It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner... Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.
ironic quotesscientific quotesfacts quotesthrow quotesdarwin quotesleave quoteswilliam quotespaley quotesfigure quotesfun quotesworld quotescentury quotestournament quoteschance quotesultimate quoteswinner quotestheory quotesobvious quoteswonders quoteswidely quotesaccepted quotesselfevident quotesreasons quotespsychological quotesscientific quotes
The seemingly insuperable difficulties of deep-space travel suggest an intention to keep us fixed at home in our own solar system, and the physical nature of our part of the Universe, as well as the basic rules of physics and chemistry, have a warning look about them, like barriers designed to isolate intelligent life. This means that for us, unlike the situation for humble microorganisms, deep-space travel is probably a stark impossibility.
seemingly quotesinsuperable quotesdifficulties quotesdeepspace quotestravel quotessuggest quotesintention quotesfixed quoteshome quotessolar quotessystem quotesphysical quotesnature quotespart quotesuniverse quotesbasic quotesrules quotesphysics quoteschemistry quoteswarning quotesbarriers quotesdesigned quotesisolate quotesintelligent quoteslife quotesmeans quotesunlike quotessituation quoteshumble quotesmicroorganisms quotesstark quotesimpossibility quotes
On scientific grounds this big bang assumption is much less the palatable of the two. For it is an irrational process that cannot be described in scientific terms. . . . On philosophical grounds too I cannot see any good reason for preferring the big bang idea. Indeed it seems to me in the philosophical sense to be a distinctly unsatisfactory notion, since it puts the basic assumption out of sight where it can never be challenged by a direct appeal to observation.
scientific quotesgrounds quotesbig quotesbang quotesassumption quotespalatable quotesirrational quotesprocess quotesterms quotesphilosophical quotesgood quotesreason quotespreferring quotesidea quotessense quotesdistinctly quotesunsatisfactory quotesnotion quotesputs quotesbasic quotessight quoteschallenged quotesdirect quotesappeal quotesobservation quotes
Well, we now have such a photograph... Has any new idea been let loose? It certainly has. You will have noticed how suddenly everybody has become seriously concerned to protect the natural environment... It seems to me more than a coincidence that this awareness should have happened at exactly the moment man took his first step into space.
In the popular mind, if Hoyle is remembered it is as the prime mover of the discredited Steady State theory of the universe. "Everybody knows" that the rival Big Bang theory won the battle of the cosmologies, but few (not even astronomers) appreciate that the mathematical formalism of the now-favoured version of Big Bang, called inflation, is identical to Hoyle's version of the Steady State model.
popular quotesmind quoteshoyle quotesremembered quotesprime quotesmover quotesdiscredited quotessteady quotesstate quotestheory quotesuniverse quotesrival quotesbig quotesbang quoteswon quotesbattle quotescosmologies quotesastronomers quotesmathematical quotesformalism quotesnowfavoured quotesversion quotesbang quotescalled quotesinflation quotesidentical quoteshoyles quotesmodel quotes
The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is 1 to a number with 40,000 noughts after it (1040,000).... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.
likelihood quotesformation quoteslife quotesinanimate quotesmatter quotes1 quotesnumber quotes40000 quotesnoughts quotes1040000 quotesbig quotesbury quotesdarwin quotestheory quotesevolution quotesprimeval quotessoup quotesplanet quotesbeginnings quotesrandom quotesproduct quotespurposeful quotesintelligence quotes
One [idea] was that the Universe started its life a finite time ago in a single huge explosion, and that the present expansion is a relic of the violence of this explosion. This big bang idea seemed to me to be unsatisfactory even before detailed examination showed that it leads to serious difficulties.
idea quotesuniverse quotesstarted quoteslife quotesfinite quotestime quotesago quotessingle quoteshuge quotesexplosion quotespresent quotesexpansion quotesrelic quotesviolence quotesexplosion quotesbig quotesbang quotesidea quotesunsatisfactory quotesdetailed quotesexamination quotesshowed quotesleads quotesdifficulties quotes
I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption ... For myself, as no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneous liberation from a certain political and economic system, and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.
motives quoteswanting quotesworld quotesmeaning quotesassumed quotesdifficulty quotesfind quotessatisfying quotesreasons quotesassumption quotesdoubt quotescontemporaries quotesphilosophy quotesmeaninglessness quotesessentially quotesinstrument quotesliberation quotesliberation quotesdesired quotessimultaneous quotespolitical quoteseconomic quotessystem quotessystem quotesmorality quotesobjected quotesmorality quotesinterfered quotessexual quotesfreedom quotes
I am genuinely sorry for scientists of the younger generation who never knew Fisher personally. So long as you avoided a handful of subjects like inverse probability that would turn Fisher in the briefest possible moment from extreme urbanity into a boiling cauldron of wrath, you got by with little worse than a thick head from the port which he, like the Cambridge mathematician J. E. Littlewood, loved to drink in the evening. And on the credit side you gained a cherished memory of English spoken in a Shakespearean style and delivered in the manner of a Spanish grandee.
genuinely quotesscientists quotesyounger quotesgeneration quotesknew quotesfisher quotespersonally quoteslong quotesavoided quoteshandful quotessubjects quotesinverse quotesprobability quotesturn quotesbriefest quotesmoment quotesextreme quotesurbanity quotesboiling quotescauldron quoteswrath quotesworse quotesthick quoteshead quotesport quotescambridge quotesmathematician quotesj quotese quoteslittlewood quotesloved quotesdrink quotesevening quotescredit quotesside quotesgained quotescherished quotesmemory quotesenglish quotesspoken quotesshakespearean quotesstyle quotesdelivered quotesmanner quotesspanish quotesgrandee quotes
Imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik's cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have a chance of arriving by random shuffling, of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.
imagine quotes1050 quotesblind quotespersons quotesscrambled quotesrubiks quotescube quotesconceive quoteschance quotessimultaneously quotesarriving quotessolved quotesform quotesrandom quotesshuffling quotesbiopolymers quoteslife quotesdepends quotesnotion quotesoperating quotesprogram quotesliving quotescell quotesarrived quotesprimordial quotesorganic quotessoup quotesearth quotesevidently quotesnonsense quoteshigh quotesorder quotes
A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.
junkyard quotesbits quotespieces quotesboeing quotes747 quotesdismembered quotesdisarray quoteswhirlwind quotesblow quotesyard quoteschance quotespassage quotesfully quotesassembled quotesready quotesfly quotesfound quotesstanding quotessmall quotesnegligible quotestornado quotesjunkyards quotesfill quotesuniverse quotes
Not far from the meeting's venue, at one of the famed Observatory Club tea meetings, Fred once started a talk by saying, 'Oh, Ooh, basically a star is a pretty simple thing.' And from the back of the room was heard the voice of R. O. Redman, saying, 'Well, Fred, you'd look pretty simple too, from ten parsecs!
meetings quotesvenue quotesfamed quotesobservatory quotesclub quotestea quotesmeetings quotesfred quotesstarted quotestalk quotesoh quotesooh quotesbasically quotesstar quotespretty quotessimple quotesthing quotesback quotesroom quotesheard quotesvoice quotesr quoteso quotesredman quoteswell quotesfred quotesten quotesparsecs quotes
We are inescapably the result of a long heritage of learning, adaptation, mutation and evolution, the product of a history which predates our birth as a biological species and stretches back over many thousand millennia... Going further back, we share a common ancestry with our fellow primates; and going still further back, we share a common ancestry with all other living creatures and plants down to the simplest microbe. The further back we go, the greater the difference from external appearances and behavior patterns which we observe today.
inescapably quotesresult quoteslong quotesheritage quoteslearning quotesadaptation quotesmutation quotesevolution quotesproduct quoteshistory quotespredates quotesbirth quotesbiological quotesspecies quotesstretches quotesback quotesthousand quotesmillennia quotesback quotesshare quotescommon quotesancestry quotesfellow quotesprimates quotesliving quotescreatures quotesplants quotessimplest quotesmicrobe quotesgreater quotesdifference quotesexternal quotesappearances quotesbehavior quotespatterns quotesobserve quotestoday quotes
Religion is but a desperate attempt to find an escape from the truly dreadful situation in which we find ourselves. Here we are in this wholly fantastic universe with scarcely a clue as to whether our existence has any real significance. No wonder then that many people feel the need for some belief that gives them a sense of security, and no wonder that they become very angry with people like me who say that this is illusory.
religion quotesdesperate quotesattempt quotesfind quotesescape quotesdreadful quotessituation quoteswholly quotesfantastic quotesuniverse quotesscarcely quotesclue quotesexistence quotesreal quotessignificance quotespeople quotesfeel quotesbelief quotessense quotessecurity quotesangry quotesillusory quotes
Life cannot have had a random beginning. ... The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the 40,000 power, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.