Speaking of Science

August 2011's selection of notable quotes

The Scientist Staff
Jul 31, 2011


Scientists can help with the question of where morality comes from, instead of just leaving it in the hands of philosophers, as used to be the case.

Primatologist Frans de Waal, in an interview in Religious Dispatches magazine about whether humans are born selfish (May 5, 2011)

The discoveries of 21st-century science can’t be predicted, but we can make one firm forecast: there will be a widening gulf between what science enables us to do and what applications it is prudent or ethical to pursue.

Cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees, in the New Statesman (June 9, 2011)

Frequently, the way to understand a complicated system is to understand its component parts, but that’s probably not the case for the most interesting complicated systems—like us.

Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University neuroscientist, summarizing the most vital lesson from his research for Seed magazine (April 22, 2011)

Throughout the past 30 or 40 years most criminologists couldn’t say the word ‘genetics’ without spitting. Today the most compelling modern theories of crime and violence weave social and biological themes together.

Duke University behavioral scientist Terrie E. Moffitt, in a New York Times article, “Genetic Basis for Crime: A New Look” (June 19, 2011)

If I could be an enzyme, I would be DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes.

Anon., in a list of nerdy Twitter pickup lines published on Wired.com (May 31, 2011)