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

Simon Conway Morris

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The underlying reason for convergence seems to be that all organisms are under constant scrutiny of natural selection and are also subject to the constraints of the physical and chemical factors that severely limit the action of all inhabitants of the biosphere. Put simply, convergence shows that in a real world not all things are possible.

Simon Conway Morris

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Above all I feel that you must resign yourself to taking me as I am, that is, with the congenital quality (or weakness) which ever since my childhood has caused my spiritual life to be completely dominated by a sort of profound 'feeling' for the organic realness of the World. At first it was an ill-defined feeling in my mind and heart, but as the years have gone by it has gradually become a precise, compelling sense of the Universe's general convergence upon itself; a convergence which coincides with, and culminates at its zenith in, him in quo omina constant, and whom the Society has taught me to love.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Independent derivation meshed beautifully with the triumph, from the 1930's on, of a strict version of Darwinism based on the near ubiquity of adaptive design built by natural selection... Arthropods and vertebrates do share several features of functional design. But those similarities only reflect the power of natural selection to craft optimal structures independently in a world of limited biomechanical solutions to common functional problems - an evolutionary phenomenon called convergence.

Stephen Jay Gould

Many similarities of basic design among animal phyla, once so confidently attributed to convergence, and viewed as testimony to the power of natural selection to craft exquisite adaptation, demand the opposite interpretation that Mayr labeled as inconceivable: the similar features are homologies, or products of the same genes, inherited from a common ancestor and never altered enough by subsequent evolution to erase their comparable structure and function. The similarities record the constraining power of conserved history, not the architectural skills of natural selection independently pursuing an optimal design in separate lineages. Vertebrates are, in a certain sense, true brothers (or homologs) - not mere analogs - of worms and insects.

Stephen Jay Gould

Sociobiology is not just any statement that biology, genetics, and evolutionary theory have something to do with human behavior. Sociobiology is a specific theory about the nature of genetic and evolutionary input into human behavior. It rests upon the view that natural selection is a virtually omnipotent architect, constructing organisms part by part as best solutions to problems of life in local environments. It fragments organisms into “traits,” explains their existence as a set of best solutions, and argues that each trait is a product of natural selection operating “for” the form or behavior in question. Applied to humans, it must view specific behaviors (not just general potentials) as adaptations built by natural selection and rooted in genetic determinants, for natural selection is a theory of genetic change. Thus, we are presented with unproved and unprovable speculations about the adaptive and genetic basis of specific human behaviors: why some (or all) people are aggressive, xenophobic, religious, acquisitive, or homosexual.

Stephen Jay Gould

The system becomes more coherent as it is further extended. The elements which we require for explaining a new class of facts are already contained in our system. Different members of the theory run together, and we have thus a constant convergence to unity. In false theories, the contrary is the case.

William Whewell
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