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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > Thomas Sprat Quotes

Thomas Sprat
(1635 - 20 May 1713)

English bishop was a founding member and historian of the Royal Society. His History of the Royal Society of London (1667) is described as 'a propagandist defense rather than a factual account' in the Encyclopedia Britannica.' He wrote a biography of his friend, the poet Abraham Cowley.

Science Quotes by Thomas Sprat (4 quotes)

...they have never affirm'd any thing, concerning the Cause, till the Trial was past: whereas, to do it before, is a most venomous thing in the making of Sciences; for whoever has fix'd on his Cause, before he experimented; can hardly avoid fitting his Experiment to his Observations, to his own Cause, which he had before imagin'd; rather than the Cause to the Truth of the Experiment itself.
Referring to experiments of the Aristotelian mode, whereby a preconceived truth would be illustrated merely to convince people of the validity of the original thought.
— Thomas Sprat
Thomas Sprat, Abraham Cowley, History of the Royal Society (1667, 1734), 108.
Science quotes on:  |  Aristotle (163)  |  Bias (16)  |  Cause (285)  |  Experiment (602)  |  Imagination (275)  |  Observation (450)  |  Preconceive (3)  |  Trial (28)  |  Truth (928)  |  Venom (2)

If to be the Author of new things, be a crime; how will the first Civilizers of Men, and makers of Laws, and Founders of Governments escape? Whatever now delights us in the Works of Nature, that excells the rudeness of the first Creation, is New. Whatever we see in Cities, or Houses, above the first wildness of Fields, and meaness of Cottages, and nakedness of Men, had its time, when this imputation of Novelty, might as well have bin laid to its charge. It is not therefore an offence, to profess the introduction of New things, unless that which is introduc'd prove pernicious in itself; or cannot be brought in, without the extirpation of others, that are better.
— Thomas Sprat
The History of the Royal Society (1667), 322.
Science quotes on:  |  Author (62)  |  City (48)  |  Cottage (4)  |  Creation (242)  |  Crime (26)  |  Delight (66)  |  Excellence (33)  |  Extirpation (2)  |  Field (171)  |  Founder (16)  |  Government (93)  |  House (43)  |  Impunity (5)  |  Introduction (35)  |  Law (515)  |  Nature (1223)  |  Novelty (23)  |  Offence (4)  |  Pernicious (3)  |  Rudeness (5)  |  Wildness (4)  |  Work (635)

Invention is an Heroic thing, and plac'd above the reach of a low, and vulgar Genius. It requires an active, a bold, a nimble, a restless mind: a thousand difficulties must be contemn'd with which a mean heart would be broken: many attempts must be made to no purpose: much Treasure must sometimes be scatter'd without any return: much violence, and vigour of thoughts must attend it: some irregularities, and excesses must be granted it, that would hardly be pardon'd by the severe Rules of Prudence.
— Thomas Sprat
The History of the Royal Society (1667), 392.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (135)  |  Attention (121)  |  Boldness (7)  |  Difficulty (146)  |  Excess (9)  |  Genius (249)  |  Grant (32)  |  Heroism (7)  |  Invention (324)  |  Irregularity (11)  |  Pardon (4)  |  Prudence (4)  |  Restlessness (4)  |  Rule (177)  |  Thought (546)  |  Treasure (45)  |  Vigour (13)  |  Violence (23)  |  Vulgar (15)

[In the Royal Society, there] has been, a constant Resolution, to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style: to return back to the primitive purity, and shortness, when men deliver'd so many things, almost in an equal number of words. They have exacted from all their members, a close, naked, natural way of speaking; positive expressions; clear senses; a native easiness: bringing all things as near the Mathematical plainness, as they can: and preferring the language of Artizans, Countrymen, and Merchants, before that, of Wits, or Scholars.
— Thomas Sprat
The History of the Royal Society (1667), 113.
Science quotes on:  |  Amplification (3)  |  Clarity (41)  |  Countryman (4)  |  Digression (3)  |  Easiness (3)  |  Expression (110)  |  Language (228)  |  Mathematics (1205)  |  Member (40)  |  Merchant (6)  |  Plainness (2)  |  Primitive (42)  |  Purity (14)  |  Rejection (26)  |  Resolution (18)  |  Return (55)  |  Royal Society (10)  |  Scholar (38)  |  Sense (321)  |  Speaking (37)  |  Style (22)  |  Swelling (5)  |  Wit (36)  |  Word (302)

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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