Zitate von J. B. S. Haldane

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J. B. S. Haldane

Geburtstag: 5. November 1892
Todesdatum: 1. Dezember 1964

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane war ein theoretischer Biologe und Genetiker. Neben Ronald Fisher und Sewall Wright war er in den 1920er Jahren einer der Begründer der Populationsgenetik.

Zitate J. B. S. Haldane

„If two animals have a common ancestor, their parasites are likely to be descended from those of the ancestor.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Introduction, p. 9.
The Causes of Evolution (1932)
Kontext: Comparative parasitology supports the evolutionary hypothesis. If two animals have a common ancestor, their parasites are likely to be descended from those of the ancestor. This principle has been applied with considerable effect to the classification of frogs and other groups.

„We have now to ask whether God made the tapeworm. And it is questionable whether an affirmative answer fits in either with what we know about the process of evolution or what many of us believe about the moral perfection of God.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Quelle: The Causes of Evolution (1932), Ch. V What is Fitness?, pp. 158-159.
Kontext: I have given my reasons for thinking that we can probably explain evolution in terms of the capacity for variation of individual organisms, and the selection exercised on them by their environment....
The most obvious alternative to this view is to hold that evolution has throughout been guided by divine power. There are two objections to this hypothesis. Most lines of descent end in extinction, and commonly the end is reached by a number of different lines evolving in parallel. This does not suggest the work of an intelligent designer, still less of an all mighty one. But the moral objection is perhaps more serious. A very large number of originally free-living Crustacea, worms, and so on, have evolved into parasites. In doing so they have lost, to a greater or less extent, their legs, eyes, and brains, and have become in many cases the course of considerable and prolonged pain to other animals and to man. If we are going to take an ethical point of view at all (and we must do so when discussing theological questions), we are, I think, bound to place this loss of faculties coupled with increased infliction of suffering in the same class as moral breakdown in a human being, which can often be traced to genetical causes. To put the matter in a more concrete way, Blake expressed some doubt as to whether God had made the tiger. But the tiger is in many ways an admirable animal. We have now to ask whether God made the tapeworm. And it is questionable whether an affirmative answer fits in either with what we know about the process of evolution or what many of us believe about the moral perfection of God.

„Another possible mode of making rapid evolutionary jumps is by hybridisation.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Quelle: The Causes of Evolution (1932), Ch. IV Natural Selection, pp. 104-106.
Kontext: Where natural selection slackens, new forms may arise which would not survive under more rigid competition, and many ultimately hardy combinations will thus have a chance of arising.... Thus the distinction between the principal mammalian orders seems to have arisen during an orgy of variation in the early Eocene which followed the doom of the great reptiles... Since that date mammalian evolution has been a slower affair, largely a progressive improvement of the types originally laid down in the Eocene.
Another possible mode of making rapid evolutionary jumps is by hybridisation.... hybridisation (where the hybrids are fertile) usually causes an epidemic of variation in the second generation which may include new and valuable types which could not have arisen within a species by slower evolution.

„Where natural selection slackens, new forms may arise which would not survive under more rigid competition“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Quelle: The Causes of Evolution (1932), Ch. IV Natural Selection, pp. 104-106.
Kontext: Where natural selection slackens, new forms may arise which would not survive under more rigid competition, and many ultimately hardy combinations will thus have a chance of arising.... Thus the distinction between the principal mammalian orders seems to have arisen during an orgy of variation in the early Eocene which followed the doom of the great reptiles... Since that date mammalian evolution has been a slower affair, largely a progressive improvement of the types originally laid down in the Eocene.
Another possible mode of making rapid evolutionary jumps is by hybridisation.... hybridisation (where the hybrids are fertile) usually causes an epidemic of variation in the second generation which may include new and valuable types which could not have arisen within a species by slower evolution.

„If much of the investigation here summarised has only proved the obvious, the obvious is worth proving when this can be done. And if the relative importance of selection and mutation is obvious, it has certainly not always been recognised as such.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Appendix
The Causes of Evolution (1932)
Kontext: Unaided common sense may indicate an equilibrium, but rarely, if ever, tells us whether it is stable. If much of the investigation here summarised has only proved the obvious, the obvious is worth proving when this can be done. And if the relative importance of selection and mutation is obvious, it has certainly not always been recognised as such.

„Our ancestors were mostly rather rare creatures.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane, buch The Causes of Evolution

Appendix, pp. 213-214.
The Causes of Evolution (1932)
Kontext: Wright's theory certainly supports the view taken in this book that the evolution in large random-mating populations, which is recorded by palaeontology, is not representative of evolution in general, and perhaps gives a false impression of the events occurring in less numerous species. It is a striking fact that none of the extinct species, which, from the abundance of their fossil remains, are well known to us, appear to have been in our own ancestral line. Our ancestors were mostly rather rare creatures. " Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth."

„Science is as yet in its infancy, and we can foretell little of the future save that the thing that has not been is the thing that shall be; that no beliefs, no values, no institutions are safe.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane

Daedalus or Science and the Future (1923)
Kontext: Science is as yet in its infancy, and we can foretell little of the future save that the thing that has not been is the thing that shall be; that no beliefs, no values, no institutions are safe. So far from being an isolated phenomenon the late war is only an example of the disruptive result that we may constantly expect from the progress of science. The future will be no primrose path. It will have its own problems. Some will be the secular problems of the past, giant flowers of evil blossoming at last to their own destruction. Others will be wholly new. Whether in the end man will survive his ascensions of power we cannot tell. But the problem is no new one. It is the old paradox of freedom re-enacted with mankind for actor and the earth for stage.

„I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages:
(i) this is worthless nonsense;
(ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view;
(iii) this is true, but quite unimportant;
(iv) I always said so.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane

Journal of Genetics Vol. 58, page 464 (1963).
Haldane may have been putting his own twist on a phrase he had heard elsewhere, since similar statements can be found earlier. On p. 113 of The Art of Scientific Investigation http://www.archive.org/stream/artofscientifici00beve#page/112/mode/2up (1955), William Ian Beardmore Beveridge wrote: <blockquote>It has been said that the reception of an original contribution to knowledge may be divided into three phases: during the first it is ridiculed as not true, impossible or useless; during the second, people say that there may be something in it but it would never be of any practical use; and in the third and final phase, when the discovery has received general recognition, there are usually people who say that it is not original and has been anticipated by others.</blockquote>
A note at the bottom of the page adds that "This saying seems to have originated from Sir James Mackenzie (The Beloved Physician, by R. M. Wilson, John Murray, London)". In addition, on p. 366 of "The Accident Prevention Problem in the Small Shop" in Safety Engineering Vol. 33 (1950), Earl B. Morgan wrote: <blockquote>First, it is ridiculed; second, it is subject to argument: third, it is accepted.</blockquote>
A similar quote is also often attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer but this is likely incorrect since it does not appear in any of his published writings.

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„An ounce of algebra is worth a ton of verbal argument.“

—  J. B. S. Haldane

As quoted in his obituary by Maynard Smith http://www.nature.com/nature/focus/maynardsmith/pdf/1965.pdf in Nature 206 (1965), p. 239

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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