Natalie Angier Quotes
26 Sourced Quotes
Astronomers are pure of heart and appealingly puerile. They look into the midnight sky and ask big questions, just as we did when we were in college: Who are we? Where do we come from? And why are we standing around outside on the night before finals, do we want to end up making elevator parts for a living like our father or what?
Nature is a tenacious recycler, every dung heap and fallen redwood tree a bustling community of saprophytes wresting life from the dead and discarded, as though intuitively aware that there is nothing new under the sun. Throughout the physical world, from the cosmic to the subatomic, the same refrain resounds. Conservation: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.
Scientists have no trouble explaining the evolution of competitive behavior. But the depth and breadth of human altruism, the willingness to forgo immediate personal gain for the long-term common good, far exceeds behaviors seen even in other large-brained highly social species like chimpanzees and dolphins, and it has as such been difficult to understand.
The mere ability to replicate is hardly cause for a standing ovation. Bacteria will double their number every twenty minutes. Many cancer cells can divide in a dish for years after their founder tumors have killed the patient. Perhaps eggs are like neurons, which also are not replenished in adulthood: they know too much.
Among the more irritating consequences of our flagrantly religious society is the special dispensation that mainstream religions receive. We all may talk about religion as a powerful social force, but unlike other similarly powerful institutions, religion is not to be questioned, criticized or mocked.