With copious evidence ranging from Plato's haughtiness to Beethoven's tirades, we may conclude that the most brilliant people of history tend to be a prickly lot.
I'm not a great deductive thinker, but I will admit to having competence in a very wide range of things - not being afraid to try to write about baseball, choral music and dinosaurs in the same week and see connections among them.
Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.
Life began three and a half billion years ago, necessarily about as simple as it could be, because life arose spontaneously from the organic compounds in the primeval oceans.
Creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefore cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense.
I think there have to be Bachs and Beethovens. We may have - there are so many more people. Musical training is available to so many more, but it may be that we've hit a right wall in terms of accessible styles and since we demand innovation as a criterion of genius, there may not be more innovative styles to be found.
My own field of paleontology has strongly challenged the Darwinian premise that life's major transformations can be explained by adding up, through the immensity of geological time, the successive tiny changes produced generation after generation by natural selection.
Look in the mirror, and don't be tempted to equate transient domination with either intrinsic superiority or prospects for extended survival.
Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.
I love the wry motto of the Paleontological Society, meant both literally and figuratively, for hammers are the main tool of our trade: Frango ut patefaciam - I break in order to reveal.
What an odd time to be a fundamentalist about adaptation and natural selection - when each major subdiscipline of evolutionary biology has been discovering other mechanisms as adjuncts to selection's centrality.
Goethe died in 1832. As you know, Goethe was very active in science. In fact, he did some very good scientific work in plant morphology and mineralogy. But he was quite bitter at the way in which many scientists refused to grant him a hearing because he was a poet and therefore, they felt, he couldn't be serious.
Science is not a heartless pursuit of objective information. It is a creative human activity, its geniuses acting more as artists than as information processors.
There wasn't much technical terminology, and then, most academics are not trained in writing. And there is what is probably worse than ever before, the growing use of professional jargon.
A lot of scientists hate writing. Most scientists love being in the lab and doing the work and when the work is done, they are finished.
When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown.
The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question.
I dreamed of becoming a scientist, in general, and a paleontologist, in particular, ever since the Tyrannosaurus skeleton awed and scared me.
I don't think academic writing ever was wonderful. However, science used to be much less specialized.