Simon Conway Morris Quotes

  1. Ethics are pre-determined and a matter of discovery, not a evolved concept.
  2. Scientists have wonderfully explained the organization of the universe, but that’s really all it claims to do, and I think it does that very successfully.
  3. I would argue that in any habitable zone that doesn’t boil or freeze, intelligent life is going to emerge because intelligence is convergent.
  4. I don’t think an alien will be a blob. If aliens are out there they should have evolved just like us. They should have eyes and be walking on two legs. In short if there is any life out there then it is likely to be very similar to us.
  5. If you go to the octopus, and if you’re not too squeamish, dissect it. You’ll find that it has a camera eye which is remarkable similar to our own. And yet we know that the octopus belongs to an invertebrate group called cephalopod mulluses, evolutionarily very distant indeed from the chordates to which we belong.
  6. The tree of life was always there. Evolution just fills in the gaps.
  7. Most of the tree of life is effectively arranged.
  8. It is difficult to imagine evolution in alien planets operating in any manner other than Darwinian.
  9. The common ancient ancestor of mulluses and chordates could not possibly have possessed a camera eye, so quite clearly they have evolved independently. The solution has been arrived at by completely different routes.
  10. One can say with reasonable confidence that the likelihood of something analogous to a human evolving is really pretty high.
  11. If there were a clear prospect that such evils were part of a barbarian past, then at least we might find a small crumb of comfort. No such prospect exists: no scientific analysis can even remotely answer or account for past and present horrors of human behaviour.
  12. The manner in which life constructs itself must be dealing with some other principle which we’ve failed to identify.
  13. The fact that some things are mysterious or that they touch on mystery isn’t in some way a capitulation, and one should realize that there are some things that we may never understand and, to that extent, should be humbled by that.
  14. The Burgess Shale is not unique, but for those who study evolution and fossils it has become something of an icon. It provides a reference point and a benchmark, a point of common discussion and an issue of universal scientific interest.
  15. As a number of people have stressed over the years, I think it would be premature to assume science itself will explain everything.
  16. By obtaining a sense of its place in the unfolding drama of life, set in an ecological theatre, so we can understand why it has become one of the leading players.
  17. Massive self-confidence is boring.
  18. I think the intellectual consistency of Christianity in historical evidence is frankly overwhelming, but my materialist colleagues regard me as a slightly sad case.
  19. It is my opinion that human history can make no sense unless evil doings are recognized for what they are, and that they are bearable only if somehow they may be redeemed.
  20. Evolution is true, it happens, it is the way the world is, and we too are one of its products. This does not mean that evolution does not have metaphysical implications; I remain convinced that this is the case.
  21. Pikaia is a missing link because, of all chordates, it’s probably the most primitive.

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