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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Edward Anthony Spitzka Quotes

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Edward Anthony Spitzka
(17 Jun 1876 - 4 Sep 1922)

American anatomist and brain morphologist.


Science Quotes by Edward Anthony Spitzka (3 quotes)

Persons possessing great intellect and a capacity for excelling in the creative arts and also in the sciences are generally likely to have heavier brains than the ordinary individual. Arguing from this we might expect to find a corresponding lightness in the brain of the criminal, but this is not always the case ... Many criminals show not a single anomaly in their physical or mental make-up, while many persons with marked evidences of morphological aberration have never exhibited the criminal tendency.
Every attempt to prove crime to be due to a constitution peculiar only to criminals has failed signally. It is because most criminals are drawn from the ranks of the low, the degraded, the outcast, that investigators were ever deceived into attempting to set up a 'type' of criminal. The social conditions which foster the great majority of crimes are more needful of study and improvement.
From study of known normal brains we have learned that there is a certain range of variation. No two brains are exactly alike, and the greatest source of error in the assertions of Benedict and Lombroso has been the finding of this or that variation in a criminal’s brains, and maintaining such to be characteristic of the 'criminal constitution,' unmindful of the fact that like variations of structure may and do exist in the brains of normal, moral persons.
— Edward Anthony Spitzka
Address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Philadelphia (28 Dec 1904), as quoted in 'Americans of Future Will Have Best Brains', New York Times (29 Dec 1904), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Aberration (8)  |  Alike (60)  |  Anomaly (11)  |  Art (657)  |  Attempt (251)  |  Brain (270)  |  Capacity (100)  |  Certain (550)  |  Characteristic (148)  |  Condition (357)  |  Constitution (76)  |  Creative (138)  |  Creativity (76)  |  Crime (38)  |  Criminal (19)  |  Do (1908)  |  Due (141)  |  Error (321)  |  Evidence (248)  |  Exist (444)  |  Expect (201)  |  Fact (1212)  |  Fail (185)  |  Failure (161)  |  Find (999)  |  Foster (12)  |  Great (1575)  |  Greatest (329)  |  Improvement (110)  |  Individual (404)  |  Intellect (233)  |  Investigator (67)  |  Known (454)  |  Learn (632)  |  Learned (235)  |  Low (81)  |  Majority (66)  |  Marked (55)  |  Mental (177)  |  Moral (195)  |  More (2559)  |  Most (1729)  |  Never (1087)  |  Ordinary (160)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Person (363)  |  Physical (508)  |  Prove (252)  |  Range (99)  |  Rank (67)  |  Science (3880)  |  Set (394)  |  Show (346)  |  Single (354)  |  Social (252)  |  Structure (346)  |  Study (656)  |  Tendency (99)  |  Two (937)  |  Type (167)  |  Variation (90)

The idea that the bumps or depressions on a man's head indicate the presence or absence of certain moral characteristics in his mental equipment is one of the absurdities developed from studies in this field that has long since been discarded by science. The ideas of the phrenologist Gall, however ridiculous they may now seem in the light of a century's progress, were nevertheless destined to become metamorphosed into the modern principles of cerebral localization.
— Edward Anthony Spitzka
From 'Looking for "The Face Within the Face" in Man', in the New York Times, 4 Mar 1906, SM page 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Absurdity (32)  |  Become (815)  |  Bump (2)  |  Century (310)  |  Cerebrum (10)  |  Certain (550)  |  Characteristic (148)  |  Depression (25)  |  Destined (42)  |  Develop (268)  |  Development (424)  |  Discard (29)  |  Equipment (43)  |  Field (365)  |  Franz Joseph Gall (4)  |  Head (81)  |  Idea (845)  |  Indicate (61)  |  Light (609)  |  Localization (3)  |  Long (789)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mental (177)  |  Metamorphosis (5)  |  Modern (385)  |  Moral (195)  |  Nevertheless (90)  |  Phrenology (5)  |  Presence (63)  |  Principle (510)  |  Progress (468)  |  Ridicule (23)  |  Ridiculous (24)  |  Science (3880)  |  Study (656)

The relative importance of the white and gray matter is often misunderstood. Were it not for the manifold connection of the nerve cells in the cortex by the tens of millions of fibres which make up the under-estimated white matter, such a brain would be useless as a telephone or telegraph station with all the interconnecting wires destroyed.
— Edward Anthony Spitzka
Address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Philadelphia (28 Dec 1904), as quoted in 'Americans of Future Will Have Best Brains', New York Times (29 Dec 1904), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Brain (270)  |  Cell (138)  |  Connection (162)  |  Cortex (3)  |  Destroy (180)  |  Fibre (5)  |  Importance (287)  |  Manifold (22)  |  Matter (801)  |  Misunderstanding (12)  |  Nerve (79)  |  Station (29)  |  Telegraph (38)  |  Telephone (27)  |  White (127)  |  Wire (35)


See also:
  • 17 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Spitzka's birth.
  • Edward Spitzka - Looking for “The Face Within The Face in Man” from New York Times (1906). Spitzka says No Such Thing as a “Criminal Brain Type.”

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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