„It is willingly granted that by cultivation the origination of new varieties is favored, and that by man's labor many varieties are acquired which, under natural conditions, would be lost; but nothing justifies the assumption that the tendency to formation of varieties is so extraordinarily increased that the species speedily lose all stability, and their offspring diverge into an endless series of extremely variable forms. Were the change in the conditions the sole cause of variability we might expect that those cultivated plants which are grown for centuries under almost identical conditions would again attain constancy.“

Experiments with Hybrids of Other Species of Plants
Experiments in plant-hybridisation (1865)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
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Gregor Mendel11
Silesian scientist and Augustinian friar 1822 - 1884

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„Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.“

—  William Osler Canadian pathologist, physician, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, cofounder of Johns Hopkins Hospital 1849 - 1919

On the Educational Value of the Medical Society (1903)

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„To my mind, the expression of divinity is in variety, and the more variable the creation, the more variable the creatures that surround us, botanical and zoological, the more chance we have to learn and to see into life itself, nature itself.“

—  Sheri S. Tepper American fiction writer 1929 - 2016

Locus interview (1998)
Context: To my mind, the expression of divinity is in variety, and the more variable the creation, the more variable the creatures that surround us, botanical and zoological, the more chance we have to learn and to see into life itself, nature itself. If we were just human beings, living in a spaceship, with an algae farm to give us food, we would not be moved to learn nearly as many things as we are moved by living on a world, surrounded by all kinds of variety. And when I see that variety being first decimated, and then halved — and I imagine in another hundred years it may be down by 90% and there'll be only 10% of what we had when I was a child — that makes me very sad, and very despairing, because we need variety. We came from that, we were born from that, it's our world, the world in which we became what we have become.

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„At the beginning of this marvelous era it was natural to expect, and it was expected, that labor-saving inventions would lighten the toil and improve the condition of the laborer; that the enormous increase in the power of producing wealth would make real poverty a thing of the past.“

—  Henry George, book Progress and Poverty

Introductory : The Problem
Progress and Poverty (1879)
Context: At the beginning of this marvelous era it was natural to expect, and it was expected, that labor-saving inventions would lighten the toil and improve the condition of the laborer; that the enormous increase in the power of producing wealth would make real poverty a thing of the past. … It is true that disappointment has followed disappointment, and that discovery upon discovery, and invention after invention, have neither lessened the toil of those who most need respite, nor brought plenty to the poor. But there have been so many things to which it seemed this failure could be laid, that up to our time the new faith has hardly weakened. We have better appreciated the difficulties to be overcome; but not the less trusted that the tendency of the times was to overcome them.
Now, however, we are coming into collision with facts which there can be no mistaking. From all parts of the civilized world come complaints of industrial depression; of labor condemned to involuntary idleness; of capital massed and wasting; of pecuniary distress among businessmen; of want and suffering and anxiety among the working classes. All the dull, deadening pain, all the keen, maddening anguish, that to great masses of men are involved in the words "hard times," afflict the world to-day. This state of things, common to communities differing so widely in situation, in political institutions, in fiscal and financial systems, in density of population and in social organization, can hardly be accounted for by local causes.

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„The supporters of the Development Hypothesis… can show that any existing species—animal or vegetable—when placed under conditions different from its previous ones, immediately begins to undergo certain changes fitting it for the new conditions. They can show that in successive generations these changes continue; until, ultimately, the new conditions become the natural ones.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903

The Development Hypothesis (1852)
Context: The supporters of the Development Hypothesis... can show that any existing species—animal or vegetable—when placed under conditions different from its previous ones, immediately begins to undergo certain changes fitting it for the new conditions. They can show that in successive generations these changes continue; until, ultimately, the new conditions become the natural ones. They can show that in cultivated plants, in domesticated animals, and in the several races of men, such alterations have taken place. They can show that the degrees of difference so produced are often, as in dogs, greater than those on which distinctions of species are in other cases founded.

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Herbert Spencer photo

„The supporters of the Development Hypothesis… can show that any existing species—animal or vegetable—when placed under conditions different from its previous ones, immediately begins to undergo certain changes fitting it for the new conditions.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903

They can show that in successive generations these changes continue; until, ultimately, the new conditions become the natural ones. They can show that in cultivated plants, in domesticated animals, and in the several races of men, such alterations have taken place. They can show that the degrees of difference so produced are often, as in dogs, greater than those on which distinctions of species are in other cases founded.
The Development Hypothesis (1852)

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„[.. ] the values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.“

—  Jared Diamond, book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Cited by Tim Flannery, "Learning from the past to change our future" http://science.sciencemag.org/content/307/5706/45.full, Science, volume 307, 7 January 2005, page 45.
Source: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)

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