Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Dangerous... to take shelter under a tree, during a thunder-gust. It has been fatal to many, both men and beasts.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index D > Category: Discussion

Discussion Quotes (17 quotes)

Responding to the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce's question whether he traced his descent from an ape on his mother's or his father's side:
If then, said I, the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessing great means and influence and yet who employs those faculties for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion—I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape.
Letter to Dr. Dyster (9 Sep 1860), Huxley Papers, Imperial College of Science and Technology. Quoted in D.J. Foskett, 'Wilberforce and Huxley on Evolution' in a letter to Nature, 1953, 172, 920.
Science quotes on:  |  Ape (26)  |  Grandfather (2)  |  Ridicule (9)  |  Wilberforce_Samuel (2)

All discussion of the ultimate nature of things must necessarily be barren unless we have some extraneous standards against which to compare them.
In The Mysterious Universe (1930), 114.
Science quotes on:  |  Comparison (33)  |  Extraneous (2)  |  Nature Of Things (4)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Standard (15)  |  Ultimate (27)

All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.
On Liberty' (1859), in M. Warnock (ed.), Utilitarianism (1962), 143.
Science quotes on:  |  Assumption (27)  |  Infallibility (4)  |  Silence (12)

Almost everyone... seems to be quite sure that the differences between the methodologies of history and of the natural sciences are vast. For, we are assured, it is well known that in the natural sciences we start from observation and proceed by induction to theory. And is it not obvious that in history we proceed very differently? Yes, I agree that we proceed very differently. But we do so in the natural sciences as well.
In both we start from myths—from traditional prejudices, beset with error—and from these we proceed by criticism: by the critical elimination of errors. In both the role of evidence is, in the main, to correct our mistakes, our prejudices, our tentative theories—that is, to play a part in the critical discussion, in the elimination of error. By correcting our mistakes, we raise new problems. And in order to solve these problems, we invent conjectures, that is, tentative theories, which we submit to critical discussion, directed towards the elimination of error.
The Myth of the Framework: In Defence of Science and Rationality (1993), 140.
Science quotes on:  |  Conjecture (15)  |  Correction (20)  |  Criticism (34)  |  Difference (135)  |  Elimination (14)  |  Error (152)  |  Everyone (6)  |  Evidence (83)  |  History (156)  |  Induction (22)  |  Methodology (6)  |  Mistake (40)  |  Myth (24)  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Observation (264)  |  Prejudice (31)  |  Problem (180)  |  Theory (353)  |  Tradition (17)

Brutes by their natural instinct have produced many discoveries, whereas men by discussion and the conclusions of reason have given birth to few or none.
Novum Organum, LXXIII
Science quotes on:  |  Brute (5)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Instinct (24)  |  Reason (173)

DISCUSSION, n. A method of confirming others in their errors.
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce (1911), Vol. 7, The Devil's Dictionary,  72.
Science quotes on:  |  Humour (96)

However, before we come to [special] creation, which puts an end to all discussion: I think we should try everything else.
De Stella Nova, On the New Star (1606), Chapter 22, in Johannes Kepler Gesammelte Werke (1937-), Vol. 1, 257, ll. 23-4.

If we do discover a complete theory, it should be in time understandable in broad principle by everyone ... Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.
A Brief History of Time (1988), 191.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (96)  |  Complete (13)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Exist (13)  |  God (234)  |  Layman (8)  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Principle (97)  |  Reason (173)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Theory (353)  |  Triumph (21)  |  Understanding (231)  |  Universe (291)

It is sometimes asserted that a surgical operation is or should be a work of art ... fit to rank with those of the painter or sculptor. ... That proposition does not admit of discussion. It is a product of the intellectual innocence which I think we surgeons may fairly claim to possess, and which is happily not inconsistent with a quite adequate worldly wisdom.
Address, opening of 1932-3 session of U.C.H. Medical School (4 Oct 1932), 'Art and Science in medicine', The Collected Papers of Wilfred Trotter, FRS (1941), 93.
Science quotes on:  |  Adequacy (4)  |  Admission (7)  |  Art (80)  |  Assertion (16)  |  Claim (24)  |  Happiness (58)  |  Inconsistency (3)  |  Innocence (5)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Operation (53)  |  Painter (3)  |  Possession (24)  |  Product (33)  |  Proposition (28)  |  Rank (13)  |  Sculptor (3)  |  Surgeon (29)  |  Surgery (29)  |  Wisdom (91)

Kant, discussing the various modes of perception by which the human mind apprehends nature, concluded that it is specially prone to see nature through mathematical spectacles. Just as a man wearing blue spectacles would see only a blue world, so Kant thought that, with our mental bias, we tend to see only a mathematical world.
In The Mysterious Universe (1930), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Apprehension (8)  |  Bias (8)  |  Blue (9)  |  Comprehension (30)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Human (168)  |  Immanuel Kant (27)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Mental (16)  |  Mode (8)  |  Nature (534)  |  Perception (21)  |  Prone (4)  |  Seeing (29)  |  Spectacles (3)  |  World (231)

Much later, when I discussed the problem with Einstein, he remarked that the introduction of the cosmological term was the biggest blunder he ever made in his life. But this “blunder,” rejected by Einstein, is still sometimes used by cosmologists even today, and the cosmological constant denoted by the Greek letter Λ rears its ugly head again and again and again.
My World Line (1970). Cited in Edward Robert Harrison, Cosmology: the Science of the Universe (2000), 379, which adds: “The Λ force is referred to by various names, such as the cosmological constant, cosmological term, cosmical constant or cosmical term.”
Science quotes on:  |  Blunder (9)  |  Constant (14)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Greek (17)  |  Head (20)  |  Introduction (15)  |  Letter (16)  |  Rear (4)  |  Rejection (16)  |  Remark (9)  |  Term (34)  |  Ugly (3)

On May 15, 1957 Linus Pauling made an extraordinary speech to the students of Washington University. ... It was at this time that the idea of the scientists' petition against nuclear weapons tests was born. That evening we discussed it at length after dinner at my house and various ones of those present were scribbling and suggesting paragraphs. But it was Linus Pauling himself who contributed the simple prose of the petition that was much superior to any of the suggestions we were making.
Speech, "The 1962 Nobel Peace Prize," at Unitarian Church, Boulder, Colorado (20 Oct 1963). On Oregon State University Library website.
Science quotes on:  |  Birth (47)  |  Dinner (5)  |  Evening (9)  |  Extraordinary (18)  |  Idea (226)  |  Paragraph (2)  |  Linus Pauling (34)  |  Petition (3)  |  Prose (5)  |  Scientist (237)  |  Scribble (2)  |  Speech (19)  |  Student (54)  |  Suggestion (13)  |  Superior (14)

Science, history and politics are not suited for discussion except by experts. Others are simply in the position of requiring more information; and, till they have acquired all available information, cannot do anything but accept on authority the opinions of those better qualified.
The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays (1931), Epilogue, 287-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Acceptance (31)  |  Acquisition (21)  |  Authority (24)  |  Availability (9)  |  Expert (17)  |  History (156)  |  Information (56)  |  Opinion (81)  |  Politics (52)  |  Position (18)  |  Qualification (5)  |  Requirement (27)  |  Science (875)  |  Suitability (9)

So-called extraordinary events always split into two extremes naturalists who have not witnessed them: those who believe blindly and those who do not believe at all. The latter have always in mind the story of the golden goose; if the facts lie slightly beyond the limits of their knowledge, they relegate them immediately to fables. The former have a secret taste for marvels because they seem to expand Nature; they use their imagination with pleasure to find explanations. To remain doubtful is given to naturalists who keep a middle path between the two extremes. They calmly examine facts; they refer to logic for help; they discuss probabilities; they do not scoff at anything, not even errors, because they serve at least the history of the human mind; finally, they report rather than judge; they rarely decide unless they have good evidence.
Quoted in Albert V. Carozzi, Histoire des sciences de la terre entre 1790 et 1815 vue à travers les documents inédités de la Societé de Physique et d'Histoire Naturelle de Genève, trans. Albert V. and Marguerite Carozzi. (1990), 175.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (139)  |  Blindness (5)  |  Decision (30)  |  Doubtful (2)  |  Error (152)  |  Event (49)  |  Evidence (83)  |  Expansion (18)  |  Explanation (88)  |  Extraordinary (18)  |  Extreme (17)  |  Fable (3)  |  Fact (325)  |  Final (13)  |  Find (50)  |  Gold (19)  |  Goose (4)  |  History (156)  |  Human (168)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Immediately (3)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Limit (34)  |  Marvel (16)  |  Mind (272)  |  Naturalist (27)  |  Nature (534)  |  Pleasure (52)  |  Probability (56)  |  Rare (14)  |  Remain (18)  |  Report (15)  |  Secret (44)  |  Service (27)  |  So-Called (5)  |  Split (4)  |  Story (16)  |  Taste (16)  |  Witness (9)

The intensity and quantity of polemical literature on scientific problems frequently varies inversely as the number of direct observations on which the discussions are based: the number and variety of theories concerning a subject thus often form a coefficient of our ignorance. Beyond the superficial observations, direct and indirect, made by geologists, not extending below about one two-hundredth of the Earth's radius, we have to trust to the deductions of mathematicians for our ideas regarding the interior of the Earth; and they have provided us successively with every permutation and combination possible of the three physical states of matter—solid, liquid, and gaseous.
'Address delivered by the President of Section [Geology] at Sydney (Friday, Aug 21), Report of the Eighty-Fourth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science: Australia 1914, 1915, 345.
Science quotes on:  |  Deduction (39)  |  Earth (250)  |  Geology (145)  |  Ignorance (110)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Observation (264)  |  Publication (75)  |  Theory (353)

These parsons are so in the habit of dealing with the abstractions of doctrines as if there was no difficulty about them whatever, so confident, from the practice of having the talk all to themselves for an hour at least every week with no one to gainsay a syllable they utter, be it ever so loose or bad, that they gallop over the course when their field is Botany or Geology as if we were in the pews and they in the pulpit ... There is a story somewhere of an Englishman, Frenchman, and German being each called on to describe a camel. The Englishman immediately embarked for Egypt, the Frenchman went to the Jardin des Plantes, and the German shut himself up in his study and thought it out!
Letter to Asa Gray (29 Mar 1857). Quoted in Leonard Huxley, Life and Letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1918), Vol. 1, 477.
Science quotes on:  |  Botany (30)  |  Camel (4)  |  Geology (145)  |  Joke (25)  |  Research (360)

We must not overlook the role that extremists play. They are the gadflies that keep society from being too complacent or self-satisfied; they are, if sound, the spearhead of progress. If they are fundamentally wrong, free discussion will in time put an end to them.
I Remember (1940), 405.
Science quotes on:  |  Extremist (2)  |  Progress (200)  |  Society (84)


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:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations 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 |
Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 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