Celebrating 18 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Nature does nothing in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index R > Category: Rat

Rat Quotes (19 quotes)

...[T]he natural history of the rat is tragically similar to that of man ... some of the more obvious qualities in which rats resemble men — ferocity, omnivorousness, and adaptability to all climates ... the irresponsible fecundity with which both species breed at all seasons of the year with a heedlessness of consequences, which subjects them to wholesale disaster on the inevitable, occasional failure of the food supply.... [G]radually, these two have spread across the earth, keeping pace with each other and unable to destroy each other, though continually hostile. They have wandered from East to West, driven by their physical needs, and — unlike any other species of living things — have made war upon their own kind. The gradual, relentless, progressive extermination of the black rat by the brown has no parallel in nature so close as that of the similar extermination of one race of man by another...
Rats, Lice and History(1935)
Science quotes on:  |  Man (348)

Adam is fading out. It is on account of Darwin and that crowd. I can see that he is not going to last much longer. There's a plenty of signs. He is getting belittled to a germ—a little bit of a speck that you can't see without a microscope powerful enough to raise a gnat to the size of a church. They take that speck and breed from it: first a flea; then a fly, then a bug, then cross these and get a fish, then a raft of fishes, all kinds, then cross the whole lot and get a reptile, then work up the reptiles till you've got a supply of lizards and spiders and toads and alligators and Congressmen and so on, then cross the entire lot again and get a plant of amphibiums, which are half-breeds and do business both wet and dry, such as turtles and frogs and ornithorhyncuses and so on, and cross-up again and get a mongrel bird, sired by a snake and dam'd by a bat, resulting in a pterodactyl, then they develop him, and water his stock till they've got the air filled with a million things that wear feathers, then they cross-up all the accumulated animal life to date and fetch out a mammal, and start-in diluting again till there's cows and tigers and rats and elephants and monkeys and everything you want down to the Missing Link, and out of him and a mermaid they propagate Man, and there you are! Everything ship-shape and finished-up, and nothing to do but lay low and wait and see if it was worth the time and expense.
'The Refuge of the Derelicts' collected in Mark Twain and John Sutton Tuckey, The Devil's Race-Track: Mark Twain's Great Dark Writings (1980), 340-41. - 1980
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulation (29)  |  Adam (6)  |  Amphibian (6)  |  Animal (325)  |  Bat (8)  |  Bird (108)  |  Bug (10)  |  Cow (27)  |  Charles Darwin (286)  |  Elephant (17)  |  Evolution (500)  |  Expense (11)  |  Feather (10)  |  Fish (87)  |  Flea (8)  |  Fly (91)  |  Frog (31)  |  Germ (27)  |  Gnat (6)  |  Life (993)  |  Lizard (5)  |  Mammal (30)  |  Man (348)  |  Mermaid (3)  |  Microscope (69)  |  Missing Link (4)  |  Monkey (38)  |  Pterodactyl (2)  |  Reptile (24)  |  Snake (15)  |  Spider (8)  |  Tiger (4)  |  Time (491)  |  Toad (7)  |  Turtle (7)  |  Wait (50)  |  Worth (83)

Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes.
Essay, 'On Being the Right Size', collected in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays (1927, 1945), 19. (Note: Christian appears in John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, in which Pope, Pagan and Despair are giants — Webmaster.)
Science quotes on:  |  Bottom (30)  |  Broken (10)  |  John Bunyan (4)  |  Despair (25)  |  Drop (30)  |  Giant (36)  |  Gravity (91)  |  Ground (66)  |  Horse (40)  |  Kill (41)  |  Man (348)  |  Mouse (24)  |  Shaft (3)  |  Shock (12)  |  Soft (14)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Walk (64)

His [Marvin Minsky’s] basic interest seemed to be in the workings of the human mind and in making machine models of the mind. Indeed, about that time he and a friend made one of the first electronic machines that could actually teach itself to do something interesting. It monitored electronic “rats” that learned to run mazes. It was being financed by the Navy. On one notable occasion, I remember descending to the basement of Memorial Hall, while Minsky worked on it. It had an illuminated display panel that enabled one to follow the progress of the “rats.” Near the machine was a hamster in a cage. When the machine blinked, the hamster would run around its cage happily. Minsky, with his characteristic elfin grin, remarked that on a previous day the Navy contract officer had been down to see the machine. Noting the man’s interest in the hamster, Minsky had told him laconically, “The next one we build will look like a bird.”
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (108)  |  Display (22)  |  Electronic (10)  |  Human Mind (53)  |  Machine (136)  |  Maze (9)  |  Marvin Minsky (9)  |  Model (65)  |  Navy (9)

I can conceive few human states more enviable than that of the man to whom, panting in the foul laboratory, or watching for his life under the tropic forest, Isis shall for a moment lift her sacred veil, and show him, once and for ever, the thing he dreamed not of; some law, or even mere hint of a law, explaining one fact; but explaining with it a thousand more, connecting them all with each other and with the mighty whole, till order and meaning shoots through some old Chaos of scattered observations.
Health and Education (1874), 289.
Science quotes on:  |  Deer (6)  |  Microscope (69)  |  Mouse (24)  |  Paramecium (2)

I don’t like rats but there’s not much else I don’t like. The problem with rats is they have no fear of human beings, they’re loaded with foul diseases, they would run the place given half the chance…
Interview by Simon Gage in 'David Attenborough: I’m not an animal lover', Metro (29 Jan 2013, London).
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (261)  |  Fear (124)  |  Like (18)  |  Problem (382)

John B. Watson quote: I would rather see the behavior of one white rat observed carefully from the moment of birth until death t
I would rather see the behavior of one white rat observed carefully from the moment of birth until death than to see a large volume of accurate statistical data on how 2,000 rats learned to open a puzzle box.
Introduction to G. V. Hamilton and Kenneth Macgowan, What Is Wrong with Marriage? (1929), xx.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Behavior (54)  |  Birth (87)  |  Box (8)  |  Careful (14)  |  Data (103)  |  Death (277)  |  Learned (20)  |  Observed (5)  |  Open (48)  |  Statistics (127)

If this [human kind’s extinction] happens I venture to hope that we shall not have destroyed the rat, an animal of considerable enterprise which stands as good a chance as any … of evolving toward intelligence.
In The Inequality of Man: And Other Essays (1937), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Animal (325)  |  Destroy (66)  |  Enterprise (22)  |  Evolution (500)  |  Extinction (59)  |  Hope (146)  |  Human (472)  |  Intelligence (144)

If you confine yourself to this Skinnerian technique, you study nothing but the learning apparatus and you leave out everything that is different in octopi, crustaceans, insects and vertebrates. In other words, you leave out everything that makes a pigeon a pigeon, a rat a rat, a man a man, and, above all, a healthy man healthy and a sick man sick.
'Some Psychological Concepts and Issues. A Discussion between Konrad Lorenz and Richard I Evans'. In Richard I. Evans, Konrad Lorenz: The Man and his Ideas (1975), 60.
Science quotes on:  |  Crustacean (2)  |  Difference (214)  |  Health (141)  |  Insect (60)  |  Learning (174)  |  Man (348)  |  Octopus (2)  |  Pidgeon (2)  |  Sickness (21)  |  Study (349)  |  Vertebrate (16)

John Muir quote Indians walk softly
Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park (source)
Indians walk softly and hurt the landscape hardly more than the birds and squirrels, and their brush and bark huts last hardly longer than those of wood rats, while their more enduring monuments, excepting those wrought on the forests by the fires they made to improve their hunting grounds, vanish in a few centuries.
John Muir
In My First Summer in the Sierra (1911), 73. Based on Muir’s original journals and sketches of his 1869 stay in the Sierra.
Science quotes on:  |  Bark (4)  |  Bird (108)  |  Brush (5)  |  Century (103)  |  Deforestation (39)  |  Endurance (4)  |  Environment (152)  |  Fire (125)  |  Forest (95)  |  Hunt (13)  |  Hurt (11)  |  Hut (2)  |  Improvement (67)  |  Indian (18)  |  Landscape (25)  |  Last (19)  |  Monument (20)  |  Softly (6)  |  Squirrel (7)  |  Vanishing (8)  |  Walk (64)

Intelligence is a valuable thing, but it is not usually the key to survival. Sheer fecundity ... usually counts. The intelligent gorilla doesn't do as well as the less intelligent but more-fecund rat, which doesn't do as well as the still-less-intelligent but still-more-fecund cockroach, which doesn't do as well as the minimally-intelligent but maximally-fecund bacterium.
'Fifty Million Big Brothers'. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Nov 1978), 55, No. 5, 93.
Science quotes on:  |  Bacteria (32)  |  Cockroach (6)  |  Gorilla (16)  |  Intelligence (144)  |  Survival (52)

The argument of the ‘long view’ may be correct in some meaninglessly abstract sense, but it represents a fundamental mistake in categories and time scales. Our only legitimate long view extends to our children and our children’s children’s children–hundreds or a few thousands of years down the road. If we let the slaughter continue, they will share a bleak world with rats, dogs, cockroaches, pigeons, and mosquitoes. A potential recovery millions of years later has no meaning at our appropriate scale.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (45)  |  Appropriate (19)  |  Argument (60)  |  Bleak (2)  |  Category (10)  |  Child (208)  |  Cockroach (6)  |  Continue (45)  |  Correct (56)  |  Dog (42)  |  Down (73)  |  Extend (27)  |  Fundamental (124)  |  Hundreds (6)  |  Late (36)  |  Legitimate (8)  |  Let (47)  |  Long (125)  |  Mean (76)  |  Millions (16)  |  Mistake (114)  |  Pigeon (4)  |  Potential (35)  |  Recovery (18)  |  Represent (28)  |  Road (53)  |  Scale (52)  |  Sense (258)  |  Share (36)  |  Slaughter (6)  |  Thousand (123)  |  Time (491)  |  View (131)  |  World (746)  |  Year (240)

The growth curves of the famous Hopkins' rats are familiar to anyone who has ever opened a textbook of physiology. One recalls the proud ascendant curve of the milk-fed group which suddenly turns downwards as the milk supplement is removed, and the waning curve of the other group taking its sudden milk-assisted upward spring, until it passes its fellow now abruptly on the decline. 'Feeding experiments illustrating the importance of accessory factors in normal dietaries', Jour. Physiol., 1912, xliv, 425, ranks aesthetically beside the best stories of H. G. Wells.
Vitamins and Other Dietary Essentials (1933), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Diet (42)  |  Food (143)  |  Growth (115)  |  Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (11)  |  Milk (12)

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit, watch the roots; the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant the fruits.
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Elephant (17)  |  Fox (8)  |  Fruit (65)  |  Horse (40)  |  Lion (15)  |  Mouse (24)  |  Rabbit (6)  |  Root (48)  |  Tiger (4)  |  Watch (52)

The research rat of the future allows experimentation without manipulation of the real world. This is the cutting edge of modeling technology.
Science quotes on:  |  Allow (32)  |  Cut (36)  |  Edge (20)  |  Experimentation (6)  |  Future (256)  |  Manipulation (9)  |  Modeling (2)  |  Real World (8)  |  Research (530)  |  Technology (205)

There is a huge disconnect. Those living in the most urbanised areas don’t see a wild thing from one day to the next—unless it’s a pigeon or a rat. If you lose the connection with nature, you lose a source of great pleasure.
Lamenting Britain’s urbanized population is increasingly separated from the natural world. As reported by Adam Lusher in 'Sir David Attenborough', Daily Mail (28 Feb 2014).
Science quotes on:  |  Connection (87)  |  Disconnect (2)  |  Huge (19)  |  Lose (73)  |  Nature (1081)  |  Pigeon (4)  |  Pleasure (106)  |  Source (75)  |  Suburb (5)  |  Urban (7)  |  Wild (44)

There is more to biology than rats, Drosophila, Caenorhabditis, and E. coli.
Concluding remarks in Foreword written by Mayr for Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species (2003), xiv.
Science quotes on:  |  Biology (158)  |  Drosphilia (3)

We starve the rats, creosote the ticks, swat the flies, step on the cockroaches and poison the scales. Yet when these pests appear in human form we go paralytic.
Science quotes on:  |  Cockroach (6)  |  Fly (91)  |  Human (472)  |  Poison (33)  |  Starvation (11)  |  Tick (5)

You are literally filled with the fruit of your own devices, with rats and mice and such small deer, paramecia, and entomostraceæ, and kicking things with horrid names, which you see in microscopes at the Polytechnic, and rush home and call for brandy—without the water—stone, and gravel, and dyspepsia, and fragments of your own muscular tissue tinged with your own bile.
'The Water Supply of London', North British Review (1851), 15, 246
Science quotes on:  |  Bile (3)  |  Dyspepsia (2)  |  Microscope (69)  |  Mouse (24)  |  Muscle (34)  |  Paramecium (2)  |  Tissue (25)

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 EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (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
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
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
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
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
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
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.