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“A culture must be reasonably stable, but it must also change, and it will presumably be strongest if it can avoid excessive respect for tradition and fear of novelty on the one hand and excessively rapid change on the other.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Must we wait for selection to solve the problems of overpopulation, exhaustion of resources, pollution of the environment and a nuclear holocaust, or can we take explicit steps to make our future more secure? In the latter case, must we not transcend selection?”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Many social practices essential to the welfare of the species involve the control of one person by another, and no one can suppress them who has any concern for human achievements”

 

B. F. Skinner

“The human species took a crucial step forward when its vocal musculature came under operant control in the production of speech sounds. Indeed, it is possible that all the distinctive achievements of the species can be traced to that one genetic change.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“The extent to which human aggression exemplifies innate tendencies is not clear.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Overcrowding can be corrected only by inducing people not to crowd, and the environment will continue to deteriorate until polluting practices are abandoned.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“The world’s a poor standard. any society which is free of hunger and violence looks bright against that background.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Death does not trouble me. I have no fear of supernatural punishments, of course, nor could I enjoy an eternal life in which there would be nothing left for me to do, the task of living having been accomplished.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“The speaker does not feel the grammatical rules he is said to apply in composing sentences, and men spoke grammatically for thousands of years before anyone knew there were rules.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“We admire people to the extent that we cannot explain what they do, and the word ‘admire’ then means ‘marvel at.'”

 

B. F. Skinner

“A permissive government is a government that leaves control to other sources.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“To require a citizen to sign a loyalty oath is to destroy some of the loyalty he could otherwise claim, since any subsequent loyal behavior may then be attributed to the oath.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“A vast technology has been developed to prevent, reduce, or terminate exhausting labor and physical damage. It is now dedicated to the production of the most trivial conveniences and comfort.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Fame is also won at the expense of others. Even the well-deserved honors of the scientist or man of learning are unfair to many persons of equal achievements who get none. When one man gets a place in the sun, the others are put in a denser shade. From the point of view of the whole group there’s no gain whatsoever, and perhaps a loss.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“We have seen that in certain respects operant reinforcement resembles the natural selection of evolutionary theory. Just as genetic characteristics which arise as mutations are selected or discarded by their consequences, so novel forms of behavior are selected or discarded through reinforcement.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Science, not religion, has taught me my most useful values, among them intellectual honesty. It is better to go without answers than to accept those that merely resolve puzzlement.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“Something doing every minute’ may be a gesture of despair-or the height of a battle against boredom.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“I don’t believe in God, so I’m not afraid of dying.”

 

B. F. Skinner

“A child who has been severely punished for sex play is not necessarily less inclined to continue; and a man who has been imprisoned for violent assault is not necessarily less inclined toward violence.”

 

B. F. Skinner