  Treatment (88)  |  True (120)  |  Visceral (3)  |  Work (457)  |  Wrong (116)  |  Yield (23)

No, this trick wont work ... How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (239)  |  Earth (487)  |  Explain (61)  |  First (174)  |  Important (124)  |  Love (164)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Physics (301)  |  Term (87)  |  Trick (19)  |  Work (457)

Paleontology is not geology, it is zoology; it succeeds only in so far as it is pursued in the zoological and biological spirit.
In 'The Present Problems of Paelontology', collected in Congress of arts and science: Universal exposition, St. Louis, 1904 (1906), Vol. 4, 567.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (187)  |  Paleontology (29)  |  Spirit (113)  |  Succeed (11)  |  Zoological (5)  |  Zoology (28)

Perhaps a species that has accumulated ... tons of explosive per capita has already demonstrated its biological unfitness beyond any further question.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulate (18)  |  Already (16)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Demonstrate (25)  |  Explosive (16)  |  Far (77)  |  Question (315)  |  Species (181)  |  Ton (7)

Post-operatively the transplanted kidney functioned immediately with a dramatic improvement in the patient’s renal and cardiopulmonary status. This spectacular success was a clear demonstration that organ transplantation could be life-saving. In a way, it was spying into the future because we had achieved our long-term goal by bypassing, but not solving, the issue of biological incompatibility.
Referring to the pioneering first kidney transplant. It was well-matched since it was between twins. In Nobel Lecture (8 Dec 1990). Printed in Tore Frängsmyr and Jan Lindsten (eds.), Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1981-1990 (1993).
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (128)  |  Demonstration (51)  |  Dramatic (5)  |  Function (90)  |  Future (229)  |  Goal (81)  |  Immediate (27)  |  Improvement (67)  |  Incompatibility (3)  |  Issue (37)  |  Kidney (13)  |  Long-Term (6)  |  Operation (96)  |  Organ (60)  |  Patient (116)  |  Renal (4)  |  Solving (6)  |  Spectacular (8)  |  Status (18)  |  Success (202)  |  Transplant (8)  |  Transplantation (4)

Religion and science ... constitute deep-rooted and ancient efforts to find richer experience and deeper meaning than are found in the ordinary biological and social satisfactions. As pointed out by Whitehead, religion and science have similar origins and are evolving toward similar goals. Both started from crude observations and fanciful concepts, meaningful only within a narrow range of conditions for the people who formulated them of their limited tribal experience. But progressively, continuously, and almost simultaneously, religious and scientific concepts are ridding themselves of their coarse and local components, reaching higher and higher levels of abstraction and purity. Both the myths of religion and the laws of science, it is now becoming apparent, are not so much descriptions of facts as symbolic expressions of cosmic truths.
'On Being Human,' A God Within, Scribner (1972).
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Ancient (68)  |  Apparent (26)  |  Become (100)  |  Both (52)  |  Coarse (2)  |  Component (14)  |  Concept (102)  |  Condition (119)  |  Constitute (19)  |  Continuously (7)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Crude (14)  |  Deep (81)  |  Description (72)  |  Effort (94)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Experience (268)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fact (609)  |  Fanciful (4)  |  Find (248)  |  Formulate (10)  |  Goal (81)  |  High (78)  |  Law (418)  |  Level (51)  |  Limit (86)  |  Local (15)  |  Mean (63)  |  Meaningful (14)  |  Myth (43)  |  Narrow (33)  |  Observation (418)  |  Ordinary (44)  |  Origin (77)  |  People (269)  |  Point (72)  |  Progressively (2)  |  Purity (13)  |  Range (38)  |  Reach (68)  |  Religion (210)  |  Religion And Science (6)  |  Religious (44)  |  Rich (48)  |  Rid (10)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Similar (22)  |  Simultaneous (12)  |  Social (93)  |  Start (68)  |  Symbolic (6)  |  Themselves (45)  |  Toward (29)  |  Truth (750)  |  Whitehead (2)

Rulers and generals muster their troops. Magnates muster the sums of money which give them power. The fascist dictators muster the irrational human reactions which make it possible for them to attain and maintain their power over the masses. The scientists muster knowledge and means of research. But, thus far, no organization fighting for freedom has ever mustered the biological arsenal where the weapons are to be found for the establishment and the maintenance of human freedom. All precision of our social existence notwithstanding, there is as yet no definition of the word freedom which would be in keeping with natural science. No word is more misused and misunderstood. To define freedom is the same as to define sexual health. But nobody will openly admit this. The advocacy of personal and social freedom is connected with anxiety and guilt feelings. As if to be free were a sin or at least not quite as it should be. Sex-economy makes this guilt feeling comprehensible: freedom without sexual self-determination is in itself a contradiction. But to be sexual means—according to the prevailing human structure—to be sinful or guilty. There are very few people who experience sexual love without guilt feeling. “Free love” has acquired a degrading meaning: it lost the meaning given it by the old fighters for freedom. In films and in books, to be genital and to be criminal are presented as the same thing.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (21)  |  Acquire (19)  |  Admit (22)  |  Anxiety (15)  |  Arsenal (4)  |  Attain (21)  |  Book (181)  |  Comprehensible (4)  |  Connect (15)  |  Contradiction (44)  |  Criminal (14)  |  Define (29)  |  Definition (152)  |  Degrade (4)  |  Dictator (3)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Existence (254)  |  Experience (268)  |  Far (77)  |  Fascist (2)  |  Feel (93)  |  Feelings (11)  |  Fight (37)  |  Fighter (4)  |  Film (8)  |  Find (248)  |  Free (59)  |  Freedom (76)  |  General (92)  |  Give (117)  |  Guilt (8)  |  Guilty (4)  |  Health (136)  |  Human (445)  |  Irrational (7)  |  Keep (47)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Least (44)  |  Lose (53)  |  Love (164)  |  Maintain (22)  |  Maintenance (13)  |  Mass (61)  |  Mean (63)  |  Means (109)  |  Misunderstand (2)  |  Misuse (9)  |  Money (125)  |  Natural Science (62)  |  Nobody (38)  |  Old (104)  |  Openly (2)  |  Organization (79)  |  People (269)  |  Personal (49)  |  Possible (100)  |  Power (273)  |  Precision (38)  |  Present (103)  |  Prevail (13)  |  Reaction (59)  |  Research (517)  |  Ruler (12)  |  Same (92)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Sexual (4)  |  Sin (27)  |  Social (93)  |  Structure (191)  |  Sum (30)  |  Troop (3)  |  Weapon (57)  |  Word (221)

The cutting of primeval forest and other disasters, fueled by the demands of growing human populations, are the overriding threat to biological diversity everywhere. (1992)
The Diversity of Life (1999), 259
Science quotes on:  |  Biodiversity (8)  |  Cutting (5)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Demand (52)  |  Disaster (36)  |  Diversity (46)  |  Forest (88)  |  Human (445)  |  Population (71)  |  Primeval (8)  |  Threat (24)

We are sorry to confess that biological hypotheses have not yet completely got out of the second phase, and that ghost of ‘vital force’ still haunts many wise heads.
From Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (15th ed. 1884), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Completely (19)  |  Confess (9)  |  Ghost (20)  |  Haunt (3)  |  Head (52)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Phase (14)  |  Second (33)  |  Sorry (16)  |  Vital Force (2)  |  Wise (43)

When I first ventured into the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, the sea appeared to be a blue infinity too large, too wild to be harmed by anything that people could do. I explored powder white beaches, dense marshes, mangrove forests, and miles of sea grass meadows alive with pink sea urchins, tiny shrimps, and seahorses half the size of my little finger. … Then, in mere decades, not millennia, the blue wilderness of my childhood disappeared: biologic change in the space of a lifetime.
From 'My Blue Wilderness', National Geographic Magazine (Oct 2010), 76.
Science quotes on:  |  Alive (38)  |  Beach (14)  |  Blue (30)  |  Change (291)  |  Childhood (23)  |  Decade (19)  |  Dense (2)  |  Disappear (22)  |  Exploration (93)  |  Finger (38)  |  Forest (88)  |  Grass (30)  |  Gulf Of Mexico (4)  |  Harm (31)  |  Infinity (59)  |  Large (82)  |  Lifetime (19)  |  Mangrove (3)  |  Marsh (5)  |  Meadow (12)  |  Mile (24)  |  Millennium (3)  |  Person (114)  |  Pink (2)  |  Powder (4)  |  Sea (143)  |  Shrimp (5)  |  Size (47)  |  Tiny (25)  |  Venture (12)  |  White (38)  |  Wild (39)  |  Wilderness (28)


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 EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations 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 |

who invites your feedback

- 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

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