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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index K > Joseph Wood Krutch Quotes

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Joseph Wood Krutch
(25 Nov 1893 - 22 May 1970)

American naturalist, conservationist and conservationist.


Science Quotes by Joseph Wood Krutch (12 quotes)

As an undergraduate who believed himself destined to be a mathematician I happened upon “Man and Superman” and as I read it at a library table I felt like Saul of Tarsus when the light broke. “If literature,” I said to myself, “can be like this then literature is the stuff for me.” And to this day I never see a differential equation written out without breathing a prayer of thanks.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In 'An Open Letter to George Bernard Shaw', Saturday Review (21 Jul 1956), 39, 12. ollected in If You Don't Mind My Saying So: Essays on Man and Nature (1964), 391.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (578)  |  Breathe (45)  |  Breathing (23)  |  Destined (42)  |  Differential Equation (18)  |  Equation (132)  |  Happen (275)  |  Happened (88)  |  Himself (461)  |  Library (48)  |  Light (609)  |  Literature (105)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Myself (212)  |  Never (1087)  |  Prayer (28)  |  Read (288)  |  See (1082)  |  Superman (3)  |  Table (104)  |  Thank (46)  |  Thanks (26)  |  Undergraduate (15)

Being the inventor of sex would seem to be a sufficient distinction for a creature just barely large enough to be seen by the naked eye.
[Comment about Volvox, a freshwater green algae, which appears indetermimately plantlike and animal-like during its reproductive cycle.]
— Joseph Wood Krutch
The Great Chain of Life (1957), 28.
Science quotes on:  |  Algae (6)  |  Animal (617)  |  Being (1278)  |  Creature (233)  |  Cycle (41)  |  Distinction (72)  |  Enough (341)  |  Eye (423)  |  Freshwater (3)  |  Green (63)  |  Inventor (74)  |  Large (394)  |  Microorganism (28)  |  Naked Eye (12)  |  Sex (69)  |  Sufficient (128)

Electronic calculators can solve problems which the man who made them cannot solve but no government-subsidized commission of engineers and physicists could create a worm.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In 'March', The Twelve Seasons: A Perpetual Calendar for the Country (1949), 184.
Science quotes on:  |  Calculator (9)  |  Commission (3)  |  Create (235)  |  Electronic (12)  |  Engineer (123)  |  Government (111)  |  Man (2249)  |  Physicist (260)  |  Problem (679)  |  Solve (130)  |  Worm (42)

If only the fit survive and if the fitter they are the longer they survive, then Volvox must have demonstrated its superb fitness more conclusively than any higher animal ever has.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
The Great Chain of Life (1957), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (617)  |  Fit (134)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Science (3880)  |  Survival Of The Fittest (40)  |  Survive (79)

Logic is only the art of going wrong with confidence.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
This is a slightly reworded version of part of a quote by Joseph Wood Krutch (see the quote beginning “Metaphysics…”, on the Joseph Wood Krutch Quotes page of this website.) This note by Webmaster is included here to help readers identify that it is incorrectly cited when found attributed to Morris Kline, John Ralston Saul or W.H. Auden. In fact, the quote is simply attributed to Anonymous by Kline in his Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty (1980), 197; and as an “old conundrum” in Saul's On Equilibrium: The Six Qualities of the New Humanism (2004), 124.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Confidence (68)  |  Going (6)  |  Logic (287)  |  Wrong (234)

Long before I ever saw the desert I was aware of the mystical overtones which the observation of nature made audible to me. But I have never been more frequently or more vividly aware of them than in connection with the desert phenomena.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
The Voice of the Desert, a Naturalist’s Interpretation (1955, 1975), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Audible (4)  |  Connection (162)  |  Desert (56)  |  Frequent (23)  |  Long (789)  |  More (2559)  |  Mystery (178)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Never (1087)  |  Observation (560)  |  Overtone (3)  |  Saw (160)  |  Vivid (23)  |  Vividly (11)

Metaphysics may be, after all, only the art of being sure of something that is not so and logic only the art of going wrong with confidence.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In The Modern Temper (1929), 228. The second part of this quote is often seen as a sentence by itself, and a number of authors cite it incorrectly. For those invalid attributions, see quote beginning “Logic is only the art…” on the Joseph Wood Krutch Quotes page of this website.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Art (657)  |  Being (1278)  |  Confidence (68)  |  Going (6)  |  Logic (287)  |  Metaphysics (50)  |  Something (719)  |  Sure (14)  |  Wrong (234)

Poetry, mythology, and religion represent the world as man would like to have it, while science represents the world as he gradually comes to discover it.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In The Modern Temper: a Study and a Confession (1929), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Gradual (27)  |  Gradually (102)  |  Like (22)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mythology (19)  |  Poetry (144)  |  Religion (363)  |  Represent (154)  |  Representation (54)  |  Science (3880)  |  World (1778)

Science has always promised two things not necessarily related—an increase first in our powers, second in our happiness and wisdom, and we have come to realize that it is the first and less important of the two promises which it has kept most abundantly.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In 'The Disillusion with the Laboratory,', The Modern Temper (1929).
Science quotes on:  |  First (1284)  |  Happiness (116)  |  Increase (211)  |  Most (1729)  |  Necessarily (135)  |  Power (747)  |  Promise (68)  |  Realize (147)  |  Science (3880)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Two (937)  |  Wisdom (221)

The famous balance of nature is the most extraordinary of all cybernetic systems. Left to itself, it is always self-regulated.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
Saturday Review (8 Jun 1963).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Balance (78)  |  Balance Of Nature (4)  |  Cybernetic (5)  |  Cybernetics (5)  |  Extraordinary (79)  |  Fame (50)  |  Most (1729)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Self (267)  |  System (537)

Though many have tried, no one has ever yet explained away the decisive fact that science, which can do so much, cannot decide what it ought to do.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
In 'The Loss of Confidence,' The Measure of Man (1954).
Science quotes on:  |  Decisive (25)  |  Do (1908)  |  Explain (322)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Science (3880)

We must be part not only of the human community, but of the whole community; we must acknowledge some sort of oneness not only with our neighbors, our countrymen and our civilization but also some respect for the natural as well as for the man-made community. Ours is not only “one world” in the sense usually implied by that term. It is also “one earth”. Without some acknowledgement of that fact, men can no more live successfully than they can if they refuse to admit the political and economic interdependency of the various sections of the civilized world. It is not a sentimental but a grimly literal fact that unless we share this terrestrial globe with creatures other than ourselves, we shall not be able to live on it for long.
— Joseph Wood Krutch
The Voice of the Desert (1956), 194-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Acknowledge (33)  |  Civilization (206)  |  Community (104)  |  Conservation (168)  |  Creature (233)  |  Earth (998)  |  Economic (81)  |  Environment (216)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Human (1470)  |  Literal (11)  |  Live (629)  |  Long (789)  |  Man (2249)  |  Man-Made (7)  |  More (2559)  |  Must (1526)  |  Natural (796)  |  Oneness (6)  |  Other (2236)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Political (121)  |  Refuse (42)  |  Respect (207)  |  Sense (770)  |  Share (75)  |  Term (349)  |  Terrestrial (61)  |  Usually (176)  |  Various (200)  |  Whole (738)  |  World (1778)


See also:
  • 25 Nov - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Krutch'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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