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"Mechanistic interpretation": desires nothing but quantities; but force is to be found in quality. Mechanistic theory can therefore only describe processes, not explain them. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
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? ~ Nagarjuna
Science doesn't purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism.~ Isaac Asimov
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

Science in the broadest sense refers to any system of objective knowledge. In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such research.

CONTENT: A-B - C-D - E-F - G-H - I-J - K-L - M-N - O-P -Q-R - S-T - U-V - W-X - Y-Z - See also


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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • People keep saying "science doesn't know everything!" Well, science "knows" it doesn't know everything; otherwise it would stop.
  • 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.
  • Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.
  • 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 Lecture, 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. 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)
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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, The Nigger Question. Quotes 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Science is finding things out; and in that sense history is science.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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 web page.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Always be prepared to explain the hows and whys.
  • 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.
  • Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wissenschaft und Kunst gehören der Welt an, und vor ihnen verschwinden die Schranken der Nationalität.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, "Last Snails and Right Minds," Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (1995)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Science embraces facts and debates opinion; religion embraces opinion and debates the facts.
  • [I]n 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 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.
  • Science is the knowledge of many, orderly and methodically digested and arranged, so as to become attainable by one.
  • 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.
  • What is lighter than the substance its in will rise, when heavier, it sinks.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • [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 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.
  • 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 priori, a doctrine of nature can only contain so much science proper as there is in it of applied mathematics.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For science is * * * like virtue, its own exceeding great reward.
    • Charles Kingsley, Health and Education, Science. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • The great testimony of history shows how often in fact the development of science has emerged in response to technological and even economic needs, and how in the economy of social effort, science, even of the most abstract and recondite kind, pays for itself again and again in providing the basis for radically new technological developments. In fact, most people—when they think of science as a good thing, when they think of it as worthy of encouragement, when they are willing to see their governments spend substance upon it, when they greatly do honor to men who in science have attained some eminence-have in mind that the conditions of their life have been altered just by such technology, of which they may be reluctant to be deprived.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The science of fools with long memories.
    • James Planché, Preliminary Observations, Pursuivant of Arms, Speaking 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.
  • 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?
  • 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? 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. is in relations alone that objectivity must be sought. 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.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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]
  • Dr. Venture: So you see by applying the basic principles of the scientific method to the matter, we learned very quickly that the myth of the Chupacabra is just that -- utter crap. Now if you apply the same principles to the Catholicism, an interesting thing occurs...


  • 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.
  • [S]cience 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.
  • 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.
  • What science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • loquimur de materia "circa quam" est scientia, quae dicitur a quibusdam subiectum scientiae, uel magis proprie obiectum, sicut et illud circa quod est uirtus dicitur obiectum uirtutis proprie, non subiectum. De isto autem obiecto huius scientiae ostensum est prius quod haec scientia est circa transcendentia; ostensum est autem quod est circa altissimas causas. Quod autem istorum debeat poni proprium eius obiectum, uariae sunt opiniones. Ideo de hoc quaeritur primo utrum proprium subiectum metaphysicae sit ens in quantum ens (sicut posuit Auicenna) uel Deus et Intelligentiae (sicut posuit Commentator Auerroes.)
    • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • John Ronald Reuel (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.
  • 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.


  • 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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