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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Thomas Paine Quotes

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Thomas Paine
(29 Jan 1737 - 8 Jun 1809)

English-American philosopher and writer who received a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin in London and emigrated to America in 1774. By the following year, he became editor of The Pennsylvania Magazine, contributing poems and articles anonymous articles. Upon the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he published the widely circulated and influential 47-page pamphlet, Common Sense (1776), which urged that the colonies should immediately declare their independence from Britain and form an American republic.

Science Quotes by Thomas Paine (11 quotes)

Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them.
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason (1794, 1834), 30-31.
Science quotes on:  |  Basis (173)  |  Discover (553)  |  Discovery (785)  |  Fixed (17)  |  Govern (65)  |  Governing (20)  |  Man (2249)  |  Principle (510)  |  Science (3880)  |  System (537)  |  Unalterable (7)  |  Universe (861)

If we take a survey of our own world … our portion in the immense system of creation, we find every part of it, the earth, the waters, and the air that surround it, filled, and as it were crouded with life, down from the largest animals that we know of to the smallest insects the naked eye can behold, and from thence to others still smaller, and totally invisible without the assistance of the microscope. Every tree, every plant, every leaf, serves not only as an habitation, but as a world to some numerous race, till animal existence becomes so exceedingly refined, that the effluvia of a blade of grass would be food for thousands.
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (27 Jan O.S. 1794), 60. The word “crouded” is as it appears in the original.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (349)  |  Animal (617)  |  Assistance (21)  |  Become (815)  |  Behold (18)  |  Blade (11)  |  Creation (329)  |  Down (455)  |  Earth (998)  |  Effluvium (2)  |  Exceedingly (28)  |  Existence (460)  |  Eye (423)  |  Filled (3)  |  Find (999)  |  Food (199)  |  Grass (46)  |  Habitation (7)  |  Immense (86)  |  Insect (79)  |  Invisible (64)  |  Know (1519)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Largest (39)  |  Leaf (66)  |  Life (1799)  |  Microscope (80)  |  Naked Eye (12)  |  Numerous (68)  |  Other (2236)  |  Part (222)  |  Plant (295)  |  Portion (84)  |  Race (268)  |  Refined (7)  |  Smaller (4)  |  Smallest (9)  |  Still (613)  |  Surround (30)  |  Survey (33)  |  System (537)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Totally (5)  |  Tree (246)  |  Water (482)  |  World (1778)

In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and repossession, and suffer his reason and feelings to determine for themselves; and that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off, the true character of man, and generously enlarge his view beyond the present day.
— Thomas Paine
In Common Sense: Addressed to the Inhabitants of America (1792), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (138)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Character (243)  |  Common (436)  |  Common Sense (130)  |  Determine (144)  |  Enlarge (35)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Facts (553)  |  Feeling (252)  |  Feelings (52)  |  Generous (17)  |  Himself (461)  |  Man (2249)  |  More (2559)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Offer (141)  |  Other (2236)  |  Plain (33)  |  Prejudice (88)  |  Preliminary (5)  |  Present (620)  |  Reason (744)  |  Sense (770)  |  Simple (406)  |  Suffer (41)  |  Themselves (433)  |  True (214)  |  View (488)  |  Will (2354)

It is a fraud of the Christian system to call the sciences human invention; it is only the application of them that is human.
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason (1794, 1834), 30.
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It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
— Thomas Paine
In 'Address to the Addressers', The Political Writings of Thomas Paine (1824), Vol. 2, 284.
Science quotes on:  |  Error (321)  |  Inquiry (79)  |  Shrink (23)  |  Truth (1062)

It is the structure of the universe that has taught this knowledge to man. That structure is an ever existing exhibition of every principle upon which every part of mathematical science is founded. The offspring of this science is mechanics; for mechanics are no other than the principles of science appplied practically.
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (27 Jan O.S. 1794), 42.
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Science, the partisan of no country, but the beneficent patroness of all, has liberally opened a temple where all may meet. Her influence on the mind, like the sun on the chilled earth, has long been preparing it for higher cultivation and further improvement. The philosopher of one country sees not an enemy in the philosopher of another; he takes his seat in the temple of science, and asks not who sits beside him.
— Thomas Paine
In Letter to the Abbι Reynal, on the 'Affairs of North America in which the Mistakes in the Abbι’s Account of the Revolution of America are Corrected and Cleared Up', collected in The Works of Thomas Paine (1797), Vol. 1, 295. Originally published in the Pennsylvania magazine (1775).
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The Almighty lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if he had said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, “I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all, to be kind to all, to be kind to each other.”
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (27 Jan O.S. 1794), 44.
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The man who proportions the several parts of a mill, uses the same scientific principles [mechanics], as if he had the power of constructing an universe; but as he cannot give to matter that invisible agency, by which all the component parts of the immense machine of the universe have influence upon each other, and set in motional unison together without any apparent contact, and to which man has given the name of attraction, gravitation, and repulsion, he supplies the place of that agency by the humble imitation of teeth and cogs. All the parts of man’s microcosm must visibly touch.
— Thomas Paine
In The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology (27 Jan O.S. 1794), 42-43.
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The mere man of pleasure is miserable in old age, and the mere drudge in business is but little better, whereas, natural philosophy, mathematical and mechanical science, are a continual source of tranquil pleasure, and in spite of the gloomy dogmas of priests and of superstition, the study of these things is the true theology; it teaches man to know and admire the Creator, for the principles of science are in the creation, and are unchangeable and of divine origin.
— Thomas Paine
Age of Reason (1794, 1818), 35.
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To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason ... is like administering medicines to the dead.
— Thomas Paine
In 'The American Crisis', No. V., to Gen. Sir William Howe (1 Mar 1778), collected in The Political and Miscellaneous Works of Thomas Paine (1819), 58.
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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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