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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “We are here to celebrate the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome. Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index V > Category: Vague

Vague Quotes (10 quotes)

Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.
In 'The Future of Data Analysis', Annals of Mathematical Statistics (1962), 33, No. 1, 13-14.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (201)  |  Approximate (3)  |  Better (131)  |  Exact (38)  |  Precise (17)  |  Question (315)  |  Right (144)  |  Wrong (116)

Germs of a theory, though in their present condition they are vague and formless … may be said to resemble stones in the quarry, rough and unhewn, but which may some time become corner-stones, columns, and entablatures in the future edifice.
In Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah (1880), 114.
Science quotes on:  |  Column (10)  |  Cornerstone (3)  |  Edifice (13)  |  Formless (3)  |  Future (229)  |  Hypothesis (227)  |  Quarry (10)  |  Resemble (16)  |  Rough (5)  |  Stone (57)  |  Theory (582)

I never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one. When people talked about the fall of man, they knew they were talking about a mystery, a thing they didn’t understand. Now they talk about the survival of the fittest: they think they do understand it, whereas they have not merely no notion, they have an elaborately false notion of what the words mean.
In The Club of Queer Trades (1903, 1905), 241.
Science quotes on:  |  Complaint (7)  |  Elaborate (13)  |  Eminence (11)  |  False (79)  |  Man Of Science (27)  |  Mystery (125)  |  Nasty (6)  |  New (340)  |  Notion (32)  |  Philosophy (213)  |  Popular (21)  |  Religion (210)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Supposition (33)  |  Survival Of The Fittest (34)  |  Talk (61)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Uncommon (7)  |  Understanding (317)

I would like to be rather more special, and I would like to be understood in an honest way rather than in a vague way.
In The Character of Physical Law (1965, 2001), 13.
Science quotes on:  |  Honest (26)  |  Special (51)  |  Understood (9)  |  Way (36)

In reality the origin of the notion of derivatives is in the vague feeling of the mobility of things, and of the greater or less speed with which phenomena take place; this is well expressed by the terms fluent and fluxion, which were used by Newton and which we may believe were borrowed from the ancient mathematician Heraclitus.
From address to the section of Algebra and Analysis, International Congress of Arts and Sciences, St. Louis (22 Sep 1904), 'On the Development of Mathematical Analysis and its Relation to Certain Other Sciences,' as translated by M.W. Haskell in Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society (May 1905), 11, 407.
Science quotes on:  |  Derivative (4)  |  Express (32)  |  Feeling (79)  |  Fluent (2)  |  Fluxion (3)  |  Heraclitus (14)  |  Mathematician (177)  |  Mobility (5)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Nomenclature (129)  |  Origin (77)  |  Phenomenon (218)  |  Speed (27)  |  Term (87)

No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form. The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking.
Seen, for example, in The Grain and Feed Review (1931), 21, 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Changing (6)  |  Concrete (21)  |  Difficulty (113)  |  Element (129)  |  Essential (87)  |  Form (210)  |  Problem (362)  |  Reduction (35)  |  Simple (111)  |  Solution (168)  |  Specific (30)  |  Thinking (222)

Tactics used by many practitioners of pseudoscience: make a large number of vaguely scientific arguments in the hope of making the desired conclusion seem inevitable. It is essential to recognize that a disconnected assemblage of weak arguments does not create a single, strong scientific argument.
Co-author with Matt Ford, Chris Lee and Jonathan Gitlin, in 'Diluting the Scientific Method: Ars Looks at Homeopathy' (11 Sep 2007) on arstechnica.com web site.
Science quotes on:  |  Argument (59)  |  Assemblage (6)  |  Conclusion (120)  |  Create (98)  |  Desired (5)  |  Disconnect (2)  |  Essential (87)  |  Hope (129)  |  Inevitable (17)  |  Practitioner (12)  |  Pseudoscience (7)  |  Recognize (41)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Single (72)  |  Strong (47)  |  Tactic (6)

The observer is not he who merely sees the thing which is before his eyes, but he who sees what parts the thing is composed of. To do this well is a rare talent. One person, from inattention, or attending only in the wrong place, overlooks half of what he sees; another sets down much more than he sees, confounding it with what he imagines, or with what he infers; another takes note of the kind of all the circumstances, but being inexpert in estimating their degree, leaves the quantity of each vague and uncertain; another sees indeed the whole, but makes such an awkward division of it into parts, throwing into one mass things which require to be separated, and separating others which might more conveniently be considered as one, that the result is much the same, sometimes even worse than if no analysis had been attempted at all.
In A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive (1858), 216.
Science quotes on:  |  Analysis (123)  |  Attempt (94)  |  Attend (9)  |  Awkward (6)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Composed (3)  |  Confound (9)  |  Consider (45)  |  Convenience (25)  |  Degree (48)  |  Division (27)  |  Estimate (19)  |  Eye (159)  |  Half (35)  |  Imagine (40)  |  Inattention (3)  |  Infer (10)  |  Kind (99)  |  Mass (61)  |  Merely (35)  |  Note (22)  |  Observation (418)  |  Observer (33)  |  Overlook (8)  |  Part (146)  |  Person (114)  |  Place (111)  |  Quantity (35)  |  Rare (31)  |  Require (33)  |  Result (250)  |  See (197)  |  Separate (46)  |  Talent (49)  |  Uncertain (11)  |  Whole (122)  |  Worse (17)  |  Wrong (116)

The sciences are like a beautiful river, of which the course is easy to follow, when it has acquired a certain regularity; but if one wants to go back to the source, one will find it nowhere, because it is everywhere; it is spread so much [as to be] over all the surface of the earth; it is the same if one wants to go back to the origin of the sciences, one will find only obscurity, vague ideas, vicious circles; and one loses oneself in the primitive ideas.
In Essai sur les machines en gιnιral (1783), conclusion, as translated in Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Convolutions in French Mathematics, 1800-1840 (1990), Vol. 1, 32.
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (81)  |  Course (57)  |  Earth (487)  |  Easy (56)  |  Everywhere (14)  |  Find (248)  |  Follow (66)  |  Idea (440)  |  Lose (53)  |  Nowhere (19)  |  Obscurity (18)  |  Origin (77)  |  Primitive (37)  |  Regularity (24)  |  River (68)  |  Science (1699)  |  Source (71)  |  Spread (19)  |  Surface (74)

Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science? ... No other human institution comes close.
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997), 30.
Science quotes on:  |  Accuracy (52)  |  Belief (400)  |  Prophecy (6)  |  Reliability (14)  |  Religion (210)


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.