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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Harry Emerson Fosdick Quotes

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Harry Emerson Fosdick
(24 May 1878 - 5 Oct 1969)

American clergyman who promoted a liberal modernist Protestant theology. His sermons addressed contemporary problems. He related Christian teachings to the scientific culture of the 20th century, including reconciling religion with evolution. He was an early supporter of Margaret Sanger’s birth-control movement. Though a backer of Alcoholics Anonymous, he was also a vigorous opponent of Prohibition. As a radio preacher, and through nearly 40 popular books, he was a counselor to two generations of Americans.

Science Quotes by Harry Emerson Fosdick (13 quotes)

...while science gives us implements to use, science alone does not determine for what ends they will be employed. Radio is an amazing invention. Yet now that it is here, one suspects that Hitler never could have consolidated his totalitarian control over Germany without its use. One never can tell what hands will reach out to lay hold on scientific gifts, or to what employment they will be put. Ever the old barbarian emerges, destructively using the new civilization.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'The Real Point of Conflict between Science and Religion', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 142.
Science quotes on:  |  Amazing (16)  |  Barbarian (2)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Control (93)  |  Determine (45)  |  Emerge (16)  |  Employ (14)  |  Employment (22)  |  End (141)  |  Germany (9)  |  Gift (47)  |  Hand (103)  |  Adolf Hitler (17)  |  Hold (56)  |  Implement (5)  |  Invention (283)  |  New (340)  |  Radio (27)  |  Reach (68)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Suspect (12)  |  Totalitarian (6)  |  Use (70)

Every great scientist becomes a great scientist because of the inner self-abnegation with which he stands before truth, saying: “Not my will, but thine, be done.” What, then, does a man mean by saying, Science displaces religion, when in this deep sense science itself springs from religion?
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'The Real Point of Conflict between Science and Religion', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 148.
Science quotes on:  |  Deep (81)  |  Displace (3)  |  Done (2)  |  Great (300)  |  Inner (27)  |  Man (345)  |  Religion (210)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Sense (240)  |  Spring (47)  |  Stand (60)  |  Truth (750)  |  Will (29)

Every year the inventions of science weave more inextricably the web that binds man to man, group to group, nation to nation.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'The Free Spirit Confronts the World's Coercion', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 137.
Science quotes on:  |  Bind (18)  |  Group (52)  |  Invention (283)  |  Man (345)  |  Nation (111)  |  Science (1699)  |  Weave (9)  |  Web (11)  |  Year (214)

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
'The Mystery of Life', Riverside Sermons (1958), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Live (186)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Understanding (317)  |  World (667)

Is science visionary? Is it not the hardest-headed intellectual discipline we know? How, then, does science look at this universe? Always as a bundle of possibilities. Habitually the scientist looks at this universe and every area in it as a bundle of possibilities, with no telling what might come if we fulfilled the conditions. Thomas Edison was no dreamer. He was a seer. The possibilities that he brought out were factually there. They were there before he saw them. They would have been there if he never had seen them. Always the possibilities are part of the actualities in any given situation.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'Don't Lose Faith in Human Possibilities', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Actuality (3)  |  Bundle (7)  |  Condition (119)  |  Discipline (38)  |  Dreamer (4)  |  Thomas Edison (74)  |  Fulfill (11)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Look (46)  |  Possibility (96)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Seer (2)  |  Situation (41)  |  Universe (563)  |  Visionary (5)

No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In Living Under Tension Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 206.
Science quotes on:  |  Confined (3)  |  Dedicated (5)  |  Drive (38)  |  Focused (2)  |  Gas (46)  |  Grow (66)  |  Life (917)  |  Light (246)  |  Niagara (2)  |  Power (273)  |  Steam (24)  |  Tunnel (7)  |  Turned (2)

One could almost phrase the motto of our modern civilization thus: Science is my shepherd; I shall not want.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'The Real Point of Conflict between Science and Religion', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Civilization (155)  |  Modern (104)  |  Motto (22)  |  Phrase (21)  |  Science (1699)  |  Shepherd (5)  |  Want (120)

Some things mankind can finish and be done with, but not ... science, that persists, and changes from ancient Chaldeans studying the stars to a new telescope with a 200-inch reflector and beyond; not religion, that persists, and changes from old credulities and world views to new thoughts of God and larger apprehensions of his meaning.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'What Keeps Religion Going?', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 51-52.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (68)  |  Apprehension (9)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Chaldean (2)  |  Change (291)  |  Credulity (8)  |  Finish (16)  |  God (454)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Meaning (87)  |  Persist (8)  |  Reflector (3)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Star (251)  |  Studying (7)  |  Telescope (74)  |  Thought (374)  |  Worldview (5)

The fact that astronomies change while the stars abide is a true analogy of every realm of human life and thought, religion not least of all.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In The Living of These Days: An Autobiography (1956), 230.
Science quotes on:  |  Abide (4)  |  Analogy (46)  |  Astronomy (175)  |  Change (291)  |  Fact (609)  |  Human Life (25)  |  Least (43)  |  Realm (40)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Star (251)  |  Thought (374)  |  Truth (750)

The major gift of science to the world is a mighty increase of power. Did science then create that power? Not a bit of it! Science discovered that power in the universe and set it free. Science found out the conditions, fulfilling which, the endless dynamic forces of the cosmos are liberated. Electricity is none of man’s making, but man has learned how to fulfill the conditions that release it. Atomic energy is a force that man did not create, but that some day man may liberate. Man by himself is still a puny animal; a gorilla is much the stronger. Man's significance lies in another realm—he knows how to fulfill conditions so that universal power not his own is set free. The whole universe as man now sees it is essentially a vast system of power waiting to be released.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'When Prayer Means Power', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 78-79.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (309)  |  Atomic Energy (21)  |  Condition (119)  |  Cosmos (39)  |  Create (98)  |  Discover (115)  |  Dynamic (11)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Endless (20)  |  Energy (185)  |  Essentially (11)  |  Force (194)  |  Free (59)  |  Fulfill (11)  |  Gift (47)  |  Gorilla (16)  |  Increase (107)  |  Know (321)  |  Learned (20)  |  Liberate (8)  |  Major (24)  |  Making (26)  |  Man (345)  |  Power (273)  |  Puny (5)  |  Realm (40)  |  Release (15)  |  Science (1699)  |  Significance (60)  |  Stronger (4)  |  System (141)  |  Universal (70)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vast (56)  |  Waiting (9)

The more we know about this universe, the more mysterious it is. The old world that Job knew was marvelous enough, and his description of its wonders is among the noblest poetry of the race, but today the new science has opened to our eyes vistas of mystery that transcend in their inexplicable marvel anything the ancients ever dreamed.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'What Keeps Religion Going?', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 53.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (68)  |  Description (72)  |  Dream (92)  |  Eye (159)  |  Inexplicable (5)  |  Job (33)  |  Know (321)  |  Marvel (24)  |  Marvelous (13)  |  Mysterious (21)  |  Mystery (125)  |  New (340)  |  Noblest (4)  |  Old World (3)  |  Opened (2)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Race (76)  |  Science (1699)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Transcend (9)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vista (5)  |  Wonder (134)

We must take the abiding spiritual values which inhere in the deep experiences of religion in all ages and give them new expression in terms of the framework which our new knowledge gives us. Science forces religion to deal with new ideas in the theoretical realm and new forces in the practical realm.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
Address to Seventh Annual Midsummer Conferences of Ministers and Other Christian Workers, held by Union Theological Seminary, at Columbia University gymnasium (19 Jul 1927), as quoted in 'Fosdick Sees Bible Outrun by Science', New York Times (20 Jul 1927), 23.
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We need go back only a few centuries to find the great mass of people depending on religion for the satisfaction of practically all their wishes. From rain out of the sky to good health on earth, they sought their desires at the altars of their gods. Whether they wanted large families, good crops, freedom from pestilence, or peace of mind, they conceived themselves as dependent on the favor of heaven. Then science came with its alternative, competitive method of getting what we want. That is science’s most important attribute. As an intellectual influence it is powerful enough, but as a practical way of achieving man’s desires it is overwhelming.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
In 'The Real Point of Conflict between Science and Religion', collected in Living Under Tension: Sermons On Christianity Today (1941), 140-141.
Science quotes on:  |  Achieving (3)  |  Altar (6)  |  Attribute (22)  |  Century (94)  |  Conceived (3)  |  Crop (16)  |  Desire (101)  |  Earth (487)  |  Family (37)  |  Freedom (76)  |  God (454)  |  Good (228)  |  Health (136)  |  Important (124)  |  Influence (110)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Overwhelming (18)  |  People (269)  |  Pestilence (8)  |  Powerful (51)  |  Practical (93)  |  Rain (28)  |  Religion (210)  |  Satisfaction (48)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Sky (68)  |  Want (120)  |  Wish (62)


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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

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- 90 -
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- 40 -
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- 20 -
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