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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index D > Henry Thomas De la Beche Quotes

Henry Thomas De la Beche
(10 Feb 1796 - 13 Apr 1855)

English geologist.

Science Quotes by Henry Thomas De la Beche (6 quotes)

An author has always great difficulty in avoiding unnecessary and tedious detail on the one hand; while, on the other, he must notice such a number of facts as may convince a student, that he is not wandering in a wilderness of crude hypotheses or unsupported assumptions.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
In A Geological Manual (1832), Preface, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (57)  |  Author (58)  |  Avoid (50)  |  Convince (23)  |  Crude (17)  |  Detail (84)  |  Difficulty (142)  |  Fact (717)  |  Hypothesis (249)  |  Notice (34)  |  Student (198)  |  Tedious (9)  |  Unnecessary (15)  |  Unsupported (3)  |  Wander (20)  |  Wilderness (39)

Generally speaking, geologists seem to have been much more intent on making little worlds of their own, than in examining the crust of that which they inhabit. It would be much more desirable that facts should be placed in the foreground and theories in the distance, than that theories should be brought forward at the expense of facts. So that, in after times, when the speculations of the present day shall have passed away, from a greater accumulation of information, the facts may be readily seized and converted to account.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
Sections and Views Illustrative of Geological Phenomena (1830), iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (717)  |  Geology (199)  |  Theory (687)

Happily, facts have become so multiplied, that Geology is daily emerging from that state when an hypothesis, provided it were brilliant and ingenious, was sure of advocates and temporary success, when when it sinned against the laws of physics and the facts themselves.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
In Geological Manual (1832), Preface, iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Advocate (13)  |  Brilliant (28)  |  Emergence (24)  |  Fact (717)  |  Geology (199)  |  Hypothesis (249)  |  Ingenious (25)  |  Law (511)  |  Law Of Nature (64)  |  Physics (342)  |  Success (245)  |  Temporary (15)

It surely can be no offence to state, that the progress of science has led to new views, and that the consequences that can be deduced from the knowledge of a hundred facts may be very different from those deducible from five. It is also possible that the facts first known may be the exceptions to a rule and not the rule itself, and generalisations from these first-known facts, though useful at the time, may be highly mischievous, and impede the progress of the science if retained when it has made some advance.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
Sections and Views Illustrative of Geological Phenomena (1830), viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (717)  |  Progress Of Science (28)  |  Theory (687)

The complacent manner in which geologists have produced their theories has been extremely amusing; for often with knowledge (and that frequently inaccurate) not extending beyond a given province, they have described the formation of a world with all the detail and air of eye-witnesses. That much good ensues, and that the science is greatly advanced, by the collision of various theories, cannot be doubted. Each party is anxious to support opinions by facts. Thus, new countries are explored, and old districts re-examined; facts come to light that do not suit either party; new theories spring up; and, in the end, a greater insight into the real structure of the earth's surface is obtained.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
Sections and Views Illustrative of Geological Phenomena (1830), iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (199)  |  Theory (687)

Unfortunately, the study of organic remains is beset with two evils, which, though of an opposite character, do not neutralize each other so much as at first sight might be anticipated: the one consisting of a strong desire to find similar organic remains in supposed equivalent deposits, even at great distances; the other being an equally strong inclination to discover new species, often as it would seem for the sole purpose of appending the apparently magical word nobis.
— Henry Thomas De la Beche
In Geological Manual (1832), Preface, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Apparently (19)  |  Character (113)  |  Consisting (5)  |  Deposit (10)  |  Desire (139)  |  Discover (190)  |  Distance (76)  |  Equally (25)  |  Equivalent (17)  |  Evil (78)  |  Find (400)  |  First Sight (6)  |  Inclination (23)  |  Magic (77)  |  New (477)  |  Opposite (50)  |  Organic (54)  |  Purpose (188)  |  Remains (9)  |  Seem (140)  |  Similar (34)  |  Sole (19)  |  Species (217)  |  Strong (71)  |  Study (456)  |  Supposed (5)  |  Unfortunately (18)  |  Word (296)

See also:
  • 10 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of De la Beche'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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