Wednesday, August 21, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Simon Conway Morris


British paleontologist, who became noted for his studies of the Burgess Shale fossils.
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Simon Conway Morris
The fact that we arrived here via an immensely long string of species that originated in something like Pikaia rather than some other crepuscular blob is a wonderful scientific story, but it is hardly material to our present condition.
Conway Morris quotes
Third, as has often been noted, the pronouncements of the ultra-Darwinists can shake with a religious fervour. Their texts ring with high-minded rhetoric and dire warnings—not least of the unmitigated evils of religion—all to reveal the path of simplicity and straight thinking.
Conway Morris
Richard Dawkins is arguably England's most pious atheist.




Conway Morris Simon quotes
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.
Conway Morris Simon
... not only that, but it can instruct us as to what may be the limits of desirable knowledge and risks of unbridled curiosity. This world-picture could also show that far from being a series of mindless accidents, history has directions and conceivably end-points.
Simon Conway Morris quotes
Gould's arguments on the quirkiness of human intelligence are not only presented as part of an evolutionary argument, but also I believe to buttress an ideological viewpoint. In brief, his assessment of Man as an evolutionary accident is to lead us into a libertarian attitude whereby, by virtue of a cosmic accident, we, and we alone, have no choice but to take responsibility for our own destiny and mould it to our desire.
Simon Conway Morris
When serious scientists with huge beards aren't looking, I jocularly refer to these fossils as my alien goldfish. Picture the scene: the giant spaceship is parked on a wide beach, and kicking pebbles Commodore Grafnik is in a filthy mood. Yet another planet with hundreds of millions of years to go before intelligence evolves, not even at the zorkquaan stage, for Threga's sake! And as for his pet vlantans!! Purchased at huge expense, all they do is feed voraciously and then fall asleep. Still fuming, Grafnik carries the bowl down to the lagoon edge and (contrary to every regulation in the AIPC [Access to Inhabited Planets Code]) tips the vlantans out. They dart away and several months later enter the fossil record of a planet where they have no right to be.
Conway Morris Simon quotes
The relative moral merits of any of us are in the final analysis only relevant to exponents of the theistic world picture; to those of scientistic inclination they might be socially useful but in the grand order of things can have no meaning in a soulless world.
Conway Morris
And the other world-picture?, one based not just on science but wedded to a scientistic programme. Well, you know it as well as I do. Here all is ultimately meaningless.
Conway Morris Simon
I am driven to observe of the ultra-Darwinists the following features as symptomatic. First, to my eyes, is their almost unbelievable self-assurance, their breezy self-confidence.
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