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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Charles Kingsley Quotes

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Charles Kingsley
(2 Jun 1819 - 23 Jan 1875)

English Anglican clergyman, novelist, poet and social reformer who wrote historical romance novels and children's literature. He had interests in nature study, geology, and thought highly of Darwin's ideas on evolution. His popular work, written as a didactic moral fairy-tale, The Water-babies, reveals his concern for social reform, as well as briefly referring to Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and other well-known scientists together with various allusion to science.

Science Quotes by Charles Kingsley (17 quotes)

The Water-baby story character, Tom, asks: 'I heard, ma'am, that you were always making new beasts out of old.'
Mother Carey [Mother Nature] replies: 'So people fancy. But I am not going to trouble myself to make things, my little dear. I sit here and make them make themselves.'
[The author's indirect reference to evolution.]
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 307.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (535)

And no one has the right to say that no water-babies exist, till they have seen no water-babies existing; which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water-babies; and a thing which nobody ever did, or perhaps will ever do. But surely [if one were caught] ... they would have put it into spirits, or into the Illustrated News, or perhaps cut it into two halves, poor dear little thing, and sent one to Professor Owen, and one to Professor Huxley, to see what they would each say about it.
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 79-80.
Science quotes on:  |  Evolution (535)  |  Thomas Henry Huxley (126)  |  Hypothesis (252)  |  Sir Richard Owen (15)  |  Proof (245)

For science is … like virtue, its own exceeding great reward.
— Charles Kingsley
'Science', a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution, published in Fraser's Magazine (Jul 1866), 74, 26. Also collected in The Works of Charles Kingsley (1880), 254.
Science quotes on:  |  Reward (49)  |  Science (2067)

Gradually the sunken land begins to rise again, and falls perhaps again, and rises again after that, more and more gently each time, till as it were the panting earth, worn out with the fierce passions of her fiery youth, has sobbed herself to sleep once more, and this new world of man is made.
— Charles Kingsley
'Thoughts in a Gravel Pit', a lecture delivered at the Mechanics' Institute, Odiham (1857). The Works of Charles Kingsley (1880), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Geology (201)  |  Mountain (145)

I can conceive few human states more enviable than that of the man to whom, panting in the foul laboratory, or watching for his life under the tropic forest, Isis shall for a moment lift her sacred veil, and show him, once and for ever, the thing he dreamed not of; some law, or even mere hint of a law, explaining one fact; but explaining with it a thousand more, connecting them all with each other and with the mighty whole, till order and meaning shoots through some old Chaos of scattered observations.
— Charles Kingsley
Health and Education (1874), 289.
Science quotes on:  |  Deer (7)  |  Microscope (74)  |  Mouse (26)  |  Paramecium (2)  |  Rat (21)

I said, that Superstition was the child of Fear, and Fear the child of Ignorance; and you might expect me to say antithetically, that Science was the child of Courage, and Courage the child of Knowledge.
— Charles Kingsley
Opening of 'Science', a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution, published in Fraser's Magazine (Jul 1866), 74, 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Antithetical (2)  |  Child (252)  |  Courage (55)  |  Expect (44)  |  Fear (142)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Say (228)  |  Science (2067)  |  Superstition (57)

In the light of fuller day,
Of purer science, holier laws.
— Charles Kingsley
Epicedium On the Death of a Certain Journal. In Poems (1856), 249.
Science quotes on:  |  Day (41)  |  Law (515)  |  Pure (103)  |  Science (2067)

It is only those who know a little of nature, who fancy they know much. I have heard a young man say, after hearing a few popular chemical lectures, and seeing a few bottle and squirt experiments: Oh, water—water is only oxygen and hydrogen!—as if he knew all about it. While the true chemist would smile sadly enough at the the youth's hasty conceit, and say in his heart: 'Well, he is a lucky fellow.'
— Charles Kingsley
'Thoughts in a Gravel Pit', a lecture delivered at the Mechanics' Institute, Odiham (1857). The Works of Charles Kingsley (1880), 284.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (252)  |  Knowledge (1306)  |  Water (293)

Mathematical knowledge is not—as all Cambridge men are surely aware—the result of any special gift. It is merely the development of those conceptions of form and number which every human being possesses; and any person of average intellect can make himself a fair mathematician if he will only pay continuous attention; in plain English, think enough about the subject.
— Charles Kingsley
'Science', a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution. The Works of Charles Kingsley (1880), 241.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematician (384)

Science frees us in many ways … from the bodily terror which the savage feels. But she replaces that, in the minds of many, by a moral terror which is far more overwhelming.
— Charles Kingsley
In a sermon, November 26, 1866.

The world goes up and the world goes down,
And the sunshine follows the rain;
And yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown
can never come over again.
— Charles Kingsley
Science quotes on:  |  Down (86)  |  Follow (124)  |  Frown (5)  |  Rain (33)  |  Sneer (6)  |  Sunshine (9)  |  World (898)  |  Yesterday (18)

You are literally filled with the fruit of your own devices, with rats and mice and such small deer, paramecia, and entomostraceæ, and kicking things with horrid names, which you see in microscopes at the Polytechnic, and rush home and call for brandy—without the water—stone, and gravel, and dyspepsia, and fragments of your own muscular tissue tinged with your own bile.
— Charles Kingsley
'The Water Supply of London', North British Review (1851), 15, 246
Science quotes on:  |  Bile (4)  |  Dyspepsia (2)  |  Microscope (74)  |  Mouse (26)  |  Muscle (35)  |  Paramecium (2)  |  Rat (21)  |  Tissue (27)

You must not say that this cannot be, or that that is contrary to nature. You do not know what Nature is, or what she can do; and nobody knows; not even Sir Roderick Murchison, or Professor Huxley, or Mr. Darwin, or Professor Faraday, or Mr. Grove, or any other of the great men whom good boys are taught to respect. They are very wise men; and you must listen respectfully to all they say: but even if they should say, which I am sure they never would, 'That cannot exist. That is contrary to nature,' you must wait a little, and see; for perhaps even they may be wrong.
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 81.
Science quotes on:  |  Charles Darwin (301)  |  Evolution (535)  |  Michael Faraday (85)  |  Sir William Robert Grove (2)  |  Thomas Henry Huxley (126)  |  Hypothesis (252)  |  Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (9)  |  Sir Richard Owen (15)  |  Proof (245)

You must not talk about 'ain't and can't' when you speak of this great wonderful world round you, of which the wisest man knows only the very smallest corner, and is, as the great Sir Isaac Newton said, only a child picking up pebbles on the shore of a boundless ocean.
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 80.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (1223)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (333)

[At the end of the story, its main character, Tom] is now a great man of science, and can plan railroads, and steam-engines, and electric telegraphs, and rifled guns, and so forth; and knows everything about everything, except why a hen's egg don't turn into a crocodile, and two or three other little things that no one will know till the coming of the Cocqcigrues.
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 368-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (1306)

[A]ll the ingenious men, and all the scientific men, and all the fanciful men, in the world,... could never invent, if all their wits were boiled into one, anything so curious and so ridiculous as a lobster.
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 161.
Science quotes on:  |  Invention (324)  |  Lobster (5)

[The] great fairy Science, who is likely to be queen of all the fairies for many a year to come, can only do you good, and never do you harm…
— Charles Kingsley
The Water-babies (1886), 98.
Science quotes on:  |  Science (2067)

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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- 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
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
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
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
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
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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