Celebrating 19 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Environmental extremists ... wouldn’t let you build a house unless it looked like a bird’s nest.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index C > Category: Controversy

Controversy Quotes (29 quotes)

All that Anatomie can doe is only to shew us the gross and sensible parts of the body, or the vapid and dead juices all which, after the most diligent search, will be noe more able to direct a physician how to cure a disease than how to make a man; for to remedy the defects of a part whose organicall constitution and that texture whereby it operates, he cannot possibly know, is alike hard, as to make a part which he knows not how is made. Now it is certaine and beyond controversy that nature performs all her operations on the body by parts so minute and insensible that I thinke noe body will ever hope or pretend, even by the assistance of glasses or any other intervention, to come to a sight of them, and to tell us what organicall texture or what kinde offerment (for whether it be done by one or both of these ways is yet a question and like to be soe always notwithstanding all the endeavours of the most accurate dissections) separate any part of the juices in any of the viscera, or tell us of what liquors the particles of these juices are, or if this could be donne (which it is never like to be) would it at all contribute to the cure of the diseases of those very parts which we so perfectly knew.
'Anatomie' (1668). Quoted in Kenneth Dewhurst (ed.), Dr. Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689): His Life and Original Writings (1966), 85-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurate (86)  |  Alike (60)  |  All (4108)  |  Anatomy (69)  |  Assistance (20)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Body (537)  |  Both (493)  |  Constitution (76)  |  Cure (122)  |  Defect (31)  |  Diligence (20)  |  Diligent (19)  |  Direct (225)  |  Disease (328)  |  Dissection (32)  |  Endeavour (63)  |  Hard (243)  |  Hope (299)  |  Intervention (16)  |  Juice (7)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Liquor (6)  |  Man (2251)  |  Minute (125)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Operation (213)  |  Operations (107)  |  Other (2236)  |  Particle (194)  |  Perform (121)  |  Physician (273)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Question (621)  |  Remedy (62)  |  Search (162)  |  Separate (143)  |  Sight (132)  |  Tell (340)  |  Viscera (2)  |  Way (1217)  |  Will (2355)

Benford's Law of Controversy: Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.
In novel, Timescape (1992), no page numbering. The reference in the orginal text uses the past tense.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Amount (151)  |  Availability (10)  |  Available (78)  |  Information (166)  |  Inverse (7)  |  Inversely Proportional (7)  |  Law (894)  |  Passion (114)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Real (149)

Chemistry is yet, indeed, a mere embryon. Its principles are contested; experiments seem contradictory; their subjects are so minute as to escape our senses; and their result too fallacious to satisfy the mind. It is probably an age too soon to propose the establishment of a system.
Letter to Rev. James Madison (Paris, 19 Jul 1788). In Thomas Jefferson and John P. Foley (ed.), The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia (1900), 135. From H.A. Washington, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (1853-54). Vol 2, 431.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Contradiction (68)  |  Embryo (28)  |  Escape (80)  |  Establishment (47)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Fallacious (12)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Minute (125)  |  Principle (507)  |  Result (677)  |  Sense (770)  |  Soon (186)  |  Subject (521)  |  System (537)

Concerning alchemy it is more difficult to discover the actual state of things, in that the historians who specialise in this field seem sometimes to be under the wrath of God themselves; for, like those who write of the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy or on Spanish politics, they seem to become tinctured with the kind of lunacy they set out to describe.
The Origins of Modern Science (1949), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Actual (117)  |  Alchemy (30)  |  Become (815)  |  Describe (128)  |  Difficult (246)  |  Discover (553)  |  Field (364)  |  God (757)  |  Historian (54)  |  Kind (557)  |  More (2559)  |  Politics (112)  |  Set (394)  |  William Shakespeare (102)  |  State (491)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Write (230)

Geologists have not been slow to admit that they were in error in assuming that they had an eternity of past time for the evolution of the earth's history. They have frankly acknowledged the validity of the physical arguments which go to place more or less definite limits to the antiquity of the earth. They were, on the whole, disposed to acquiesce in the allowance of 100 millions of years granted to them by Lord Kelvin, for the transaction of the whole of the long cycles of geological history. But the physicists have been insatiable and inexorable. As remorseless as Lear's daughters, they have cut down their grant of years by successive slices, until some of them have brought the number to something less than ten millions. In vain have the geologists protested that there must somewhere be a flaw in a line of argument which tends to results so entirely at variance with the strong evidence for a higher antiquity, furnished not only by the geological record, but by the existing races of plants and animals. They have insisted that this evidence is not mere theory or imagination, but is drawn from a multitude of facts which become hopelessly unintelligible unless sufficient time is admitted for the evolution of geological history. They have not been able to disapprove the arguments of the physicists, but they have contended that the physicists have simply ignored the geological arguments as of no account in the discussion.
'Twenty-five years of Geological Progress in Britain', Nature, 1895, 51, 369.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Account (192)  |  Age Of The Earth (12)  |  Allowance (6)  |  Animal (617)  |  Antiquity (33)  |  Argument (138)  |  Become (815)  |  Cut (114)  |  Cycle (40)  |  Daughter (29)  |  Definite (110)  |  Discussion (72)  |  Down (456)  |  Earth (996)  |  Error (321)  |  Eternity (63)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Evolution (590)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Flaw (17)  |  Furnish (96)  |  Geologist (75)  |  Grant (73)  |  History (673)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Inexorable (10)  |  Insatiable (7)  |  Baron William Thomson Kelvin (71)  |  Limit (280)  |  Long (790)  |  Lord (93)  |  More (2559)  |  More Or Less (68)  |  Multitude (47)  |  Must (1526)  |  Number (699)  |  Past (337)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physicist (259)  |  Plant (294)  |  Protest (9)  |  Race (268)  |  Record (154)  |  Result (677)  |  Slow (101)  |  Something (719)  |  Strong (174)  |  Successive (73)  |  Sufficient (128)  |  Tend (124)  |  Theory (970)  |  Time (1877)  |  Transaction (13)  |  Unintelligible (15)  |  Vain (83)  |  Validity (47)  |  Variance (12)  |  Whole (738)  |  Year (933)

How many famous men be there in this our age, which make scruple to condemne these old witches, thinking it to bee nothing but a melancholike humour which corrupteth thei imagination, and filleth them with all these vaines toyes. I will not cast my selfe any further into the depth of this question, the matter craveth a man of more leisure.
Describing melancholy as the innocent affliction of those regarded as witches instead of Satanic influence, while distancing himself from the controversy.
Discours de la conservation de la veue; des maladies mélancholiques, des catarrhes, et de la vieillese (1594). In Richard Surphlet (trans.) A Discourse of the Preservation of the Sight: of Melancholike Diseases; of Rheumes, and of Old Age (1599), 98-9. Quoted in Michael Heyd, Be sober and Reasonable (), 58.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  All (4108)  |  Bee (40)  |  Cast (66)  |  Depth (94)  |  Diagnosis (64)  |  Disease (328)  |  Himself (461)  |  Humour (116)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Influence (222)  |  Leisure (24)  |  Man (2251)  |  Matter (798)  |  Melancholy (17)  |  More (2559)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Old (481)  |  Question (621)  |  Regard (305)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Will (2355)  |  Witch (4)

I have just received copies of “To-day” containing criticisms of my letter. I am in no way surprised to find that these criticisms are not only unfair and misleading in the extreme. They are misleading in so far that anyone reading them would be led to believe the exact opposite of the truth. It is quite possible that I, an old and trained engineer and chronic experimenter, should put an undue value upon truth; but it is common to all scientific men. As nothing but the truth is of any value to them, they naturally dislike things that are not true. ... While my training has, perhaps, warped my mind so that I put an undue value upon truth, their training has been such as to cause them to abhor exact truth and logic.
[Replying to criticism by Colonel Acklom and other religious parties attacking Maxim's earlier contribution to the controversy about the modern position of Christianity.]
In G.K. Chesterton, 'The Maxims of Maxim', Daily News (25 Feb 1905). Collected in G. K. Chesterton and Dale Ahlquist (ed.), In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton (2011), 86.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Abhorrence (9)  |  All (4108)  |  Belief (578)  |  Cause (541)  |  Chronic (5)  |  Common (436)  |  Content (69)  |  Contribution (89)  |  Copy (33)  |  Criticism (78)  |  Dislike (15)  |  Engineer (121)  |  Exactness (29)  |  Experimenter (40)  |  Extreme (75)  |  Find (998)  |  Leading (17)  |  Letter (109)  |  Logic (287)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Misleading (21)  |  Modern (385)  |  Naturally (11)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Old (481)  |  Opposite (104)  |  Other (2236)  |  Possible (552)  |  Reading (133)  |  Receive (114)  |  Religious (126)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Surprise (86)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Today (314)  |  Train (114)  |  Training (80)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Undue (4)  |  Unfair (8)  |  Value (365)  |  Way (1217)

I look upon statistics as the handmaid of medicine, but on that very account I hold that it befits medicine to treat her handmaid with proper respect, and not to prostitute her services for controversial or personal purposes.
'On the Influence of the Sanatorium Treatment of Tuberculosis', British Medical Journal (1910), 1, 1517.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Handmaid (6)  |  Husband (13)  |  Look (582)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Personal (67)  |  Proper (144)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Respect (207)  |  Service (110)  |  Statistics (155)  |  Treatment (130)

If the kind of controversy which so often springs up between modernism and traditionalism in religion were applied to more commonplace affairs of life we might see some strange results. …It arises, let us say, from a passage in an obituary notice which mentions that the deceased had loved to watch the sunsets from his peaceful country home.. …it is forgotten that what the deceased man looked out for each evening was an experience and not a creed.
Swarthmore Lecture (1929) at Friends’ House, London, printed in Science and the Unseen World (1929), 84-85.
Science quotes on:  |  Applied (177)  |  Arise (158)  |  Commonplace (23)  |  Country (251)  |  Creed (27)  |  Experience (467)  |  Forgotten (53)  |  Home (170)  |  Kind (557)  |  Life (1795)  |  Look (582)  |  Man (2251)  |  Mention (82)  |  More (2559)  |  Notice (77)  |  Passage (50)  |  Religion (361)  |  Result (677)  |  Say (984)  |  See (1081)  |  Spring (133)  |  Strange (157)  |  Sunset (26)  |  Watch (109)

In all matters of opinion and science ... the difference between men is ... oftener found to lie in generals than in particulars; and to be less in reality than in appearance. An explication of the terms commonly ends the controversy, and the disputants are surprised to find that they had been quarrelling, while at bottom they agreed in their judgement.
Dissertation IV, 'Of the Standard of Taste', Four Dissertations (1757), 204.
Science quotes on:  |  Agreement (53)  |  All (4108)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Bottom (33)  |  Commonly (9)  |  Difference (337)  |  End (590)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Find (998)  |  General (511)  |  Judgement (7)  |  Less (103)  |  Lie (364)  |  Matter (798)  |  Men (20)  |  Often (106)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Particular (76)  |  Quarrel (10)  |  Reality (261)  |  Science (3879)  |  Surprise (86)  |  Term (349)  |  Terms (184)

In mathematics there are no true controversies. (1811)
This quote is usually seen without any specific source citation. The sense of it is given, not in quotation marks, as “In 1811 Gauss stated that there are no true controversies in mathematics,” in G. Waldo Dunnington, Jeremy Gray and Fritz-Egbert Dohse, Carl Friedrich Gauss: Titan of Science (2003), 418. If you know the primary source, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  True (212)

It is not only by the questions we have answered that progress may be measured, but also by those we are still asking. The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find.
In Freda Adler and Herbert Marcus Adler, Sisters in Crime (1975), 31.
Science quotes on:  |  Alter (62)  |  Answer (366)  |  Asking (73)  |  Era (51)  |  Find (998)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Passionate (22)  |  Preoccupation (7)  |  Progress (465)  |  Question (621)  |  Seek (213)  |  Sterile (21)  |  Still (613)  |  View (488)

LEAD, n. A heavy blue-gray metal much used ... as a counterpoise to an argument of such weight that it turns the scale of debate the wrong way. An interesting fact in the chemistry of international controversy is that at the point of contact of two patriotisms lead is precipitated in great quantities.
[Referring to bullets.]
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Vol. 7, The Devil's Dictionary,  187.
Science quotes on:  |  Ammunition (2)  |  Argument (138)  |  Chemistry (353)  |  Contact (65)  |  Debate (38)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Great (1574)  |  Humour (116)  |  Interesting (153)  |  International (37)  |  Lead (384)  |  Metal (84)  |  Patriotism (7)  |  Point (580)  |  Scale (121)  |  Turn (447)  |  Two (937)  |  War (225)  |  Way (1217)  |  Weight (134)  |  Wrong (234)

Mathematics in gross, it is plain, are a grievance in natural philosophy, and with reason…Mathematical proofs are out of the reach of topical arguments, and are not to be attacked by the equivocal use of words or declamation, that make so great a part of other discourses; nay, even of controversies.
In 'Mr Locke’s Reply to the Bishop of Worcester’s Answer to his Second Letter', collected in The Works of John Locke (1824), Vol. 3, 428.
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (138)  |  Attack (84)  |  Discourse (18)  |  Great (1574)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Philosophy (52)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Other (2236)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Proof (287)  |  Reach (281)  |  Reason (744)  |  Use (766)  |  Word (619)

No doubt science cannot admit of compromises, and can only bring out the complete truth. Hence there must be controversy, and the strife may be, and sometimes must be, sharp. But must it even then be personal? Does it help science to attack the man as well as the statement? On the contrary, has not science the noble privilege of carrying on its controversies without personal quarrels?
In his collected writings of 1861, preface. Quoted in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 75, 300.
Science quotes on:  |  Attack (84)  |  Complete (204)  |  Compromise (9)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Man (2251)  |  Must (1526)  |  Noble (90)  |  Privilege (39)  |  Science (3879)  |  Statement (142)  |  Truth (1057)

No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy.
From'The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints', Sermon VII collected in Sermons Delivered on Various Occasions (1828), 259.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Great (1574)  |  Politics (112)  |  Religion (361)  |  Science (3879)

Notable enough, however, are the controversies over the series 1 – 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 – … whose sum was given by Leibniz as 1/2, although others disagree. … Understanding of this question is to be sought in the word “sum”; this idea, if thus conceived—namely, the sum of a series is said to be that quantity to which it is brought closer as more terms of the series are taken—has relevance only for convergent series, and we should in general give up the idea of sum for divergent series.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Closer (43)  |  Convergent (3)  |  Disagree (11)  |  Divergent (6)  |  Enough (340)  |  General (511)  |  Idea (843)  |  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (49)  |  More (2559)  |  Other (2236)  |  Quantity (132)  |  Question (621)  |  Relevance (16)  |  Series (149)  |  Sum (102)  |  Term (349)  |  Terms (184)  |  Understand (606)  |  Understanding (513)  |  Word (619)

One of the principal obstacles to the rapid diffusion of a new idea lies in the difficulty of finding suitable expression to convey its essential point to other minds. Words may have to be strained into a new sense, and scientific controversies constantly resolve themselves into differences about the meaning of words. On the other hand, a happy nomenclature has sometimes been more powerful than rigorous logic in allowing a new train of thought to be quickly and generally accepted.
Opening Address to the Annual Meeting of the British Association by Prof. Arthur Schuster, in Nature (4 Aug 1892), 46, 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (191)  |  Acceptance (52)  |  Convey (16)  |  Difference (337)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Diffusion (13)  |  Essential (199)  |  Expression (175)  |  Finding (30)  |  Happy (105)  |  Idea (843)  |  Lie (364)  |  Logic (287)  |  Meaning (233)  |  Mind (1338)  |  More (2559)  |  New (1216)  |  Nomenclature (146)  |  Obstacle (42)  |  Other (2236)  |  Point (580)  |  Power (746)  |  Powerful (139)  |  Principal (63)  |  Resolution (23)  |  Resolve (40)  |  Rigorous (48)  |  Rigour (21)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Sense (770)  |  Suitability (11)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thought (953)  |  Train (114)  |  Word (619)

Scientific truth, like puristic truth, must come about by controversy. Personally this view is abhorrent to me. It seems to mean that scientific truth must transcend the individual, that the best hope of science lies in its greatest minds being often brilliantly and determinedly wrong, but in opposition, with some third, eclectically minded, middle-of-the-road nonentity seizing the prize while the great fight for it, running off with it, and sticking it into a textbook for sophomores written from no point of view and in defense of nothing whatsoever. I hate this view, for it is not dramatic and it is not fair; and yet I believe that it is the verdict of the history of science.
From Address of the President before the American Psychological Association at New York (28 Dec 1928) 'The Psychology of Controversy', Psychological Review (1929), 36, 97. Collected in Robert I. Watson and Donald T. Campbell (eds.), History, Psychology and Science: Selected Papers by Edwin Boring (1963), 68.
Science quotes on:  |  Being (1278)  |  Best (459)  |  Book (392)  |  Defense (23)  |  Dramatic (17)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greatest (328)  |  Hate (64)  |  History (673)  |  History Of Science (63)  |  Hope (299)  |  Individual (404)  |  Lie (364)  |  Mean (809)  |  Men Of Science (143)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Must (1526)  |  Nonentity (2)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Opposition (48)  |  Point (580)  |  Point Of View (80)  |  Running (61)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Truth (23)  |  Textbook (36)  |  Transcend (26)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Verdict (8)  |  View (488)  |  Whatsoever (41)  |  Wrong (234)

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.
Unpopular Essays (1950, 2007), 104.
Science quotes on:  |  Arithmetic (136)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Good (889)  |  Matter (798)  |  Most (1731)  |  Persecution (13)  |  Science And God (5)  |  Theology (52)  |  Way (1217)

There came in February the issue of Life saying on the cover “Dr. Teller Refutes 9000 Scientists”… I wrote to Life and said first that Teller hadn’t refuted 9000 scientists and second I felt that they should publish the article that I had written… They sent the article back and said that they didn’t want it and then I offered it to Look. The editor of Look called me and said they couldn’t get into a controversy with Life. Then I offered it to the Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies Home Journal and Readers Digest and none of them were interested in it. And then I thought, “What shall I do? I’ll have to write a book and see if I can’t get it published.”’
As quoted in Ted Goertzel, et al., Linus Pauling: A Life in Science and Politics (1965, 1995), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Article (22)  |  Back (390)  |  Book (392)  |  Call (769)  |  Do (1908)  |  Editor (9)  |  First (1283)  |  Home (170)  |  Interest (386)  |  Journal (30)  |  Life (1795)  |  Look (582)  |  Offer (141)  |  Publish (36)  |  Refute (5)  |  Return (124)  |  Saturday (11)  |  Scientist (820)  |  See (1081)  |  Edward Teller (44)  |  Thought (953)  |  Want (497)  |  Write (230)

To smite all humbugs, however big; to give a nobler tone to science; to set an example of abstinence from petty personal controversies, and of toleration for everything but lying. … —are these my aims?
Journal entry (31 Dec 1856). In Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley (1901), 162.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstinence (4)  |  Aim (165)  |  All (4108)  |  Everything (476)  |  Example (94)  |  Humbug (5)  |  Lie (364)  |  Lying (55)  |  Noble (90)  |  Personal (67)  |  Petty (9)  |  Science (3879)  |  Set (394)  |  Smite (4)  |  Toleration (6)  |  Tone (22)

Traditional dinosaur theory is full of short circuits. Like the antiquated wiring in an old house, the details sputter and burn out when specific parts are tested.
The Dinosaur Heresies (1986), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Burn (87)  |  Circuit (29)  |  Detail (146)  |  Dinosaur (26)  |  House (140)  |  Old (481)  |  Short (197)  |  Specific (95)  |  Test (211)  |  Theory (970)

Truth travels down from the heights of philosophy to the humblest walks of life, and up from the simplest perceptions of an awakened intellect to the discoveries which almost change the face of the world. At every stage of its progress it is genial, luminous, creative. When first struck out by some distinguished and fortunate genius, it may address itself only to a few minds of kindred power. It exists then only in the highest forms of science; it corrects former systems, and authorizes new generalizations. Discussion, controversy begins; more truth is elicited, more errors exploded, more doubts cleared up, more phenomena drawn into the circle, unexpected connexions of kindred sciences are traced, and in each step of the progress, the number rapidly grows of those who are prepared to comprehend and carry on some branches of the investigation,— till, in the lapse of time, every order of intellect has been kindled, from that of the sublime discoverer to the practical machinist; and every department of knowledge been enlarged, from the most abstruse and transcendental theory to the daily arts of life.
In An Address Delivered Before the Literary Societies of Amherst College (25 Aug 1835), 16-17.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstruse (10)  |  Art (657)  |  Authorize (5)  |  Awakened (2)  |  Begin (260)  |  Carry (127)  |  Change (593)  |  Circle (110)  |  Comprehension (66)  |  Connection (162)  |  Creative (137)  |  Daily (87)  |  Department (92)  |  Discoverer (42)  |  Discovery (780)  |  Discussion (72)  |  Distinguish (160)  |  Distinguished (83)  |  Doubt (304)  |  Down (456)  |  Error (321)  |  Exist (443)  |  Exploded (11)  |  Face (212)  |  First (1283)  |  Form (959)  |  Former (137)  |  Fortunate (26)  |  Generalization (57)  |  Genial (3)  |  Genius (284)  |  Grow (238)  |  Height (32)  |  Humblest (4)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Kindred (12)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Life (1795)  |  Luminous (18)  |  Mind (1338)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1731)  |  New (1216)  |  Number (699)  |  Order (632)  |  Perception (97)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Power (746)  |  Practical (200)  |  Progress (465)  |  Rapidly (66)  |  Science (3879)  |  Simplest (10)  |  Stage (143)  |  Step (231)  |  Sublime (46)  |  System (537)  |  Theory (970)  |  Time (1877)  |  Transcendental (10)  |  Travel (114)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Unexpected (52)  |  Walk (124)  |  Walk Of Life (2)  |  World (1774)

Whenever … a controversy arises in mathematics, the issue is not whether a thing is true or not, but whether the proof might not be conducted more simply in some other way, or whether the proposition demonstrated is sufficiently important for the advancement of the science as to deserve especial enunciation and emphasis, or finally, whether the proposition is not a special case of some other and more general truth which is as easily discovered.
In Mathematical Essays and Recreations (1898), 88.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (62)  |  Arise (158)  |  Conduct (69)  |  Demonstrate (76)  |  Deserve (65)  |  Discover (553)  |  Ease (35)  |  Emphasis (17)  |  Enunciation (7)  |  General (511)  |  Important (209)  |  Issue (42)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  More (2559)  |  Nature Of Mathematics (80)  |  Other (2236)  |  Proof (287)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Science (3879)  |  Simplicity (167)  |  Special (184)  |  Special Case (9)  |  Thing (1915)  |  True (212)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Way (1217)  |  Whenever (81)

[I have a great] distaste for controversy…. I have often seen it do great harm, and yet remember few cases in natural knowledge where it has helped much either to pull down error or advance truth. Criticism, on the other hand, is of much value.
In letter (6 May 1841) to Robert Hare, an American Chemist, collected in Experimental Researches in Electricity (1844), Vol. 2, 275, as a footnote added to a reprint of 'On Dr. Hare’s Second Letter, and on the Chemical and Contact Theories of the Voltaic Battery', London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine (1843), 23.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (280)  |  Criticism (78)  |  Dispute (32)  |  Distaste (3)  |  Do (1908)  |  Down (456)  |  Error (321)  |  Great (1574)  |  Harm (39)  |  Help (105)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Natural (796)  |  On The Other Hand (34)  |  Other (2236)  |  Pull (43)  |  Reduce (94)  |  Remember (179)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Value (365)

[I have] a strong conviction that controversial reply and rejoinder is but a vain occupation.
In letter (11 Mar 1843) to R. Taylor, collected in Experimental Researches in Electricity (1844), Vol. 2, 274-2755. Published earlier as 'On Dr. Hare’s Second Letter, and on the Chemical and Contact Theories of the Voltaic Battery', London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine (1843), 23.
Science quotes on:  |  Conviction (97)  |  Occupation (48)  |  Rejoinder (2)  |  Reply (56)  |  Strong (174)  |  Vain (83)

[L]et us not overlook the further great fact, that not only does science underlie sculpture, painting, music, poetry, but that science is itself poetic. The current opinion that science and poetry are opposed is a delusion. ... On the contrary science opens up realms of poetry where to the unscientific all is a blank. Those engaged in scientific researches constantly show us that they realize not less vividly, but more vividly, than others, the poetry of their subjects. Whoever will dip into Hugh Miller's works on geology, or read Mr. Lewes's “Seaside Studies,” will perceive that science excites poetry rather than extinguishes it. And whoever will contemplate the life of Goethe will see that the poet and the man of science can co-exist in equal activity. Is it not, indeed, an absurd and almost a sacrilegious belief that the more a man studies Nature the less he reveres it? Think you that a drop of water, which to the vulgar eye is but a drop of water, loses anything in the eye of the physicist who knows that its elements are held together by a force which, if suddenly liberated, would produce a flash of lightning? Think you that what is carelessly looked upon by the uninitiated as a mere snow-flake, does not suggest higher associations to one who has seen through a microscope the wondrously varied and elegant forms of snow-crystals? Think you that the rounded rock marked with parallel scratches calls up as much poetry in an ignorant mind as in the mind of a geologist, who knows that over this rock a glacier slid a million years ago? The truth is, that those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded. Whoever has not in youth collected plants and insects, knows not half the halo of interest which lanes and hedge-rows can assume. Whoever has not sought for fossils, has little idea of the poetical associations that surround the places where imbedded treasures were found. Whoever at the seaside has not had a microscope and aquarium, has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the seaside are. Sad, indeed, is it to see how men occupy themselves with trivialities, and are indifferent to the grandest phenomena—care not to understand the architecture of the Heavens, but are deeply interested in some contemptible controversy about the intrigues of Mary Queen of Scots!—are learnedly critical over a Greek ode, and pass by without a glance that grand epic written by the finger of God upon the strata of the Earth!
Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical (1889), 82-83.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Absurd (59)  |  Absurdity (32)  |  Activity (210)  |  All (4108)  |  Aquarium (2)  |  Architecture (48)  |  Association (46)  |  Belief (578)  |  Blank (11)  |  Call (769)  |  Care (186)  |  Collection (64)  |  Contemplation (73)  |  Contrary (141)  |  Critical (66)  |  Crystal (68)  |  Current (118)  |  Delusion (25)  |  Drop (76)  |  Earth (996)  |  Elegant (36)  |  Element (310)  |  Enter (141)  |  Epic (12)  |  Excitation (9)  |  Exist (443)  |  Eye (419)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Flash (49)  |  Force (487)  |  Form (959)  |  Fossil (136)  |  Geologist (75)  |  Geology (220)  |  Glacier (17)  |  Glance (34)  |  God (757)  |  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (145)  |  Grandest (10)  |  Great (1574)  |  Greek (107)  |  Halo (7)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Hedgerow (2)  |  Idea (843)  |  Ignorant (90)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Insect (77)  |  Interest (386)  |  Know (1518)  |  Learn (629)  |  George Henry Lewes (19)  |  Life (1795)  |  Lightning (45)  |  Little (707)  |  Look (582)  |  Lose (159)  |  Man (2251)  |  Marked (55)  |  Microscope (80)  |  Hugh Miller (14)  |  Mind (1338)  |  More (2559)  |  Music (129)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Never (1087)  |  Ode (3)  |  Open (274)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Opposition (48)  |  Other (2236)  |  Overlook (31)  |  Painting (44)  |  Parallel (43)  |  Pass (238)  |  Physicist (259)  |  Plant (294)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Poetry (143)  |  Pursuit (121)  |  Read (287)  |  Realize (147)  |  Realm (85)  |  Research (664)  |  Rock (161)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Art (184)  |  Science And Poetry (14)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Sculpture (12)  |  Seaside (2)  |  See (1081)  |  Show (346)  |  Snow (37)  |  Snowflake (14)  |  Strata (35)  |  Subject (521)  |  Suddenly (88)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Think (1086)  |  Through (849)  |  Together (387)  |  Treasure (57)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Underlie (18)  |  Understand (606)  |  Unscientific (13)  |  Vividly (11)  |  Vulgar (33)  |  Water (481)  |  Whoever (42)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)  |  Year (933)  |  Youth (101)

[The Royal Society] is quite simply the voice of science in Britain. It is intellectually rigorous, not afraid to be outspoken on controversial issues such as climate change, but it is not aggressively secular either, insisting on a single view of the world. In fact, there are plenty of eminent scientists – Robert Winston, for instance – who are also men of faith.
Quoted in Max Davidson, 'Bill Bryson: Have faith, science can solve our problems', Daily Telegraph (26 Sep 2010)
Science quotes on:  |  Aggression (8)  |  Britain (24)  |  Change (593)  |  Climate (97)  |  Climate Change (61)  |  Eminence (23)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Faith (203)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Issue (42)  |  Rigorous (48)  |  Rigour (21)  |  Royal (57)  |  Royal Society (16)  |  Science (3879)  |  Science And Religion (307)  |  Scientist (820)  |  Secular (11)  |  Single (353)  |  Society (326)  |  View (488)  |  Voice (52)  |  World (1774)


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.