Talk:Arthur C. Clarke

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Arthur C. Clarke page.

early comments[edit]

What does It is not the same in English original. mean? What language other than English is being referred to? Nanobug 12:04, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

"There is a certain hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum." --Arthur C. Clarke

I've added the following to Attributed ; I cannot find the original source (this is not 2001) -- Murphypathe

"Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."


I think the last few quotes in the article, a couple of the "Any ___ is ___ from a ___" quotes, may be vandalism. I could be wrong but it would be wise to check, and they are unsourced. 09:43, 19 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Unsourced quote[edit]

My favourite definition of "Intellectual" is: "A person whose education surpasses their intelligence."

Clarke here quotes a definition he does not claim to have originated (but even where he said this remains unsourced). pretty sure Clarke wrote this in the Epilog of 3001. But I don't have to book at hand right now.

Magic is just science we don’t understand yet.[edit]

Does anyone know if that quote is really by Clarke and what's the source? unsigned by 02:39 18 September 2012

The original is likely Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, but paraphrased to shift the meaning to something Clarke likely did not intend. "Magic" is about appearance. A "magician" may be doing something we don't understand. There may or may not be a "science" behind it, but if the magician does this reliably, it's likely something is understood, even if only how to create an appearance. I have seen phenomena, reproducible, that appear to be magic, because they are outside of normal experience. However, if one has the experience (the "science", i.e., knowledge, especially well-understood and testable knowledge), the phenomena are not "magic," they are "technology." --Abd (talk) 17:22, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]


These should be provided with sources before being moved back into the article.
  • And then you realize the blinding truth (3001: Final Odyssey).
  • This is just ordinary language, not a notable quote. --Abd (talk) 17:36, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're sceptical.
  • This nifty quip is attributed to Clarke as I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical. by the Clarke Foundation. However, without an original sourced, they put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us. I'm looking for confirmation. --Abd (talk) 17:43, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is indeed widely quoted without specific attribution except some attribute to [1], which is simply quoting it without attribution other than to Clarke. The Clarke Foundation site, linked above, however, sources all the unattributed quotes on that page to Clarke's biographer. "Uncited quotes are provided by Neil McAleer, Arthur C. Clarke’s biographer." I was unable to find any confirmation of this, but the source should be deemed reasonably reliable. I found no other asserted source for the quip. --Abd (talk) 18:23, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • My favourite definition of "Intellectual" is: "Someone who has been educated beyond his/her intelligence."
    • Clarke here quotes a definition he does not claim to have originated. He stated this in the Sources and Acknowledgements chapter of 3001: The Final Odyssey, when he's discussing book chapter 19.
  • The original is from J. Brander Matthews, 1852-1929.[2]. A highbrow is a person educated beyond his intelligence. Matthews seems to have used "beyond his intelligence" more than once. --Abd (talk) 18:53, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The intelligence of the planet is constant, and the population is growing.
  • We should always be prepared for future technologies, because otherwise they will come along and clobber us.
  • On UFOs: "They tell us absolutely nothing about intelligence elsewhere in the universe, but they do prove how rare it is on Earth."

paraphrase of Haldane quote attributed to Clarke[edit]

"The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine.

I have seen this attributed to Clarke, but Clarke himself calls it a paraphrase of a quote by J. B. S. Haldane.[3] The original is on Wikiquote:

I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

Because the first form is attributed to Clarke (with "stranger" rather than "queerer" and "imagine" rather than "suppose"), this should be covered in the quotation page, but I don't know how to do it given what is on the page, I've seen other wikiquote articles that were differently formatted. --Abd (talk) 17:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Sourcing a quote[edit]

I keep seeing this show up online in science fiction circles but I can't find any evidence of it. As far as I can tell the source of it is this Atomic Rockets post

Sir Arthur C. Clarke made a famous observation about space explorers discovering aliens: "If one considers the millions of years of pre-history, and the rapid technological advancement occurring now, if you apply that to a hypothetical alien race, one can figure the probabilities of how advanced the explorers will find them. The conclusion is we will find apes or angels, but not men."

I didn't find a mention of it in Clarke's page but I'm hoping it's come up before. I apologise if this isn't the sort of thing we do here.