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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Herbert Butterfield Quotes

Herbert Butterfield
(7 Oct 1900 - 20 Jul 1979)

English historian and philosopher of history who, as a major Christian thinker, was concerned by an unending tension between history, science and God.

Science Quotes by Herbert Butterfield (5 quotes)

Concerning alchemy it is more difficult to discover the actual state of things, in that the historians who specialise in this field seem sometimes to be under the wrath of God themselves; for, like those who write of the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy or on Spanish politics, they seem to become tinctured with the kind of lunacy they set out to describe.
— Herbert Butterfield
The Origins of Modern Science (1949), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Actual (117)  |  Alchemy (30)  |  Become (815)  |  Controversy (29)  |  Describe (128)  |  Difficult (247)  |  Discover (553)  |  Field (365)  |  God (758)  |  Historian (55)  |  Kind (557)  |  More (2559)  |  Politics (112)  |  Set (394)  |  William Shakespeare (102)  |  State (491)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Write (231)

The so-called “scientific revolution,” popularly associated with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but reaching back in an unmistakably continuous line to a period much earlier still. Since that revolution overturned the authority in science not only of the middle ages but of the ancient world—since it ended not only in the eclipse of scholastic philosophy but in the destruction of Aristotelian physics—it outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom … It looms so large as the real origin of the modern world and of the modern mentality that our customary periodisation of European history has become an anachronism and an encumbrance.
— Herbert Butterfield
The Origins of Modern Science (1949), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Ancient (191)  |  Aristotle (173)  |  Authority (96)  |  Back (391)  |  Become (815)  |  Call (769)  |  Continuous (82)  |  Customary (18)  |  Destruction (125)  |  Displacement (9)  |  Eclipse (23)  |  Encumbrance (5)  |  End (590)  |  Everything (476)  |  History (675)  |  Internal (66)  |  Large (394)  |  Loom (20)  |  Medieval (10)  |  Middle Age (18)  |  Middle Ages (12)  |  Modern (385)  |  Origin (241)  |  Period (198)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physics (533)  |  Rank (67)  |  Reduce (95)  |  Reformation (6)  |  Renaissance (14)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Rise (166)  |  Science (3880)  |  Scientific (940)  |  Scientific Revolution (13)  |  So-Called (71)  |  Still (613)  |  System (537)  |  World (1778)

The study of the past with one eye, so to speak, upon the present is the source of all sins and sophistries in history … It is the essence of what we mean by the word “unhistorical”.
— Herbert Butterfield
In The Whig Interpretation of History (1931), 31-2.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Essence (82)  |  Eye (423)  |  History (675)  |  Mean (809)  |  Past (337)  |  Present (620)  |  Sin (42)  |  Speak (232)  |  Study (656)  |  Word (622)

[The Whig interpretation of history] ... is the tendency in many historians to write on the side of Protestants and Whigs, to praise revolutions provided they have been successful, to emphasise certain principles of progress in the past and to produce a story which is the ratification if not the glorification of the present.
— Herbert Butterfield
The Whig Interpretation of History (1931), v.
Science quotes on:  |  Certain (550)  |  Glorification (2)  |  Historian (55)  |  History (675)  |  Interpretation (86)  |  Past (337)  |  Present (620)  |  Principle (510)  |  Progress (468)  |  Revolution (129)  |  Side (232)  |  Story (118)  |  Successful (123)  |  Tendency (99)  |  Write (231)

[There was] in some of the intellectual leaders a great aspiration to demonstrate that the universe ran like a piece of clock-work, but this was was itself initially a religious aspiration. It was felt that there would be something defective in Creation itself—something not quite worthy of God—unless the whole system of the universe could be shown to be interlocking, so that it carried the pattern of reasonableness and orderliness. Kepler, inaugurating the scientist’s quest for a mechanistic universe in the seventeenth century, is significant here—his mysticism, his music of the spheres, his rational deity demand a system which has the beauty of a piece of mathematics.
— Herbert Butterfield
In The Origins of Modern Science (1950), 105.
Science quotes on:  |  17th Century (18)  |  Aspiration (32)  |  Beauty (300)  |  Century (310)  |  Clock (47)  |  Clockwork (7)  |  Creation (329)  |  Defective (4)  |  Deity (22)  |  Demand (123)  |  Demonstrate (77)  |  God (758)  |  Great (1575)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  Johannes Kepler (92)  |  Leader (43)  |  Mathematics (1333)  |  Music (130)  |  Music Of The Spheres (3)  |  Mysticism (14)  |  Orderliness (9)  |  Orderly (38)  |  Pattern (110)  |  Quest (39)  |  Rational (91)  |  Reasonable (27)  |  Reasonableness (6)  |  Religious (126)  |  Scientist (825)  |  Significant (74)  |  Something (719)  |  Sphere (116)  |  System (537)  |  Universe (861)  |  Whole (738)  |  Work (1351)


See also:

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
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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