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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index M > Category: Meaningless

Meaningless Quotes (15 quotes)

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.
In The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Affair (24)  |  Business (71)  |  Likely (23)  |  Mind (544)  |  People (269)  |  Worth (74)

Chance... in the accommodation peculiar to sensorimotor intelligence, plays the same role as in scientific discovery. It is only useful to the genius and its revelations remain meaningless to the unskilled.
The Origin of Intelligence in the Child (1936), trans. Margaret Cook (1953), 303.
Science quotes on:  |  Accommodation (5)  |  Chance (122)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Genius (186)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Peculiar (24)  |  Play (60)  |  Revelation (29)  |  Role (35)  |  Unskilled (3)  |  Usefulness (70)

Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true! Facts, shmacts.
Spoken by character Homer Simpson in TV episode written by David X. Cohen, 'Lisa the Skeptic', of the animated comedy, The Simpsons (23 Nov 1997). Quoted in Kee Malesky, All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge (2010), 201.
Science quotes on:  |  Anything (8)  |  Fact (609)  |  Proof (192)  |  True (120)  |  Use (70)

Fundamentally, as is readily seen, there exists neither force nor matter. Both are abstractions of things, such as they are, looked at from different standpoints. They complete and presuppose each other. Isolated they are meaningless. … Matter is not a go-cart, to and from which force, like a horse, can be now harnessed, now loosed. A particle of iron is and remains exactly the same thing, whether it shoot through space as a meteoric stone, dash along on the tire of an engine-wheel, or roll in a blood-corpuscle through the veins of a poet. … Its properties are eternal, unchangeable, untransferable.
From the original German text in 'άber die Lebenskraft', Preface to Untersuchungen όber tierische Elektrizitδt (1848), xliii. As translated in Ludwig Bόchner, Force and Matter: Or, Principles of the Natural Order of the Universe (1891), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstraction (29)  |  Blood (95)  |  Corpuscle (8)  |  Eternal (43)  |  Existence (254)  |  Force (194)  |  Force And Matter (3)  |  Horse (40)  |  Iron (53)  |  Isolation (26)  |  Matter (270)  |  Meteor (14)  |  Particle (90)  |  Poet (59)  |  Property (96)  |  Unchangeable (7)  |  Vein (11)  |  Wagon (4)

I do not think words alone will solve humanity’s present problems. The sound of bombs drowns out men’s voices. In times of peace I have great faith in the communication of ideas among thinking men, but today, with brute force dominating so many millions of lives, I fear that the appeal to man’s intellect is fast becoming virtually meaningless.
In 'I Am an American' (22 Jun 1940), Einstein Archives 29-092. Excerpted in David E. Rowe and Robert J. Schulmann, Einstein on Politics: His Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace, and the Bomb (2007), 470. It was during a radio broadcast for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, interviewed by a State Department Official. Einstein spoke following an examination on his application for American citizenship in Trenton, New Jersey. The attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s declaration of war on Japan was still over a year in the future.
Science quotes on:  |  Appeal (30)  |  Bomb (17)  |  Brute (12)  |  Communication (58)  |  Drown (9)  |  Faith (131)  |  Fear (113)  |  Force (194)  |  Humanity (104)  |  Idea (440)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Life (917)  |  Million (89)  |  Peace (58)  |  Problem (362)  |  Solve (41)  |  Sound (59)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Today (86)  |  Voice (41)  |  War (144)  |  Word (221)

I once spoke to a human geneticist who declared that the notion of intelligence was quite meaningless, so I tried calling him unintelligent. He was annoyed, and it did not appease him when I went on to ask how he came to attach such a clear meaning to the notion of lack of intelligence. We never spoke again.
In Advice to a Young Scientist (1979), 25, footnote 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Appease (2)  |  Ask (99)  |  Attach (8)  |  Call (68)  |  Clear (52)  |  Geneticist (11)  |  Human (445)  |  Intelligence (138)  |  Lack (52)  |  Meaning (87)  |  Notion (32)  |  Unintelligent (2)

In the course of the last century science has become so dizzy with its successes, that it has forgotten to ask the pertinent questions - or refused to ask them under the pretext that they are meaningless, and in any case not the scientists concern.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (99)  |  Become (100)  |  Case (64)  |  Century (94)  |  Concern (76)  |  Course (57)  |  Dizzy (3)  |  Forget (40)  |  Pertinent (3)  |  Question (315)  |  Refuse (14)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Success (202)

It is still believed, apparently, that there is some thing mysteriously laudable about achieving viable offspring. I have searched the sacred and profane scriptures, for many years, but have yet to find any ground for this notion. To have a child is no more creditable than to have rheumatism–and no more discreditable. Ethically, it is absolutely meaningless. And practically, it is mainly a matter of chance.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Absolutely (24)  |  Achieve (36)  |  Apparently (11)  |  Belief (400)  |  Chance (122)  |  Child (189)  |  Creditable (2)  |  Ethically (4)  |  Find (248)  |  Ground (63)  |  Mainly (6)  |  Matter (270)  |  Notion (32)  |  Offspring (15)  |  Practically (9)  |  Profane (6)  |  Rheumatism (3)  |  Sacred (15)  |  Scripture (9)  |  Search (85)  |  Year (214)

It’s impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Bit (13)  |  Fragment (24)  |  Impossible (68)  |  Information (102)  |  Leave (63)  |  Level (51)  |  Live (186)  |  Move (58)  |  Operate (12)  |  Personal (49)  |  Seemingly (7)  |  Trace (39)

Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.
Given as narrative, without quotation marks, in Eric Temple Bell, Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science (1951, 1961), 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Game (45)  |  Mark (28)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Paper (52)  |  Play (60)  |  Rule (135)  |  Simple (111)

Physics without mathematics is meaningless.
In Edward Teller, Wendy Teller and Wilson Talley, Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics (1991, 2013), 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Physics (301)

The same applies to the concept of force as does to any other physical concept: Verbal definitions are meaningless; real definitions are given through a measuring process.
As given in epigraph, without citation, in Eberhard Zeidler and Juergen Quandt (trans.), Nonlinear Functional Analysis and its Applications: IV: Applications to Mathematical Physics (2013), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (102)  |  Definition (152)  |  Force (194)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Physical (94)  |  Process (201)  |  Real (95)  |  Verbal (5)

We are living in an age of awesome agricultural enterprise that needs to be interpreted. We find our simple faith in science dominated by the Religion of PhDeism under the reign of Data; so narrow in people and often so meaningless in context as to be worthless to the scientific farmer.
Letter to Joshua Lederberg (19 Apr 1970), Joshua Lederberg papers, National Library of Medicine (online). Hildebrand was a response to a Lederberg's letter published in the Washington Post (18 Apr 1970) about 'Ecology Has All Requisites of an Authentic Religion.' Note that Sam Murchid claimed this term PhDeism in another context in his diaries (as seen in diaries of 1964 and others).
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Agriculture (62)  |  Awesome (8)  |  Context (17)  |  Data (100)  |  Domination (12)  |  Enterprise (20)  |  Faith (131)  |  Farmer (23)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Living (44)  |  Narrow (33)  |  People (269)  |  Reign (5)  |  Religion (210)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Simple (111)  |  Worthless (15)

What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Altogether (6)  |  Answer (201)  |  Ask (99)  |  Creature (127)  |  Fellow (29)  |  Human Life (25)  |  Imply (12)  |  Life (917)  |  Mean (63)  |  Merely (35)  |  Organic Life (2)  |  Question (315)  |  Regard (58)  |  Religion (210)  |  Sense (240)  |  Unfortunate (6)

Where any answer is possible, all answers are meaningless.
Referring to speculations (on “Not as We Know It” alien lifeforms) made in the total absence of evidence. In 'Fifty Million Big Brothers', The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Nov 1978), 55, No. 5, 86.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Possibility (96)  |  Speculation (77)


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.