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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Marchette Chute Quotes

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Marchette Chute
(16 Aug 1909 - 6 May 1994)

American biographer who wrote about literary figures, including William Shakespeare (1950), Geoffrey Chaucer (1946) and Ben Jonson (1953).

Science Quotes by Marchette Chute (3 quotes)

A historical fact is rather like the flamingo that Alice in Wonderland tried to use as a croquet mallet. As soon as she got its neck nicely straightened out and was ready to hit the ball, it would turn and look at her with a puzzled expression, and any biographer knows that what is called a “fact” has a way of doing the same.
— Marchette Chute
From 'Getting at the Truth', The Saturday Review (19 Sep 1953), 36, No. 38, 11. Excerpted in Meta Riley Emberger and Marian Ross Hall, Scientific Writing (1955), 399.
Science quotes on:  |  Alice In Wonderland (4)  |  Ball (20)  |  Biographer (2)  |  Call (68)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fact (609)  |  Flamingo (2)  |  History (302)  |  Know (321)  |  Neck (7)  |  Straight (15)  |  Turn (72)

In the sense that [truth] means the reality about a human being it is probably impossible for a biographer to achieve. In the sense that it means a reasonable presentation of all the available facts it is more nearly possible, but even this limited goal is harder to reach than it appears to be. A biographer needs to be both humble and cautious.
— Marchette Chute
Describing the difficulty of historical sources giving conflicting facts. From 'Getting at the Truth', The Saturday Review (19 Sep 1953), 36, No. 38, 11. Excerpted in Meta Riley Emberger and Marian Ross Hall, Scientific Writing (1955), 399.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Available (18)  |  Biographer (2)  |  Cautious (4)  |  Fact (609)  |  Goal (81)  |  Human Being (54)  |  Humble (23)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Limited (13)  |  Possible (100)  |  Presentation (12)  |  Reality (140)  |  Reasonable (18)  |  Truth (750)

Nothing can so quickly blur and distort the facts as desire—the wish to use the facts for some purpose of your own—and nothing can so surely destroy the truth. As soon as the witness wants to prove something he is no longer impartial and his evidence is no longer to be trusted.
— Marchette Chute
From 'Getting at the Truth', The Saturday Review (19 Sep 1953), 36, No. 38, 12. Excerpted in Meta Riley Emberger and Marian Ross Hall, Scientific Writing (1955), 400.
Science quotes on:  |  Blur (4)  |  Desire (101)  |  Destroy (63)  |  Distort (6)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Fact (609)  |  Impartial (2)  |  Prove (60)  |  Purpose (138)  |  Trust (40)  |  Truth (750)  |  Witness (18)


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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