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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index F > Category: Fiction

Fiction Quotes (17 quotes)

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction - Art © todayinsci.com 2016

A theory is a supposition which we hope to be true, a hypothesis is a supposition which we expect to be useful; fictions belong to the realm of art; if made to intrude elsewhere, they become either make-believes or mistakes.
As quoted by William Ramsay, in 'Radium and Its Products', Harper’s Magazine (Dec 1904), 52. The first part, about suppositions, appears in a paper read by G. Johnson Stoney to the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia (3 Apr 1903), printed in 'On the Dependence of What Apparently Takes Place in Nature Upon What Actually Occurs in the Universe of Real Existences', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Held at Philadelphia for Promoting Useful Knowledge (Apr-May 1903) 42, No. 173, 107. If you know a primary source for the part on fictions and mistakes, please contact Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (217)  |  Belief (421)  |  Expect (33)  |  Hope (146)  |  Hypothesis (231)  |  Intrude (3)  |  Mistake (114)  |  Realm (45)  |  Science And Art (159)  |  Supposition (34)  |  Theory (585)  |  True (139)  |  Useful (70)

Because science flourishes, must poesy decline? The complaint serves but to betray the weakness of the class who urge it. True, in an age like the present,—considerably more scientific than poetical,—science substitutes for the smaller poetry of fiction, the great poetry of truth.
Lecture Second, collected in Popular Geology: A Series of Lectures Read Before the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh, with Descriptive Sketches from a Geologist's Portfolio (1859), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Betray (7)  |  Class (64)  |  Flourish (11)  |  Poetry (97)  |  Science (1741)  |  Science And Poetry (8)  |  Truth (764)  |  Urge (11)  |  Weakness (31)

Fiction tends to become “fact” simply by serial passage via the printed page.
Anonymous
Saying.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (628)  |  Page (19)  |  Passage (14)  |  Printing (12)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Serial (2)  |  Tendency (41)

One of the commonest dietary superstitions of the day is a belief in instinct as a guide to dietary excellence ... with a corollary that the diets of primitive people are superior to diets approved by science ... [and even] that light might be thrown on the problems of human nutrition by study of what chimpanzees eat in their native forests. ... Such notions are derivative of the eighteenth-century fiction of the happy and noble savage.
Nutrition and Public Health', League of Nations Health Organization Quarterly Bulletin (1935) 4, 323–474. In Kenneth J. Carpenter, 'The Work of Wallace Aykroyd: International Nutritionist and Author', The Journal of Nutrition (2007), 137, 873-878.
Science quotes on:  |  Chimpanzee (12)  |  Diet (42)  |  Nutrition (15)  |  Savage (24)

One should not wrongly reify “cause” and “effect,” as the natural scientists do (and whoever, like them, now “naturalizes” in his thinking), according to the prevailing mechanical doltishness which makes the cause press and push until it “effects” its end; one should use “cause” and “effect” only as pure concepts, that is to say, as conventional fictions for the purpose of designation and communication—not for explanation.
In Beyond Good and Evil (1886). Trans. W. Kaufmann (ed.), Basic Writings of Nietzsche (1968), 219.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause And Effect (11)  |  Designation (10)

Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.
In The Character of Physical Law (1965, reprint 2001), 127-128.
Science quotes on:  |  Comprehend (23)  |  Imagination (222)  |  Imagine (57)  |  Real (102)  |  Stretch (14)  |  Utmost (9)

Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can’t talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful.
'How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later,' introduction, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon (1986).
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Scientific practice is above all a story-telling practice. ... Biology is inherently historical, and its form of discourse is inherently narrative. ... Biology as a way of knowing the world is kin to Romantic literature, with its discourse about organic form and function. Biology is the fiction appropriate to objects called organisms; biology fashions the facts “discovered” about organic beings.
Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science(1989), 4-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Appropriateness (5)  |  Biology (158)  |  Discourse (13)  |  Discovery (601)  |  Fact (628)  |  Fashion (26)  |  Form (223)  |  Function (100)  |  History (314)  |  Inherently (5)  |  Kin (6)  |  Knowledge (1148)  |  Literature (64)  |  Narrative (6)  |  Object (117)  |  Organic (49)  |  Organism (144)  |  Practice (67)  |  Romantic (6)  |  Science (1741)  |  World (746)

The aim of science is to discover and illuminate truth. And that, I take it, is the aim of literature, whether biography or history or fiction. It seems to me, then, that there can be no separate literature of science.
Address upon receiving National Book Award at reception, Hotel Commodore, New York (27 Jan 1952). As cited in Linda Lear, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature (1997), 219.
Science quotes on:  |  Aim (60)  |  Biography (228)  |  Discovery (601)  |  History (314)  |  Illuminate (17)  |  Literature (64)  |  Science (1741)  |  Separate (52)  |  Truth (764)

The design of a book is the pattern of reality controlled and shaped by the mind of the writer. This is completely understood about poetry or fiction, but it is too seldom realized about books of fact. And yet the impulse which drives a man to poetry will send a man into the tide pools and force him to report what he finds there. Why is an expedition to Tibet undertaken, or a sea bottom dredged? Why do men, sitting at the microscope, examine the calcareous plates of a sea cucumber and give the new species a name, and write about it possessively? It would be good to know the impulse truly, not to be confused by the “services to science” platitudes or the other little mazes into which we entice our minds so that they will not know what we are doing.
In John Steinbeck and Edward Flanders Ricketts, Introduction to Sea of Cortez: a Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1941), opening paragraph. John Steinbeck had an interest in marine science before he met Ricketts. This book is an account of their trip in the Gulf of California, once called the Sea of Cortez, and recording the marine life to be found there.
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The history of chemistry is properly divided into the mythologic, the obscure, and the certain. The first period exhibits it from its infancy, deformed by fictions, until the destruction of the library of Alexandria by the Arabs. —The second, though freed in some measure from these absurdities, yet is still clothed in numberless enigmas and allegorical expressions.— The third period commences at the middle of the seventeenth century, with the first establishment of societies and academies of science; of which the wise associates, in many places uniting their efforts, determined to pursue the study of Natural Philosophy by observation and experiments, and candidly to publish their attempts in a general account of their transactions.
In Essays, Physical and Chemical (1791), 4, translated from the original Latin.
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The instinct to command others, in its primitive essence, is a carnivorous, altogether bestial and savage instinct. Under the influence of the mental development of man, it takes on a somewhat more ideal form and becomes somewhat ennobled, presenting itself as the instrument of reason and the devoted servant of that abstraction, or political fiction, which is called the public good. But in its essence it remains just as baneful, and it becomes even more so when, with the application of science, it extends its scope and intensifies the power of its action. If there is a devil in history, it is this power principle.
In Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin, Grigorii Petrovich Maksimov, Max Nettlau, The political philosophy of Bakunin (1953), 248.
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The neurotic ... is nailed to the cross of his fiction.
Aflred Adler and Bernard Glueck (trans.), The Neurotic Constitution: Outlines of a Comparative Individualistic Psychology and Physchotherapy (1917), 66.
Science quotes on:  |  Neurotic (5)

The task allotted to me is to state what is fact and what is fancy in our researches into immunity. We have reached the stage when we marshal our facts and court-martial our fictions.
At opening session of the Pathology Section of the British Medical Association Annual Meeting, Oxford (1904). Quoted as recollected by D.J. Hamilton in 'Obituary: The Late Prof. William Bulloch', The British Medical Journal (15 Mar 1941), 1, No. 4184, 422.
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Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, and can only please by its resemblance.
In 'A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm', Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1723), Vol. 1, 4.
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What fiction could match - in drama or suspense - man’s first walk on the Moon?
…...
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[Among the books he chooses, a statesman] ought to read interesting books on history and government, and books of science and philosophy; and really good books on these subjects are as enthralling as any fiction ever written in prose or verse.
In Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (1913), 333.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (188)  |  Government (87)  |  History (314)  |  Interesting (42)  |  Philosophy (217)  |  Prose (6)  |  Read (88)  |  Science (1741)  |  Statesman (10)  |  Verse (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
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- 90 -
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- 70 -
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- 40 -
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