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

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index V > Category: Vagueness

Vagueness Quotes (8 quotes)

Evolution ... is really two theories, the vague theory and the precise theory. The vague theory has been abundantly proved.... The precise theory has never been proved at all. However, like relativity, it is accepted on faith.... On getting down to actual details, difficulties begin.
In Science is a Sacred Cow (1950), 101 & 103.
Science quotes on:  |  Abundance (15)  |  Accept (48)  |  Detail (68)  |  Difficulty (117)  |  Evolution (500)  |  Precision (39)  |  Proof (192)  |  Relativity (51)  |  Theory (585)

Geologists have usually had recourse for the explanation of these changes to the supposition of sundry violent and extraordinary catastrophes, cataclysms, or general revolutions having occurred in the physical state of the earth's surface.
As the idea imparted by the term Cataclysm, Catastrophe, or Revolution, is extremely vague, and may comprehend any thing you choose to imagine, it answers for the time very well as an explanation; that is, it stops further inquiry. But it also has had the disadvantage of effectually stopping the advance of science, by involving it in obscurity and confusion.
Considerations on Volcanoes (1825), iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Advancement (37)  |  Answer (210)  |  Catastrophe (18)  |  Change (324)  |  Comprehension (51)  |  Confusion (35)  |  Disadvantage (9)  |  Earth (582)  |  Explanation (165)  |  Geologist (45)  |  Imagination (222)  |  Impart (3)  |  Inquiry (33)  |  Obscurity (20)  |  Recourse (6)  |  Revolution (59)  |  Science (1741)  |  State (104)  |  Stop (60)  |  Sundry (4)  |  Supposition (34)  |  Surface (87)  |  Term (89)  |  Violence (21)

I believe that natural history has lost much by the vague general treatment that is so common.
From 'Note to the Reader', introducing Wild Animals I Have Known (1898), 9. The author explains this is his motivation for writing true stories about individual animals as real characters.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (421)  |  Common (96)  |  Generality (23)  |  Loss (63)  |  Natural History (47)  |  Treatment (90)

In studying the fate of our forest king, we have thus far considered the action of purely natural causes only; but, unfortunately, man is in the woods, and waste and pure destruction are making rapid headway. If the importance of the forests were even vaguely understood, even from an economic standpoint, their preservation would call forth the most watchful attention of government
John Muir
In The Mountains of California (1894), 198.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (163)  |  Attention (85)  |  Call (76)  |  Cause (242)  |  Consideration (67)  |  Destruction (81)  |  Economy (47)  |  Fate (39)  |  Forest (95)  |  Government (87)  |  Headway (2)  |  Importance (186)  |  King (26)  |  Man (348)  |  Natural (131)  |  Preservation (29)  |  Rapid (20)  |  Standpoint (9)  |  Understanding (322)  |  Unfortunately (15)  |  Waste (61)  |  Watch (52)  |  Wood (36)

In the expressions we adopt to prescribe physical phenomena we necessarily hover between two extremes. We either have to choose a word which implies more than we can prove, or we have to use vague and general terms which hide the essential point, instead of bringing it out. The history of electrical theories furnishes a good example.
Opening Address to the Annual Meeting of the British Association by Prof. Arthur Schuster, in Nature (4 Aug 1892), 46, 325.
Science quotes on:  |  Choice (72)  |  Electricity (121)  |  Essential (92)  |  Example (62)  |  Expression (85)  |  Extreme (41)  |  Furnish (20)  |  Generality (23)  |  Good (255)  |  Hiding (6)  |  History (314)  |  Hover (4)  |  Implication (15)  |  Nomenclature (132)  |  Phenomenon (223)  |  Point (88)  |  Proof (192)  |  Term (89)  |  Theory (585)  |  Word (235)

Sir Hiram Maxim is a genuine and typical example of the man of science, romantic, excitable, full of real but somewhat obvious poetry, a little hazy in logic and philosophy, but full of hearty enthusiasm and an honorable simplicity. He is, as he expresses it, “an old and trained engineer,” and is like all of the old and trained engineers I have happened to come across, a man who indemnifies himself for the superhuman or inhuman concentration required for physical science by a vague and dangerous romanticism about everything else.
In G.K. Chesterton, 'The Maxims of Maxim', Daily News (25 Feb 1905). Collected in G. K. Chesterton and Dale Ahlquist (ed.), In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton (2011), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (228)  |  Concentration (14)  |  Danger (65)  |  Else (4)  |  Engineer (74)  |  Enthusiasm (35)  |  Everything (139)  |  Example (62)  |  Excitement (34)  |  Expression (85)  |  Full (48)  |  Genuine (21)  |  Hearty (3)  |  Honour (23)  |  Logic (190)  |  Sir Hiram Maxim (4)  |  Men Of Science (97)  |  Obvious (59)  |  Old (118)  |  Philosophy (217)  |  Physical Science (56)  |  Poetry (97)  |  Real (102)  |  Requirement (45)  |  Romance (8)  |  Romanticism (5)  |  Simplicity (128)  |  Superhuman (3)  |  Training (43)  |  Typical (10)

We are … led to a somewhat vague distinction between what we may call “hard” data and “soft” data. This distinction is a matter of degree, and must not be pressed; but if not taken too seriously it may help to make the situation clear. I mean by “hard” data those which resist the solvent influence of critical reflection, and by “soft” data those which, under the operation of this process, become to our minds more or less doubtful.
Our Knowledge of the External World (1925), 75.
Science quotes on:  |  Clear (60)  |  Critical (35)  |  Data (103)  |  Distinction (38)  |  Doubt (125)  |  Hard (84)  |  Influence (113)  |  Mind (576)  |  Operation (96)  |  Process (210)  |  Reflection (52)  |  Resistance (24)  |  Seriousness (9)  |  Situation (45)  |  Soft (14)  |  Solvent (5)

You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueless—perhaps ignorance, credulity—helps your enjoyment of these things.
Specimen Days in America (1887), 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Bird (108)  |  Credulity (9)  |  Enjoyment (27)  |  Flower (67)  |  Ignorance (194)  |  Knowledge (1148)  |  Margin (6)  |  Precision (39)  |  Scientific (181)  |  Tree (156)


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.