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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index L > Category: Lightning-Rod

Lightning-Rod Quotes (2 quotes)

The terror of the thunderstorm led primitive man to the conception of a Supreme Being whose attribute was the thunderbolt. But when Franklin brought the lightning from the clouds and showed it to he a mere electric spark, when we learned to make the lightning harmless by the lightning-rod, and when finally we harnessed electricity to do our work, naturally our reverence for the thrower of the thunderbolt decayed. So the gods of experience vanished.
In 'Religion and Modern Science', The Christian Register (16 Nov 1922), 101, 1089. The article is introduced as “the substance of an address to the Laymen’s League in All Soul’s Church (5 Nov 1922).
Science quotes on:  |  Bring (53)  |  Decay (31)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Experience (268)  |  Benjamin Franklin (81)  |  God (454)  |  Harmless (6)  |  Harness (15)  |  Learn (160)  |  Lightning (28)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Spark (18)  |  Terror (16)  |  Thunderstorm (3)  |  Vanish (10)  |  Work (457)

When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the “iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,” Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God’s wrath at the “iron points.” In a sermon on the subject he said,“In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.” Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.
In An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943), 6-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Boston (2)  |  Earthquake (27)  |  Benjamin Franklin (81)  |  Iron (53)  |  Point (72)  |  Providence (6)  |  Punishment (10)  |  Science And Religion (267)  |  Sin (27)  |  Wickedness (2)

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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