Traditional Quotes (9 quotes)
A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
Former arbiters of taste must have felt (as so many apostles of traditional values and other highminded tags for restriction and conformity do today) that maintaining the social order required a concept of unalloyed heroism. Human beings so designated as role models had to embody all virtues of the paragonwhich meant, of course, that they could not be described in their truly human and ineluctably faulted form.
I submit that the traditional definition of psychiatry, which is still vogue, places it alongside such things as alchemy and astrology, and commits it to the category of pseudo-science.
The advanced course in physics began with Rutherfords lectures. I was the only woman student who attended them and the regulations required that women should sit by themselves in the front row. There had been a time when a chaperone was necessary but mercifully that day was past. At every lecture Rutherford would gaze at me pointedly, as I sat by myself under his very nose, and would begin in his stentorian voice: Ladies and Gentlemen. All the boys regularly greeted this witticism with thunderous applause, stamping with their feet in the traditional manner, and at every lecture I wished I could sink into the earth. To this day I instinctively take my place as far back as possible in a lecture room.
The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.
The life history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community. From the moment of birth the customs into which he is born shape his experience and behavior.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Niles Eldredge and myself, is not, as so often misunderstood, a radical claim for truly sudden change, but a recognition that ordinary processes of speciation, properly conceived as glacially slow by the standard of our own life-span, do not resolve into geological time as long sequences of insensibly graded intermediates (the traditional, or gradualistic, view), but as geologically sudden origins at single bedding planes.
The traditional method of confronting the student not with the problem but with the finished solution means depriving him of all excitement, to shut off the creative impulse, to reduce the adventure of mankind to a dusty heap of theorems.
To complete a PhD[,] I took courses in the history of philosophy. As a result of my studies, I concluded that the traditional philosophy of science had little if anything to do with biology. I had no use for a philosophy based on such an occult force as the vis vitalis. But I was equally disappointed by the traditional philosophy of science, which was all based on logic, mathematics, and the physical sciences, and had adopted Descartes conclusion that an organism was nothing but a machine. This Cartesianism left me completely dissatisfied.