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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “A change in motion is proportional to the motive force impressed and takes place along the straight line in which that force is impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index E > Category: Excuse

Excuse Quotes (15 quotes)

A great swindle of our time is the assumption that science has made religion obsolete. All science has damaged is the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Jonah and the Whale. Everything else holds up pretty well, particularly lessons about fairness and gentleness. People who find those lessons irrelevant in the twentieth century are simply using science as an excuse for greed and harshness. Science has nothing to do with it, friends.
Through the Looking Glass. In Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain (1986), 206.
Science quotes on:  |  Greed (5)  |  Science And Religion (267)

A work of genius is something like the pie in the nursery song, in which the four and twenty blackbirds are baked. When the pie is opened, the birds begin to sing. Hereupon three fourths of the company run away in a fright; and then after a time, feeling ashamed, they would fain excuse themselves by declaring, the pie stank so, they could not sit near it. Those who stay behind, the men of taste and epicures, say one to another, We came here to eat. What business have birds, after they have been baked, to be alive and singing? This will never do. We must put a stop to so dangerous an innovation: for who will send a pie to an oven, if the birds come to life there? We must stand up to defend the rights of all the ovens in England. Let us have dead birds..dead birds for our money. So each sticks his fork into a bird, and hacks and mangles it a while, and then holds it up and cries, Who will dare assert that there is any music in this bird’s song?
Co-author with his brother Augustus William Hare Guesses At Truth, By Two Brothers: Second Edition: With Large Additions (1848), Second Series, 86. (The volume is introduced as “more than three fourths new.” This quote is identified as by Julius; Augustus had died in 1833.)
Science quotes on:  |  Ashamed (2)  |  Assertion (23)  |  Baking (2)  |  Bird (96)  |  Blackbird (2)  |  Business (71)  |  Cry (13)  |  Dangerous (45)  |  Dare (22)  |  Death (270)  |  Defend (20)  |  Eating (21)  |  England (31)  |  Fork (2)  |  Fright (4)  |  Genius (186)  |  Hacking (2)  |  Holding (3)  |  Innovation (38)  |  Life (917)  |  Money (125)  |  Music (66)  |  Nursery (3)  |  Opening (15)  |  Oven (3)  |  Pie (3)  |  Right (144)  |  Run (33)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Sing (9)  |  Song (18)  |  Standing (11)  |  Stink (5)  |  Stop (56)  |  Taste (35)  |  Themself (3)

After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.
From On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1861), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Allow (24)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Decision (58)  |  Detail (65)  |  Enlarge (15)  |  Five (14)  |  Hasty (4)  |  Hope (129)  |  Note (22)  |  Object (110)  |  Personal (49)  |  Present (103)  |  Probable (14)  |  Pursue (10)  |  Sketch (4)  |  Speculation (77)  |  Steadily (4)  |  Subject (129)  |  Work (457)  |  Year (214)

As evolutionary time is measured, we have only just turned up and have hardly had time to catch breath, still marveling at our thumbs, still learning to use the brand-new gift of language. Being so young, we can be excused all sorts of folly and can permit ourselves the hope that someday, as a species, we will begin to grow up.
From 'Introduction' written by Lewis Thomas for Horace Freeland Judson, The Search for Solutions (1980, 1987), xvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (114)  |  Breath (24)  |  Catch (21)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Folly (27)  |  Gift (47)  |  Growth (111)  |  Hardly (12)  |  Hope (129)  |  Language (155)  |  Learning (174)  |  Marvel (24)  |  Measurement (148)  |  New (340)  |  Ourselves (34)  |  Permission (5)  |  Someday (4)  |  Species (181)  |  Thumb (8)  |  Time (439)  |  Turn (72)  |  Young (72)

I am not unmindful of the journalist’s quip that yesterday’s paper wraps today’s garbage. I am also not unmindful of the outrages visited upon our forests to publish redundant and incoherent collections of essays; for, like Dr. Seuss’ Lorax, I like to think that I speak for the trees. Beyond vanity, my only excuses for a collection of these essays lie in the observation that many people like (and as many people despise) them, and that they seem to cohere about a common theme–Darwin’s evolutionary perspective as an antidote to our cosmic arrogance.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Antidote (6)  |  Arrogance (12)  |  Beyond (65)  |  Collection (38)  |  Common (92)  |  Cosmic (34)  |  Darwins (5)  |  Despise (7)  |  Essay (9)  |  Evolutionary (16)  |  Forest (88)  |  Garbage (5)  |  Incoherent (2)  |  Journalist (6)  |  Lie (80)  |  Observation (418)  |  Outrage (3)  |  Paper (52)  |  People (269)  |  Perspective (15)  |  Publish (18)  |  Quip (75)  |  Seem (89)  |  Speak (49)  |  Theme (8)  |  Think (205)  |  Today (86)  |  Tree (143)  |  Vanity (14)  |  Visit (15)  |  Wrap (4)  |  Yesterday (14)

Florence Nightingale quote: I attribute my success to this:— I never gave or took an excuse.
I attribute my success to this:— I never gave or took an excuse.
Letter (1861) to Miss H. Bonham Carter, transcribed in Edward Cook, The Life of Florence Nightingale (1913, 1914), Vol. 1, 506.
Science quotes on:  |  Attribute (22)  |  Give (117)  |  Success (202)  |  Take (8)

I do see the difference now between me and other men. When a disaster happens, I act and they make excuses.
Letter (1861) to Miss H. Bonham Carter, transcribed in Edward Cook, The Life of Florence Nightingale (1913, 1914), Vol. 1, 506. The “disaster” that resulted in this remark was when her dressing-room was flooded by a bad pipe from a water cistern. She had first been given an excuse that it resulted from a frost, but she persisted until the real cause was determined and remedied.
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Difference (208)  |  Disaster (36)  |  Happen (63)  |  Man (345)

I hate science. It denies a man’s responsibility for his own deeds, abolishes the brotherhood that springs from God’s fatherhood. It is a hectoring, dictating expertise, which makes the least lovable of the Church Fathers seem liberal by contrast. It is far easier for a Hitler or a Stalin to find a mock-scientific excuse for persecution than it was for Dominic to find a mock-Christian one.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Abolish (11)  |  Brotherhood (5)  |  Church (30)  |  Contrast (16)  |  Deed (17)  |  Deny (29)  |  Dictate (9)  |  Easy (56)  |  Expertise (5)  |  Far (77)  |  Father (44)  |  Find (248)  |  God (454)  |  Hate (26)  |  Adolf Hitler (17)  |  Least (43)  |  Liberal (8)  |  Persecution (9)  |  Pseudoscience (7)  |  Responsibility (47)  |  Science (1699)  |  Seem (89)  |  Spring (47)  |  Stalin_Joseph (5)

Nature has no compassion.… [It] accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is death.
In Between the Devil and the Dragon: The Best Essays and Aphorisms of Eric Hoffer (1982), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (37)  |  Compassion (9)  |  Death (270)  |  Know (321)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Punishment (10)

Research! A mere excuse for idleness; it has never achieved, and will never achieve any results of the slightest value.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Achieve (36)  |  Idleness (8)  |  Mere (41)  |  Research (517)  |  Result (250)  |  Slight (18)  |  Value (180)

Stupidity is no excuse for not thinking.
Unkempt Thoughts (1962), 77.
Science quotes on:  |  Stupidity (27)  |  Think (205)

The evidence from both approaches, statistical and experimental, does not appear sufficiently significant to me to warrant forsaking the pleasure of smoking. As a matter of fact, if the investigations had been pointed toward some material that I thoroughly dislike, such as parsnips, I still would not feel that evidence of the type presented constituted a reasonable excuse for eliminating the things from my diet. I will still continue to smoke, and if the tobacco companies cease manufacturing their product, I will revert to sweet fern and grape leaves.
Introduction in Eric Northrup, Science Looks at Smoking (1957), 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Approach (33)  |  Continuation (17)  |  Diet (41)  |  Dislike (11)  |  Elimination (17)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Grape (3)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Leaf (43)  |  Manufacturer (10)  |  Pleasure (98)  |  Revert (4)  |  Significance (60)  |  Smoking (22)  |  Statistics (125)  |  Sufficient (24)  |  Tobacco (16)

The fact that nature deals the occasional death blow doesn’t hand us an excuse to imitate it.
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld (2014), 365.
Science quotes on:  |  Blow (13)  |  Death (270)  |  Imitate (5)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Occasional (10)

The greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of tedious metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. … it is the style that creates the illusion of content, and which is a cause as well as merely a symptom of Teilhard's alarming apocalyptic seizures.
Medawar’s acerbic book review of The Phenomenon of Man by Teilhard de Chardin first appeared as 'Critical Notice' in the journal Mind (1961), 70, No. 277, 99. The book review was reprinted in The Art of the Soluble: Creativity and Originality in Science (1967), 71. Medawar thus strongly contradicted other reviewers of the book, which he said was “widely held to be of the utmost profundity and significance; it created something like a sensation upon its publication in France, and some reviewers hereabouts called it the Book of the Year—one, the Book of the Century.”
Science quotes on:  |  Author (39)  |  Conceit (9)  |  Deceiving (2)  |  Dishonesty (7)  |  Himself (10)  |  Metaphysics (30)  |  Nonsense (32)  |  Pain (82)  |  Tedious (6)  |  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (28)  |  Trick (19)  |  Variety (53)

Why do they prefer to tell stories about the possible medicinal bene-fits of the Houston toad rather than to offer moral reasons for sup-porting the Endangered Species Act? That law is plainly ideological; it is hardly to be excused on economic grounds.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Act (80)  |  Economic (21)  |  Endangered Species (3)  |  Ground (63)  |  Hardly (12)  |  Ideological (3)  |  Law (418)  |  Medicinal (2)  |  Moral (100)  |  Offer (16)  |  Plainly (2)  |  Possible (100)  |  Prefer (18)  |  Reason (330)  |  Story (58)  |  Tell (67)  |  Toad (7)


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.