Science Quotes

Science (from the Latin word scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

The earliest roots of science can be traced to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in around 3500 to 3000 BCE. Their contributions to mathematics, astronomy, and medicine entered and shaped Greek natural philosophy of classical antiquity, whereby formal attempts were made to provide explanations of events in the physical world based on natural causes.

Science Quotes

What We Expect of Science

Since “real” life is possible only through knowledge, those who neglect learning and teaching are considered “dead” even though they are still alive, for we were created to learn and to communicate what we have learned to others. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Right decisions depend on having a sound mind and on sound thinking. As science and knowledge illuminates and develop one’s mind, those deprived of science and knowledge cannot reach right decisions and are always exposed to deception and misguidance. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Those who are truly human continue to learn, teach, and inspire others. It is difficult to regard as truly human those who are ignorant and have no desire to learn. It is also questionable whether a learned person who does not pursue self-renewal and self-reform, and thereby set an example for others, is truly human. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Science and knowledge should seek to uncover the nature of men and women and the mysteries of creation. Any knowledge, however scientific, is not true knowledge if it does not shed light on the mysteries of human nature and the dark areas of existence.

Status and merit acquired through knowledge and science are higher and more lasting than status and merit obtained through other means. This is true for two reasons: Knowledge will enrapture its possessors, when they reach the other world, with the pleasure of the positions acquired while in this world. In addition, it will keep its possessors away from bad morals in this world and cause them to attain many virtues. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Parents should feed their children’s minds of with knowledge and science before they become engaged in useless things, for souls devoid of truth and knowledge are fields in which all kinds of evil thoughts are grown and cultivated. – M. Fethullah Gulen

The purpose of learning is to make knowledge a guide for your life, to illuminate the road to human perfection. Any knowledge that does not fulfill these functions is a burden for the learner, and any science that does not direct one toward sublime goals is only deception. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Science is to perceive the reality of science,
Science consists in knowledge of the self;
If, then, you do not know yourself,
I wonder what kind of education you have had. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Appropriate language is an inexhaustible source of blessing for the learner. Those who possess such a source are always sought by people, like a source of fresh water, and lead people to what is good. Knowledge consisting of empty theories and unabsorbed pieces of learning, which arouses suspicions in minds and darkens hearts, is like a “pile of garbage” around which desperate and confused souls flounder. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Although science and all branches of knowledge are beneficial to almost everyone, one cannot possibly acquire all of them, for people’s life-spans and resources are limited. Therefore, learn and use only that which benefits yourself and humanity at large. Do not waste your life. – M. Fethullah Gulen

True scientists base their study and research on true reports, correct expositions, and scientific experiments. As a result, they have peace of mind and solve their problems with ease. However, those who do not know the truth are buffeted constantly by changing aims and methods, and so are always disillusioned. – M. Fethullah Gulen

People are esteemed and appreciated in proportion to the profundity and content of their knowledge. The knowledge of those who spread gossip and idle talk is nothing more than gossip and idle talk. On the other hand, truly valuable indeed are those who use their knowledge as a prism to perceive things and events, as a light to illuminate “space” to the darkest points, and to reach the most transcendent truths. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Science Quotes

A world is a circumscribed portion of sky… it is a piece cut off from the infinite. – Epicurus 

An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature’s answer. – Max Planck

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. – Albert Einstein

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance. – Hippocrates

What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean. – Isaac Newton

Science is magic that works. – Kurt Vonnegut

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein

Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. – Thomas Edison

A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales. – Marie Curie

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. – Isaac Asimov

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. – Galileo Galilei

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not Eureka!” (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’„. – Isaac Asimov

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. – Arthur C. Clarke

The scientist only imposes two things, namely truth and sincerity, imposes them upon himself and upon other scientists. – Erwin Schrödinger

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. – Martin Luther King, Jr

The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. – Nikola Tesla

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. – Carl Sagan

It is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explains not, then it says there is nothing to explain. – Bram Stoker

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. – Edwin Hubble

Science is just pure empiricism, and by virtue of its method, it excludes metaphysics. – Steve Martin

Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth. – Jules Verne

The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age. – H.P. Lovecraft

Science is the acceptance of what works and the rejection of what does not. That needs more courage than we might think. – Jacob Bronowski

Mathematics reveals its secrets only to those who approach it with pure love, for its own beauty. – Archimedes

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. – Stephen Hawking

What I love about science is that as you learn, you don’t really get answers. You just get better questions. – John Green

There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. – Isaac Asimov

Common Sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses. – Leonardo da Vinci

We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Physics is really nothing more than a search for ultimate simplicity, but so far all we have is a kind of elegant messiness.
Bill Bryson

The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. – Richard Dawkins

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions. – Claude Levi-Strauss

There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. – George Washington

Any schoolboy can do experiments in the physics laboratory to test various scientific hypothesis. But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion or not. – Milan Kundera

The invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is. – Douglas Adams

A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions – as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.Friedrich Nietzsche

Science you don’t know, looks like magic. – Christopher Moore

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. – Will Durant

One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike – and yet it is the most precious thing we have. – Albert Einstein

All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of Experience, the mother of all Knowledge. – Leonardo da Vinci

Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t. – Thomas A. Edison

There’s real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality. – Richard Dawkins

Every form of art is another way of seeing the world. Another perspective, another window. And science –that’s the most spectacular window of all. You can see the entire universe from there. – Claudia Gray

Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you – and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life. – Isaac Asimov

Science is vastly more stimulating to the imagination than the classics. – J. B. S. Haldane

Science Quotes

Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it. – Robert Sapolsky

I remember discussions with Bohr which went through many hours till very late at night and ended almost in despair; and when at the end of the discussion I went alone for a walk in the neighboring park I repeated to myself again and again the question: Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments? – Werner Heisenberg

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. – T. S. Eliot

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. – Adam Smith

Kids are never the problem. They are born scientists. The problem is always the adults. They beat the curiosity out of kids. They outnumber kids. They vote. They wield resources. That’s why my public focus is primarily adults. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wonder is the seed of knowledge. – Francis Bacon

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. – Max Planck

Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. – Leonardo da Vinci

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. – Carl Sagan

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

There are infinite worlds both like and unlike this world of ours. For the atoms being infinite in number… are borne on far out into space.  – Epicurus

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants. – Isaac Newton

I don’t care that they stole my idea… I care that they don’t have any of their own. – Nikola Tesla

Speculation and the exploration of ideas beyond what we know with certainty are what lead to progress. – Lisa Randall

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. – Albert Einstein

If you thought that science was certain ? well, that is just an error on your part. – Richard Feynman

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer; art is everything else. – Donald E. Knuth

From the dawn of exact knowledge to the present day, observation, experiment, and speculation have gone hand in hand; and, whenever science has halted or strayed from the right path, it has been, either because its votaries have been content with mere unverified or unverifiable speculation; or it has been, because the accumulation of details of observation has for a time excluded speculation. – Thomas Henry Huxley

Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt. – Richard P. Feynman

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. – Max Planck

See now the power of truth; the same experiment which at first glance seemed to show one thing, when more carefully examined, assures us of the contrary. – Galileo Galilei

That’s the whole problem with science. You’ve got a bunch of empiricists trying to describe things of unimaginable wonder. – Bill Watterson

Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science, which achieved its most spectacular triumphs in the seventeenth century. – Bertrand Russell

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. – Carl Sagan

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. – Isaac Newton

Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don’t know. – Bertrand Russell

Exploration is what you do when you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s what scientists do every day. If a scientist already knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t be discovering anything, because they already knew what they were doing. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. – Richard Feynman

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. – Albert Einstein

Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe. – Galileo Galilei

A real scientist solves problems, not wails that they are unsolvable. – Anne McCaffrey

Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand. – Dan Brown

The aim of science is to discover and illuminate truth. – Rachel Carson

When someone admits one and rejects another which is equally in accordance with the appearances, it is clear that he has quitted all physical explanation and descended into myth. – Epicurus

Science Quotes

A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it. – Frank Herbert

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself. – Albert Einstein

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. – Richard P. Feynman

Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding… – Brian Greene

Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. – Isaac Newton

There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits. – Karl Marx

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless. – Thomas A. Edison

No, this trick won’t work… How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? – Albert Einstein

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him. – Galileo Galilei

Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue. – Paul Kalanithi

Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars. – Carl Sagan

Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it. – Leo Tolstoy

No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess. – Isaac Newton

I… a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe. – Richard P. Feynman

The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it. – D.L. Moody

Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence. – Edgar Allan Poe

Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that’s where the light is. It has no other choice. – Noam Chomsky

Nature is always more subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine. – Carl Sagan

The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction. – Ray Bradbury

One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought. – Albert Einstein

I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. – Richard P. Feynman

Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to. – Dan Brown

It does not help that some politicians and journalists assume the public is interested only in those aspects of science that promise immediate practical applications to technology or medicine. – Steven Weinberg

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? – Albert Einstein

I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them. – Baruch Spinoza

Earthquakes may be brought about because wind is caught up in the earth, so the earth is dislocated in small masses and is continually shaken, and that causes it to sway. – Epicurus

Science Quotes

  • The extensive literature addressed to the definition or characterization of science is filled with inconsistent points of view and demonstrates that an adequate definition is not easy to attain. Part of the difficulty arises from the fact that the meaning of science is not fixed, but is dynamic. As science has evolved, so has its meaning. It takes on a new meaning and significance with successive ages.
    • Russell L. Ackoff (1962) Scientific method: optimizing applied research decisions, p. 1.
  • We are stuck with technology when all we really want is just stuff that works. How do you recognize something that is still technology? A good clue is if it comes with a manual.
    • Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002), 115.
  • We should remember that there was once a discipline called natural philosophy. Unfortunately, this discipline seems not to exist today. It has been renamed science, but science of today is in danger of losing much of the natural philosophy aspect.
    • Hannes Alfvén, as quoted by Anthony L. Peratt, Dean of the Plasma Dissidents in “The World and I” (supplement to the Washington Times, May 1988), p. 192.
  • The sciences we are familiar with have been installed in a number of great ‘continents’. Before Marx, two such continents had been opened up to scientific knowledge: the continent of Mathematics and the continent of Physics. The first by the Greeks (Thales), the second by Galileo. Marx opened up a third continent to scientific knowledge: the continent of History.
    • Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Writings (1971) p. 4.
  • Science doesn’t purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life. I should think people would want to know that what they know is truly what the universe is like, or at least as close as they can get to it.
    • Isaac Asimov, Interview by Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers’ World Of Ideas (21 October 1988); transcript (pages 5-6).
  • Don’t you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don’t you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?
    No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.
    One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out “Don’t you believe in anything?”
    “Yes”, I said. “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

    • Isaac Asimov (1997) The Roving Mind. Prometheus Books. p. 349.
  • In human life, you will find players of religion until the knowledge and proficiency in religion will be cleansed from all superstitions, and will be purified and perfected by the enlightenment of real science.
    • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Speech (October 1927); quoted in Atatürk’ten Düşünceler by E. Z. Karal, p .59
  • Science is the most real guide for civilisation, for life, for success in the world. To search for a guide other than science is absurdity, ignorance and heresy.
    • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as quoted in Atatürkçülük, Volume I, General Staff of the Republic of Turkey, Millî Eğitim Basımevi, 1984, p. 283
  • We often frame our understanding of what the space telescope will do in terms of what we expect to find, and actually it would be terribly anticlimactic if in fact we find what we expect to find. … The most important discoveries will provide answers to questions that we do not yet know how to ask and will concern objects we have not yet imagined.
    • John N. Bahcall, on the Hubble Space Telescope’s capabilities for the advancement of science, quoted in his obituary at CalTech (7 September 2005).
  • The civilization of the West, which was brilliant by virtue of its scientific perfection for a long time, and which subjugated the whole world with the products of this science to its states and nations, is now bankrupt and in decline.
    • Hassan Banna, Hassan al-Banna
  • Mathematics became an experimental subject. Individuals could follow previously intractable problems by simply watching what happened when they were programmed into a personal computer. … The PC revolution has made science more visual and more immediate … by creating films of imaginary experiences of mathematical worlds. … Words are no longer enough.
    • John D. Barrow, Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science (2008).
  • We say that the string is ‘random’ if there is no other representation of the string which is shorter than itself. But we will say that it is ‘non-random’ if there does exist such an abbreviated representation. … In general, the shorter the possible representation… the less random… On this view we recognize science to be the search for algorithmic compressions. … It is simplest to think of mathematics as the catalogue of all possible patterns. … When viewed in this way, it is inevitable that the world is described by mathematics. …In many ways the search for a Theory of Everything is a manifestation of a faith that this compression goes all the way down to the bedrock of reality…
    • John D. Barrow, New Theories of Everything (2007).
  • Science has taught us how to put the atom to work. But to make it work for good instead of for evil lies in the domain dealing with the principles of human duty. We are now facing a problem more of ethics than physics.
    • Bernard Baruch speech to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (14 Jun 1946). In Alfred J. Kolatch, Great Jewish Quotations (1996), 39.
  • I do not believe that the present flowering of science is due in the least to a real appreciation of the beauty and intellectual discipline of the subject. It is due simply to the fact that power, wealth and prestige can only be obtained by the correct application of science.
    • Derek Barton, Some Reflections on the Present Status of Organic Chemistry, in Science and Human Progress: Addresses at the Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Mellon Institute (1963), 90.
  • ‘Twas thus by the glare of false science betray’d,
    That leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind.

    • James Beattie, The Hermit. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • Modern science explicitly and emphatically rejects teleology.
    • Mordechai Ben-Ari, Just a Theory: Exploring the Nature of Science (2005), Chapter 2
  • Just because people doing science are embedded in a particular social and cultural milieu, it doesn’t follow that science is not universal.
    • Mordechai Ben-Ari, Just a Theory: Exploring the Nature of Science (2005), Chapter 6
  • It is clear today that modern science developed when people stopped debating metaphysical questions about the world and instead concerned themselves with the discovery of laws that were primarily mathematical.
    • Mordechai Ben-Ari, Just a Theory: Exploring the Nature of Science (2005), Chapter 11
  • Engineering or Technology is the making of things that did not previously exist, whereas science is the discovering of things that have long existed.
    • David Billington, The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering (1983), 9.
  • But in practical affairs, particularly in politics, men are needed who combine human experience and interest in human relations with a knowledge of science and technology. Moreover, they must be men of action and not contemplation. I have the impression that no method of education can produce people with all the qualities required. I am haunted by the idea that this break in human civilization, caused by the discovery of the scientific method, may be irreparable.
    • Max Born, My Life & My Views (1968), 57-8.
  • If the author is so interested in Science, why doesn’t she take a course in it?
    • Peg Bracken, I Didn’t Come Here to Argue (1969), Fawcett Crest edition, page 49.
  • One of the most disconcerting issues of our time lies in the fact that modern science, along with miracle drugs and communications satellites, has also produced nuclear bombs. What makes it even worse, science has utterly failed to provide an answer on how to cope with them. As a result, science and scientists have often been blamed for the desperate dilemma in which mankind finds itself today.
    Science, all by itself, has no moral dimension. The same poison-containing drug which cures when taken in small doses, may kill when taken in excess. The same nuclear chain reaction that produces badly needed electrical energy when harnessed in a reactor, may kill thousands when abruptly released in an atomic bomb. Thus it does not make sense to ask a biochemist or a nuclear physicist whether his research in the field of toxic substances or nuclear processes is good or bad for mankind. In most cases the scientist will be fully aware of the possibility of an abuse of his discoveries, but aside from his innate scientific curiosity he will be motivated by a deep-seated hope and belief that something of value for his fellow man may emerge from his labors.
    The same applies to technology, through which most advances in the natural sciences are put to practical use.

    • Wernher von Braun, Responsible Scientific Investigation and Application, (1976), address delivered to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, as published in The Nature of a Humane Society : A Symposium on the Bicentennial of the United States of America (1977) edited by Hans Ober Hess, p. 97.
    • Variants:
    • Science does not have a moral dimension. It is like a knife. If you give it to a surgeon or a murderer, each will use it differently.
      • As quoted in Futurehype: The Myths of Technology Change (2009) by Robert B. Seidensticker
    • Science does not have a moral dimension. It is like a knife. If you give it to a surgeon or a murderer, each will use it differently. Should the knife have not been developed?
      • As quoted in Science & Society (2012) by Peter Daempfle, Ch. 6, p. 97
  • People keep saying “science doesn’t know everything!” Well, science “knows” it doesn’t know everything; otherwise it would stop.
    • Dara Ó Briain, Dara Ó Briain: Live at the Theatre Royal (2006).
  • Have you ever read a Michael Crichton novel, or seen one of his movies, in which the hubristic scientist actually paused and declared: “Hey, science shouldn’t be done in shadows. If I keep this new thing secret I’ll probably do something gruesomely stupid. But if I discuss this innovation with hundreds of peers, some of them will catch my mistakes and things won’t get out of hand. Nobody will die.
    • David Brin Idiot plot.
  • Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.
    • Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956), Part 1, §9.
  • The symbol and the metaphor are as necessary to science as to poetry.
    • Jacob Bronowski, Science and Human Values (1956), Part 2, §6.
  • Science has nothing to be ashamed of even in the ruins of Nagasaki. The shame is theirs who appeal to other values than the human imaginative values which science has evolved. The shame is ours if we do not make science part of our world…
    • Jacob Bronowski, The Sense of Human Dignity, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (19 Mar 1953), printed in Science and Human Values (1959), 94.
  • All great scientists have used their imaginations freely, and let it ride them to outrageous conclusions without crying “Halt!”
    • Jacob Bronowski, The Reach of Imagination (1967)
  • I believe that the world is totally connected: that is to say, that there are no events anywhere in the universe which are not tied to every other event in the universe. … It is… an essential part of the methodology of science to divide the world for any experiment into … relevant and … irrelevant. We make a cut. We put the experiment… into a box. … The moment we do that, we do violence to the connections … I get a set of answers which I try to decode in this context. … I am certainly not going to get the world right, because the basic assumption that I have made about the world is a lie. … It is bound to give me only an approximation to what goes inside the fence. Therefore, when we practice science (and this is true of all our experience) we are always decoding a part of nature which is not complete. We simply cannot get out of our own finiteness.
    • Jacob Bronowski, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (1978), pp. 58-59
  • Science is an attempt to represent the known world as a closed system with a perfect formalism. Scientific discovery is a constant maverick process of breaking out at the ends of the system … and then hastily closing it. … The act of the imagination is the opening of the system so that it shows new connections. …every act of imagination is the discovery of likenesses between two things which were thought unlike. … They introduce new likenesses, whether it is Shakespeare … or Newton saying that the moon in essence is exactly like a thrown apple.
    • Jacob Bronowski, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (1978), pp. 108-110
  • In my concept of time, which is largely connected with evolutionary time, the notion that errors are made by nature, that replication is not perfect, is central. … We must accept the fact that all the imaginative inventions are to some extent errors with respect to the norm. …But these errors have the peculiar property of being able to sustain themselves … reproduce themselves. … More scientific discoveries are wrong than right. Of course, the wrong ones do not get published so often. But never confuse the process of exposition with the process of discovery. … The discovery is made with tears and sweat … (with a good deal of bad language) by people who are constantly getting the wrong answer. … That is the nature of looking for imaginative likenesses. …nine out of ten … are not there. So… more bad science … and more bad works of art are produced than good ones.
    • Jacob Bronowski, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (1978), pp. 110-112
  • Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals. It can perfect machinery, but it adds no moral restraints to protect society from the misuse of the machine. It can also build gigantic intellectual ships, but it constructs no moral rudders for the control of storm tossed human vessel. It not only fails to supply the spiritual element needed but some of its unproven hypotheses rob the ship of its compass and thus endangers its cargo.
    • William Jennings Bryan, Scopes Monkey Trial Summation (1925).
  • In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowmen on a single plane — the earth’s surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times a bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly love. Science has made war so hellish that civilization was about to commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered instruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of wars that may come in the future.
    • William Jennings Bryan, Scopes Monkey Trial Summation.
  • I find it [science] analytical, pretentious and superficial—largely because it does not address itself to dreams, chance, laughter, feelings, or paradox—in other words,—all the things I love the most.
    • Luis Buñuel, My Last Sigh (1983).
  • Science has been advancing without interruption during the last three of four hundred years; every new discovery has led to new problems and new methods of solution, and opened up new fields for exploration. Hitherto men of science have not been compelled to halt, they have always found ways to advance further. But what assurance have we that they will not come up against impassable barriers? …Take biology or astronomy. How can we be sure that some day progress may not come to a dead pause, not because knowledge is exhausted, but because our resources for investigation are exhausted… It is an assumption, which cannot be verified, that we shall not reach a point in our knowledge of nature beyond which the human intellect is unqualified to pass.
    • J. B. Bury, The Idea of Progress (1921) Introduction, pp. 3-4.
  • One of my complaints is that you’ve got far more scientists than ever before but the pace of discovery has not increased. Why? Because they’re all busy just filling in the details of what they think is the standard story. And the youngsters, the people with different ideas have just as big a fight as ever and normally it takes decades for science to correct itself. But science does correct itself and that’s the reason why science is such a glorious thing for our species.
    • Nigel Calder, “Interview for InConversation” (16 August 2007), by Robyn Williams, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Can all that Optics teach, unfold
    Thy form to please me so,
    As when I dreamed of gems and gold
    Hid in thy radiant bow?
    When Science from Creation’s face
    Enchantment’s veil withdraws,
    What lovely visions yield their place
    To cold material laws!

    • Thomas Campbell, “To the Rainbow,” The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell (1850) p. 162.
  • O star-eyed Science, hast thou wander’d there,
    To waft us home the message of despair?

    • Thomas Campbell, Pleasures of Hope, Part II, line 325. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • Scientists, therefore, are responsible for their research, not only intellectually but also morally. This responsibility has become an important issue in many of today’s sciences, but especially so in physics, in which the results of quantum mechanics and relativity theory have opened up two very different paths for physicists to pursue. They may lead us—to put it in extreme terms—to the Buddha or to the Bomb, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take.
    • Fritjof Capra, in The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture (1983), 87.
  • Respectable Professors of the Dismal Science.
    • Thomas Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, No. 1. (1850). Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • What we might call, by way of Eminence, the Dismal Science.
    • Thomas Carlyle, as reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • But when science, passing beyond its own limits, assumes to take the place of theology, and sets up its own conception of the order of nature as a sufficient account of its cause, it is invading a province of thought to which it has no claim, and not unreasonably provokes the hostility of its best friends.
    • M. B. Carpenter, as quoted by Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530.
  • * The solutions put forth by imperialism are the quintessence of simplicity…When they speak of the problems of population and birth, they are in no way moved by concepts related to the interests of the family or of society…Just when science and technology are making incredible advances in all fields, they resort to technology to suppress revolutions and ask the help of science to prevent population growth. In short, the peoples are not to make revolutions, and women are not to give birth. This sums up the philosophy of imperialism.
    • Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro (1968).
  • In 1945, therefore, I proved a sentimental fool; and Mr. Truman could safely have classified me among the whimpering idiots he did not wish admitted to the presidential office. For I felt that no man has the right to decree so much suffering, and that science, in providing and sharpening the knife and in upholding the ram, had incurred a guilt of which it will never get rid. It was at that time that the nexus between science and murder became clear to me. For several years after the somber event, between 1947 and 1952, I tried desperately to find a position in what then appeared to me as a bucolic Switzerland,—but I had no success.
    • Erwin Chargaff, Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life before Nature (1978), 4.
  • I’m not anti-science, I’m anti the way science is sometimes used.
    • Charles, Prince of Wales, BBC TV programme, ‘Charles at 60: The Passionate Prince,’ 12th November 2008.
  • My own case for Christianity is rational; but it is not simple. It is an accumulation of varied facts, like the attitude of the ordinary agnostic. But the ordinary agnostic has got his facts all wrong. He is a non-believer for a multitude of reasons; but they are untrue reasons. He doubts because the Middle Ages were barbaric, but they weren’t; because Darwinism is demonstrated, but it isn’t; because miracles do not happen, but they do; because monks were lazy, but they were very industrious; because nuns are unhappy, but they are particularly cheerful; because Christian art was sad and pale, but it was picked out in peculiarly bright colours and gay with gold; because modern science is moving away from the supernatural, but it isn’t, it is moving towards the supernatural with the rapidity of a railway train.
    • G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1909).
  • But if we fail, then the whole world…will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
    • Winston Churchill This was their finest hour June, 18th 1940.
  • It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.
    • Winston Churchill, Address to the Royal College of Surgeons (10 Jul 1951). Collected in Stemming the Tide: Speeches 1951 and 1952 (1953), 91.
  • Philosophia vero omnium mater artium.
    • Philosophy is true mother of the arts. (Science).
    • Cicero, Tusculum Disp, Book I. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.
    • Arthur C. Clarke clarkefoundation.org.
  • Politics and Religion are obsolete. The time has come for Science and Spirituality.
    • Often quoted by Arthur C. Clarke as one of his favorite remarks of Jawaharlal Nehru, though some of his earliest citations of it, in Voices from the Sky: Previews of the Coming Space Age (1967), p. 154 indicate that Nehru may himself been either quoting or paraphrasing a statement of Vinoba Bhave.
  • The search for the truth is the most important work in the whole world — and the most dangerous.
    • James Clavell The Fly (1958) François Delambre (Vincent Price) to André’s son, Philippe.
  • By scientific thought we mean the application of past experience to new circumstances by means of an observed order of events. By saying that this order of events is exact we mean that it is exact enough to correct experiments by, but we do not mean that it is theoretically or absolutely exact, because we do not know. The process of inference [is] in itself an assumption of uniformity, and… as the known exactness of the uniformity became greater, the stringency of the inference increased. By saying that the order of events is reasonable we do not mean that everything has a purpose, or that everything can be explained, or that everything has a cause; for neither of these is true. But we mean that to every reasonable question there is an intelligible answer, which either we or posterity may know by the exercise of scientific thought.
    • William Kingdon Clifford, “On the Aims and Instruments of Scientific Thought” (Aug 19, 1872) Lecture before the members of the British Association at Brighton, as quoted in Lectures and Essays by William Kingdon Clifford, Vol. 1, pp. 155-156.
  • I specially wish you not to go away with the idea that the exercise of scientific thought is… confined… When the Roman jurists applied their experience of Roman citizens to dealings between citizens and aliens, showing by the difference of their actions that they regarded the circumstances as essentially different, they laid the foundations of that great structure which has guided the social progress of Europe. That procedure was an instance of strictly scientific thought. When a poet finds that he has to move a strange new world which his predecessors have not moved; when, nevertheless, he catches fire from their flashes, arms from their armoury, sustentation from their foot-prints, the procedure by which he applies old experience to new circumstances is nothing greater or less than scientific thought. When the moralist studying the conditions of society and the ideas of right and wrong which have come down to us from a time when war was the normal condition of man and success in war the only chance of survival, evolves from them the conditions and ideas which must accompany a time of peace, when the comradeship of equals is the condition of national success; the process by which he does this is scientific thought and nothing else.
    • William Kingdon Clifford, “On the Aims and Instruments of Scientific Thought” (Aug 19, 1872) Lecture before the members of the British Association at Brighton, as quoted in Lectures and Essays by William Kingdon Clifford, Vol. 1, pp. 156-157.
  • Remember, then, that [scientific thought] is the guide of action; that the truth which it arrives at is not that which we can ideally contemplate without error, but that which we may act upon without fear; and you cannot fail to see that scientific thought is not an accompaniment or condition of human progress, but human progress itself. And for this reason the question what its characters are… is the question of all questions for the human race.
    • William Kingdon Clifford, “On the Aims and Instruments of Scientific Thought” (Aug 19, 1872) Lecture before the members of the British Association at Brighton, as quoted in Lectures and Essays by William Kingdon Clifford, Vol. 1, pp. 156-157.
  • It seems to me that we live in a society in which technology is continuously presented as wonderful. We were less exposed to the negative aspects of technology which were inevitably there. One of my interests is to provide that kind of balance to these notions that cell phones and faxes are all wonderful and great. Isn’t it fabulous that we all have computers? Well, yes and no is my response.
I was particularly interested in that, in working on Jurassic Park that aspect of what are the negative parts. Because in talking with the people who were doing this kind of research what I was hearing was that the most responsible of them were deciding not to proceed down certain lines of inquiry which is really a new phase in science. Traditionally in science what the scientists themselves have said is: “I might as well do it, because if I don’t, someone else will. It is going to happen inevitably.” I think there’s recognition now, that it’s no so inevitable and it’s quite conceivable that if I don’t do this research neither will anyone else. It’s simply too dangerous.

  • Michael Crichton, interview Lost World section of Beyond Jurassic Park DVD (2001)
  • Science is finding things out; and in that sense history is science.
    • R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (1946).
  • There are answers that science isn’t able to provide about the natural world—the questions about why instead of the questions about how. I’m interested in the whys. I find many of those answers in the spiritual realm. That in no way compromises my ability to think rigorously as a scientist.
    • Francis Collins, Cited in Time magazine.
  • The French Revolution qualitatively transformed all aspects of human culture, including science, for better or worse. The institutional ideological changes wrought in French science by the Revolution and its aftermath shaped the subsequent course of modern science everywhere. The essential underlying factor, as the Hessen thesis maintains, was the victory of capitalism, which the Revolution consolidated. The new social order spread to Europe and the rest of the world, everywhere subordinating the further development of science to capitalist interests.
    • Clifford D. Conner, A People’s History of Science (2005).
  • Modern science will continue to be blindly destructive as long as its operations are determined by the anarchism of market economic forces. The problem to be solved is whether science, technology, and industry can be brought under genuinely democratic control in the context of a global planned economy, so that all of us can collectively put our hard-won scientific knowledge to mutually beneficial use. I am confident it can be accomplished, but will it? If so, there is reason for optimism. If not… well, to paraphrase Keynes, “in the not-so-long run we’re all dead.”
    • Clifford D. Conner, A People’s History of Science (2005).
  • Today, when so much depends on our informed action, we as voters and taxpayers can no longer afford to confuse science and technology, to confound “pure” science and “applied” science.
    • Jacques-Yves Cousteau, in Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein, The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World (2007), 181.
  • Far from attempting to control science, few among the general public even seem to recognize just what “science” entails. Because lethal technologies seem to spring spontaneously from scientific discoveries, most people regard dangerous technology as no more than the bitter fruit of science, the real root of all evil.
    • Jacques-Yves Cousteau, in Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein, The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World (2007), 181.
  • I was particularly interested in that, in working on Jurassic Park that aspect of what are the negative parts. Because in talking with the people who were doing this kind of research what I was hearing was that the most responsible of them were deciding not to proceed down certain lines of inquiry which is really a new phase in science. Traditionally in science what the scientists themselves have said is: “I might as well do it, because if I don’t, someone else will. It is going to happen inevitably.” I think there’s recognition now, that it’s no so inevitable and it’s quite conceivable that if I don’t do this research neither will anyone else. It’s simply too dangerous.
    • Michael Crichton, interview Lost World section of Beyond Jurassic Park DVD.
  • To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.
    • Georges Cuvier, Rapport historique sur les progrès des sciences naturelles (1810) as quoted in Clifford D. Conner, A People’s History of Science (2005).
  • The objective world of science has nothing in common with the world of things-in-themselves of the metaphysician. The metaphysical world, assuming that it has any meaning at all, is irrelevant to science.
    • A. D’Abro, The Evolution of Scientific Thought from Newton to Einstein (1927) footnote, p. 152.
  • The vast majority of modern scientists are agnostics in that they reject the claim of the metaphysical realist who presumes to have discovered substance and true being in the outside world. They will claim that substance and the thing in itself are unknowable, or at least that these elude rational investigation, and that the objective world of science is nothing but a mental construct imagined for the purpose of co-ordinating our sense impressions. But, once this point is admitted, they will recognise that this mentally constructed objective universe must to all intents and purposes be treated as a reality pre-existing to the observer who discovers it bit by bit. This last expression of opinion is not the result of some philosophical system. It is imposed upon scientists as an inevitable conclusion; for had it been proved impossible to imagine a common objective universe, the same for all men, science could never have existed, since it would have been reduced to individual points of view which could never have been co-ordinated. In other words, knowledge would have lacked generality; and without generality there could have been no such thing as science.
    • A. D’Abro, The Evolution of Scientific Thought from Newton to Einstein (1927) p. 450.
  • But beyond the bright searchlights of science,
    Out of sight of the windows of sense,
    Old riddles still bid us defiance,
    Old questions of Why and of Whence.

    • W. C. D. Whetham, Recent Development of Physical Science, p. 10. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • Alas! A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone.
    • Charles Darwin, in a letter to T.H. Huxley, 9 July 1857, More Letters of Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin and A.C. Seward, editors (1903) volume I, chapter II: “Evolution, 1844-1858”, page 98.
  • It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
    • Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, Introduction.
  • Finding hidden links between seemingly disparate phenomena is what makes the scientific method so powerful and compelling. The distinctive feature of science is that it is both broad and deep: broad in the way it tackles all physical phenomena and deep in the way it weaves them, economically, into a common explanatory scheme requiring fewer and fewer assumptions. No other system of thought can match its breadth and depth.
    • Paul Davies, Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe is Just Right for Life (2007).
  • Fortunately science, like that nature to which it belongs, is neither limited by time nor by space. It belongs to the world, and is of no country and of no age. The more we know, the more we feel our ignorance; the more we feel how much remains unknown; and in philosophy, the sentiment of the Macedonian hero can never apply, — there are always new worlds to conquer.
    • Sir Humphry Davy, discourse delivered at the Royal Society (30 November 1825).
  • There are very few persons who pursue science with true dignity.
    • Sir Humphry Davy, Consolations in Travel, Dialogue V. The Chemical Philosopher. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • There’s real poetry in the real world. Science is the poetry of reality.
    • Richard Dawkins, The Enemies of Reason, “Slaves to Superstition” [1.01], 13 August 2007, timecode 00:38:16ff.
  • What Art was to the ancient world, Science is to the modern: the distinctive faculty. In the minds of men the useful has succeeded to the beautiful. …There are great truths to tell, if we had either the courage to announce them or the temper to receive them.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, or the New Generation (1844) Book 4, Ch. 1.
  • Science has an important part to play in our everyday existence, and there is far too much neglect of science; but its intention is to supplement not to supplant the familiar outlook.
    • Arthur Eddington, Science and the Unseen World (1929).
  • It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man’s blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
    • Albert Einstein, speech at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (February 16, 1931), as reported in The New York Times (February 17, 1931), p. 6.
  • There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.
    • Albert Einstein, as quoted in “Atom Energy Hope is Spiked By Einstein / Efforts at Loosing Vast Force is Called Fruitless,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (29 December 1934); it was only after the breakthroughs by Enrico Fermi and others in producing nuclear chain reactions that the use of nuclear power became plausible.
  • All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.
    • Albert Einstein, “Physics and Reality” (1936); later published in Out of My Later Years (1950).
  • The aim of science is, on the one hand, a comprehension, as complete as possible, of the connection between the sense experiences in their totality, and, on the other hand, the accomplishment of this aim by the use of a minimum of primary concepts and relations. (Seeking, as far as possible, logical unity in the world picture, i.e. paucity in logical elements.)
    • Albert Einstein, “Physics and Reality” (1936).
  • All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities — insofar as they live up to their true function — serve the ennoblement of the individual. They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural understanding, renouncing the use of brute force.
    • Albert Einstein, “Moral Decay” (1937); later published in Out of My Later Years (1950).
  • Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
    • Albert Einstein, paper prepared for initial meeting of the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, New York City (September 9–11, 1940); in Einstein, Out of My Later Years (1950, rev. and reprinted 1970), chapter 8, part 1, p. 26.
  • I had fallen in love with a young man…, and we were planning to get married. And then he died of subacute bacterial endocarditis… Two years later with the advent of penicillin, he would have been saved. It reinforced in my mind the importance of scientific discovery…
    • Gertrude B. Elion as quoted in Susan Ambrose et al., Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering: No Universal Constants (1997)
  • [About research with big particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider.] I think the primary justification for this sort of science that we do is fundamental human curiosity. … It’s true, of course, that every previous generation that’s made some breakthrough in understanding nature has seen those discoveries translated into new technologies, new possibilities for the human race. That may well happen with the Higgs boson. Quite frankly, at the moment I don’t see how you can use the Higgs boson for anything useful.
    • John Ellis as quoted in Alan Boyle, Discovery of Doom? Collider Stirs Debate, article (8 Sep 2008) on a msnbc.com web page.
  • Science brings to the light of day everything man had believed sacred. Technique takes possession of it and enslaves it.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1954), p. 144
  • From society’s standpoint, modern science and technology appears Janus-faced : It has given us wealth in one sense, and poverty in another; it has harnessed nature to man’s basic needs in ways and to extents undreamed – of only a few decades ago, but it has fostered a continuingly lowered “quality of life”.
    • Richard F. Ericson Organizational cybernetics and human values (1969) p. 7.
  • The impression that science is over has occurred many times in various branches of human knowledge, often because of an explosion of discoveries made by a genius or a small group of men in such a short time that average minds could hardly follow and had the unconscious desire to take breath, to get used to the unexpected things that came to be revealed. Dazzled by these new truths, they could not see beyond. Sometimes an entire century did not suffice to produce this accommodation.
    • Charles Fabry, La vie et l’oeuvre scientifique de Augustin Fresnel (1927), p. 13.
  • These days, scientists are largely treated like beggars, their tin cups externally extended to the government funding agencies.
    • J. Doyne Farmer, The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (1995) ed. John Brockman.
  • The delights of science and mathematics—their revelations of natural beauty and harmony, their visions of thing to come, and the joy of discovery in itself, the light and shadow it casts on the mystery dance of mind and nature—are too profound, and too important, to be left to scientists and mathematicians alone. They belong to the cultural heritage of the entire world, and to know something about them is to be acquainted with the finest new achievements of the human mind.
    • Timothy Ferris, ed (1991). ‘The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics’. Little Brown. p. xi. ISBN 0-316-07136-6.
  • Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
    • Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (1975) p. 9.
  • The separation of state and church must be complemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution.
    • Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (1975) p. 295.
  • If we want to understand nature, if we want to master our physical surroundings, then we must use all ideas, all methods, and not just a small selection of them. The assertion, however, that there is no knowledge outside science – extra scientiam nulla salus – is nothing but another and most convenient fairy-tale.
    • Paul Feyerabend, Against Method (1975) p. 306.
  • Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.
    • Richard Feynman, in “The Value of Science,” address to the National Academy of Sciences (Autumn 1955).
  • Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
    • Richard Feynman, in “What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society”, lecture at the Galileo Symposium in Italy, (1964).
  • I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.
    • Richard Feynman, in BBC Interview (1981)
  • Edison definitely ended the distinction between the theoretical man of science and the practical man of science, so that today we think of scientific discoveries in connection with their possible present or future application to the needs of man. He took the old rule-of-thumb methods out of industry and substituted exact scientific knowledge, while, on the other hand, he directed scientific research into useful channels.
    • Henry Ford in My Friend Mr. Edison (1930). Quoted in Dyson Carter, If You Want to Invent (1939), 110.
  • And most people say of astrology, “Oh, it’s harmless fun, isn’t it?” And I should say probably for about 80% of the cases it probably is harmless fun, but there’s a strong way in which it isn’t harmless: one, because it’s so anti-science; you know, you’ll hear things like “Science doesn’t know everything.” Well, of course science doesn’t know everything. But because science doesn’t know everything that doesn’t mean science knows nothing. Science knows enough for us to be watched by a few million people now on television, for these lights to be working, for quite extraordinary miracles to have taken place in terms of the harnessing of the physical world and our dim approaches towards understanding it.
    • Stephen Fry, Room 101, Season 6 Episode 10.
  • We must start with scientific fundamentals, and that means with the data of experiments and not with assumed axioms predicated only upon the misleading nature of that which only superficially seems to be obvious. It is the consensus of great scientists that science is the attempt to set in order the facts of experience.
    • Buckminster Fuller, “The Wellspring of Reality,” Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975).
  • The word generalization in literature usually means covering too much territory too thinly to be persuasive, let alone convincing. In science, however, a generalization means a principle that has been found to hold true in every special case. … The principle of leverage is a scientific generalization.
    • Buckminster Fuller, “The Wellspring of Reality,” Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1975).
  • Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in words that it cannot ignore. The two are rarely compatible.
    • Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic (1990 – 1991).
  • We have become aware of the massive information contained in the genes. There is no known way to science how that information can arise spontaneously. It requires an intelligence; it cannot arise from chance events. Just mixing letters does not produce words.” He added: “For example, the very complex DNA, RNA, protein replicating system in the cell must have been perfect from the very start. If not, life systems could not exist. The only logical explanation is that this vast quantity of information came from an intelligence.
    • Maciej Giertych, a noted geneticist from the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Interviewed in a documentary film. Cited in the book: Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
education

Science Quotes

  • Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a conversation with a German historian (1813), as reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • In many ways, science, including statistics, is like detective work. Beginning with a set of observations, we ask what can be said about the systems that generated them.
    • Larry Gonick & Woollcott Smith, The Cartoon Guide to Statistics (1994, Collins, ISBN 0-06-273102-5), p. 113
  • Science is not “organized common sense”; at it most exciting, it reformulates our view of the world by imposing powerful theories against the ancient, anthropocentric prejudices that we call intuition.
    • Stephen Jay Gould, in Ever Since Darwin (1977), “Organic Wisdom, or Why Should a Fly Eat Its Mother from Inside”.
  • Results rarely specify their causes unambiguously. If we have no direct evidence of fossils or human chronicles, if we are forced to infer a process only from its modern results, then we are usually stymied or reduced to speculation about probabilities. For many roads lead to almost any Rome.
    • Stephen Jay Gould, in The Panda’s Thumb (1980), “Senseless Signs of History”.
  • Science does progress toward more adequate understanding of the empirical world, but no pristine, objective reality lies “out there” for us to capture as our technologies improve and our concepts mature. The human mind is both an amazing instrument and a fierce impediment—and the mind must be interposed between observation and understanding. Thus we will always “see” with the aid (or detriment) of conventions. All observation is a partnership between mind and nature, and all good partnerships require compromise. The mind, we trust, will be constrained by a genuine external reality; this reality, in turn, must be conveyed to the brain by our equally imperfect senses, all jury-rigged and cobbled together by that maddeningly complex process known as evolution.
    • Stephen Jay Gould, Dinosaur in a Haystack (1995), “Last Snails and Right Minds”
  • While bright-eyed Science watches round.
    • Thomas Gray, Ode for Music, Chorus, line 11. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), pp. 691-92.
  • The success of the scientific method in the past has encouraged us to think that with enough time and effort we can unravel nature’s mysteries. But hitting the absolute limit of scientific explanation—not a technological obstacle or the current but progressing edge of human understanding—would be a singular event, one for which past experience could not prepare us. …the possibility that there are limits to scientific explanation …is an issue that may never be resolved.
    • Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe (1999, 2003) Ch. 15 “Prospects.”
  • That is better and more valuable which requires fewer, other circumstances being equal, just as that demonstration is better, other circumstances being equal, which necessitates the answering of a smaller number of questions for a perfect demonstration or requires a smaller number of suppositions and premises from which the demonstration proceeds. For if one thing were demonstrated from many and another thing from fewer equally known premisses, clearly that is better which is from fewer because it makes us know quickly, just as a universal demonstration is better than particular because it produces knowledge from fewer premises. Similarly in natural science, in moral science, and in metaphysics the best is that which needs no premisses and the better that which needs the fewer, other circumstances being equal.
    • Robert Grosseteste Commentarius in Posteriorum Analyticorum Libros (c. 1217-1220) i. 17, f. 17vb.
  • The gentleman [Mr. Taber] from New York says [agricultural research] is all foolish. Yes; it was foolish when Burbank was experimenting with wild cactus. It was foolish when the Wright boys went down to Kitty Hawk and had a contraption there that they were going to fly like birds. It was foolish when Robert Fulton tried to put a boiler into a sail boat and steam it up the Hudson. It was foolish when one of my ancestors thought the world was round and discovered this country so that the gentleman from New York could become a Congressman. (Laughter.) … Do not seek to stop progress; do not seek to put the hand of politics on these scientific men who are doing a great work. As the gentleman from Texas points out, it is not the discharge of these particular employees that is at stake, it is all the work of investigation, of research, of experimentation that has been going on for years that will be stopped and lost.
    • Fiorello La Guardia Speaking (28 Dec 1932) as a member of the 72nd Congress, early in the Great Depression, in opposition to an attempt to eliminate a small amount from the agricultural appropriation bill. As quoted in ‘Mayor-Elect La Guardia on Research’, Science (1933), New Series, 78, No. 2031, 511.
  • During those tumultuous years, science sought fertile ground elsewhere [than in Italy]. It found it in Germany, England, France, and virtually any other country where the Catholic orthodoxy did not hold sway.
    • Robert Guillen, Five Equations That Changed the World (1995), p. 88
  • Science can only be comprehended epistemologically, which means as one category of possible knowledge, as long as knowledge is not equated either effusively with the absolute knowledge of a great philosophy or blindly with scientistic self-understanding of the actual business of research.
    • Jürgen Habermas (1971) Knowledge and Human Interests, p. 4.
  • Much recent philosophy of science has been dedicated to disclosing that a ‘given’ or a ‘pure’ observation language is a myth-eaten fabric of philosophical fiction. …In any observation statement the cloven hoofprint of theory can readily be detected.
    • Norwood Russell Hanson (1970) as quoted by Niles Eldredge, Time Frames: The Evolution of Punctuated Equilibria (1985).
  • Science could predict that the universe must have had a beginning.
    • Stephen Hawking, in Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993).
  • He who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain to the least degree of mastery. But then, O my son, do thou experiment so that thou mayesy acquire knowledge. Scientists delight not in abundance of material; they rejoice only in the excellence of their experimental methods.
    • Jabir ibn Hayyan, as attributed without citation in Eric John Holmyard, Makers of Chemistry (1931), Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 60.
  • Science embraces facts and debates opinion; religion embraces opinion and debates the facts.
    • Tom Heehler, The Well-Spoken Thesaurus (2011).
  • In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory we can indeed proceed without mentioning ourselves as individuals, but we cannot disregard the fact that natural science is formed by men. Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning. This was a possibility of which Descartes could not have thought, but it makes a sharp separation between the world and the I impossible.
    If one follows the great difficulty which even eminent scientists like Einstein had in understanding and accepting the Copenhagen interpretation… one can trace the roots… to the Cartesian partition. … It will take a long time for it [this partition] to be replaced by a really different attitude toward the problem of reality.

    • Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science (1958).
  • Modern civilization depends on science … James Smithson was well aware that knowledge should not be viewed as existing in isolated parts, but as a whole, each portion of which throws light on all the other, and that the tendency of all is to improve the human mind, and give it new sources of power and enjoyment … narrow minds think nothing of importance but their own favorite pursuit, but liberal views exclude no branch of science or literature, for they all contribute to sweeten, to adorn, and to embellish life … science is the pursuit above all which impresses us with the capacity of man for intellectual and moral progress and awakens the human intellect to aspiration for a higher condition of humanity.
    • Joseph Henry, first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Inscription on the National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.; reported in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • Science … may be degraded from its native dignity … by placing it in the light of a mere appendage to and caterer for our pampered appetites. The question “cui bono” to what practical end and advantage do your researches tend? is one which the speculative philosopher who loves knowledge for its own sake, and enjoys, as a rational being should enjoy, the mere contemplation of harmonious and mutually dependent truths, can seldom hear without a sense of humiliation. He feels that there is a lofty and disinterested pleasure in his speculations which ought to exempt them from such questioning; communicating as they do to his own mind the purest happiness (after the exercise of the benevolent and moral feelings) of which human nature is susceptible, and tending to the injury of no one, he might surely allege this as a sufficient and direct reply to those who, having themselves little capacity, and less relish for intellectual pursuits, are constantly repeating upon him this enquiry.
    • John Frederick William Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), Chapter 1.
  • Science is the knowledge of many, orderly and methodically digested and arranged, so as to become attainable by one.
    • John Frederick William Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1831), Chapter 2.
  • Science is the topography of ignorance.
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Medical Essays, 211. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • Science is a good piece of furniture for a man to have in an upper chamber, provided he has common sense on the ground floor.
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531.
  • Take from the air every aëroplane; from the roads every automobile; from the country every train; from the cities every electric light; from ships even wireless apparatus; from oceans all cables; from the land all wires; from shops all motors; from office buildings every elevator, telephone, and typewriter; let epidemics spread at will; let major surgery be impossible—all this and vastly more, the bondage of ignorance, where knowledge now makes us free, would be the terrible catastrophe if the tide of time should but ebb to the childhood days of men still living! …Therefore, whoever desires progress and prosperity, whoever would advance humanity to a higher plane of civilization, must further the work of the scientist in every way he possibly can.
    • William J. Humphreys as quoted by Fielding Hudson Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine (1921) p. 15.
  • The four criteria for evaluating hypotheses are relevant to the distinction between science and superstition. These criteria are adequacy, internal coherence, external consistency, and fruitfulness. But the distinction between science and superstition also involves psychological and volitional elements. It involves such factors as how the observer’s subjective states influence how he sees the world, and how his needs and desires play a role in the formation of his beliefs. Accordingly, to explore the distinction between science and superstition, we must introduce criteria that include these psychological and volitional elements. The criteria we suggest are evidentiary support, objectivity, and integrity.
    • Patrick J. Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic (2000 [Seventh edition], Wadsworth, ISBN 0-534-52006-5), p. 588
  • Science and superstition are, in large measure, polar opposites. Where scientific activity recognizes the importance of evidentiary support, objectivity, and integrity, superstition ignores them.
    • Patrick J. Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic (2000 [Seventh edition], Wadsworth, ISBN 0-534-52006-5), p. 589
  • What is lighter than the substance its in will rise, when heavier, it sinks.
    • Brady Hutchinson, Speech in London, England (2015).
  • The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
    • Thomas Henry Huxley, Presidential Address at the British Association (1870); “Biogenesis and Abiogenesis”, Collected Essays, Volume 8, p. 229.
    • Paraphrased variant: That’s what happens when a beautiful hypotheses meets a brutal gang of facts.
  • Science … commits suicide when it adopts a creed.
    • Thomas Henry Huxley, in “The Darwin Memorial” (1885).
  • Physical science is one and indivisible. …the method of investigation and the ultimate object of the physical inquirer are everywhere the same. The object is the discovery of the rational order which pervades the universe; the method consists of observation and experiment (which is observation under artificial conditions) for the determination of the facts of nature; of inductive and deductive reasoning for the discovery of their mutual relations and connection.
    • Thomas Henry Huxley, The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century (1889).
  • Science is for the laboratory. Other men, who stand alone and face the elemental forces of nature, know that science as a shining, world-conquering hero, is a myth. Science lives in concrete structures full of bright factory toys, insulated from the earth’s great forces. The priesthood of this new cult are seldom called upon to stand and face the onslaught.
    • Hammond Innes, Atlantic Fury (1962), Chapter II.2.
  • It is necessary to recognize that with respect to unity and coherence, mythical explanation carries one much further than scientific explanation. For science does not, as its primary objective, seek a complete and definitive explanation of the Universe… It satisfies itself with partial and conditional responses. Whether they be magical, mythical, or religious, the other systems of explanation include everything. They are applied to all domains. They answer all questions. They account for the origin, for the present and even for the evolution of the universe.
    • François Jacob, as quoted by John D. Barrow, New Theories of Everything (2007).
  • Cryonics might be a suitable subject for scientific research, but marketing an unproven method to the public is quackery.
    • National Council Against Health Fraud president William T. Jarvis, Ph.D. Source: Jarvis WT. Quotation in Butler K. A Consumer’s Guide to “Alternative” Medicine. Amherst, N.Y., 1992, Prometheus Books.
  • Habits of thought in the tradition of science are not readily changed, it is not easy to deviate from the customary channels of accumulated experience in conventionalized subjects.
    • G. L. Jepsen (1949) as quoted by Niles Eldredge, Time Frames: The Evolution of Punctuated Equilibria (1985).
  • Nature is to us like an infinite ballot-box, the contents of which are being continually drawn, ball after ball, and exhibited to us. Science is but the careful observation of the succession in which balls of various character present themselves…
    • William Stanley Jevons [1874) The Principles of Science: A Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method, Volumes 1-2, p. 169.
  • Science is our century’s art.
    • Horace Freeland Judson, “The Art of Discovery” in Timothy Ferris (ed.) The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics (p. 784)
  • Take a look at George Gamow, who is now recognized as one of the great cosmologists of the last hundred years. I speculate that he probably didn’t win the Nobel Prize because people could not take him seriously. He wrote children’s books. His colleagues have publicly stated his writing children’s books on science had an adverse effect on his scientific reputation, and people could not take him seriously when he and his colleagues proposed that there should be a cosmic background radiation, which we now know to be one of the greatest discoveries of 20th-century physics.
    • Michio Kaku, in “Borrowed Time: Interview with Michio Kaku”.
  • [On the practical applications of particle physics research with the Large Hadron Collider.] Sometimes the public says, “What’s in it for Numero Uno? Am I going to get better television reception? Am I going to get better Internet reception?” Well, in some sense, yeah. … All the wonders of quantum physics were learned basically from looking at atom-smasher technology. … But let me let you in on a secret: We physicists are not driven to do this because of better color television. … That’s a spin-off. We do this because we want to understand our role and our place in the universe.
    • Michio Kaku As quoted in Alan Boyle, Discovery of Doom? Collider Stirs Debate, article (8 Sep 2008) on a msnbc.com web page. The article writer included the information that Kaku noted that past discoveries from the world of particle physics ushered in many of the innovations we enjoy today, ranging from satellite communications and handheld media players to medical PET scanners (which put antimatter to practical use).”
  • The life of a biological scientist in the United States is a life of discussion and debate—it is the Talmudic tradition writ large. …The egalitarian structure of American science encourages this camaraderie. …this would not—could not—have taken place in the Austria, the Germany, the France, or perhaps even the England of 1955.
    • Eric Kandel In Search of Memory (2006).
  • Science can be defined as a self-correcting way to get knowledge about the natural universe, plus the body of knowledge obtained that way. It is both a method and the resulting understanding and knowledge. The method requires making models to explain phenomena, testing them experimentally, and revising them until they work. The goal of science is understanding.
    • Gordon L. Kane, The Particle Garden (1995, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-40826-0), p. 206
  • Science makes progress by combining imagination with experimental results—by insisting on evidence.
    • Gordon L. Kane, Supersymmetry (2000, Perseus, ISBN 0-7382-0489-7), p. 1
  • I maintain that in every special natural doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with as mathematics; for… science proper, especially of nature, requires a pure portion, lying at the foundation of the empirical, and based upon à priori knowledge of natural things. …the conception should be constructed. But the cognition of the reason through construction of conceptions is mathematical. A pure philosophy of nature in general, namely, one that only investigates what constitutes a nature in general, may thus be possible without mathematics; but a pure doctrine of nature respecting determinate natural things (corporeal doctrine and mental doctrine), is only possible by means of mathematics; and as in every natural doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with therein as there is cognition à prioria doctrine of nature can only contain so much science proper as there is in it of applied mathematics.
    • Immanuel Kant, Preface, The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786) Tr. Ernest Belfort Bax (1883).
  • Natural science is throughout either a pure or an applied doctrine of motion.
    • Immanuel Kant, Preface, The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786) Tr. Ernest Belfort Bax (1883).
  • When brought to the proletariat from the capitalist class, science is invariably adapted to suit capitalist interests. What the proletariat needs is a scientific understanding of its own position in society. That kind of science a worker cannot obtain in the officially and socially approved manner. The proletarian himself must develop his own theory. For this reason he must be completely self-taught.
    • Karl Kautsky, “The intellectuals and the workers,” Die Neue Zeit, vol. 22, no. 4 (1903)
  • The admired wisdom turns out to be that the subject’s task is to strip away more and more of his subjectivity and become more and more objective. … It thereby quite correctly understands the accidental, the angular, the selfish, the eccentric, etc., of which every human being can have plenty. Christianity does not deny, either, that such things are to be discarded. … But the difference is simply that science and scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way, whereas Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, that is, truly to become a subject.
    • Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, p. 131.
  • Someone who has lived his whole life in a remote place and in addition has had only slight interest in getting to know nature-how little he knows, he who also speaks of the multiplicity of creation. A natural scientist, on the other hand, who traveled around the world, who has been all over, both above and under the surface of the earth, has seen the abundance that he has seen, and moreover with armed eyes he has at a distance discovered otherwise invisible stars and at extraordinarily close range has discovered otherwise invisible creeping things-how amazing much he knows; yet he uses the same phrase, “multiplicity of creation.” And further, although the natural scientist is happy about what he has succeeded in observing, he willingly admits that there is no limit to discoveries since there is not even any limit to discoveries regarding the instruments used for discovery; therefore the multiplicity, as it is discovered or as new instruments of discovery are discovered, continually becoming greater and greater and can continually become even greater, that is, proves to be even greater-yet all in all it is still, comprehended in the phrase “the multiplicity of creation.”
    • Søren Kierkegaard Works of Love, 1847, Hong 1995 p. 282-283.
  • There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to mind. We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough. But it can’t be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we’ve ever known in any period of the world’s history. So it can’t be because we don’t know enough. And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can’t be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains, so that today it’s possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that. It can’t be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man’s scientific genius has been amazing. I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men.
    • Martin Luther King Jr., Rediscovering Lost Values, Sermon delivered at Detroit’s Second Baptist Church (28 February 1954)
  • We have genuflected before the God of Science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate.
    • Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.
  • Softmindedness often invades religion. … Softminded persons have revised the Beautitudes to read “Blessed are the pure in ignorance: for they shall see God.” This has led to a widespread belief that there is a conflict between science and religion. But this is not true. There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists, but not between science and religion. … Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr., in Strength to Love (1963), Ch. 1 : A tough mind and a tender heart
  • For science is … like virtue, its own exceeding great reward.
    • Charles Kingsley, Health and EducationScience. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), pp. 691-92.
  • Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh’s sky. The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself. The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrandt nude differs from a nude by Manet.
    • Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation, London, (1970) p. 253.
  • Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has nothing to say about what is permissible.
    • Charles Krauthammer, Column, March 13, 2009, “Obama’s ‘Science’ Fiction” at jewishworldreview.com.
  • Some people think that science is just all this technology around, but NO it’s something much deeper than that. Science, scientific thinking, scientific method is for me the only philosophical construct that the human race has developed to determine what is reliably true.
    • Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, “Ask a Nobel Laureate”, YouTube (23 September 2010).
  • The men in the laboratory… cannot be said to observe the actual objects of their curiosity at all. …The sense data on which the propositions of modern science rest are, for the most part, little photographic spots and blurs, or inky curved lines on paper. … What is directly observable is only a sign of the “physical fact”; it requires interpretation to yield scientific propositions.
    • Susanne Langer, Philosophy in a New Key (1942)
  • There’s a reason for poetry… Poetry is a very nonlinear use of language, where the meaning is more than just the sum of the parts. And science requires that it be nothing more than the sum of the parts. And just the fact that there’s stuff to explain out there that’s more than the sum of the parts means that the traditional approach, just characterizing the parts and the relations, is not going to be adequate for capturing the essence of many systems that you would like to be able to do. That’s not to say that there isn’t a way to do it in a more scientific way than poetry, but I just like the feeling that culturally there’s going to be more of something like poetry in the future of science.
    • Christopher Langton, as quoted by John Horgan, The End of Science (1996) p. 201.
  • The worldview of the classical sciences conceptualized nature as a giant machine composed of intricate but replaceable machine-like parts. The new systems sciences look at nature as an organism endowed with irreplaceable elements and an innate but non-deterministic purpose for choice, for flow, for spontaneity.
    • Ervin László (1996) The systems view of the world: A holistic vision for our time pp. 10-11.
  • The notion of “system” has gained central importance in contemporary science, society and life. In many fields of endeavor, the necessity of a “systems approach” or “systems thinking” is emphasized, new professions called “systems engineering,” “systems analysis” and the like have come into being, and there can be little doubt that this this concept marks a genuine, necessary, and consequential development in science and world-view.
    • Ervin László (1972) Introduction to Systems Philosophy: Toward a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought. xvii.
  • In the penultimate decade of the twentieth century science is sufficiently advanced to resolve the puzzles that stymied scientists in the last century and demonstrate, without metaphysical speculation, the consistency of evolution in all realms of experience. It is now possible to advance a general evolution theory based on unitary and mutually consistent concepts derived from the empirical sciences.
    • Ervin László (1996) Evolution: the general theory p. 21.
  • Obviously something is wrong with the entire argument of “obviousness”.
    • Paul Lazarsfeld, about the interpretation of results in social science as obvious, in “The American Soldier — An Expository Review”, Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 13, no. 3, (1949) pp. 377-404 at p. 380.
  • It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atom bomb, and then puts its hands over its eye and says, ‘My God what have I done?
    • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Stalin in Soul (1973). Quoted in Gary Westfahl, Science Fiction Quotations (2005), 322.
  • Focusing on the science-technology relationship may strike some as strange, because conventional wisdom views this relationship as an unproblematic given. … Technology is seen as being, at best, applied science … the conventional view perceives science as clearly preceding and founding technology. … Recent studies in the history of technology have begun to challenge this assumed dependency of technology on science. … But the conventional view of science is persistent.
    • Arie Leegwater, in Technology and Science, Stephen V. Monsma (ed.), Responsible Technology: A Christian Perspective (1986), 78-79.
  • Science does not speak of the world in the language of words alone, and in many cases it simply cannot do so. The natural language of science is a synergistic integration of words, diagrams, pictures, graphs, maps, equations, tables, charts, and other forms of visual and mathematical expression… [Science thus consists of] the languages of visual representation, the languages of mathematical symbolism, and the languages of experimental operations.
    • Jay Lemke (2003), “Teaching all the languages of science: Words , symbols, images and actions,” p. 3; as cited in: Scott, Phil, Hilary Asoko, and John Leach. “Student conceptions and conceptual learning in science.” Handbook of research on science education (2007): 31-56.
  • In Science the paramount appeal is to the Intellect — its purpose being instruction; in Art, the paramount appeal is to the Emotions — its purpose being pleasure. A work of Art must of course indirectly appeal to the Intellect, and a work of Science will also indirectly appeal to the Feelings; nevertheless a poem on the stars and a treatise on astronomy have distinct aims and distinct methods. But having recognised the broadly-marked differences, we are called upon to ascertain the underlying resemblances. Logic and Imagination belong equally to both. It is only because men have been attracted by the differences that they have overlooked the not less important affinities.
    • George Henry Lewes, The Principles of Success in Literature (1865).
  • One can ask two different kinds of questions with regard to the topics of study in psychology as well as in other sciences. One can ask for the phenomenal characteristics of psychological units or events, for example, how many kinds of feelings can be qualitatively differentiated from one another or which characteristics describe an experience of a voluntary act. Aside from this are the questions asking for the why, for the cause and the effect, for the conditional-genetic interrelations. For example, one can ask: Under which conditions has been a decision made and which are the specific psychological effects which follow this decision? The depiction of phenomenal characteristics is usually characterized as “description”, the depiction of causal relationships as “explanation.”
    • Kurt Lewin, in “Gesetz und experiment in der Psychologie” [Law and experiment in psychology] in Symposion, Vol 1 (1927), p. 375-421, as translated by Kurt Kreppner.
  • With respect to science, the assumption behind consensus is that science is a source of authority and that authority increases with the number of scientists. Of course, science is not primarily a source of authority. Rather, it is a particularly effective approach to inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science; consensus is foreign.
    • Richard S. Lindzen, in “Climate Alarm: Where Does it Come From?” (1 December 2004), a lecture presented to the Marshall Institute.
  • The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
    • H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu (1926).

Science Quotes

  • The successful launching of the Sputnik was a demonstration of one of the highest scientific and technological achievements of man—a tantalizing invitation both to the militarist in search of ever more devastating means of destruction and to the astronomer searching for new means of carrying his instruments away from their earthbound environment.
    • Sir Bernard Lovell, in BBC Reith Lecture (9 Nov 1958), ‘Astronomy Breaks Free’, published as The Individual and the Universe (1959, 1961), 72.
  • Within the short span of a human life and with man’s limited powers of memory, any stock of knowledge worthy of the name is unattainable except by the greatest mental economy. Science itself, therefore, may be regarded as a minimal problem, consisting of the completest possible presentment of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought.
    • Ernst Mach, The Science of Mechanics: A Critical and Historical Account of Its Development (1893) p. 490, Tr. Thomas J. McCormack.
  • The function of science… is to replace experience. Thus, on the one hand, science must remain in the province of experience, but, on the other, must hasten beyond it, constantly expecting confirmation, constantly expecting the reverse. Where neither confirmation nor refutation is possible, science is not concerned. Science acts and only acts in the domain of uncompleted experience.
    • Ernst Mach, The Science of Mechanics: A Critical and Historical Account of Its Development (1893) p. 490, Tr. Thomas J. McCormack.
  • Theology is to-day recognised to be the instrument of myth, philosophy to be the instrument of science.
    • Garrigue Masaryk, Thomas (1919), The Spirit of RussiaI, p. 208
  • Science by itself has no moral dimension. But it does seek to establish truth. And upon this truth morality can be built.
    • William Masters, in “Two Sex Researchers on the Firing Line” LIFE magazine (24 June 1966), p. 49:
  • To conduct the operations of science in a perfectly legitimate manner, by means of methodised experiment and strict demonstration, requires a strategic skill which we must not look for, even among those to whom science is most indebted for original observations and fertile suggestions. It does not detract from the merit of the pioneers of science that their advances, being made on unknown ground, are often cut off, for a time, from that system of communications with an established base of operations, which is the only security for any permanent extension of science.
    • James Clerk Maxwell, On the Dynamical Evidence of the Molecular Constitution of Bodies (1875) Nature Vol. XI as quoted in The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1890).
  • “And now you have had to alter your theory.”
    ”Well,” Andrews said, smiling, “that’s science.”

    • Paul J. McAuley, Four Hundred Billion Stars (1988) Chapter 3, “The Keep”
  • The purpose of scientific enquiry is not to compile an inventory of factual information, nor to build up a totalitarian world picture of natural Laws in which every event that is not compulsory is forbidden. We should think of it rather as a logically articulated structure of justifiable beliefs about nature.
    • Peter Medawar, Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought (1969).
  • Observation is the generative act in scientific discovery. For all its aberrations, the evidence of the senses is essentially to be relied upon—provided we observe nature as a child does, without prejudices and preconceptions, but with that clear and candid vision which adults lose and scientists must strive to regain.
    • Peter Medawar, Pluto’s Republic (1982).
  • Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.
    • H.L. Mencken, Minority Report : H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks (1956), p. 412.
  • The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to a rigorous scrutiny, and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world, of which science is the second-order expression.
    • Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith (New York, 1962, p. viii).
  • We’ll try to imitate how Galileo and Newton learned so much by studying the simplest kinds of pendulums and weights, mirrors and prisms. …It is the same reason why so many biologists today devote more attention to tiny germs and viruses than to magnificent lions and tigers. …In science, one can learn the most by studying what seems the least.
    • Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (1988).
  • What is a scientist?… We give the name scientist to the type of man who has felt experiment to be a means guiding him to search out the deep truth of life, to lift a veil from its fascinating secrets, and who, in this pursuit, has felt arising within him a love for the mysteries of nature, so passionate as to annihilate the thought of himself.
    • Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, trans. Anne E. George (1964), p. 8.
  • This political movement has patently demonstrated that it will not defend the integrity of science in any case in which science runs afoul of its core political constituencies. In so doing, it has ceded any right to govern a technologically advanced and sophisticated nation.
    • Chris Mooney, about the “Religious Right’s” challenges to science, in The Republican War on Science, “Epilogue”.
  • Our abiding belief is that just as the workmen in the tunnel of St. Gothard, working from either end, met at last to shake hands in the very central root of the mountain, so students of nature and students of Christianity will yet join hands in the unity of reason and faith, in the heart of their deepest mysteries.
    • Lemuel Moss, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530.
  • By deliberately cutting off certain phases of man’s personality, the warm life of private sensation and private feelings and private perceptions, the sciences assisted in building up a more public world which gained in accessibility what it lost in depth.
    • Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (1934) Ch. 7 “Assimilation of the Machine”.
  • By isolating simple systems and simple causal sequences the sciences created confidence in the possibility of finding a similar type of order in every aspect of experience: it was, indeed, by the success of science in the realm of the inorganic that we have acquired whatever belief we may legitimately entertain in the possibility of achieving similar understanding and control in the vastly more complex domain of life.
    • Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization (1934) Ch. 7 “Assimilation of the Machine”.
  • The science, which teaches arts and handicrafts
    Is merely science for the gaining of a living;
    But the science which teaches deliverance from worldly existence,
    Is not that the true science?

    • Prajñadanda (The Staff of Wisdom), attributed to Nagarjuna.
  • Historically, science has pursued a premise that Nature can be understood fully, its future predicted precisely, and its behavior controlled at will. However, emerging knowledge indicates that the nature of Earth and biological systems transcends the limits of science, questioning the premise of knowing, prediction, and control. This knowledge has led to the recognition that, for civilized human survival, technological society has to adapt to the constraints of these systems.
    • Nari Narasimhan as quoted in Chris Maser, Decision-Making for a Sustainable Environment: A Systemic Approach (2012), 4, citing N. Narasimhan, Limitations of Science and Adapting to Nature, Environmental Research Letters (Jul-Sep 2007), 2.
  • Doctrinaire formula-worship—that is our real enemy.
    • Max Neuburger, as quoted by Fielding Hudson Garrison, An Introduction to the History of Medicine (1921) p. 15.
  • Has any one ever clearly understood the celebrated story at the beginning of the Bible – of God’s mortal terror of science? . . . No one, in fact, has understood it. This priest-book par excellence opens, as is fitting, with the great inner difficulty of the priest: he faces only one great danger; ergo, “God” faces only one great danger. The old God, wholly “spirit,” wholly the high-priest, wholly perfect, is promenading his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time. Against boredom even gods struggle in vain. What does he do? He creates man – man is entertaining. . . But then he notices that man is also bored. God’s pity for the only form of distress that invades all paradises knows no bounds: so he forthwith creates other animals. God’s first mistake: to man these other animals were not entertaining – he sought dominion over them; he did not want to be an “animal” himself. So God created woman. In the act he brought boredom to an end – and also many other things! Woman was the second mistake of God. “Woman, at bottom, is a serpent, Heva” – every priest knows that; “from woman comes every evil in the world” – every priest knows that, too. Ergo, she is also to blame for science. . . It was through woman that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge. What happened? The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men godlike – it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific! Moral: science is the forbidden per se; it alone is forbidden. Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality. “Thou shalt not know” – the rest follows from that.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist §48 (H.L. Mencken trans.).
  • This method of Bare Attention, so helpful to mind-knowledge and, through it, to world-knowledge, tallies with the procedure and attitude of the true scientist and scholar: clear definition of subject-matter and terms; unprejudiced receptivity for the instruction that comes out of the things themselves; exclusion, or at least reduction, of the subjective factor in judgment; deferring of judgment until a careful examination of facts has been made.
    • Nyanaponika, The Heart of Buddhist Meditation (1965) p. 39.
  • Science is not everything, but science is very beautiful.
    • Robert Oppenheimer’s last published words “With Oppenheimer on an Autumn Day”, Look, Volume 30, Number 26, (December 19th, 1966)
  • We’re science: we’re all about coulda, not shoulda!
    • Patton Oswalt (track “The Miracle of Childbirth”, on Werewolves and Lollipops).
  • “Man’s responsibility increases as that of the gods decreases” (Gide). Every step taken by science claims territory once occupied by the supernatural.
    • Robert L. Park, Voodoo Science (2000), p. 31
  • It is not so much knowledge of science that the public needs as a scientific worldview—an understanding that we live in an orderly universe, governed by physical laws that cannot be circumvented.
    • Robert L. Park, Voodoo Science (2000), p. 40
  • Those (natural) laws cannot be circumvented by any amount of piety or cleverness, but they can be understood. Uncovering them should be the highest goal of a civilized society. Not, as we have seen, because scientists have any claim to greater intellect or virtue, but because the scientific method transcends the flaws of individual scientists. Science is the only way we have of separating the truth from ideology, or fraud, or mere foolishness.
    • Robert L. Park, Voodoo Science (2000), p. 211
  • Science, that was going to save the world in H. G. Wells’ time is regimented, straight-jacked, [and] scared shitless, its universal language diminished to one word: security.
    • Jack Parsons as quoted by George Pendle, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons (2005), p. 290.
  • Too often, this concern for the big picture is simply obscurantist and is put forward by people who prefer vagueness and mystery to (partial) answers. Vagueness is at times necessary and mystery is never in short supply, but I don’t think they’re anything to worship. Genuine science and mathematical precision are more intriguing than are the “facts” published in supermarket tabloids or a romantic innumeracy which fosters credulity, stunts skepticism, and dulls one to real imponderables.
    • John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences (1988), pp. 126-127
  • A greater gain to the world… than all the growth of scientific knowledge is the growth of the scientific spirit, with its courage and serenity, its disciplined conscience, its intellectual morality, its habitual response to any disclosure of the truth.
    • F. G. Peabody (c. 1900) as quoted by William Thompson Sedgwick, Harry Walter Tyler, A Short History of Science (1917)
  • The science of fools with long memories.
    • James Planché, Preliminary ObservationsPursuivant of ArmsSpeaking of Heraldry. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92.
  • A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
    • Max Planck. Wissenschaftliche Selbstbiographie. Mit einem Bildnis und der von Max von Laue gehaltenen Traueransprache. 35 p. (Leipzig: 1948). Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp.33-34 (as cited in T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).
  • The unprecedented development of science and technology… so rapid that it is said that 90 per cent of the scientists which this country has ever produced are still living today.
    • Robert Platt (Lord Platt of Grindleford), Reflections on Medicine and Humanism: Linacre Lecture (1963), 328.
  • I don’t believe Einstein is tied to any religious tradition, and I rather think the idea of a personal God is entirely foreign to him. But as far as he is concerned there is no split between science and religion: the central order is part of the subjective as well as the objective realm, and this strikes me as being a far better starting point.
    • Wolfgang Pauli, in statements after the Solvay Conference of 1927, as quoted in Physics and Beyond (1971) by Werner Heisenberg.
  • Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
    Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
    Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
    Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
    How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
    Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
    To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
    Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
    Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
    And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
    To seek a shelter in some happier star?
    Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
    The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
    The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

    • Edgar Allan Poe, “Sonnet to Science” in The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1881) p. 85.
  • There is no science apart from the general. It may even be said that the object of the exact sciences is to spare us these direct verifications.
    • Henri Poincaré, La Science et l’Hypothèse (1901) Tr. George Bruce Halsted, Science and Hypothesis (1905).
  • Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
    • Henri Poincaré, La Science et l’Hypothèse (1901) Tr. George Bruce Halsted, Science and Hypothesis (1905).
  • There might be a serious objection classical studies. If it is to be desired that nine out of ten Frenchmen become good merchants and business men, is it not dangerous to disgust them beforehand with that which is to fill their lives? No doubt, it would not be impossible to refute such an objection; but that is no business mine. … I seek what must be done to form men of science. And here all is clear. The man of science ought not tarry in the realization of practical aims; these, no doubt, he will obtain, but he must obtain them over and above. …Science has wonderful applications; but the science which would have in view only applications would no longer be science—It would be only the kitchen. There is no science but disinterested science. … The spirit which should animate the man science is that which breathed of old on Greece and brought there to birth poets and thinkers. There remains in our classical teaching I know not what of the Greek soul; I know not what that makes us look ever upward. And that is more precious for the making of a man of science than the reading of many volumes of geometry.
    • Henri Poincaré (c. 1902) campaign of the League of Culture, France, in support for the necessity of training in the Humanities for the study of the Sciences, as quoted by S. D., “The French University Conflict,” The Nation Vol. 97, p. 231 (Sept. 11, 1913)
  • Scientists believe there is a hierarchy of facts and that among them may be made a judicious choice. They are right, since otherwise there would be no science… One need only open the eyes to see that the conquests of industry which have enriched so many practical men would never have seen the light, if these practical men alone had existed and if they had not been preceded by unselfish devotees who died poor, who never thought of utility, and yet had a guide far other than caprice.
    As Mach says, these devotees have spared their successors the trouble of thinking.

    • Henri Poincaré, The Value of Science (1907) Author’s Essay Prefatory to the Translation: “The Choice of Facts,” p.4, Tr. George Bruce Halsted.
  • Without interpolation all science would be impossible.
    • Henri Poincaré, The Value of Science (1907) Ch. 11: Science and Reality, p.134, Tr. George Bruce Halsted.
  • Now what is science? … It is before all a classification, a manner of bringing together facts which appearances separate, though they are bound together by some natural and hidden kinship. Science, in other words, is a system of relations. … It is in relations alone that objectivity must be sought. … It is relations alone which can be regarded as objective.
    External objects… are really objects and not fleeting and fugitive appearances, because they are not only groups of sensations, but groups cemented by a constant bond. It is this bond, and this bond alone, which is the object in itself, and this bond is a relation.

    • Henri Poincaré, The Value of Science (1907) Ch. 11: Science and Reality, pp.137-138, Tr. George Bruce Halsted.
  • It is only through science and art that civilization is of value. Some have wondered at the formula: science for its own sake; and yet it is as good as life for its own sake, if life is only misery; and even as happiness for its own sake, if we do not believe that all pleasures are of the same quality…
    Every act should have an aim. We must suffer, we must work, 
    we must pay for our place at the game, but this is for seeing’s sake; or at the very least that others may one day see.

    • Henri Poincaré, The Value of Science (1907) Ch. 11: Science and Reality, p.142, Tr. George Bruce Halsted.
  • To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient truths; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
    • Henri Poincaré in: Harold Chapman Brown (1914) “The Work of Henri Poincare” in: The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods. Vol 11. p. 9. p. 225-236.
  • How index-learning turns no student pale,
    Yet holds the eel of science by the tail.

    • Alexander Pope, The Dunciad (1728), Book I, line 279.
  • One science only will one genius fit,
    So vast is art, so narrow human wit.

    • Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1709), Part I, line 60.
  • Science is, on the whole, an informal activity, a life of shirt sleeves and coffee served in beakers.
    • George Porter Nobel Banquet Speech in Stockholm (10 December 1967).
  • “Today we preach that science is not science unless it is quantitative… [however] many – perhaps most – of the great issues of science are qualitative, not quantitative, even in physics and chemistry. Equations and measurements are useful when and only when they are related to proof; but proof or disproof comes first and is in fact strongest when it is absolutely convincing without any quantitative measurement.
    Or to say it another way, you can catch phenomena in a logical box or in a mathematical box. The logical box is coarse but strong. The mathematical box is fine-grained but flimsy. The mathematical box is a beautiful way of wrapping up a problem, but it will not hold the phenomena unless they have been caught in a logical box to begin with.”

    • John R. Platt (1964) “Science, Strong Inference — Proper Scientific Method (The New Baconians). Science Magazine 16 October 1964, Volume 146, Number 3642.

Science Quotes

  • I don’t believe in evolution, like people believe in God … Science and technology are not advanced by people who believe, but by people who don’t know but are doing their best to find out.
    • Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld (2014), 41.
  • The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. Unfortunately, there are still not that many girls going into science, engineering and technology.
    • Natalie Portman, “Natalie Portman Interview for Thor”, interview by Elaine Lipworth, Telegraph, 29 Oct 2013, 11:30AM GMT.
  • No matter how many instances of white swans we may have observed, this does not justify the conclusion that all swans are white.
    • Karl Popper Ch. 1 “A Survey of Some Fundamental Problems”, Section I: The Problem of Induction, p. 27 [1]
  • We should be very jealous of who speaks for science, particularly in our age of rapidly expanding technology. How can the public be educated? I do not know the specifics, but of this I am certain: The public will remain uninformed and uneducated in the sciences until the media professionals decide otherwise. Until they stop quoting charlatans and quacks and until respected scientists speak up.
    • Dixy Lee Ray, ‘Who Speaks For Science?’, Chemical Times and Trends (Jan 1990); as quoted in Jay H. Lehr (ed.), Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns (1992), 730, and cited on p.735.
  • Science does not aim to cover exhaustively the whole of reality, but to construct systems and concepts which will perhaps — and it is a big perhaps — allow man to act on the world.
    • Alain Robbe-Grillet (1975), in Robbe-Grillet: analyse, théorie, ed. Jean Ricardou (Paris: Union Générale d’Editions, 1976), vol. 2, p. 418; as translated in John Fletcher, Alain Robbe-Grillet (London: Methuen, 1983), p. 16
  • [Modern science is recently been epitomized as follows:]
    1. Science is constantly, systematically and inexorably revisionary. It is a self-correcting process and one that is self-destroying of its own errors…
    2. A related trait of science is its destruction of dols, destruction of the gods men live by… Science has no absolute right or absolute justice… To live comfortably with science it is necessary to live with a dynamically changing system of concepts… it has a way of weakening old and respected bonds…
    3. Not only are the tenets of science constantly subject to challenge and revision, but its prophets are under challenge too…
    4. Further, the findings of science have an embarrassing way of turning out to be relevant to the customs and to the civil laws of men– requiring these customs and laws also to be revised…
    5. Certainly we have seen spectacular changes in the concept of private property and of national borders as we have moved into the space age…
    6. Moreover, the pace of technological advance gravely threatens the bountiful and restorative power of nature to resist modification…
    7. Another trait of science that leads to much hostility or misunderstanding by the non-scientist is the fact that science is practiced by a small elite … (which) has cultural patterns discernibly different from those of the rest of society…
    8. The trait that to me seems the most socially important about science, however, is that it is a major source of man’s discontent with the status quo..
    • Walter Orr Roberts (1967) “Science, A Wellspring of Our Discontent”. American Scholar Summer 1967, pp. 252-58. as cited in Richard F. Ericson (1969). Organizational cybernetics and human values. p. 1
  • In a fashion, at least in your time, science has as much as religion to fear from the free intellect as religion does. And(with irony) any strong combination of intellectual and intuitional abilities is not tailor-made to bring you great friends from either category. Science has, unfortunately, bound up the minds of its own most original thinkers, for they dare not stray from certain scientific principles.
    • Jane Roberts, in The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto, p. 146
  • When we believe that science or religion “has the truth,” we stop our speculations. While still referring to the theory of evolution, science accepts it as a fact, about existence, and therefore any speculation that threatens that theory becomes almost heretical.
    • Jane Roberts, in The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto, p. 58
  • Science fiction rarely is about scientists doing real science, in its slowness, its vagueness, the sort of tedious quality of getting out there and digging amongst rocks and then trying to convince people that what you’re seeing justifies the conclusions you’re making. The whole process of science is wildly under-represented in science fiction because it’s not easy to write about. There are many facets of science that are almost exactly opposite of dramatic narrative. It’s slow, tedious, inconclusive, it’s hard to tell good guys from bad guys — it’s everything that a normal hour of Star Trek is not.
    • Kim Stanley Robinson, interview[2] in Locus, September 1997
  • If feminist psychology is correct, the very concept of scientific “objectivity” as a disciplined withdrawal of sympathy by the knower from the known, is a male separation anxiety writ large. Written, in fact, upon the entire universe.
    • Theodore Roszak, The Gendered Atom (1999)
  • The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions.
    • John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, Volume III, 1853
  • What science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.
    • Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science (1935), Ch. IX: Science of Ethics
  • Science is what we know, and philosophy is what we don’t know.
    • Bertrand Russell Unpopular Essays (1950)
  • Gradually, … the aspect of science as knowledge is being thrust into the background by the aspect of science as the power of manipulating nature. It is because science gives us the power of manipulating nature that it has more social importance than art. Science as the pursuit of truth is the equal, but not the superior, of art. Science as a technique, though it may have little intrinsic value, has a practical importance to which art cannot aspire.
    • Bertrand Russell, In The Scientific Outlook (1931, 2009), xxiv.
  • It is not in the nature of things for any one man to make a sudden violent discovery; science goes step by step, and every man depends on the work of his predecessors. When you hear of a sudden unexpected discovery—a bolt from the blue, as it were—you can always be sure that it has grown up by the influence of one man on another, and it is this mutual influence which makes the enormous possibility of scientific advance. Scientists are not dependent on the ideas of a single man, but on the combined wisdom of thousands of men, all thinking of the same problem, and each doing his little bit to add to the great structure of knowledge which is gradually being erected.
    • Ernest Rutherford as quoted in The Birth of a New Physics (1959) by I. Bernard Cohen
  • We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most critical elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
    • Sir Ernest Rutherford from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996), 26.
  • All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow. No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death.
    • J. C. Ryle, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 530
  • All inquiries carry with them some element of risk. There is no guarantee that the universe will conform to our predispositions. But I do not see how we can deal with the universe—both the outside and the inside universe—without studying it. The best way to avoid abuses is for the populace in general to be scientifically literate, to understand the implications of such investigations. In exchange for freedom of inquiry, scientists are obliged to explain their work. If science is considered a closed priesthood, too difficult and arcane for the average person to understand, the dangers of abuse are greater. But if science is a topic of general interest and concern—if both its delights and its social consequences are discussed regularly and competently in the schools, the press, and at the dinner table—we have greatly improved our prospects for learning how the world really is and for improving both it and us.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 1, “Broca’s Brain” (pp. 13-14)
  • Our perceptions may be distorted by training and prejudice or merely because of the limitations of our sense organs, which, of course, perceive directly but a small fraction of the phenomena of the world. Even so straightforward a question as whether in the absence of friction a pound of lead falls faster than a gram of fluff was answered incorrectly by Aristotle and almost everyone else before the time of Galileo. Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science sometimes requires courage—at the very least the courage to question the conventional wisdom.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 1, “Broca’s Brain” (pp. 15-16)
  • I believe that even a smattering of such findings in modern science and mathematics is far more compelling and exciting than most of the doctrines of pseudoscience, whose practitioners were condemned as early as the fifth century B.C. by the Ionian philosopher Heraclitus as “nightwalkers, magicians, priests of Bacchus, priestesses of the wine-vat, mystery-mongers.” But science is more intricate and subtle, reveals a much richer universe, and powerfully evokes our sense of wonder. And it has the additional and important virtue—to whatever extent the word has any meaning—of being true.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 5, “Night Walkers and Mystery Mongers: Sense and Nonsense at the End of Science” (p. 76)
  • The history of science is full of cases where previously accepted theories and hypotheses have been entirely overthrown, to be replaced by new ideas that more adequately explain the data. While there is an understandable psychological inertia—usually lasting about one generation—such revolutions in scientific thought are widely accepted as a necessary and desirable element of scientific progress. Indeed, the reasoned criticism of a prevailing belief is a service to the proponents of that belief; if they are incapable of defending it, they are well advised to abandon it. This self-questioning and error-correcting aspect of the scientific method is its most striking property, and sets it off from many other areas of human endeavor where credulity is the rule.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 7, “Venus and Dr. Velikovsky” (p. 96)
  • The idea of science as a method rather than as a body of knowledge is not widely appreciated outside of science, or indeed in some corridors inside of science.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 7, “Venus and Dr. Velikovsky” (p. 96)
  • Vigorous criticism is more constructive in science than in some other areas of human endeavor because in science there are adequate standards of validity that can be agreed upon by competent practitioners the world over. The objective of such criticism is not to suppress but rather to encourage the advance of new ideas: those that survive a firm skeptical scrutiny have a fighting chance of being right, or at least useful.
    • Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain, (1979), Ballantine Books, Chapter 7, “Venus and Dr. Velikovsky” (p. 98)
  • Science is much more than a body of knowledge. It is a way of thinking. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which ones best match the facts. It urges on us a fine balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. We need wide appreciation of this kind of thinking. It works. It’s an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change. Our task is not just to train more scientists but also to deepen public understanding of science.
    • Carl Sagan, in “Why We Need To Understand Science” in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990)
  • At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and the most ruthlessly skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.
    • Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (1995)
  • A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable.
    • Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (1997) Chapter 14, “The Common Enemy”.
  • We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.
    • Carl Sagan, from interview with Anne Kalosh in her article ‘Bringing Science Down to Earth’, in Hemispheres (Oct 1994), 99. Collected and cited in Tom Head (ed.), Conversations with Carl Sagan (2006), 100.
  • We regard as ‘scientific’ a method based on deep analysis of facts, theories, and views, presupposing unprejudiced, unfearing open discussion and conclusions. The complexity and diversity of all the phenomena of modern life, the great possibilities and dangers linked with the scientific-technical revolution and with a number of social tendencies demand precisely such an approach, as has been acknowledged in a number of official statements.
    • Andrei Dmitriyevich Sakharov, Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom (1968), 25.
  • To the natural philosopher, to whom the whole extent of nature belongs, all the individual branches of science constitute the links of an endless chain, from which not one can be detached without destroying the harmony of the whole.
    • Friedrich Schoedler (1813 – 1884), Treasury of Science. Astronomy. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • Science, especially evolutionary sciences, can only proceed from learning about theories of hypotheses that do not stand the test of time.
    • Jeffrey H. Schwartz, What the Bones Tell Us (1997)
  • We speak of the matter [of this science] in the sense of its being what the science is about. This is called by some the subject of the science, but more properly it should be called its object, just as we say of a virtue that what it is about is its object, not its subject. As for the object of the science in this sense, we have indicated above that this science is about the transcendentals. And it was shown to be about the highest causes. But there are various opinions about which of these ought to be considered its proper object or subject. Therefor, we inquire about the first. Is the proper subject of metaphysics being as being, as Avicenna claims, or God and the Intelligences, as the Commentator, Averroes, assumes.
    • Duns Scotus Quaestiones subtilissimae de metaphysicam Aristotelis, as translated in: William A. Frank, Allan Bernard Wolter (1995) Duns Scotus, metaphysician. p. 20-21
  • Essentially all civilizations that rose to the level of possessing an urban culture had need for two forms of science-related technology, namely, mathematics for land measurements and commerce and astronomy for time-keeping in agriculture and aspects of religious rituals.
    • Frederick Seitz, from The Science Matrix: The Journey, Travails, Triumphs (1992, 1998), Preface, x.
  • Darwin recognized that thus far the civilization of mankind has passed through four successive stages of evolution, namely, those based on the use of fire, the development of agriculture, the development of urban life and the use of basic science for technological advancement.
    • Frederick Seitz, in The Science Matrix: The Journey, Travails, Triumphs (1992, 2012), 86.
  • In scientific matters there was a common language and one standard of values; in moral and political problems there were many. … Furthermore, in science there is a court of last resort, experiment, which is unavailable in human affairs.
    • Emilio Segrè in Enrico Fermi: Physicist (1970), 149.
  • Pythagoras, Ptolemy, Kepler, Copernicus, Aristotle, Galileo, Newton and Einstein … These great men, they have been the makers of one side of humanity, which has two sides. We call the one side religion, and we call the other science. Religion is always right. Religion protects us against that great problem which we all must face. Science is always wrong; it is the very artifice of men. Science can never solve one problem without raising 10 more problems.
    • George Bernard Shaw, in a dinner speech at the Savoy Hotel, London (28 October 1930), as quoted by Michael Holroyd, “Albert Einstein, Universe Maker,” The New York Times (14 March 1991)
  • It may be true, that as Francis Thompson noted, “Thou canst not stir a flower without troubling a star”, but in computing the motion of stars and planets, the effects of flowers do not loom large. It is the disregarding of the effect of flowers on stars that allows progress in astronomy. Appropriate abstraction is critical to progress in science.
    • Herman Shugart, in Plant Functional Types (1997 edition) by Smith, Shugart and Woodward, Cambridge University Press, p. 20
  • Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
    • Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations (1776), ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner (Oxford, 1976), p. 796
  • A mere index hunter, who held the eel of science by the tail.
    • Tobias Smollett, Peregrine Pickle, Chapter XLIII. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • The act of freezing a dead body and storing it indefinitely on the chance that some future generation may restore it to life is an act of faith, not science.
    • The Society for Cryobiology official statement (1982)
  • When a theory successfully withstands an attempt at falsification, a scientist will, quite naturally, consider the theory to be partially confirmed and will accord it a greater likelihood or a higher subjective probability… But Popper will have none of this: throughout his life he was a stubborn opponent of any idea of ‘confirmation’ of a theory, or even of its ‘probability’ … [yet] the history of science teaches us that scientific theories come to be accepted above all because of their successes.
    • Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont, Fasionable Nonsense 1997
  • Science is organised knowledge.
    • Herbert Spencer, Education, Chapter II. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • Scientific skepticism is considered good. […] Under this principle, one must question, doubt, or suspend judgment until sufficient information is available. Skeptics demand that evidence and proof be offered before conclusions can be drawn. […] One must thoughtfully gather evidence and be persuaded by the evidence rather than by prejudice, bias, or uncritical thinking.
    • Sue Stanley (1999) “Science, Ethnicity, and Bias: Where Have We Gone Wrong?” in American Psychologist Vol 54, nr 12
  • Science when well digested is nothing but good sense and reason.
    • Stanisław Leszczyński (King of Poland), Maxims, No. 43. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • In the nineteenth century, … official Western medicine recognized drapetomania, the tendency of slaves to run away from their owners, as a disease. … With hindsight, drapetomania is easily dismissed as a harmful fabrication of fictitious disease, in a culture violating human rights. Less easy is it to recognize harmful fabrications of our own era for what they are.
Are you sure that medicine and psychiatry are on the right track, morally and scientifically, in providing millions of person with drugs after having diagnosed them as depressed?

  • Wim J. van der Steen, Vincent K. Y. Ho, Ferry J. Karmelk, Beyond Boundaries of Biomedicine: Pragmatic Perspectives on Health and Disease (2003), p. 29
  • All the great revolutions in science start with an unexpected discrepancy that wouldn’t go away.
    • Matthew Strassler, in “Particles faster than light: Revolution or mistake?”, in The Washington Post (23 September 2011) Page 2 of online content (closing line of article)
  • The science and technology which have advanced man safely into space have brought about startling medical advances for man on earth. Out of space research have come new knowledge, techniques and instruments which have enabled some bedridden invalids to walk, the totally deaf to hear, the voiceless to talk, and, in the foreseeable future, may even make it possible for the blind to “see.”
    • Hubertus Strughold, From Outer Space—Advances For Medicine on Earth, contributed in Lillian Levy, Space, Its Impact on Man and Society (1965, reprinted 1973), 117.
  • Science deals with but a partial aspect of reality, and… there is no faintest reason for supposing that everything science ignores is less real than what it accepts. …Why is it that science forms a closed system? Why is is that the elements of reality it ignores never come in to disturb it? The reason is that all the terms of physics are defined in terms of one another. The abstractions with which physics begins are all it ever has to do with…
    • J. W. N. Sullivan, The Limitations of Science (1933)
  • At its core, therefore, science is a form of arrogance control.
    • Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. 2008. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Reprint. Mariner Books, p. 108
  • *Today’s science is tomorrow’s technology.
    • Edward Teller, The Legacy of Hiroshima (1962), 146.
  • Today, nothing is unusual about a scientific discovery’s being followed soon after by a technical application: The discovery of electrons led to electronics; fission led to nuclear energy. But before the 1880’s, science played almost no role in the advances of technology. For example, James Watt developed the first efficient steam engine long before science established the equivalence between mechanical heat and energy.
    • Edward Teller, with Judith L. Shoolery, Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics (2001), 42.
  • Science falsely so called.
    • I Timothy, VI. 20. Quotes reported in Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 691-92
  • What are the sciences but maps of universal laws, and universal laws but the channels of universal power; and universal power but the outgoings of a universal mind?
    • Edward Thompson, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531
  • I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.
    • William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Lecture on “Electrical Units of Measurement” (3 May 1883), published in Popular Lectures Vol. I, p. 73 (1889)
  • The great difference between science and technology is a difference of initial attitude. The scientific man follows his method whithersoever it may take him. He seeks acquaintance with his subject­matter, and he does not at all care about what he shall find, what shall be the content of his knowledge when acquaintance-with is transformed into knowledge-about. The technologist moves in another universe; he seeks the attainment of some determinate end, which is his sole and obsessing care; and he therefore takes no heed of anything that he cannot put to use as means toward that end.
    • Edward Bradford Titchener, Systematic Psychology: Prolegomena (1929), 66.
  • The High-Elves, … the Noldor or Loremasters, were always on the side of ‘science and technology’, as we should call it: they wanted to have the knowledge that Sauron genuinely had.
    • J. R. R. Tolkien, from Letter draft to Peter Hastings (manager of a Catholic bookshop in Oxford, who wrote about his enthusiasm for Lord of the Rings) (Sep 1954). In Humphrey Carpenter (ed.) assisted by Christopher Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1995, 2014), 190, Letter No. 153.
  • Different media of publication… have been introduced… to meet new professional needs; and the historically changing operations of the scientific profession are reflected… in the transfer of influence from one medium to another. The ‘invisible colleges’ of seventeenth-century Europe were initially linked by the circulated correspondence of men like Henry Oldenburg. With the foundation of national academies, emphasis shifted to their Transactions and to treatises such as Newton’s Principia, which were published under their auspices. In subsequent centuries, the balance has again shifted several times: to quarterlies… twice monthly… weeklies, and even shorter-term publications. The proliferation… and the acceleration of publication are effects, in part of the fragmentation of sub-disciplines, in part of the sharpened competition for priority; but they are associated also with the great decentralization of scientific authority. Where no-one can hope to master all… scientific professions were bound to move towards a pluralistic pattern of authority. On the very frontiers of research, indeed, we are now back not only with ‘invisible colleges’ but with a multiplicity of Oldenburgs, who circulate duplicated ‘prepublication’ material in highly specialized subjects to an international circle of equally specialized devotees. In the more self-consciously original branches of science—it has even been suggested—only out-of-date ideas ever actually get into print!
    • Stephen Toulmin, Human Understanding (1972) Vol. 1 The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts.
  • Science tends to frighten those who are infrequently exposed to it, while the practitioners of science are often the most misunderstood people in the world.
    • Wilson Tucker, The Year of the Quiet Sun (1970), Chapter 6
  • The justification for [basic research] is that this constitutes the fount of all new knowledge, without which the opportunities for further technical progress must eventually become exhausted.
    • United Kingdom from a British government publication, Technological Innovation in Britain (1968), quoted by M. Gibbons and C. Johnson in Relationship between Science and Technology, Nature, (11 Jul 1970), 125. As cited in Arie Leegwater, ‘Technology and Science’, Stephen V. Monsma (ed.), Responsible Technology: A Christian Perspective (1986), 79.
  • [To the cultures of Asia and the continent of Africa] it is the Western impact which has stirred up the winds of change and set the processes of modernization in motion. Education brought not only the idea of equality but also another belief which we used to take for granted in the West—the idea of progress, the idea that science and technology can be used to better human conditions. In ancient society, men tended to believe themselves fortunate if tomorrow was not worse than today and anyway, there was little they could do about it.
    • Barbara Ward, Lecture at State University of Iowa (6 Apr 1961). In Barbara Ward, The Unity of the Free World (1961), 12.
  • Holding then to science with one hand — the left hand — we give the right hand to religion, and cry: “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things, more wondrous than the shining worlds can tell.” Obedient to the promise, religion does waken faculties within us, does teach our eyes to the beholding of more wonderful things. Those great worlds blazing like suns die like feeble stars in the glory of the morning, in the presence of this new light. The soul knows that an infinite sea of love is all about it, throbbing through it, everlasting arms of affection lift it, and it bathes itself in the clear consciousness of a Father’s love.
    • Bishop H. W. Warren, Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 531
  • Some “unmasking” accounts of natural science … aim to show that its pretensions to deliver the truth are unfounded, because of social forces that control its activities. Unlike the case of history, these do not use truths of the same kind; they do not apply science to the criticism of science. They apply the social sciences, and typically depend on the remarkable assumption that the sociology of knowledge is in a better position to deliver truth about science than science is to deliver truth about the world.
    • Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness (2002); as cited in: Michael W. Hill (2005). The Impact of Information on Society, p.41
  • This statement appears to us to be conclusive with respect to the insufficiency of the undulatory theory, in its present state, for explaining all the phenomena of light. But we are not therefore by any means persuaded of the perfect sufficiency of the projectile system: and all the satisfaction that we have derived from an attentive consideration of the accumulated evidence, which has been brought forward, within the last ten years, on both sides of the question, is that of being convinced that much more evidence is still wanting before it can be positively decided. In the progress of scientific investigation, we must frequently travel by rugged paths, and through valleys as well as over mountains. Doubt must necessarily succeed often to apparent certainty, and must again give place to a certainty of a higher order; such is the imperfection of our faculties, that the descent from conviction to hesitation is not uncommonly as salutary, as the more agreeable elevation from uncertainty to demonstration. An example of such alternations may easily be adduced from the history of chemistry. How universally had phlogiston once expelled the aërial acid of Hooke and Mayow. How much more completely had phlogiston given way to oxygen! And how much have some of our best chemists been lately inclined to restore the same phlogiston to its lost honours! although now again they are beginning to apprehend that they have already done too much in its favour. In the mean time, the true science of chemistry, as the most positive dogmatist will not hesitate to allow, has been very rapidly advancing towards ultimate perfection.
    • Thomas Young, Miscellaneous Works: Scientific Memoirs (1855) Vol. 1, ed. George Peacock & John Leitch, p. 249

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