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Who said: “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That�s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Can't

Can't Quotes (16 quotes)
Can't Quotes

Always listen to experts.They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.
In 'From the Notebooks of Lazarus Long', Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1973), 256.
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Bees are not as busy as we think they are. They jest can’t buzz any slower.
As quoted in Henry Wysham Lanier, The Golden Book Magazine (1931), Vol. 13, 85.
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Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.
In 'From the Notebooks of Lazarus Long', Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1973), 256.
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Cleveland, even now I can remember
Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin’ through my dreams
Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
Now the Lord can make you tumble
And the Lord can make you turn
And the Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can’t make you burn.
From lyrics of 'Burn On', released on LP album Sail Away (May 1972), track 8. The song 'Burn On' was used as the opening song in Major League (7 Apr 1989).
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I remember asking an adult, “What goes on inside a cocoon?” and he said, “The caterpillar is totally broken down into a kind of soup. And then it starts again.” And I remember saying, “That can’t be right.” As a procedure, you can’t imagine how it evolved.
From 'Interview: Of Mind and Matter: David Attenborough Meets Richard Dawkins', The Guardian (11 Sep 2010).
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I would think I knew nothing in physics if I could say only how things could be but, without demonstrating that they can’t be otherwise.
From the original French, “Pour la Physique, ie croyrois n’y rien sçauoir, si ie ne sçauois que dire comment les choses peuuent estre, sans demonstrer qu’elles ne peuuent estre autrement,” in letter (11 Mar 1640) to Père Marin Mersenne, collected in Lettres de Mr Descartes (1659), Vol. 2, 213. As translated by John Cottingham, et al., (trans.), in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Volume 3, The Correspondence (1991), 145.
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I’m sure that science can’t ever explain everything and I can give you the reasons for that decision … I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties; that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just as infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think is the secret of the universe.
In It’s Been a Good Life (2009), 258, cited as from I. Asimov: A Memoir (1994), 481.
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I’ve tried to make the men around me feel as I do, that we are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement, “It can’t be done.”
Start of Boeing’s quote, inscribed on his memorial at the Boeing Developmental Center, Tukwila, WA, as given in Mike Lombardi, 'Historical Perspective: 50 years at the Leading Edge', Boeing Frontiers (Aug 2009), 8.
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It’s intriguing that the chair is mostly empty space and the thing that stops you going through it is vibrations or energy fields. But it’s also fascinating that, because we’re animals that evolved to survive, what solidity is to most of us is something you can’t walk through. Also, the science of the future may be vastly different from the science of today, and you have to have the humility to admit when you don’t know. But instead of filling that vacuum with goblins or spirits, I think you should say, “Science is working on it.”
Commenting on string theory. From 'Interview: Of Mind and Matter: David Attenborough Meets Richard Dawkins', The Guardian (11 Sep 2010).
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The reptilian idea of fun
Is to bask all day in the sun.
A physiological barrier,
Discovered by Carrier,
Says they can't breathe, if they run.
Written about David Carrier’s rule concerning a vertebrate’s breathing when lungs are affected because the rib structure distorts during locomotion. Thus sprawling vertebrates cannot run and breathe at the same time. In sidebar to 'Respiration, Metabolism, and Locomotion', History of Life (1991), 177. Carrier’s constraint idea was published in 'The evolution of locomotor stamina in tetrapods: circumventing a mechanical constraint' Paleobiology (1987), 13, 326-341.
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There does seem to be a sense in which physics has gone beyond what human intuition can understand. We shouldn’t be too surprised about that because we’re evolved to understand things that move at a medium pace at a medium scale. We can’t cope with the very tiny scale of quantum physics or the very large scale of relativity.
From 'Interview: Of Mind and Matter: David Attenborough Meets Richard Dawkins', The Guardian (11 Sep 2010).
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There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence of it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies? The trouble with the agnostic argument is that it can be applied to anything. There is an infinite number of hypothetical beliefs we could hold which we can’t positively disprove. On the whole, people don’t believe in most of them, such as fairies, unicorns, dragons, Father Christmas, and so on. But on the whole they do believe in a creator God, together with whatever particular baggage goes with the religion of their parents.
From speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (15 Apr 1992), published in the Independent newspaper. Included in excerpt in Alec Fisher, The Logic of Real Arguments (2004), 84. The full speech was reprinted in The Nullifidian, (Dec 1994). Transcribed online in the Richard Dawkins archive, article 89, titled: Lecture from 'The Nullifidian' (Dec 94).
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Tree…
he watching you.
You look at tree,
he listen to you.
He got no finger,
he can’t speak.
But that leaf...
he pumping, growing,
growing in the night.
While you sleeping
you dream something.
Tree and grass same thing.
They grow with your body,
with your feeling.
Poem from Gagadju Man Bill Neidjie: The Environmental and Spiritual Philosophy of a Senior Traditional Owner, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory Australia (2002), 40.
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We can’t all be Einstein (because we don’t all play the violin). At the very least we need a sort of street-smart science: the ability to recognize evidence gather it assess it and act on it.
In Light Elements: Essays in Science from Gravity to Levity (1991), 14.
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When you have made a thorough and reasonably long effort, to understand a thing, and still feel puzzled by it, stop, you will only hurt yourself by going on. Put it aside till the next morning; and if then you can’t make it out, and have no one to explain it to you, put it aside entirely, and go back to that part of the subject which you do understand.
From letter to Edith Rix with hints for studying (about Mar 1885), in Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (1898), 240.
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You can’t plough a field by turning it over in your mind.
Anonymous
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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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- 90 -
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- 80 -
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- 70 -
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- 60 -
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- 50 -
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- 40 -
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- 30 -
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- 20 -
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- 10 -
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