Fatal Quotes (14 quotes)
[In mathematics] There are two kinds of mistakes. There are fatal mistakes that destroy a theory, but there are also contingent ones, which are useful in testing the stability of a theory.
A conflict arises when a religious community insists on the absolute truthfulness of all statements recorded in the Bible. This means an intervention on the part of religion into the sphere of science; this is where the struggle of the Church against the doctrines of Galileo and Darwin belongs. On the other hand, representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive at fundamental judgments with respect to values and ends on the basis of scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to religion. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors.
An enthusiasm about psychiatry is preposterous—it shows one just hasn’t grown up; but at the same time, for the psychiatrist to be indifferent toward his work is fatal.
Because I was less tied to Parliament, because I was freer to travel and investigate and explore, I found myself often with the odd jobs which nobody else wanted or had time for. One of these, I remember, was a study of the myxomatosis problem. Myxomatosis was a disease fatal to rabbits and without a cure—there had been prolonged examination of it on the Continent where there were dreams of eradicating or anyway reducing the rabbit population. A French chemical scientist carried out a series of experiments in the park of his chateau, with a view to rabbit control. He let the virus loose, apparently unaware that it could be carried by birds and insects. Very soon myxomatosis had spread like wildfire through France.
Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention of printing.
Civilisation is a disease which is almost invariably fatal.
FORTRAN —’the infantile disorder’—, by now nearly 20 years old, is hopelessly inadequate for whatever computer application you have in mind today: it is now too clumsy, too risky, and too expensive to use. PL/I —’the fatal disease’— belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence. APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection. It is the language of the future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation of coding bums.
I know not what fatal calamity has invaded the sciences, for when an error is born with them and with the lapse of time becomes as it were fixed, those who profess the science will not suffer its withdrawal.
— Jean Rey
I often think that the Romans were fortunate; their civilization reached as far as hot baths without touching the fatal knowledge of machinery.
Many people are shrinking from the future and from participation in the movement toward a new, expanded reality. And, like homesick travelers abroad, they are focusing their anxieties on home. The reasons are not far to seek. We are at a turning point in human history. … We could turn our attention to the problems that going to the moon certainly will not solve … But I think this would be fatal to our future. … A society that no longer moves forward does not merely stagnate; it begins to die.
Of the many forms of false culture, a premature converse with abstractions is perhaps the most likely to prove fatal to the growth of a masculine vigour of intellect.
The fatal futility of Fact.
The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.
We have no organ at all for knowledge, for ‘truth’: we ‘know’ (or believe or imagine) precisely as much as may be useful in the interest of the human herd, the species: and even what is here called ‘usefulness’ is in the end only a belief, something imagined and perhaps precisely that most fatal piece of stupidity by which we shall one day perish.