Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Contemptible

Contemptible Quotes (8 quotes)

Lyveris to-forn us
Useden to marke
For selkouthes that thei seighen,
Hir sones for to teche;
And helden it an heigh science
Hir wittes to knowe.
Ac thorugh hir science soothly
Was nevere no soule y-saved,
Ne broght by hir bokes
To blisse ne to joye;
For alle hir kynde knowynges
Come but of diverse sightes.
Patriarkes and prophetes
Repreveden hir science,
And seiden hir wordes and hir wisdomes
Nas but a folye
And to the clergie of Crist
Counted it but a trufle.

Our ancestors in olden days used to record
The strange things they saw, and teach them to their sons;
And they held it a high science, to have knowledge of such things.
But no soul was ever saved by all that science,
Nor brought by books into eternal bliss;
Their science was only a series of sundry observations.
So patriarchs and prophets disapproved of their science,
And said their so-called words of wisdom were but folly—
And compared with Christian philosophy, a contemptible thing.
In William Langland and B. Thomas Wright (ed.) The Vision and Creed of Piers Ploughman (1842), 235-236. Modern translation by Terrence Tiller in Piers Plowman (1981, 1999), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancestor (40)  |  Bliss (3)  |  Book (257)  |  Christian (21)  |  Compared (8)  |  Disapproval (2)  |  Eternal (67)  |  Folly (32)  |  High (152)  |  Knowledge (1293)  |  Observation (445)  |  Old (147)  |  Patriarch (3)  |  Philosophy (257)  |  Prophet (11)  |  Record (67)  |  Science (2043)  |  Series (50)  |  Son (23)  |  Soul (163)  |  Strange (94)  |  Sundry (4)  |  Teach (179)  |  Wisdom (180)  |  Word (299)

As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (188)  |  Bird (119)  |  Contempt (14)  |  Fish (95)  |  Sea (187)

How greatly would the heroes and statesmen of antiquity have despised the labours of that man who devoted his life to investigate the properties of the magnet! Little could they anticipate that this humble mineral was destined to change the very form and condition of human society in every quarter of the globe.
In 'Observations on the Study of Mineralogy', The Philosophical Magazine and Journal (Jul 1819), 54, 46. Slightly edited and used by Joseph Henry in 'Introductory Lecture on Chemistry' (Jan-Mar 1832), The Papers of Joseph Henry, Vol. 1, 396.
Science quotes on:  |  Antiquity (18)  |  Devote (34)  |  Globe (47)  |  Hero (35)  |  Human Society (5)  |  Investigate (65)  |  Labour (45)  |  Life (1124)  |  Magnet (10)  |  Mineral (41)  |  Property (123)  |  Statesman (18)

I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves–this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts–possessions, outward success, luxury–have always seemed to me contemptible.
In 'What I Believe,' Forum and Century (1930).
Science quotes on:  |  Art (284)  |  Basis (89)  |  Beauty (239)  |  Call (127)  |  Cheerfully (2)  |  Courage (55)  |  Critical (40)  |  Ease (35)  |  Effort (143)  |  Empty (40)  |  End (195)  |  Endeavor (41)  |  Eternally (3)  |  Face (108)  |  Field (170)  |  Give (200)  |  Happiness (94)  |  Human (548)  |  Ideal (69)  |  Kindness (13)  |  Kinship (4)  |  Life (1124)  |  Light (345)  |  Luxury (16)  |  Mind (743)  |  New (483)  |  Object (169)  |  Objective (63)  |  Occupation (40)  |  Outward (7)  |  Possession (45)  |  Scientific (232)  |  Seem (143)  |  Sense (315)  |  Success (248)  |  Themselves (44)  |  Time (594)  |  Trite (4)  |  Truth (914)  |  Unattainable (6)  |  World (892)

That mathematics “do not cultivate the power of generalization,”; … will be admitted by no person of competent knowledge, except in a very qualified sense. The generalizations of mathematics, are, no doubt, a different thing from the generalizations of physical science; but in the difficulty of seizing them, and the mental tension they require, they are no contemptible preparation for the most arduous efforts of the scientific mind. Even the fundamental notions of the higher mathematics, from those of the differential calculus upwards are products of a very high abstraction. … To perceive the mathematical laws common to the results of many mathematical operations, even in so simple a case as that of the binomial theorem, involves a vigorous exercise of the same faculty which gave us Kepler’s laws, and rose through those laws to the theory of universal gravitation. Every process of what has been called Universal Geometry—the great creation of Descartes and his successors, in which a single train of reasoning solves whole classes of problems at once, and others common to large groups of them—is a practical lesson in the management of wide generalizations, and abstraction of the points of agreement from those of difference among objects of great and confusing diversity, to which the purely inductive sciences cannot furnish many superior. Even so elementary an operation as that of abstracting from the particular configuration of the triangles or other figures, and the relative situation of the particular lines or points, in the diagram which aids the apprehension of a common geometrical demonstration, is a very useful, and far from being always an easy, exercise of the faculty of generalization so strangely imagined to have no place or part in the processes of mathematics.
In An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1878), 612-13.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (79)  |  Abstraction (38)  |  Admit (44)  |  Agreement (39)  |  Aid (41)  |  Apprehension (15)  |  Arduous (3)  |  Binomial Theorem (3)  |  Call (127)  |  Case (98)  |  Class (83)  |  Common (118)  |  Competent (18)  |  Configuration (7)  |  Confuse (18)  |  Creation (239)  |  Cultivate (19)  |  Demonstration (81)  |  René Descartes (81)  |  Diagram (13)  |  Difference (246)  |  Different (178)  |  Differential Calculus (8)  |  Difficulty (144)  |  Diversity (51)  |  Doubt (159)  |  Easy (98)  |  Effort (143)  |  Elementary (45)  |  Exercise (64)  |  Faculty (65)  |  Far (154)  |  Figure (68)  |  Fundamental (158)  |  Furnish (40)  |  Generalization (41)  |  Geometrical (10)  |  Geometry (215)  |  Give (200)  |  Gravitation (38)  |  Great (524)  |  Group (72)  |  High (152)  |  Higher Mathematics (6)  |  Imagine (74)  |  Inductive (10)  |  Involve (47)  |  Johannes Kepler (90)  |  Knowledge (1293)  |  Large (130)  |  Law (513)  |  Lesson (41)  |  Line (89)  |  Management (12)  |  Mathematics (1149)  |  Mental (78)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (77)  |  Notion (57)  |  Object (169)  |  Operation (118)  |  Part (220)  |  Particular (75)  |  Perceive (40)  |  Person (153)  |  Physical Science (65)  |  Place (174)  |  Point (122)  |  Power (358)  |  Practical (129)  |  Preparation (41)  |  Problem (490)  |  Process (261)  |  Product (82)  |  Purely (28)  |  Qualify (4)  |  Reason (454)  |  Relative (39)  |  Require (79)  |  Result (376)  |  Rise (70)  |  Same (155)  |  Science (2043)  |  Scientific Mind (5)  |  Seize (14)  |  Sense (315)  |  Simple (172)  |  Single (119)  |  Situation (52)  |  Solve (76)  |  Strangely (5)  |  Successor (9)  |  Superior (40)  |  Tension (9)  |  Theory (690)  |  Train (45)  |  Triangle (10)  |  Universal (100)  |  Upwards (6)  |  Useful (98)  |  Vigorous (20)  |  Whole (189)  |  Wide (27)

There is not so contemptible a Plant or Animal that does not confound the most enlarged Understanding. Though the familiar use of Things, take off our Wonder; yet it cures not our Ignorance.
In An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding (1690), 211.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (356)  |  Confound (14)  |  Cure (96)  |  Enlarge (26)  |  Familiar (42)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Nature (1211)  |  Plant (199)  |  Understand (326)  |  Wonder (169)

This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilisation ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism–how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Abhor (5)  |  Abolish (12)  |  Abominable (4)  |  Backbone (8)  |  Bad (99)  |  Band (9)  |  Big (48)  |  Brain (209)  |  Bring (90)  |  Business (84)  |  Civilisation (20)  |  Despise (13)  |  Formation (58)  |  Give (200)  |  Hack (3)  |  Hate (38)  |  Herd (14)  |  Heroism (7)  |  March (23)  |  Mean (101)  |  Military (29)  |  Mistake (131)  |  Name (165)  |  Nature (1211)  |  Need (283)  |  Nonsense (40)  |  Order (239)  |  Part (220)  |  Patriotism (6)  |  Pestilent (2)  |  Piece (38)  |  Pleasure (130)  |  Possible (155)  |  Seem (143)  |  Senseless (3)  |  Speed (35)  |  Strain (11)  |  System (191)  |  Topic (12)  |  Violence (23)  |  War (161)

To believe that the assertion that God is an explanation (of anything, let alone everything) is intellectually contemptible, for it amounts to an admission of ignorance packaged into the pretence of an explanation. To aver that “God did it” is worse than an admission of ignorance, for it shrouds ignorance in deceit.
In 'Religion - The Antithesis to Science', Chemistry & Industry (Feb 1997).
Science quotes on:  |  Admission (12)  |  Assertion (32)  |  Badly (15)  |  Belief (503)  |  Deceit (4)  |  Explanation (177)  |  God (535)  |  Ignorance (213)  |  Intellectual (120)  |  Pretence (6)  |  Science And Religion (302)  |  Shroud (2)


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
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

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



who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.