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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index F > Category: Fable

Fable Quotes (12 quotes)

[As Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Ministry of Defence] We persist in regarding ourselves as a Great Power, capable of everything and only temporarily handicapped by economic difficulties. We are not a great power and never will be again. We are a great nation, but if we continue to behave like a Great Power we shall soon cease to be a great nation. Let us take warning from the fate of the Great Powers of the past and not burst ourselves with pride (see Aesop’s fable of the frog). (1949)
As quoted by Peter Hennessy, Whitehall (1989), 155.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Behave (17)  |  British (41)  |  Burst (39)  |  Capable (168)  |  Cease (79)  |  Chief (97)  |  Continue (165)  |  Defence (14)  |  Difficulty (196)  |  Economic (81)  |  Economy (55)  |  Everything (476)  |  Fate (72)  |  Frog (38)  |  Great (1574)  |  Handicap (6)  |  Handicapped (7)  |  Nation (193)  |  Never (1087)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Past (337)  |  Persist (11)  |  Power (746)  |  Pride (78)  |  Scientific (941)  |  See (1081)  |  Soon (186)  |  Warning (17)  |  Will (2355)

And yet surely to alchemy this right is due, that it may be compared to the husbandman whereof ฦsop makes the fable, that when he died he told his sons that he had left unto them gold buried under the ground in his vineyard: and they digged over the ground, gold they found none, but by reason of their stirring and digging the mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year following: so assuredly the search and stir to make gold hath brought to light a great number of good and fruitful inventions and experiments, as well for the disclosing of nature as for the use of man's life.
The Advancement of Learning (1605, 1712), Vol. 1, 15.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  Alchemy (30)  |  Digging (11)  |  Due (141)  |  Experiment (695)  |  Fruitful (58)  |  Gold (97)  |  Good (889)  |  Great (1574)  |  Ground (217)  |  Invention (369)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Life (1795)  |  Light (607)  |  Man (2251)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Number (699)  |  Reason (744)  |  Right (452)  |  Root (120)  |  Search (162)  |  Stir (21)  |  Surely (101)  |  Use (766)  |  Year (933)

Crowds are somewhat like the sphinx of ancient fable: It is necessary to arrive at a solution of the problems offered by their psychology or to resign ourselves to being devoured by them.
From Psychologie des Foules (1895), 90. English text in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1897), Book 2, Chap. 2, 95. Original French text: “Les foules sont un peu comme le sphinx de la fable antique: il faut savoir r้soudre les probl่mes que leur psychologie nous pose, ou se r้signer เ ๊tre d้vor้ par elles.”
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (189)  |  Arrive (35)  |  Being (1278)  |  Crowd (24)  |  Devour (29)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Offer (141)  |  Ourselves (245)  |  Problem (676)  |  Psychology (154)  |  Resign (4)  |  Solution (267)

FAUSTUS: How many heavens or spheres are there?
MEPHASTOPHILIS: Nine: the seven planets, the firmament, and the empyreal heaven.
FAUSTUS: But is there not coelum igneum, et crystallinum?
MEPH.: No Faustus, they be but fables.
FAUSTUS: Resolve me then in this one question: Why are not conjunctions, oppositions, aspects, eclipses all at one time, but in some years we have more, in some less?
MEPH.: Per inaequalem motum respectu totius.
FAUSTUS: Well, I am answered. Now tell me who made the world.
MEPH.: I will not.
FAUSTUS: Sweet Mephastophilis, tell me.
MEPH.: Move me not, Faustus.
FAUSTUS: Villain, have I not bound thee to tell me any thing?
MEPH.: Ay, that is not against our kingdom.
This is. Thou are damn'd, think thou of hell.
FAUSTUS: Think, Faustus, upon God that made the world!
MEPH.: Remember this.
Doctor Faustus: A 1604-Version Edition, edited by Michael Keefer (1991), Act II, Scene iii, lines 60-77, 43-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (332)  |  All (4108)  |  Answer (366)  |  Aspect (124)  |  Bound (119)  |  Conjunction (10)  |  Eclipse (23)  |  Firmament (18)  |  God (757)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Kingdom (78)  |  Maker (34)  |  More (2559)  |  Move (216)  |  Opposition (48)  |  Planet (356)  |  Question (621)  |  Remember (179)  |  Resolve (40)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Sweet (39)  |  Tell (340)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Think (1086)  |  Time (1877)  |  Why (491)  |  Will (2355)  |  World (1774)  |  Year (933)

I had rather believe all the Fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, then that this universall Frame, is without a Minde. And therefore, God never wrought Miracle, to convince Atheisme, because his Ordinary Works Convince it. It is true, that a little Philosophy inclineth Mans Minde to Atheisme; But depth in Philosophy, bringeth Mens Mindes about to Religion.
'Of Atheisme' (1625) in James Spedding, Robert Ellis and Douglas Heath (eds.), The Works of Francis Bacon (1887-1901), Vol. 6, 413.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Atheism (9)  |  Convince (41)  |  Depth (94)  |  God (757)  |  Legend (17)  |  Little (707)  |  Man (2251)  |  Miracle (83)  |  Never (1087)  |  Ordinary (160)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Religion (361)  |  Work (1351)

I wanted certainty in the kind of way in which people want religious faith. I thought that certainty is more likely to be found in mathematics than elsewhere. But I discovered that many mathematical demonstrations, which my teachers expected me to accept, were full of fallacies, and that, if certainty were indeed discoverable in mathematics, it would be in a new field of mathematics, with more solid foundations than those that had hitherto been thought secure. But as the work proceeded, I was continually reminded of the fable about the elephant and the tortoise. Having constructed an elephant upon which the mathematical world could rest, I found the elephant tottering, and proceeded to construct a tortoise to keep the elephant from falling. But the tortoise was no more secure than the elephant, and after some twenty years of very arduous toil, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more that I could do in the way of making mathematical knowledge indubitable.
In 'Reflections on my Eightieth Birthday', Portraits from Memory (1956), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (191)  |  Arduous (3)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Conclusion (254)  |  Construct (124)  |  Continual (43)  |  Demonstration (113)  |  Discover (553)  |  Do (1908)  |  Elephant (31)  |  Expect (200)  |  Faith (203)  |  Fall (230)  |  Fallacy (30)  |  Field (364)  |  Foundation (171)  |  Indeed (324)  |  Indubitable (3)  |  Kind (557)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Making (300)  |  Mathematics (1328)  |  More (2559)  |  New (1216)  |  Nothing (966)  |  People (1005)  |  Proceed (129)  |  Religious (126)  |  Reminded (2)  |  Rest (280)  |  Solid (116)  |  Teacher (143)  |  Thought (953)  |  Toil (25)  |  Tortoise (10)  |  Want (497)  |  Way (1217)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1774)  |  Year (933)

I would by all means have men beware, lest ฦsop’s pretty fable of the fly that sate [sic] on the pole of a chariot at the Olympic races and said, “What a dust do I raise,” be verified in them. For so it is that some small observation, and that disturbed sometimes by the instrument, sometimes by the eye, sometimes by the calculation, and which may be owing to some real change in the heaven, raises new heavens and new spheres and circles.
'Of Vain Glory' (1625) in James Spedding, Robert Ellis and Douglas Heath (eds.), The Works of Francis Bacon (1887-1901), Vol. 6, 503.
Science quotes on:  |   (2863)  |  All (4108)  |  Beware (16)  |  Calculation (127)  |  Change (593)  |  Chariot (9)  |  Circle (110)  |  Disturb (28)  |  Disturbed (15)  |  Do (1908)  |  Dust (64)  |  Eye (419)  |  Fly (146)  |  Heaven (258)  |  Heavens (125)  |  Instrument (144)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Measurement (174)  |  New (1216)  |  Observation (555)  |  Owing (39)  |  Pole (46)  |  Race (268)  |  Small (477)  |  Sphere (116)

If you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales.
Commenting how the animals in fables should talk in character. As quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Johnson (1785), 229.
Science quotes on:  |  Fish (120)  |  Little (707)  |  Talk (100)  |  Whale (32)

Science has blown to atoms, as she can rend and rive in the rocks themselves; but in those rocks she has found, and read aloud, the great stone book which is the history of the earth, even when darkness sat upon the face of the deep. Along their craggy sides she has traced the footprints of birds and beasts, whose shapes were never seen by man. From within them she has brought the bones, and pieced together the skeletons, of monsters that would have crushed the noted dragons of the fables at a blow.
Book review of Robert Hunt, Poetry of Science (1848), in the London Examiner (1848). Although uncredited in print, biographers identified his authorship from his original handwritten work. Collected in Charles Dickens and Frederic George Kitton (ed.) Old Lamps for New Ones: And Other Sketches and Essays (1897), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (355)  |  Beast (55)  |  Bird (149)  |  Blow (44)  |  Bone (95)  |  Book (392)  |  Crag (4)  |  Crush (18)  |  Darkness (68)  |  Deep (233)  |  Dragon (5)  |  Earth (996)  |  Face (212)  |  Footprint (15)  |  Great (1574)  |  History (673)  |  Man (2251)  |  Monster (31)  |  Never (1087)  |  Piece (38)  |  Read (287)  |  Reading (133)  |  Rock (161)  |  Science (3879)  |  Shape (72)  |  Side (233)  |  Skeleton (22)  |  Stone (162)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Together (387)  |  Tracing (3)

So-called extraordinary events always split into two extremes naturalists who have not witnessed them: those who believe blindly and those who do not believe at all. The latter have always in mind the story of the golden goose; if the facts lie slightly beyond the limits of their knowledge, they relegate them immediately to fables. The former have a secret taste for marvels because they seem to expand Nature; they use their imagination with pleasure to find explanations. To remain doubtful is given to naturalists who keep a middle path between the two extremes. They calmly examine facts; they refer to logic for help; they discuss probabilities; they do not scoff at anything, not even errors, because they serve at least the history of the human mind; finally, they report rather than judge; they rarely decide unless they have good evidence.
Quoted in Albert V. Carozzi, Histoire des sciences de la terre entre 1790 et 1815 vue à travers les documents inédités de la Societé de Physique et d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève, trans. Albert V. and Marguerite Carozzi. (1990), 175.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Belief (578)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Blindness (11)  |  Call (769)  |  Decision (91)  |  Discussion (72)  |  Do (1908)  |  Doubtful (29)  |  Error (321)  |  Event (216)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Examine (78)  |  Expand (53)  |  Expansion (41)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Extraordinary (79)  |  Extreme (75)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Final (118)  |  Find (998)  |  Former (137)  |  Gold (97)  |  Golden (45)  |  Good (889)  |  Goose (12)  |  History (673)  |  Human (1468)  |  Human Mind (128)  |  Imagination (328)  |  Immediately (114)  |  Judge (108)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Lie (364)  |  Limit (280)  |  Logic (287)  |  Marvel (35)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Naturalist (70)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Path (144)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Probability (130)  |  Rare (89)  |  Relegation (3)  |  Remain (349)  |  Report (38)  |  Scoff (7)  |  Secret (194)  |  Service (110)  |  So-Called (71)  |  Split (13)  |  Story (118)  |  Taste (90)  |  Two (937)  |  Use (766)  |  Witness (54)

The ancients had a taste, let us say rather a passion, for the marvellous, which caused … grouping together the lofty deeds of a great number of heroes, whose names they have not even deigned to preserve, and investing the single personage of Hercules with them. … In our own time the public delight in blending fable with history. In every career of life, in the pursuit of science especially, they enjoy a pleasure in creating Herculeses.
In Fran็ois Arago, trans. by William Henry Smyth, Baden Powell and Robert Grant, 'Fourier', Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859), Vol. 1, 408. This comment indicates that a single scientist or inventor may be held as the exemplar, such as James Watt and the steam-engine, although groundwork was laid by predecessors.
Science quotes on:  |  Ancient (189)  |  Career (75)  |  Creation (327)  |  Deed (34)  |  Delight (108)  |  Enjoy (40)  |  Great (1574)  |  Grouping (2)  |  Hercules (9)  |  Hero (42)  |  History (673)  |  Life (1795)  |  Lofty (13)  |  Marvellous (25)  |  Name (333)  |  Number (699)  |  Passion (114)  |  Personage (4)  |  Pleasure (178)  |  Preserve (83)  |  Public (96)  |  Pursuit (121)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Single (353)  |  Taste (90)  |  Time (1877)  |  Together (387)

Wherever modern Science has exploded a superstitious fable or even a picturesque error, she has replaced it with a grander and even more poetical truth.
'The Study of Nature', The Christian Examiner, 1860, 67, 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Error (321)  |  Exploded (11)  |  Modern (385)  |  Modern Science (52)  |  More (2559)  |  Poem (96)  |  Science (3879)  |  Superstition (66)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Wherever (51)


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 Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (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.