We've committed many war crimes in Vietnam - but I'll tell you something interesting about that. We were committing war crimes in World War II, before the Nuremberg trials were held and the principle of war crimes was stated.

— George Wald

The most unexpected George Wald quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

There's life all over this universe, but the only life in the solar system is on earth, and in the whole universe we are the only men.

64

Dropping those atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime.

57

We already know enough to begin to cope with all the major problems that are now threatening human life and much of the rest of life on earth. Our crisis is not a crisis of information; it is a crisis of decision of policy and action.

51

The Nobel Prize is an honor unique in the world in having found its way into the hearts and minds of simple people everywhere. It casts a light of peace and reason upon us all; and for that I am especially grateful.

49

Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.

48

Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.

48

It would be a poor thing to be an atom in a universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.

44

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms.

37

I have lived much of my life among molecules. They are good company.

25

We are the products of editing, rather than of authorship.

23

I do not want to believe in God. Therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.

14

All War Departments are now Defense Departments.

This is all part of the doubletalk of our time. The aggressor is always on the other side.

8

About George Wald

Quotes 59 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Scientist
Birthday October 16

The only use for an atomic bomb is to keep somebody else from using one.

It can give us no protection - only the doubtful satisfaction of retaliation...

5

We have fallen in love with the body.

That's that thing that looks back at us from the mirror. That's the repository of that lovely identity that you keep chasing all your life.

5

I tell my students to try early in life to find an unattainable objective.

5

Nuclear weapons offer us nothing but a balance of terror, and a balance of terror is still terror.

5

It's not good enough to give it tender, loving care, to supply it with breakfast foods, to buy it expensive educations. Those things don't mean anything unless this generation has a future. And we're not sure that it does.

4

We have to get rid of those nuclear weapons.

4

I think all of you know there is no adequate defense against massive nuclear attack.

4

There is nothing worth having that can he obtained by nuclear war - nothing material or ideological - no tradition that it can defend. It is utterly self-defeating.

4

The Vietnamese have a secret weapon. It's their willingness to die beyond our willingness to kill. In effect, they've been saying, You can kill us, but you'll have to kill a lot of us; you may have to kill all of us. And, thank heaven, we are not yet ready to do that.

4

The thought that we're in competition with Russians or with Chinese is all a mistake, and trivial. We are one species, with a world to win.

4

A lecture is much more of a dialogue than many of you probably realize.

3

One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are-as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.

3

Every creature alive on the earth today represents an unbroken line of life that stretches back to the first primitive organism to appear on this planet; and that is about three billion years.

3

We are living in a world in which all wars are wars of defense.

3

The great questions are those an intelligent child asks and, getting no answers, stops asking.

3

As you lecture, you keep watching the faces, and information keeps coming back to you all the time.

3

About two million years ago, man appeared.

He has become the dominant species on the earth. All other living things, animal and plant, live by his sufferance. He is the custodian of life on earth, and in the solar system. It's a big responsibility.

3

So-called defense now absorbs sixty per cent of the national budget, and about twelve per cent of the Gross National Product.

3

A scientist should be the happiest of men.

2

We living things are a late outgrowth of the metabolism of our galaxy.

The carbon that enters into our composition was cooked in a remote past in a dying star. The waters of ancient seas set the pattern of ions in our blood. The ancient atmospheres moulded our metabolism.

1

Evolution advances, not by a priori design, but by the selection of what works best out of whatever choices offer. We are the products of editing, rather than of authorship.

1

A scientist lives with all reality. There is nothing better. To know reality is to accept it, and eventually to love it.

0

I think if a physician wrote on a death certificate that old age was the cause of death, he'd be thrown out of the union. There is always some final event, some failure of an organ, some last attack of pneumonia, that finishes off a life. No one dies of old age.

0

The concept of war crimes is an American invention.

0

There was a golden period that I look back upon with great regret, in which the cheapest of experimental animals were medical students. Graduate students were even better. In the old days, if you offered a graduate student a thiamine-deficient diet, he gladly went on it, for that was the only way he could eat. Science is getting to be more and more difficult.

0

I have often had cause to feel that my hands are cleverer than my head.

That is a crude way of characterizing the dialectics of experimentation. When it is going well, it is like a quiet conversation with Nature. One asks a question and gets an answer, then one asks the next question and gets the next answer. An experiment is a device to make Nature speak intelligibly. After that, one only has to listen.

0

The trouble with most of the things that people want is that they get them.

0

If the germ plasm wants to swim in the ocean, it makes itself a fish;

if the germ plasm wants to fly in the air, it makes itself a bird. If it wants to go to Harvard, it makes itself a man. The strangest thing of all is that the germ plasm that we carry around within us has done all those things. There was a time, hundreds of millions of years ago, when it was making fish. Then ... amphibia ... reptiles ... mammals, and now it's making men.

0

Science goes from question to question;

big questions, and little, tentative answers. The questions as they age grow ever broader, the answers are seen to be more limited.

0

Not all living creatures die. An amoeba, for example, need never die; it need not even, like certain generals, fade away. It just divides and becomes two new amoebas.

0

Our challenge is to give what account we can of what becomes of life in the solar system, this corner of the universe that is our home; and, most of all, what becomes of men-all men, of all nations, colors, and creeds. This has become one world, a world for all men. It is only such a world that can now offer us life, and the chance to go on.

0

[Attributing the origin of life to spontaneous generation.

] However improbable we regard this event, it will almost certainly happen at least once.... The time... is of the order of two billion years.... Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One only has to wait: time itself performs the miracles.

0

A peacetime draft is the most un-American thing I know.

0

Since we have had a history, men have pursued an ideal of immortality.

0

A scientist is in a sense a learned small boy.

There is something of the scientist in every small boy. Others must outgrow it. Scientists can stay that way all their lives.

0

When it comes to the origin of life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!

0

The important point is that since the origin of life belongs in the category of at-least-once phenomena, time is on its side. However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it, with its capacity for growth and reproduction, once may be enough.

0
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