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Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Sir Edmund Ronald Leach Quotes

Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
(7 Nov 1910 - 6 Jan 1989)

English social anthropologist who in his early career did field research from 1939 among the Kachin people of Burma, and later studied the people of Borneo and Sri Lanka. His book Political Systems of Highland Burma (1954), was highly influential in revising established theories about the inhabitants of northern Burma.

Science Quotes by Sir Edmund Ronald Leach (11 quotes)

A century ago, Darwin and his friends were thought to be dangerous atheists, but their heresy simply replaced a benevolent personal deity called God by a benevolent impersonal deity called Evolution. In their different ways Bishop Wilberforce and T.H. Huxley both believed in Fate.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  Atheist (15)  |  Belief (578)  |  Benevolent (9)  |  Both (493)  |  Call (769)  |  Century (310)  |  Dangerous (105)  |  Darwin (14)  |  Deity (22)  |  Different (577)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Fate (72)  |  Friend (168)  |  God (757)  |  Heresy (9)  |  Thomas Henry Huxley (126)  |  Impersonal (5)  |  Personal (67)  |  Replace (31)  |  Science And Religion (307)  |  Simply (53)  |  Thought (953)  |  Way (1217)  |  Samuel Wilberforce (3)

All true science must aim at objective truth, and that means that the human observer must never allow himself to get emotionally mixed up with his subject-matter. His concern is to understand the universe, not to improve it. Detachment is obligatory.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (165)  |  All (4108)  |  Concern (228)  |  Detachment (8)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Himself (461)  |  Human (1468)  |  Improve (58)  |  Matter (798)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Mix (19)  |  Must (1526)  |  Never (1087)  |  Objective (91)  |  Obligatory (3)  |  Observer (43)  |  Science (3879)  |  Subject (521)  |  Subject-Matter (8)  |  True (212)  |  True Science (23)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Understand (606)  |  Universe (857)

Far from being the basis of the good society, the family, with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all our discontents.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Basis (173)  |  Being (1278)  |  Discontent (5)  |  Family (94)  |  Good (889)  |  Narrow (84)  |  Privacy (7)  |  Secret (194)  |  Society (326)  |  Source (93)

How can a modern anthropologist embark upon a generalization with any hope of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion? By thinking of the organizational ideas that are present in any society as a mathematical pattern.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
In Rethinking Anthropology (1961), 2.
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In the world of science different levels of esteem are accorded to different kinds of specialist. Mathematicians have always been eminently respectable, and so are those who deal with hard lifeless theories about what constitutes the physical world: the astronomers, the physicists, the theoretical chemists. But the more closely the scientist interests himself in matters which are of direct human relevance, the lower his social status. The real scum of the scientific world are the engineers and the sociologists and the psychologists. Indeed, if a psychologist wants to rate as a scientist he must study rats, not human beings. In zoology the same rules apply. It is much more respectable to dissect muscle tissues in a laboratory than to observe the behaviour of a living animal in its natural habitat.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
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Men do not have to cook their food; they do so for symbolic reasons to show they are men and not beasts.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
Interpreting ideas of Claude Levi-Strauss. In Claude Levi-Strauss (1989), 102.
Science quotes on:  |  Beast (55)  |  Cook (17)  |  Do (1908)  |  Food (199)  |  Reason (744)  |  Show (346)  |  Symbolic (15)

Official science is fully committed to the principle of muddling through and not looking beyond the tip of your nose. All past experience, it is said, teaches us to take only one step at a time.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Commit (41)  |  Experience (467)  |  Looking (189)  |  Muddle (3)  |  Nose (11)  |  Official (6)  |  Past (337)  |  Principle (507)  |  Science (3879)  |  Step (231)  |  Teach (277)  |  Through (849)  |  Time (1877)  |  Tip (2)

Science offers us complete mastery over our environment and our own destiny, yet instead of rejoicing we feel deeply afraid. Why should this be?
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
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The violence in the world comes about because we human beings are forever creating barriers between men who are like us and men who are not like us.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  Barrier (32)  |  Being (1278)  |  Create (235)  |  Forever (103)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Being (175)  |  Human Beings (117)  |  Violence (34)  |  World (1774)

Truth is a totality, the sum of many overlapping partial images. History, on the other hand, sacrifices totality in the interest of continuity.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
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Until the advent of modern science, man had always expressed his feelings of incapacity in the language of religion.
— Sir Edmund Ronald Leach
From transcript of BBC radio Reith Lecture (12 Nov 1967), 'A Runaway World', on the bbc.co.uk website.
Science quotes on:  |  Advent (6)  |  Capacity (100)  |  Express (186)  |  Feeling (250)  |  Feelings (52)  |  Language (293)  |  Man (2251)  |  Modern (385)  |  Modern Science (52)  |  Religion (361)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Religion (307)


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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