Jacques Monod Quotes

Enjoy the top 29 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Jacques Monod.

Jacques Monod Quotes

In science there is and will remain a Platonic element which could not be taken away without ruining it. Among the infinite diversity of singular phenomena science can only look for invariants.
— Jacques Monod —

Jacques Monod Quotes: Among all the occurrences possible in
Among all the occurrences possible in the universe the a priori probability of any particular one of them verges upon zero. Yet the universe exists; particular events must take place in it, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. At the present time we have no legitimate grounds for either asserting or denying that life got off to but a single start on earth, and that, as a consequence, before it appeared its chances of occurring were next to nil ... Destiny is written concurrently with the event, not prior to it ... The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game. Is it surprising that, like the person who has just made a million at the casino, we should feel strange and a little unreal?

— Jacques Monod

A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it.

— Jacques Monod

A totally blind process can by definition lead to anything; it can even lead to vision itself.

— Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod Quotes: It necessarily follows that chance alone
It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among many other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition - or the hope - that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised. There is no scientific concept, in any of the sciences, more destructive of anthropocentrism than this one.

— Jacques Monod

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant.

— Jacques Monod

In science there is and will remain a Platonic element which could not be taken away without ruining it. Among the infinite diversity of singular phenomena science can only look for invariants.

— Jacques Monod

Everything comes from experience; yet not from actual experience, reiterated by each individual with each generation, but instead from experience accumulated by the entire ancestry of the species in the course of its evolution.

— Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod Quotes: Armed with all the powers enjoying all
Armed with all the powers, enjoying all the wealth they owe to science, our societies are still trying to practice and to teach systems of values already destroyed at the roots by that very science. Man knows at last that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe, whence which he has emerged by chance. His duty, like his fate, is written nowhere.

— Jacques Monod

One of the great problems of philosophy, is the relationship between the realm of knowledge and the realm of values. Knowledge is what is; values are what ought to be. I would say that all traditional philosophies up to and including Marxism have tried to derive the 'ought' from the 'is.' My point of view is that this is impossible, this is a farce.

— Jacques Monod

The scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity-that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe. Now, this is basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems whatever, all of which try to show that there is some sort of harmony between man and the universe and that man is a product-predictable if not indispensable-of the evolution of the universe.

— Jacques Monod

Even today a good many distinguished minds seem unable to accept or even to understand that from a source of noise natural selection alone and unaided could have drawn all the music of the biosphere. In effect natural selection operates upon the products of chance and can feed nowhere else; but it operates in a domain of very demanding conditions, and from this domain chance is barred. It is not to chance but to these conditions that evolution owes its generally progressive course, its successive conquests, and the impression it gives of a smooth and steady unfolding.

— Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod Quotes: The future of mankind is going to be
The future of mankind is going to be decided within the next two generations, and there are two absolute requisites: We must aim at a stable-state society [with limited population growth] and the destruction of nuclear stockpiles. ... Otherwise I don't see how we can survive much later than 2050.

— Jacques Monod

When one ponders on the tremendous journey of evolution over the past three billion years or so, the prodigious wealth of structures it has engendered, and the extraordinarily effective teleonomic performances of living beings from bacteria to man, one may well find oneself beginning to doubt again whether all this could conceivably be the product of an enormous lottery presided over by natural selection, blindly picking the rare winners from among numbers drawn at random. [Nevertheless,] a detailed review of the accumulated modern evidence [shows] that this conception alone is compatible with the facts.

— Jacques Monod

What I have tried to show is that the scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity - that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe.

— Jacques Monod

Chance alone is at the source of every innovaton, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, only chance, absolute but blind liberty is at the root of the prodigious edifice that is evolution ... It today is the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. Stating life began by the chance collision of particles of nucleic acid in the "prebiotic soup."

— Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod Quotes: Modern societies accepted the treasures
Modern societies accepted the treasures and the power offered them by science. But they have not accepted - they have scarcely even heard - its profounder message: the defining of a new and unique source of truth, and the demand for a thorough revision of ethical premises, for a complete break with the animist tradition, the definitive abandonment of the 'old covenant', the necessity of forging a new one. Armed with all the powers, enjoying all the riches they owe to science, our societies are still trying to live by and to teach systems of values already blasted at the root by science itself.

— Jacques Monod

The fundamental biological variant is DNA. That is why Mendel's definition of the gene as the unvarying bearer of hereditary traits, its chemical identification by Avery (confirmed by Hershey), and the elucidation by Watson and Crick of the structural basis of its replicative invariance, are without any doubt the most important discoveries ever made in biology. To this must be added the theory of natural selection, whose certainty and full significance were established only by those later theories.

— Jacques Monod

One may well find oneself beginning to doubt whether all this could conceivably be the product of an enormous lottery presided over by natural selection, blindly picking the rare winners from among numbers drawn at utter random ... nevertheless although the miracle of life stands "explained" it does not strike us as any less miraculous. As Francois Mauriac wrote, What this professor says is far more incredible than what we poor Christians believe.

— Jacques Monod

Biology occupies a position among the sciences at once marginal and central. Marginal because-the living world constituting but a tiny and very "special" part of the universe-it does not seem likely that the study of living beings will ever uncover general laws applicable outside the biosphere. But if the ultimate aim of the whole of science is indeed, as I believe, to clarify man's relationship to the universe, then biology must be accorded a central position ...

— Jacques Monod

Man finally knows that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the Universe, from which he emerged by accident.

— Jacques Monod

Another curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it. I mean philosophers, social scientists, and so on. While in fact very few people understand it, actually, as it stands, even as it stood when Darwin expressed it, and even less as we now may be able to understand it in biology.

— Jacques Monod

Jacques Monod Quotes: Mans destiny is nowhere spelled out nor
Man's destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty.

— Jacques Monod

Every living being is also a fossil. Within it, all the way down to the microscopic structure of its proteins, it bears the traces if not the stigmata of its ancestry.

— Jacques Monod

Evolution in the biosphere is therefore a necessarily irreversible process defining a direction in time; a direction which is the same as that enjoined by the law of increasing entropy, that is to say, the second law of thermodynamics. This is far more than a mere comparison: the second law is founded upon considerations identical to those which establish the irreversibility of evolution. Indeed, it is legitimate to view the irreversibility of evolution as an expression of the second law in the biosphere.

— Jacques Monod

Chance and necessity.

— Jacques Monod

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