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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Sir Roderick Impey Murchison Quotes

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Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
(19 Feb 1792 - 22 Oct 1871)

Scottish geologist.


Science Quotes by Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (7 quotes)


Combining in our survey then, the whole range of deposits from the most recent to the most ancient group, how striking a succession do they present:– so various yet so uniform–so vast yet so connected. In thus tracing back to the most remote periods in the physical history of our continents, one system of operations, as the means by which many complex formations have been successively produced, the mind becomes impressed with the singleness of nature's laws; and in this respect, at least, geology is hardly inferior in simplicity to astronomy.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
The Silurian System (1839), 574.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (27)  |  Combination (37)  |  Complexity (49)  |  Connection (39)  |  Continent (22)  |  Deposit (4)  |  Formation (32)  |  History (152)  |  Impression (31)  |  Law (270)  |  Law Of Nature (30)  |  Mind (269)  |  Nature (524)  |  Operation (53)  |  Production (72)  |  Range (12)  |  Recent (13)  |  Succession (29)  |  Survey (5)  |  System (66)  |  Trace (10)  |  Uniformity (12)  |  Variety (29)  |  Vast (20)

During cycles long anterior to the creation of the human race, and while the surface of the globe was passing from one condition to another, whole races of animals–each group adapted to the physical conditions in which they lived–were successively created and exterminated.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Siluria (1854), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (140)  |  Condition (66)  |  Creation (125)  |  Cycle (12)  |  Evolution (337)  |  Extermination (6)  |  Extinction (37)  |  Globe (18)  |  Human Race (28)  |  Pass (19)  |  Race (34)  |  Succession (29)  |  Surface (36)

Physical geography and geology are inseparable scientific twins.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Presidential address at the Anniversary Meeting of the Royal Geographical Society (25 May 1857). Printed in Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society (1857), 1, 417.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (145)  |  Inseparable (3)  |  Twin (4)

Placed as the fossils are in their several tiers of burial-places the one over the other; we have in them true witnesses of successive existences, whilst the historian of man is constantly at fault as to dates and even the sequence of events, to say nothing of the contradicting statements which he is forced to reconcile.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Siluria (1872), 476.
Science quotes on:  |  Burial (5)  |  Contradiction (22)  |  Existence (144)  |  Fault (13)  |  Fossil (72)  |  Historian (18)  |  Reconciliation (5)  |  Sequence (15)  |  Strata (15)  |  Succession (29)  |  Witness (9)

The earliest signs of living things, announcing as they do a high complexity of organization, entirely exclude the hypothesis of a transmutation from lower to higher grades of being. The first fiat of Creation which went forth, doubtlessly ensured the perfect adaptation of animals to the surrounding media; and thus, whilst the geologist recognizes a beginning, he can see in the innumerable facts of the eye of the earliest crustacean, the same evidences of Omniscience as in the completion of the vertebrate form.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Siluria (1854), 469.
Science quotes on:  |  Adaptation (23)  |  Animal (140)  |  Announcement (5)  |  Being (34)  |  Complexity (49)  |  Creation (125)  |  Exclusion (6)  |  Fiat (2)  |  Geologist (26)  |  Grade (3)  |  Higher (18)  |  Hypothesis (146)  |  Living Thing (2)  |  Lower (8)  |  Media (2)  |  Organization (50)  |  Perfect (14)  |  Sign (17)  |  Surrounding (5)  |  Transmutation (10)

The order of ... successive generations is indeed much more clearly proved than many a legend which has assumed the character of history in the hands of man; for the geological record is the work of God.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Siluria (1872), 476.
Science quotes on:  |  Generation (52)  |  History (152)  |  Legend (2)  |  Order (60)  |  Proof (135)  |  Succession (29)

We should greatly err, if we endeavoured to force all ancient nature into a close comparison with existing operations.
— Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
Siluria (1854), 481.
Science quotes on:  |  Comparison (33)  |  Endeavour (23)  |  Error (150)  |  Existence (144)  |  Nature (524)  |  Operation (53)



Quotes by others about Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (2)

You must not say that this cannot be, or that that is contrary to nature. You do not know what Nature is, or what she can do; and nobody knows; not even Sir Roderick Murchison, or Professor Huxley, or Mr. Darwin, or Professor Faraday, or Mr. Grove, or any other of the great men whom good boys are taught to respect. They are very wise men; and you must listen respectfully to all they say: but even if they should say, which I am sure they never would, 'That cannot exist. That is contrary to nature,' you must wait a little, and see; for perhaps even they may be wrong.
The Water-babies (1886), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  Charles Darwin (213)  |  Evolution (337)  |  Michael Faraday (58)  |  Sir William Robert Grove (2)  |  Thomas Henry Huxley (77)  |  Hypothesis (146)  |  Sir Richard Owen (9)  |  Proof (135)

[About Sir Roderick Impey Murchison:] The enjoyments of elegant life you early chose to abandon, preferring to wander for many successive years over the rudest portions of Europe and Asia—regions new to Science—in the hope, happily realized, of winning new truths.
By a rare union of favourable circumstances, and of personal qualifications equally rare, you have thus been enabled to become the recognized Interpreter and Historian (not without illustrious aid) of the Silurian Period.
Dedication page in Thesaurus Siluricus: The Flora and Fauna of the Silurian Period (1868), iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Abandon (13)  |  Asia (3)  |  Circumstance (25)  |  Elegance (12)  |  Enjoyment (14)  |  Europe (16)  |  Historian (18)  |  Interpreter (2)  |  Life (437)  |  New (103)  |  Qualification (5)  |  Recognition (36)  |  Silurian (2)  |  Truth (442)  |  Wandering (5)  |  Win (7)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon 19 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Murchison's birth.
  • todayinsci icon Roderick Impey Murchison - context of quote “Physical geography and geology are inseparable scientific twins” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • todayinsci icon Roderick Impey Murchison - context of quote “Physical geography and geology are inseparable scientific twins” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • book icon Scientist of the Empire: Sir Roderick Murchison, by Robert A. Stafford. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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