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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index D > Category: Determinism

Determinism Quotes (7 quotes)

A great surgeon performs operations for stone by a single method; later he makes a statistical summary of deaths and recoveries, and he concludes from these statistics that the mortality law for this operation is two out of five. Well, I say that this ratio means literally nothing scientifically and gives us no certainty in performing the next operation; for we do not know whether the next case will be among the recoveries or the deaths. What really should be done, instead of gathering facts empirically, is to study them more accurately, each in its special determinism. We must study cases of death with great care and try to discover in them the cause of mortal accidents so as to master the cause and avoid the accidents.
From An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865), as translated by Henry Copley Greene (1957), 137-138. (Note that Bernard overlooks how the statistical method can be useful: a surgeon announcing a mortality rate of 40% invites comparison. A surgeon with worse outcomes should adopt this method. If a surgeon has a better results, that method should be adopted.)
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (54)  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Avoidance (9)  |  Cause (231)  |  Certainty (97)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Death (270)  |  Discover (115)  |  Empirical (15)  |  Fact (609)  |  Gather (29)  |  Great (300)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Law (418)  |  Master (55)  |  Meaning (87)  |  Method (154)  |  Mortality (13)  |  Nothing (267)  |  Operation (96)  |  Performing (2)  |  Ratio (15)  |  Recovery (18)  |  Scientifically (3)  |  Single (72)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Stone (57)  |  Study (331)  |  Summary (4)  |  Surgeon (43)

Contingency is a thing unto itself, not the titration of determinism by randomness.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Contingency (11)  |  Randomness (3)  |  Unto (6)

The assumption of an absolute determinism is the essential foundation of every scientific enquiry.
Physikalische Abhandlungen und Vorträge (1958), Vol 3, 89. Translated in J. L. Heilbron, The Dilemmas of an Upright Man (1986) 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Absoluteness (3)  |  Assumption (49)  |  Enquiry (75)  |  Essential (87)  |  Foundation (75)

The Darwinian process of continued interplay of a random and a selective process is not intermediate between pure chance and pure determinism, but qualitatively utterly different from either in its consequences.
In 'Comments on the Preliminary Working Papers of Eden and Waddington'. In P. Moorhead and M. Kaplan (eds.), Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (1967), 117.
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (122)  |  Consequence (76)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Difference (208)  |  Intermediate (16)  |  Interplay (5)  |  Process (201)  |  Pure (62)  |  Qualitative (12)  |  Random (21)  |  Selective (5)  |  Utterly (13)

The metaphysical doctrine of determinism simply asserts that all events in this world are fixed, or unalterable, or predetermined. It does not assert that they are known to anybody, or predictable by scientific means. But it asserts that the future is as little changeable as is the past. Everybody knows what we mean when we say that the past cannot be changed. It is in precisely the same sense that the future cannot be changed, according to metaphysical determinism.
Karl Raimund Popper and William Warren Bartley (ed.), The Open Universe: an Argument for Indeterminism (1991), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Event (97)  |  Future (229)  |  Metaphysics (30)  |  Predetermine (2)

The world changed from having the determinism of a clock to having the contingency of a pinball machine.
On quantum theory's break with classical Newtonian physics, The Cosmic Code Simon & Schuster 82
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Clock (26)  |  Contingency (11)  |  Machine (133)  |  World (667)

We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Franklin's edit to the assertion of religion in Thomas Jefferson's original wording, “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” in a draft of the Declaration of Independence changes it instead into an assertion of rationality. The scientific mind of Franklin drew on the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume and Gottfried Leibniz. In what became known as “Hume's Fork” the latters' theory distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact, and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition.
As explained by Walter Isaacson in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2004), 312.
Science quotes on:  |  Declaration Of Independence (3)  |  Empiricism (16)  |  David Hume (33)  |  Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (27)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Rational (42)  |  Reason (330)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Self-Evident (6)  |  Truth (750)


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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