Bill Nye · 309 pages
Rating: (9.5K votes)
“To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.”
“The natural world is a package deal; you don’t get to select which facts you like and which you don’t.”
“I’ll admit that the discovery of evolution is humbling, but it is also empowering. It transforms our relationship to the life around us. Instead of being outsiders watching the natural world go by, we are insiders. We are part of the process; we are the exquisite result of billions of years of natural research and development.”
“What happens to other species also happens to us.”
“How did we let an ideological resistance to inquiry become such a prominent part of our society?”
“No other organism on Earth does that. Yes, yes, I understand that dolphins are very smart, but I don’t think they build libraries or even contemplate such a project.”
“Put another way, I love all of you dog lovers, but I have to spoil your fun a little with a fundamental truth. There is, in an important evolutionary sense, no such thing as a specific breed of dog. If a Great Dane has sex with a dachshund, you get a dog. If a Standard Poodle has sex with a Jack Russell terrier, you get a dog. If a mutt has sex with a so-called purebred, you get a dog.”
“If the argument is, “Well, that was all part of the plan,” then I have to ask: How can you take the lack of evidence of a plan as evidence of a plan? That makes no sense.”
“We are killing off species at the rate of about one per day. It is estimated that humans are driving species to extinction at least a thousand times faster than the otherwise natural rate.”
“To be successful as a living thing, you have to have offspring, who have offspring, who have offspring. Rest assured, your family did, or you wouldn’t be here. As troubling as it may seem, your parents had sex—at least once. If you have brothers and sisters, more than once … One shudders to think of it.”
“If you’re a creationist reading this, and you want to remark something like, “Well, that’s the way he did it,” I’ll tell you right back, that is just not reasonable, nor is it satisfactory. If we were playing on a team right now, I’d say, “Get your head in the game.”
“Skin color is basically a measure of the local ultraviolet levels, and it is controlled by relatively minor adaptive changes in the genome.”
“The essence of the evening was captured by a question from the audience. Someone asked: “What would it take to change your worldview?” My answer was simple: Any single piece of evidence. If we found a fossilized animal trying to swim between the layers of rock in the Grand Canyon, if we found a process by which a new huge fraction of a radioactive material’s neutrons could become protons in some heretofore fantastically short period of time, if we found a way to create eleven species a day, if there were some way for starlight to get here without going the speed of light, that would force me and every other scientist to look at the world in a new way. However, no such contradictory evidence has ever been found—not any, not ever.”
“I myself have had long discussions with my dog friends, and by that I mean my friends who are dogs.”
“There is a deep-seated reason why intelligent, sensible people suddenly recoil from objective evidence when the topic turns to evolution. I think the fear of death has a lot to do with it.”
“From time to time, I meet someone who will say something like, "I am not afraid of dying." I don't buy it. Everyone is afraid of dying. It's part of the instinct that helps us survive as a species. It's a crucial feature of human evolution. It's also, I strongly suspect, a crucial reason why so many people have trouble believing evolution is true. Life can be ironic like that.”
“People love dogs. This is, I hope, the least surprising sentence you will read in this book. I myself have had long discussions with my dog friends, and by that I mean my friends who are dogs.”
“When religions disagree about just creation, there is nothing to do but argue. When two scientists disagree about evolution, they confer with colleagues, develop theories, collect evidence, and arrive at a more complete understanding. Every question leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature itself.”
“Some of the most wonderful aspects and consequences of evolution have been discovered only recently. This is in stark contrast to creationism, which offers a static view of the world, one that cannot be challenged or tested with reason. And because it cannot make predictions, it cannot lead to new discoveries, new medicines, or new ways to feed all of us.”
“they avoid the exploration of evolution, because it reminds us all that humankind may not be that special in nature’s scheme. What happens to other species also happens to us.”
“The takeaway message here, as Jablonski points out, is that there is no such thing as different races of humans. Any differences we traditionally associate with race are a product of our need for vitamin D and our relationship to the Sun. Just a few clusters of genes control skin color; the changes in skin color are recent; they’ve gone back and forth with migrations; they are not the same even among two groups with similarly dark skin; and they are tiny compared to the total human genome. So skin color and “race” are neither significant nor consistent defining traits. We all descended from the same African ancestors, with little genetic separation from each other. The different colors or tones of skin are the result of an evolutionary response to ultraviolet light in local environments. Everybody has brown skin tinted by the pigment melanin. Some people have light brown skin. Some people have dark brown skin. But we all are brown, brown, brown.”
“Scientifically speaking, there is tribalism and group bias, but there cannot be any such thing as racism. We are all one.”
“We are all aware that evolution happens, because we all have parents.”
“Try this way of picturing a human lifespan. The National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys’ stadium holds 105,000 people. Now, imagine that you’re watching life go by down on the field, and every day you watch that life go by from a different seat. You don’t even get a third of the way around. Before you’ve settled into a third of the seats, you’d be dead. And, that’s if you had a good run, eighty-two-plus years. Yikes!”
“The word purebred is something we can define by counting generations back in dog-sex land. But it is not an indication of species or anything special, really.”
“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.”
“This is one of the reasons I get such joy from studying evolution. This kind of science is amazing and sexy.”
“We all have DNA, and it’s nearly the same. In rhesus monkeys, we’re close to 93 percent the same. In mice, it’s closer to 90 percent overall.”
“As I learned more about evolution, I realized that from nature’s point of view, you and I ain’t such a big deal. Humans are just another species on this planet trying to make a go of it, trying to pass our genes into the future, just like chrysanthemums, muskrats, sea jellies, poison ivy … and bumblebees.”
“Our ancestors who did not have a fear of heights, who did not have a fear of eating something poisonous, who did not have a fear of venomous snakes and spiders, who were not afraid of drowning, well—they’re dead.”
“Sadness is never bad," said Amparo. "Sadness is the mirror of being happy”
“So while gods and goddesses are mysteriously dying for reasons the council can’t possibly be sure of, you’re going to listen to Zeus for the first time in your life.”
“He’d track me down the instant he knew I was gone. You know that.”
“Unless…” Her fingers danced over the parchment, an inch from my knee. “Someone kind,generous, thoughtful and extremely beautiful covered for you.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Do you think someone like that actually exists?”
She punched me in the arm.”
“Uncle Aidan?” Percy began.
“Don’t you think you ought to marry
Aidan jerked his head up, slamming it against the trunk lid. “FUCK!” he shouted as he saw stars before his eyes. A few more expletives escaped his lips as pain raged through his skull.
“Nice mouth you got there,” John chided.
Gritting his teeth, Aidan rubbed his aching head. “You mention that one to your mom, and I’ll tell her about your ball-sack comment.”
John’s eyes widened. “Dude, that is so not cool!”
“Yeah, well, deal with it.” Aidan started to resume gathering up the bags when he noticed Percy staring expectantly at him for an answer. Aidan sighed. “Perce—”
His blonde brows knitted together.
“Don’t you love her?”
“Oh Christ,” Aidan muttered, raking his hand through his hair. He winced as pain once again shot through his head. “Did your mom put you up to this or something?”
“No. When I asked her the same question, she just said that you were a cad.”
Percy shrugged. “I don’t even know what that means.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s a dude who acts like a douchebag to women,” John said.
Aidan glared over at John. “I am not a cad!”
“It's really over." He put his arms around her, pulling her to him. "Now just as long as you don't get tangled up with a pack of vampires or deranged witches while you're at college, everything will be wonderful.”
“I loved mornings on the island. Fucking loved them. Emphasis on fucking.”
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