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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index M > Category: Mischief

Mischief Quotes (13 quotes)

Error of confounding cause and effect.—There is no more dangerous error than confounding consequence with cause: I call it the intrinsic depravity of reason. … I take an example: everybody knows the book of the celebrated Comaro, in which he recommends his spare diet as a recipe for a long and happy life,—for a virtuous life also. Few books have been read so much… I believe hardly any book … has caused so much harm, has shortened so many lives, as this well-meant curiosity. The source of this mischief is in confounding consequence with cause. The candid Italian saw in his diet the cause of his long life, while the prerequisite to long life, the extraordinary slowness of the metabolic process, small consumption, was the cause of his spare diet. He was not at liberty to eat little or much; his frugality—was not of “free will;” he became sick when he ate more.
From 'The Four Great Errors', The Twilight of the Idols (1888), collected in Thomas Common (trans.), The Works of Friedrich Nietzsche (1896), Vol. 11, 139.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (392)  |  Call (769)  |  Cause (541)  |  Cause And Effect (20)  |  Confound (21)  |  Confounding (8)  |  Consequence (203)  |  Consumption (14)  |  Curiosity (128)  |  Dangerous (105)  |  Diet (54)  |  Eat (104)  |  Effect (393)  |  Error (321)  |  Everybody (70)  |  Extraordinary (79)  |  Free (232)  |  Free Will (15)  |  Happy (105)  |  Intrinsic (18)  |  Italian (12)  |  Know (1518)  |  Life (1795)  |  Little (707)  |  Live (628)  |  Long (790)  |  Metabolism (14)  |  More (2559)  |  Prerequisite (9)  |  Process (423)  |  Read (287)  |  Reason (744)  |  Recommend (24)  |  Saw (160)  |  Sick (81)  |  Slowness (5)  |  Small (477)  |  Virtuous (9)  |  Will (2355)

Bearing in mind that it is from the vitality of the atmospheric particles that all the mischief arises, it appears that all that is requisite is to dress the wound with some material capable of killing these septic germs, provided that any substance can be found reliable for this purpose, yet not too potent as a caustic. In the course of the year 1864 I was much struck with an account of the remarkable effects produced by carbolic acid upon the sewage of the town of Carlisle, the admixture of a very small proportion not only preventing all odour from the lands irrigated with the refuse material, but, as it was stated, destroying the entozoa which usually infest cattle fed upon such pastures.
'On a New Method of Treating Compound Fracture, Abscesses, etc: With Observations on the Conditions of Supperation', Part 1, The Lancet (1867), 327.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Acid (83)  |  All (4108)  |  Antiseptic (8)  |  Arise (158)  |  Capable (168)  |  Cattle (18)  |  Caustic (2)  |  Course (409)  |  Cow (39)  |  Dressing (3)  |  Effect (393)  |  Germ (53)  |  Irrigation (11)  |  Material (353)  |  Microorganism (28)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Particle (194)  |  Potent (12)  |  Produced (187)  |  Proportion (136)  |  Purpose (317)  |  Refuse (42)  |  Sewage (6)  |  Small (477)  |  Substance (248)  |  Treatment (130)  |  Usually (176)  |  Vitality (23)  |  Wound (26)  |  Year (933)

Dissections daily convince us of our ignorance of disease, and cause us to blush at our prescriptions. What mischief have we done under the belief of false facts and false theories! We have assisted in multiplying diseases; we have done more; we have increased their mortality. ... I am pursuing Truth, and am indifferent whither I am led, if she is my only leader.
From a public lecture by Rush. Quoted by Isaac Jennings, in Medical Reform; a Treatise on Man's Physical Being and Disorders (1847), 33.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (578)  |  Cause (541)  |  Convince (41)  |  Daily (87)  |  Disease (328)  |  Dissection (32)  |  Drug (57)  |  Error (321)  |  Fact (1210)  |  Facts (553)  |  Ignorance (240)  |  Leader (43)  |  More (2559)  |  Prescription (18)  |  Pursuing (27)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Whither (11)

His subject is the “Origin of Species,” & not the origin of Organization; & it seems a needless mischief to have opened the latter speculation at all.
In a letter to Fannie Wedgwood (13 Mar 1860), in Harriet Martineau's Letters to Fanny Wedgwood (1983), 189.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Needless (4)  |  Open (274)  |  Organization (114)  |  Origin (239)  |  Origin Of Species (42)  |  Species (401)  |  Speculation (126)  |  Subject (521)

It is often assumed that because the young child is not competent to study geometry systematically he need be taught nothing geometrical; that because it would be foolish to present to him physics and mechanics as sciences it is useless to present to him any physical or mechanical principles.
An error of like origin, which has wrought incalculable mischief, denies to the scholar the use of the symbols and methods of algebra in connection with his early essays in numbers because, forsooth, he is not as yet capable of mastering quadratics! … The whole infant generation, wrestling with arithmetic, seek for a sign and groan and travail together in pain for the want of it; but no sign is given them save the sign of the prophet Jonah, the withered gourd, fruitless endeavor, wasted strength.
From presidential address (9 Sep 1884) to the General Meeting of the American Social Science Association, 'Industrial Education', printed in Journal of Social Science (1885), 19, 121. Collected in Francis Amasa Walker, Discussions in Education (1899), 132.
Science quotes on:  |  Algebra (113)  |  Arithmetic (136)  |  Assume (38)  |  Capable (168)  |  Child (307)  |  Competent (20)  |  Connection (162)  |  Deny (66)  |  Early (185)  |  Endeavor (67)  |  Error (321)  |  Essay (27)  |  Foolish (40)  |  Fruitless (8)  |  Generation (242)  |  Geometry (255)  |  Groan (5)  |  Infant (26)  |  Mastering (11)  |  Mechanic (119)  |  Mechanical (140)  |  Mechanics (131)  |  Method (505)  |  Methods (204)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Number (699)  |  Origin (239)  |  Pain (136)  |  Physic (517)  |  Physical (508)  |  Physics (533)  |  Present (619)  |  Principle (507)  |  Prophet (21)  |  Quadratic (3)  |  Save (118)  |  Scholar (48)  |  Science (3879)  |  Seek (213)  |  Sign (58)  |  Strength (126)  |  Study (653)  |  Symbol (93)  |  Teaching of Mathematics (39)  |  Together (387)  |  Travail (5)  |  Use (766)  |  Want (497)  |  Waste (101)  |  Whole (738)  |  Wrestle (2)  |  Young (227)

It is rigid dogma that destroys truth; and, please notice, my emphasis is not on the dogma, but on the rigidity. When men say of any question, “This is all there is to be known or said of the subject; investigation ends here,” that is death. It may be that the mischief comes not from the thinker but for the use made of his thinking by late-comers. Aristotle, for example, gave us our scientific technique … yet his logical propositions, his instruction in sound reasoning which was bequeathed to Europe, are valid only within the limited framework of formal logic, and, as used in Europe, they stultified the minds of whole generations of mediaeval Schoolmen. Aristotle invented science, but destroyed philosophy.
Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, as recorded by Lucien Price (1954, 2001), 165.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4108)  |  Aristotle (163)  |  Death (388)  |  Destroy (180)  |  Dogma (48)  |  End (590)  |  Framework (31)  |  Generation (242)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Investigation (230)  |  Known (454)  |  Late (118)  |  Limit (280)  |  Limited (101)  |  Logic (287)  |  Mind (1338)  |  Notice (77)  |  Philosophy (380)  |  Please (65)  |  Proposition (123)  |  Question (621)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Rigid (24)  |  Rigidity (5)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3879)  |  Scientific (941)  |  Scientific Method (175)  |  Sound (183)  |  Subject (521)  |  Technique (80)  |  Thinker (39)  |  Thinking (414)  |  Thought (953)  |  Truth (1057)  |  Use (766)  |  Whole (738)

It sometimes strikes me that the whole of science is a piece of impudence; that nature can afford to ignore our impertinent interference. If our monkey mischief should ever reach the point of blowing up the earth by decomposing an atom, and even annihilated the sun himself, I cannot really suppose that the universe would turn a hair.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, ch. 14 (1929, rev 1970).
Science quotes on:  |  Afford (17)  |  Annihilate (9)  |  Atom (355)  |  Blow (44)  |  Blowing (22)  |  Decompose (9)  |  Earth (996)  |  Hair (25)  |  Himself (461)  |  Ignore (45)  |  Impertinent (5)  |  Interference (21)  |  Monkey (52)  |  Nature (1926)  |  Piece (38)  |  Point (580)  |  Reach (281)  |  Really (78)  |  Science (3879)  |  Sometimes (45)  |  Strike (68)  |  Sun (385)  |  Suppose (156)  |  Turn (447)  |  Universe (857)  |  Whole (738)

Money. It has such an inherent power to run itself clear of taint that human ingenuity cannot devise the means of making it work permanent mischief, any more than means can be found of torturing people beyond what they can bear. Even if a man founds a College of Technical Instruction, the chances are ten to one that no one will be taught anything and that it will have been practically left to a number of excellent professors who will know very well what to do with it.
Samuel Butler, Henry Festing Jones (ed.), The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1917), 221.
Science quotes on:  |  Bear (159)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Chance (239)  |  Clear (100)  |  College (66)  |  Devise (14)  |  Do (1908)  |  Excellent (28)  |  Found (11)  |  Human (1468)  |  Ingenuity (39)  |  Inherent (42)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Know (1518)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Making (300)  |  Man (2251)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (579)  |  Money (170)  |  More (2559)  |  Number (699)  |  People (1005)  |  Permanent (64)  |  Power (746)  |  Professor (128)  |  Run (174)  |  Taint (10)  |  Teaching (188)  |  Technical (43)  |  Torture (29)  |  Will (2355)  |  Work (1351)

Oh Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest the mischief done! [Apocryphal]
Purportedly a rebuke to his pet dog, Diamond, which, in Newton's absence, upset a candle and set alight the papers recording much of Newton's work and 'destroyed the almost finished labours of some years'. The only source for this is Thomas Maude, in his poem, Wensley-Dale; or, Rural Contemplation (1780) written a half-century after Newton's death. According to D. Gjertsen, in The Newton Handbook (1986), 177, Maude's story must be regarded as baseless since no corroboration of such a dog's action exists in the writings of Newton's associates at the time.
Science quotes on:  |  Candle (30)  |  Diamond (21)  |  Dog (70)  |  Fire (189)  |  Little (707)  |  Paper (182)  |  Work (1351)

People who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to mischief.
From 'Science and Literature', Pluto’s Republic (1984), 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Obscure (62)  |  People (1005)  |  Unskilled (4)  |  Write (230)  |  Writing (189)

Science is one thing, wisdom is another. Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers. If you look at the results which science has brought in its train, you will find them to consist almost wholly in elements of mischief. See how much belongs to the word “Explosion” alone, of which the ancients knew nothing.
Written for fictional character, the Rev. Dr. Opimian, in Gryll Grange (1861), collected in Sir Henry Cole (ed.) The Works of Thomas Love Peacock(1875), Vol. 2, 380. (An incorrect citation is found in Robert L. Weber, More Random Walks in Science (1982), 48. Weber attributes to Arthur Eddington in 'The Decline of Determinism.' Webmaster checked an article by this name in Mathematical Gazette (May 1932) but found nothing resembling the quote therein.)
Science quotes on:  |  Alone (311)  |  Ancient (189)  |  Belong (162)  |  Children (200)  |  Consist (223)  |  Cut (114)  |  Element (310)  |  Explosion (44)  |  Find (998)  |  Look (582)  |  Nothing (966)  |  Result (677)  |  Science (3879)  |  See (1081)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Tool (117)  |  Train (114)  |  Wholly (88)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wisdom (221)  |  Word (619)

THE OATH. I swear by Apollo [the healing God], the physician and Aesclepius [son of Apollo], and Health [Hygeia], and All-heal [Panacea], and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation—to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others. I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional practice or not, in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot!
The Genuine Works of Hippocrates, trans. Francis Adams (1886), Vol. 2, 344-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Ability (152)  |  Abortion (4)  |  Abroad (18)  |  Abstain (7)  |  According (237)  |  Act (272)  |  All (4108)  |  Art (657)  |  Ask (411)  |  Benefit (114)  |  Bound (119)  |  Brother (43)  |  Connection (162)  |  Consider (416)  |  Continue (165)  |  Corruption (15)  |  Counsel (11)  |  Cut (114)  |  Deadly (21)  |  Enter (141)  |  Equally (130)  |  Female (50)  |  Follow (378)  |  God (757)  |  Grant (73)  |  Healing (25)  |  Health (193)  |  Hear (139)  |  Holiness (6)  |  House (140)  |  Impart (23)  |  Instruction (91)  |  Judgment (132)  |  Knowledge (1529)  |  Law (894)  |  Learn (629)  |  Lecture (105)  |  Life (1795)  |  Look (582)  |  Lot (151)  |  Medicine (378)  |  Mischievous (11)  |  Oath (10)  |  Offspring (27)  |  Other (2236)  |  Parent (76)  |  Pass (238)  |  Patient (199)  |  Person (363)  |  Physician (273)  |  Practice (204)  |  Practitioner (20)  |  Precept (10)  |  Professional (70)  |  Reckon (31)  |  Reckoning (19)  |  Required (108)  |  Respect (207)  |  Reverse (33)  |  Secret (194)  |  Seduction (3)  |  See (1081)  |  Share (75)  |  Sick (81)  |  Slave (37)  |  Stone (162)  |  Substance (248)  |  Swear (6)  |  System (537)  |  Teach (277)  |  Teacher (143)  |  Time (1877)  |  Trespass (5)  |  Whatever (234)  |  Will (2355)  |  Wish (212)  |  Woman (151)  |  Work (1351)

[The principle, in building a sewer system, was] ...of diverting the cause of the mischief to a locality where it can do no mischief.
Quoted in George Drysdale Dempsey and Daniel Kinnear Clark, On the Drainage of Lands, Towns, & Buildings (1887), 246.
Science quotes on:  |  Building (156)  |  Cause (541)  |  Diversion (10)  |  Do (1908)  |  Engineering (175)  |  Principle (507)  |  Sewer (5)  |  System (537)


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.