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Who said: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index S > Category: Scrutiny

Scrutiny Quotes (13 quotes)

At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997), 304.
Science quotes on:  |  Attitude (47)  |  Balance (43)  |  Contradiction (44)  |  Idea (440)  |  Nonsense (32)  |  Scepticism (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Truth (750)

In science it is no crime to be wrong, unless you are (inappropriately) laying claim to truth. What matters is that science as a whole is a self-correcting mechanism in which both new and old notions are constantly under scrutiny. In other words, the edifice of scientific knowledge consists simply of a body of observations and ideas that have (so far) proven resistant to attack, and that are thus accepted as working hypotheses about nature.
In The Monkey in the Mirror: Essays on the Science of What Makes Us Human (2003), 9.
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It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.
In 'The Burden of Skepticism', Skeptical Inquirer (Fall 1987), 12, No. 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Balance (43)  |  Conflicting (3)  |  Distinguish (32)  |  Exquisite (12)  |  Gullibility (2)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Idea (440)  |  Need (211)  |  New (340)  |  On The Other Hand (16)  |  Openness (5)  |  Sense (240)  |  Skeptical (6)  |  Useful (66)  |  Worthless (15)

Most impediments to scientific understanding are conceptual locks, not factual lacks. Most difficult to dislodge are those biases that escape our scrutiny because they seem so obviously, even ineluctably, just. We know ourselves best and tend to view other creatures as mirrors of our own constitution and social arrangements. (Aristotle, and nearly two millennia of successors, designated the large bee that leads the swarm as a king.)
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Phony psychics like Uri Geller have had particular success in bamboozling scientists with ordinary stage magic, because only scientists are arrogant enough to think that they always observe with rigorous and objective scrutiny, and therefore could never be so fooled–while ordinary mortals know perfectly well that good performers can always find a way to trick people.
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Science is often regarded as the most objective and truth-directed of human enterprises, and since direct observation is supposed to be the favored route to factuality, many people equate respectable science with visual scrutiny–just the facts ma’am, and palpably before my eyes. But science is a battery of observational and inferential methods, all directed to the testing of propositions that can, in principle, be definitely proven false ... At all scales, from smallest to largest, quickest to slowest, many well-documented conclusions of science lie beyond the strictly limited domain of direct observation. No one has ever seen an electron or a black hole, the events of a picosecond or a geological eon.
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Scientists [still] refuse to consider man as an object of scientific scrutiny except through his body. The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 36. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
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Some ideas are better than others. The machinery for distinguishing them is an essential tool in dealing with the world and especially in dealing with the future. And it is precisely the mix of these two modes of thought [skeptical scrutiny and openness to new ideas] that is central to the success of science.
In 'The Burden of Skepticism', Skeptical Inquirer (Fall 1987), 12, No. 1.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (131)  |  Distinguish (32)  |  Essential (87)  |  Future (229)  |  Idea (440)  |  Machinery (25)  |  Mix (13)  |  New (340)  |  Openness (5)  |  Science (1699)  |  Skepticism (18)  |  Success (202)  |  Thought (374)  |  Tool (70)

The methods of science aren’t foolproof, but they are indefinitely perfectible. Just as important: there is a tradition of criticism that enforces improvement whenever and wherever flaws are discovered. The methods of science, like everything else under the sun, are themselves objects of scientific scrutiny, as method becomes methodology, the analysis of methods. Methodology in turn falls under the gaze of epistemology, the investigation of investigation itself—nothing is off limits to scientific questioning. The irony is that these fruits of scientific reflection, showing us the ineliminable smudges of imperfection, are sometimes used by those who are suspicious of science as their grounds for denying it a privileged status in the truth-seeking department—as if the institutions and practices they see competing with it were no worse off in these regards. But where are the examples of religious orthodoxy being simply abandoned in the face of irresistible evidence? Again and again in science, yesterday’s heresies have become today’s new orthodoxies. No religion exhibits that pattern in its history.
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The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best—and therefore never scrutinize or question.
Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin (1997), 57.
Science quotes on:  |  Enquiry (75)  |  Error (230)

There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s perfectly all right; they’re the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.
Quoted in Donald R. Prothero and Carl Dennis Buell, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters (2007), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Aperture (4)  |  Correction (28)  |  Evidence (157)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Idea (440)  |  Truth (750)  |  Wrong (116)

You should look at the entire Bible as a whole rather then narrowly, if you can, under close scrutiny and with juxtaposition of passages
James Dye
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Science quotes on:  |  Bible (83)  |  Close (40)  |  Entire (29)  |  Juxtaposition (2)  |  Narrowly (4)  |  Passage (14)  |  Whole (122)


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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Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
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- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
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Euclid
Ralph Emerson
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Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
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Bible
Thomas Huxley
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Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
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- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
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Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
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Karl Popper
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- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
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- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
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- 30 -
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Richard Feynman
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- 20 -
Carl Sagan
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- 10 -
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