Jacques Monod

Jacques
Monod
1910
1976

French Molecular Biologist, Geneticist, Arch-mechanist awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Author Quotes

Ideas have retained some of the properties of organisms. Like them, they tend to perpetuate their structure and to breed; they too can fuse, recombine, segregate their content; indeed they too can evolve, and in this evolution selection must surely play an important role.

If we believe in a Creator—if we feel the need for this belief—it is basically for moral reasons, in order to see a goal for our own lives. And why would God have to have chosen this extremely complex and difficult mechanism when, I would say by definition, he was at liberty to choose other mechanisms, why would he have to start with simple molecules? Why not create man right away, as of course classical religions believed?

Everything comes from experience; yet not from actual experience, reiterated by each individual with each generation, but instead from experience accumulated by the entire ancestry of the species in the course of its evolution.

When one ponders on the tremendous journey of evolution over the past three billion years or so, the prodigious wealth of structures it has engendered, and the extraordinarily effective teleonomic performances of living beings from bacteria to man, one may well find oneself beginning to doubt again whether all this could conceiveably be the product of an enormous lottery presided over by natural selection, blindly picking the rare winners from among numbers drawn at random. [Nevertheless,] a detailed review of the accumulated modern evidence [shows] that this conception alone is compatible with the facts.

There are living systems; there is no living 'matter.' No substance, no single molecule, extracted and isolated from a living being possess, of its own, the aforementioned paradoxical properties. They are present in living systems only; that is to say, nowhere below the level of the cell. .

The scientific attitude implies—the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan; that there is no intention in the universe.

The future of mankind is going to be decided within the next two generations, and there are two absolute requisites: We must aim at a stable-state society [with limited population growth] and the destruction of nuclear stockpiles. … Otherwise I don't see how we can survive much later than 2050.

Chance alone is at the source of every innovaton, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, only chance, absolute but blind liberty is at the root of the prodigious edifice that is evolution... It today is the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. Stating life began by the chance collision of particles of nucleic acid in the 'prebiotic soup.'

Biology occupies a position among the sciences both marginal and central. Marginal because, the living world, constituting only a tiny and very 'special' part of the universe, it does not seem likely that the study of living beings will ever uncover general laws applicable outside the biosphere. But if the ultimate aim of the whole of science is indeed, as I believe, to clarify man's relationship to the universe, then biology must be accorded a central position, since of all the disciplines it is the one that endeavours to go most directly to the heart of the problems that must be resolved before that of 'human nature' can even be framed in other than metaphysical terms.

The scientific attitude implies what I call the postulate of objectivity—that is to say, the fundamental postulate that there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe. Now, this is basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems whatever, all of which try to show that there is some sort of harmony between man and the universe and that man is a product—predictable if not indispensable—of the evolution of the universe.

A totally blind process can by definition lead to anything; it can even lead to vision itself.

Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere.

Author Picture
First Name
Jacques
Last Name
Monod
Birth Date
1910
Death Date
1976
Bio

French Molecular Biologist, Geneticist, Arch-mechanist awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine