A laboratory of natural history is a sanctuary where nothing profane should be tolerated. I feel less agony at improprieties in churches than in a scientific laboratory.
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APALouis Agassiz Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=a-laboratory-natural-history-is-sanctuary-where-nothing-profane-should-be-tolerated-i-feel-less-agony-at-improprieties-in-churches-than-in-louis-agassiz
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I may say that here, as in most cases where the operations of nature interfere with the designs of man, it is not by a direct intervention on our part that we may remedy the difficulties, but rather by a precise knowledge of their causes, which may enable us, if not to check, at least to avoid the evil consequences.
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I will frankly tell you that my experience in prolonged scientific investigations convinces me that a belief in God-a God who is behind and within the chaos of vanishing points of human knowledge-adds a wonderful stimulus to the man who attempts to penetrate into the regions of the unknown.
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I have devoted my whole life to the study of Nature, and yet a single sentence may express all that I have done. I have shown that there is a correspondence between the succession of Fishes in geological times and the different stages of their growth in the egg,-this is all. It chanced to be a result that was found to apply to other groups and has led to other conclusions of a like nature.
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The world has arisen in some way or another. How it originated is the great question, and Darwin's theory, like all other attempts, to explain the origin of life, is thus far merely conjectural. I believe he has not even made the best conjecture possible in the present state of our knowledge.
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Branches or types are characterized by the plan of their structure, Classes, by the manner in which that plan is executed, as far as ways and means are concerned, Orders, by the degrees of complication of that structure, Families, by their form, as far as determined by structure, Genera, by the details of the execution in special parts, and Species, by the relations of individuals to one another and to the world in which they live, as well as by the proportions of their parts, their ornamentation, etc.
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Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the weaknesses and extrapolations that theoreticians put forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and falsity of their beliefs.
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It is better to have a few forms well known than to teach a little about many hundred species. Better a dozen specimens thoroughly studied as the result of the first year's work, than to have two thousand dollars' worth of shells and corals bought from a curiosity-shop. The dozen animals would be your own.
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In 1847 I gave an address at Newton, Mass., before a Teachers' Institute conducted by Horace Mann. My subject was grasshoppers. I passed around a large jar of these insects, and made every teacher take one and hold it while I was speaking. If any one dropped the insect, I stopped till he picked it up. This was at that time a great innovation, and excited much laughter and derision. There can be no true progress in the teaching of natural science until such methods become general.
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The long summer was over. For ages a tropical climate had prevailed over a great part of the earth, and animals whose home is now beneath the Equator roamed over the world from the far South to the very borders of the Arctics ... But their reign was over. A sudden intense winter, that was also to last for ages, fell upon our globe.
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It must be for truth's sake, and not for the sake of its usefulness to humanity, that the scientific man studies Nature. The application of science to the useful arts requires other abilities, other qualities, other tools than his; and therefore I say that the man of science who follows his studies into their practical application is false to his calling. The practical man stands ever ready to take up the work where the scientific man leaves it, and adapt it to the material wants and uses of daily life.
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