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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index T > Category: Tell

Tell Quotes (21 quotes)

Dogbert: Scientists have discovered the gene that makes some people love golf.
Dilbert: How can they tell it's the golf gene?
Dogbert: It's plaid and it lies.
Dilbert comic strip (28 Oct 1989).
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (496)  |  Gene (59)  |  Golf (2)  |  Lie (31)  |  Love (97)  |  Make (21)  |  People (90)  |  Scientist (332)

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
'The Fly' (1942), Good Intentions (1943), 220.
Science quotes on:  |  Fly (47)  |  Forget (16)  |  God (288)  |  Wisdom (119)

Hubris is the greatest danger that accompanies formal data analysis, including formalized statistical analysis. The feeling of “Give me (or more likely even, give my assistant) the data, and I will tell you what the real answer is!” is one we must all fight against again and again, and yet again.
In 'Sunset Salvo', The American Statistician (Feb 1986), 40, No. 1, 75.
Science quotes on:  |  Accompany (13)  |  Analysis (105)  |  Answer (135)  |  Assistant (3)  |  Danger (48)  |  Data (78)  |  Feeling (70)  |  Fight (15)  |  Formal (6)  |  Greatest (46)  |  Hubris (2)  |  Real (52)

I can't tell you if genius is hereditary, because heaven has granted me no offspring.
In Patricia Harris and David Lyon, 1001 Greatest Things Ever Said About Massachusetts (2007), 381
Science quotes on:  |  Genius (146)  |  Grant (11)  |  Heaven (89)  |  Hereditary (2)  |  Offspring (11)

Most pilots learn, when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don’t do, you don’t believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (25)  |  Anybody (5)  |  Belief (234)  |  Especially (9)  |  Fighter (2)  |  Learn (57)  |  Pilot (7)  |  Pin (4)  |  Wing (26)

Never ask me what I have said or what I have written; but if you will ask what my present opinions are, I will tell you.
As quoted by Drewry Ottley, 'The Life of John Hunter', in James Frederick Palmer (ed.), The Works of John Hunter (1835), Vol. 1, 48.
Science quotes on:  |  Ask (42)  |  Never (22)  |  Opinion (108)  |  Present (68)  |  Writing (71)

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
War as I Knew It (1947, 1995) 357.
Science quotes on:  |  How (3)  |  Ingenuity (23)  |  Never (22)  |  People (90)  |  Surprise (29)  |  What (2)

Oh, don't tell me of facts, I never believe facts; you know, [George] Canning said nothing was so fallacious as facts, except figures.
Lady Saba Holland, A Memoir of The Reverend Sydney Smith (1854), 253.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (234)  |  Fact (448)  |  Fallacy (15)  |  Figure (20)

Parkinson's Law is a purely scientific discovery, inapplicable except in theory to the politics of the day. It is not the business of the botanist to eradicate the weeds. Enough for him if he can tell us just how fast they grow.
Parkinson's Law or the Pursuit of Progress (1958), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Botanist (14)  |  Business (42)  |  Discovery (496)  |  Enough (6)  |  Eradication (2)  |  Growth (92)  |  Law (343)  |  Parkinson’s Law (4)  |  Research (413)  |  Sufficiency (13)  |  Theory (469)  |  Weed (10)

That one must do some work seriously and must be independent and not merely amuse oneself in life—this our mother [Marie Curie] has told us always, but never that science was the only career worth following.
As quoted by Mary Margaret McBride in A Long Way From Missouri (1959), 123.
Science quotes on:  |  Amusement (18)  |  Career (40)  |  Independence (23)  |  Life (642)  |  Merely (16)  |  Mother (41)  |  Science (1194)  |  Serious (23)  |  Work (303)

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
In Thoughts of a Christian Optimist: The Words of William Arthur Ward (1968), 16
Science quotes on:  |  Demonstrate (13)  |  Explain (22)  |  Good (134)  |  Great (127)  |  Inspire (11)  |  Mediocre (3)  |  Superior (22)  |  Teacher (72)

The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.
[Answer to question: What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?”]
'Stephen Hawking: "There is no heaven; it's a fairy story"', interview in newspaper The Guardian (15 May 2011).
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (27)  |  Assignment (10)  |  Charles Darwin (243)  |  Directly (6)  |  Effective (11)  |  Equation (59)  |  Governing (4)  |  Higher (24)  |  Likely (6)  |  Natural Selection (62)  |  Need (106)  |  Science (1194)  |  Society (126)  |  Solution (138)  |  Survival (38)  |  Theory (469)  |  Universe (374)  |  Use (70)  |  Value (102)

There was no point in telling your bosses everything; they were busy men, they didn’t want explanations. There was no point in burdening them. What they wanted was little stories that they felt they could understand, and then they’d go away and stop worrying.
In Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld (2014), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Burden (15)  |  Explanation (133)  |  Point (38)  |  Story (32)  |  Understand (42)  |  Worry (14)

To have a railroad, there must have been first the discoverers, who found out the properties of wood and iron, fire and water, and their latent power to carry men over the earth; next the organizers, who put these elements together, surveyed the route, planned the structure, set men to grade the hill, to fill the valley, and pave the road with iron bars; and then the administrators, who after all that is done, procure the engines, engineers, conductors, ticket-distributors, and the rest of the “hands;” they buy the coal and see it is not wasted, fix the rates of fare, calculate the savings, and distribute the dividends. The discoverers and organizers often fare hard in the world, lean men, ill-clad and suspected, often laughed at, while the administrator is thought the greater man, because he rides over their graves and pays the dividends, where the organizer only called for the assessments, and the discoverer told what men called a dream. What happens in a railroad happens also in a Church, or a State.
Address at the Melodeon, Boston (5 Mar 1848), 'A Discourse occasioned by the Death of John Quincy Adams'. Collected in Discourses of Politics: The Collected Works of Theodore Parker: Part 4 (1863), 139. Note: Ralph Waldo Emerson earlier used the phrase “pave the road with iron bars,” in Nature (1836), 17.
Science quotes on:  |  Administrator (5)  |  Bar (3)  |  Buy (11)  |  Calculate (11)  |  Church (19)  |  Coal (34)  |  Conductor (8)  |  Discoverer (7)  |  Dividend (2)  |  Dream (55)  |  Element (94)  |  Engine (22)  |  Engineer (57)  |  Fare (2)  |  Fill (17)  |  Fire (87)  |  Fix (6)  |  Grade (5)  |  Grave (11)  |  Hand (61)  |  Hill (16)  |  Iron (49)  |  Latent (7)  |  Pave (2)  |  Pay (17)  |  Plan (54)  |  Power (173)  |  Property (71)  |  Railroad (10)  |  Rate (15)  |  Road (30)  |  Route (5)  |  Saving (17)  |  State (55)  |  Structure (145)  |  Survey (12)  |  Ticket (2)  |  Valley (13)  |  Waste (42)  |  Water (187)  |  Wood (23)

We make a lot of mistakes in the environmental space. … We don't do a good-enough job of asking, “What are the fundamentals of telling a good story?” And that is not statistics, it's usually not science, or at least complex science. It's people stories. … It’s got to have adventure, it’s got to be funny, it’s got to pull my heart strings, it’s got to have conflict, setting, character. It’s a story. And if it doesn’t have those things, it can be the best-meaning story in the world, and nobody's going to buy it.
From interview with Dan Conover, 'A Conversation with Philippe Cousteau Jr.', Charleston City Paper (27 Jul 2012).
Science quotes on:  |  Adventure (28)  |  Buy (11)  |  Complex (33)  |  Conflict (34)  |  Environment (109)  |  Fundamental (83)  |  Funny (6)  |  Heart (76)  |  Mistake (57)  |  Nobody (24)  |  People (90)  |  Pull (3)  |  Science (1194)  |  Setting (6)  |  Statistics (111)  |  Story (32)  |  String (13)

We scientists are clever—too clever—are you not satisfied? Is four square miles in one bomb not enough? Men are still thinking. Just tell us how big you want it!
As quoted in James Gleick, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (1992), 204.
Science quotes on:  |  Atomic Bomb (94)  |  Big (15)  |  Clever (9)  |  Mile (17)  |  Satisfaction (42)  |  Scientist (332)  |  Thinking (210)  |  Want (66)

You can always tell the pioneers because they are face down in the mud with arrows in their backs.
Anonymous
Seen in various paraphrases, such as $ldquo;in the dirt”.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrow (11)  |  Back (30)  |  Dirt (6)  |  Face (39)  |  Mud (13)  |  Pioneer (16)

[In childhood, to overcome fear, the] need took me back again and again to a sycamore tree rising from the earth at the edge of a ravine. It was a big, old tree that had grown out over the ravine, so that when you climbed it, you looked straight down fifty feet or more. Every time I climbed that tree, I forced myself to climb to the last possible safe limb and then look down. Every time I did it, I told myself I’d never do it again. But I kept going back because it scared me and I had to know I could overcome that.
In John Glenn and Nick Taylor, John Glenn: A Memoir (2000), 16.
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[Like people] if you torture statistics long enough, they'll tell you anything you want to hear.
Anonymous
In Erica Beecher-Monas, Evaluating Scientific Evidence (2007), 63.
Science quotes on:  |  Hear (9)  |  Quip (72)  |  Statistics (111)  |  Torture (9)

[On why are numbers beautiful?] It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don’t see why, someone can’t tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren’t beautiful, nothing is.
As quoted in Paul Hoffman, The Man who Loves Only Numbers (1998), 44.
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[Rochelle Esposito] said that she didn’t normally interfere, but wanted to tell me that it was really risky to switch organisms before getting tenure.
Recollection in her own words, as quoted in Anna Azvolinsky, 'Fearless About Folding', The Scientist (Jan 2016).
Science quotes on:  |  Advice (28)  |  Interfere (5)  |  Normal (16)  |  Organism (95)  |  Risk (22)  |  Switch (7)  |  Tenure (4)


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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