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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index A > Halton Christian Arp Quotes

Thumbnail of Halton Christian Arp (source)
Halton Christian Arp
(21 Mar 1927 - 28 Dec 2013)

American astronomer who challenged the theory that red shifts of quasars indicate their great distance.


Science Quotes by Halton Christian Arp (11 quotes)

Photo of Halton Arp, upper body, facing forward
(2008) (source)
As a general scientific principle, it is undesirable to depend crucially on what is unobservable to explain what is observable, as happens frequently in Big Bang cosmology.
— Halton Christian Arp
In Arp, H.C., G. Burbidge, F. Hoyle, J.V. Narlikar, and N.C. Wickramasinghe, 'The Extragalactic Universe: An Alternative View,' Nature (30 Aug 1990), 346, No. 6287, 812.
Science quotes on:  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Cosmology (17)  |  Crucial (8)  |  Depend (56)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Frequent (10)  |  Happen (63)  |  Observable (4)  |  Principle (228)

Knowledge of the laws of nature offers humankind the only chance of survival in a changing environment. … The search for knowledge gives expression to a basic curiosity which appears to be the salient defining characteristic of human beings.
— Halton Christian Arp
From opening paragraph of Preface, Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies (1987).
Science quotes on:  |  Changing (6)  |  Characteristic (66)  |  Curiosity (89)  |  Defining (3)  |  Environment (138)  |  Human Being (54)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law Of Nature (52)  |  Search (85)  |  Survival (49)

One of the most self-evident principles … is that in science “You can’t vote on the truth.”
— Halton Christian Arp
In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998), 273.
Science quotes on:  |  Principle (228)  |  Science (1699)  |  Self-Evident (6)  |  Truth (750)  |  Vote (11)

One point at which our magicians attempt their sleight-of-hand is when they slide quickly from the Hubble, redshift-distance relation to redshift-velocity of expansion. There are now five or six whole classes of objects that violate this absolutely basic assumption. It really gives away the game to realize how observations of these crucial objects have been banned from the telescope and how their discussion has met with desperate attempts at suppression.
— Halton Christian Arp
In 'Letters: Wrangling Over the Bang', Science News (27 Jul 1991), 140, No. 4, 51. Also quoted in Roy C. Martin, Astronomy on Trial: A Devastating and Complete Repudiation of the Big Bang Fiasco (1999), Appendix I, 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (65)  |  Assumption (49)  |  Ban (9)  |  Basic (52)  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Class (64)  |  Crucial (8)  |  Discussion (37)  |  Distance (54)  |  Expansion (25)  |  Magician (12)  |  Object (110)  |  Observation (418)  |  Realize (43)  |  Red-Shift (4)  |  Suppression (6)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Velocity (14)  |  Violate (3)

Picture yourself during the early 1920's inside the dome of the [Mount Wilson Observatory]. … [Milton] Humason is showing [Harlow] Shapley stars he had found in the Andromeda Nebula that appeared and disappeared on photographs of that object. The famous astronomer very patiently explains that these objects could not be stars because the Nebula was a nearby gaseous cloud within our own Milky Way system. Shapley takes his handkerchief from his pocket and wipes the identifying marks off the back of the photographic plate.
Of course, Hubble came along in 1924 and showed that it was just these Cepheid variable stars in the Andromeda Nebula which proved it was a separate galaxy system.
— Halton Christian Arp
In Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies (1998), 168. Arp writes that this was “a piece of real history which I happen to know because it was told to me by one of the participants. It dramatically illustrate the critical role of discordant evidence.”
Science quotes on:  |  Andromeda (2)  |  Appearance (77)  |  Disappearance (21)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Galaxy (38)  |  Handkerchief (2)  |  Edwin Powell Hubble (17)  |  Identification (11)  |  Mark (28)  |  Milky Way (19)  |  Mount Wilson (2)  |  Nebula (15)  |  Object (110)  |  Observatory (11)  |  Photograph (17)  |  Selection Effect (2)  |  Separate (46)  |  Harlow Shapley (13)  |  Star (251)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Variable (9)  |  Wipe (6)

The alternative to the Big Bang is not, in my opinion, the steady state; it is instead the more general theory of continuous creation. Continuous creation can occur in bursts and episodes. These mini-bangs can produce all the wonderful element-building that Fred Hoyle discovered and contributed to cosmology. This kind of element and galaxy formation can take place within an unbounded, non-expanding universe. It will also satisfy precisely the Friedmann solutions of general relativity. It can account very well for all the facts the Big Bang explains—and also for those devastating, contradictory observations which the Big Bang must, at all costs, pretend are not there
— Halton Christian Arp
In 'Letters: Wrangling Over the Bang', Science News (27 Jul 1991), 140, No. 4, 51. Also quoted in Roy C. Martin, Astronomy on Trial: A Devastating and Complete Repudiation of the Big Bang Fiasco (1999), Appendix I, 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (45)  |  Alternative (22)  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Burst (17)  |  Continuous Creation (2)  |  Contradictory (4)  |  Cosmology (17)  |  Devastating (4)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Element (129)  |  Episode (3)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Fact (609)  |  Formation (54)  |  Galaxy (38)  |  General (92)  |  General Relativity (5)  |  Sir Fred Hoyle (7)  |  Observation (418)  |  Occur (26)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Pretend (14)  |  Produce (63)  |  Satisfy (14)  |  Steady State (3)  |  Theory (582)  |  Universe (563)

The most important thing for us to recall may be, that the crucial quality of science is to encourage, not discourage, the testing of assumptions. That is the only ethic that will eventually start us on our way to a new and much deeper level of understanding.
— Halton Christian Arp
Concluding sentences of Preface, Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies (1987).
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (49)  |  Crucial (8)  |  Discourage (3)  |  Encourage (16)  |  Ethic (12)  |  Quality (65)  |  Science (1699)  |  Start (68)  |  Test (96)  |  Understand (189)

The operative definition of an expert … someone who doesn’t make small mistakes.
— Halton Christian Arp
In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998), 274.
Science quotes on:  |  Definition (152)  |  Expert (42)  |  Mistake (107)  |  Small (97)

The statistics of nihilism … “No matter how many times something new has been observed, it cannot be believed until it has been observed again.” I have also reduced my attitude toward this form of statistics to an axiom: “No matter how bad a thing you say about it, it is not bad enough.”
— Halton Christian Arp
In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998), 75.
Science quotes on:  |  Attitude (47)  |  Axiom (26)  |  Bad (78)  |  Belief (400)  |  New (340)  |  Nihilism (2)  |  Observe (48)  |  Statistics (125)

When Big Bang proponents make assertions such as … “the evidence taken together … hangs together beautifully,” they overlook observational facts that have been piling up for 25 years and that have now become overwhelming. Of course, if one ignores contradictory observations, one can claim to have an “elegant” or “robust” theory. But it isn’t science.
— Halton Christian Arp
In 'Letters: Wrangling Over the Bang', Science News (27 Jul 1991), 140, No. 4, 51. Also quoted in Roy C. Martin, Astronomy on Trial: A Devastating and Complete Repudiation of the Big Bang Fiasco (1999), Appendix I, 217.
Science quotes on:  |  Assertion (23)  |  Big Bang (38)  |  Claim (52)  |  Contradictory (4)  |  Elegant (8)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Fact (609)  |  Ignore (22)  |  Observation (418)  |  Overlook (8)  |  Overwhelming (18)  |  Proponent (2)  |  Robust (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Theory (582)

When … a large number of renegade specialists and amateurs believe contrary to the most prestigious experts, the latter say, well science is not democratic, it is what the people who know the most say—that is what counts!
— Halton Christian Arp
In Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science (1998), 273.
Science quotes on:  |  Amateur (18)  |  Belief (400)  |  Contrary (22)  |  Democratic (7)  |  Expert (42)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  People (269)  |  Science (1699)  |  Specialist (20)


See also:
  • 21 Mar - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Arp's birth.

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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