The chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.

— Fred Hoyle

The most uplifting Fred Hoyle quotes that are glad to read

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics.

57

Life cannot have had a random beginning.

... The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10 to the 40,000 power, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.

51

It is the true nature of mankind to learn from mistakes, not from example.

40

In short there is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on the Earth.

35

A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.

30

It is a mistake to imagine that potentially great men are rare.

It is the conditions that permit the promise of greatness to be fulfilled that are rare. What is so difficult to achieve is the cultural background that permits potential greatness to be converted into actual greatness.

28

Science today is locked into paradigms.

Every avenue is blocked by beliefs that are wrong, and if you try to get anything published by a journal today, you will run against a paradigm and the editors will turn it down

23

The man who voyages strange seas must of necessity be a little unsure of himself. It is the man with the flashy air of knowing everything, who is always with it, that we should beware of.

20

I have little hesitation in saying that as a result a sickly pall now hangs over the big bang theory. As I have mentioned earlier, when a pattern of facts becomes set against a theory, experience shows that it rarely recovers.

15

The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time.

13

When I was young, the old regarded me as an outrageous young fellow, and now that I'm old the young regard me as an outrageous old fellow.

7

I don't see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.

7

About Fred Hoyle

Quotes 49 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Scientist
Birthday October 16

It is in the world of ideas and in the relation of his brain to the universe itself that the superiority of Man lies. The rise of Man may justly be described as an adventure in ideas.

6

It is no more likely that our world has evolved out of chaos than that a hurricane, blowing through a junk yard, should create a Boeing.

5

There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for.

4

Perhaps the most majestic feature of our whole existence is that while our intelligences are powerful enough to penetrate deeply into the evolution of this quite incredible Universe, we still have not the smallest clue to our own fate.

4

The notion that not only the biopolymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.

3

He who lives among dogs must learn to pant.

3

Earlier theories ... were based on the hypothesis that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past. [Coining the "big bang" expression.]

3

Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule.

3

I do not believe that anything really worthwhile will come out of the exploration of the slag heap that constitutes the surface of the moon...Nobody should imagine that the enormous financial budget of NASA implies that astronomy is now well supported.

1

I have always thought it curious that, while most scientists claim to eschew religion, it actually dominates their thoughts more than it does the clergy.

0

Religion is but a desperate attempt to find an escape from the truly dreadful situation in which we find ourselves. Here we are in this wholly fantastic universe with scarcely a clue as to whether our existence has any real significance. No wonder then that many people feel the need for some belief that gives them a sense of security, and no wonder that they become very angry with people like me who say that this is illusory.

0

The seemingly insuperable difficulties of deep-space travel suggest an intention to keep us fixed at home in our own solar system, and the physical nature of our part of the Universe, as well as the basic rules of physics and chemistry, have a warning look about them, like barriers designed to isolate intelligent life. This means that for us, unlike the situation for humble microorganisms, deep-space travel is probably a stark impossibility.

0

A superintellect has monkeyed with physics.

0

Hoyle's enduring insights into stars, nucleosynthesis, and the large-scale universe rank among the greatest achievements of 20th-century astrophysics. Moreover, his theories were unfailingly stimulating, even when they proved transient.

0

It seems to be a characteristic of all great work that it creators wear a cloak of imprecision.

0

It is emphatically the case that life could not arise spontaneously in a primeval soup of any kind.... Furthermore, no geological evidence indicates an organic soup ever existed on this planet. We may therefore with fairness call this scenario the myth of the pre-biotic soup.

0

Well, we now have such a photograph... Has any new idea been let loose? It certainly has. You will have noticed how suddenly everybody has become seriously concerned to protect the natural environment... It seems to me more than a coincidence that this awareness should have happened at exactly the moment man took his first step into space.

0

One [idea] was that the Universe started its life a finite time ago in a single huge explosion, and that the present expansion is a relic of the violence of this explosion. This big bang idea seemed to me to be unsatisfactory even before detailed examination showed that it leads to serious difficulties.

0

Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, we shall, in an emotional sense, acquire an additional dimension.

0

The main efforts of investigators have been in papering over contradictions in the big bang theory, to build up an idea which has become ever more complex and cumbersome.

0

Outstanding examples of genius - a Mozart, a Shakespeare, or a Carl Friedrich Gauss - are markers on the path along which our species appears destined to tread.

0

Here we are in this wholly fantastic universe with scarcely a clue as to whether our existence has any real significance.

0

There are many ways of knocking electrons out of atoms.

The simplest is to rub two surfaces together.

0

I don't see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible .

.. the establishment defends itself by complicating everything to the point of incomprehensibility.

0

It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner... Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.

0

Things are the way they are because they were the way they were.

0

The universe is a put-up job.

0

Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics, on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate.... It is, therefore, almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect higher intelligence -even to the limit of God.

0

The likelihood of the formation of life from inanimate matter is 1 to a number with 40,000 noughts after it (1040,000).... It is big enough to bury Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor any other, and if the beginnings of life were not random, they must therefore have been the product of purposeful intelligence.

0

Not far from the meeting's venue, at one of the famed Observatory Club tea meetings, Fred once started a talk by saying, 'Oh, Ooh, basically a star is a pretty simple thing.' And from the back of the room was heard the voice of R. O. Redman, saying, 'Well, Fred, you'd look pretty simple too, from ten parsecs!

0

The big bang theory requires a recent origin of the Universe that openly invites the concept of creation.

0

Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, once the sheer isolation of the Earth becomes known, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.

0

A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.

0

Once I had learnt my twelve times table (at the age of three) it was downhill all the way.

0

Words are like harpoons. Once they go in, they are very hard to pull out.

0

In the popular mind, if Hoyle is remembered it is as the prime mover of the discredited Steady State theory of the universe. "Everybody knows" that the rival Big Bang theory won the battle of the cosmologies, but few (not even astronomers) appreciate that the mathematical formalism of the now-favoured version of Big Bang, called inflation, is identical to Hoyle's version of the Steady State model.

0
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