Gathering Quotes (9 quotes)
A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
A great surgeon performs operations for stone by a single method; later he makes a statistical summary of deaths and recoveries, and he concludes from these statistics that the mortality law for this operation is two out of five. Well, I say that this ratio means literally nothing scientifically and gives us no certainty in performing the next operation; for we do not know whether the next case will be among the recoveries or the deaths. What really should be done, instead of gathering facts empirically, is to study them more accurately, each in its special determinism. We must study cases of death with great care and try to discover in them the cause of mortal accidents so as to master the cause and avoid the accidents.
As soon as the circumstances of an experiment are well known, we stop gathering statistics. The effect will occur always without exception, because the cause of the phenomena is accurately defined. Only when a phenomenon includes conditions as yet undefined,Only when a phenomenon includes conditions as yet undefined, can we compile statistics. we must learn therefore that we compile statistics only when we cannot possibly help it; for in my opinion, statistics can never yield scientific truth.
I can remember starting to gather all sorts of things like rocks and beetles when I was about nine years old. There was no parental encouragementnor discouragement eithernor any outside influence that I can remember in these early stages. By about the age of twelve, I had settled pretty definitely on butterflies, largely I think because the rocks around my home were limited to limestone, while the butterflies were varied, exciting, and fairly easy to preserve with household moth-balls. I was fourteen, I remember, when I decided to be scientific, caught in some net of emulation, and resolutely threw away all of my childish specimens, mounted haphazard on common pins and without proper labels. The purge cost me a great inward struggle, still one of my most vivid memories, and must have been forced by a conflict between a love of my specimens and a love for orderliness, for having everything just exactly right according to what happened to be my current standards.
Men will gather knowledge no matter what the consequences. Science will go on whether we are pessimistic or optimistic, as I am. More interesting discoveries than we can imagine will be made, and I am awaiting them, full of curiosity and enthusiasm.
The generation of seeds ... is therefore marvelous and analogous to the other productions of living things. For first of all an umbilicus appears. ... Its extremity gradually expands and after gathering a colliquamentous ichor becomes analogous to an amnion. ... In the course of time the seed or fetus begins to become visible.
The maintenance of biological diversity requires special measures that extend far beyond the establishment of nature reserves. Several reasons for this stand out. Existing reserves have been selected according to a number of criteria, including the desire to protect nature, scenery, and watersheds, and to promote cultural values and recreational opportunities. The actual requirements of individual species, populations, and communities have seldom been known, nor has the available information always been employed in site selection and planning for nature reserves. The use of lands surrounding nature reserves has typically been inimical to conservation, since it has usually involved heavy use of pesticides, industrial development, and the presence of human settlements in which fire, hunting, and firewood gathering feature as elements of the local economy.
When you can dump a load of bricks on a corner lot, and let me watch them arrange themselves into a house when you can empty a handful of springs and wheels and screws on my desk, and let me see them gather themselves together into a watch it will be easier for me to believe that all these thousands of worlds could have been created, balanced, and set to moving in their separate orbits, all without any directing intelligence at all.
[Scientists who think science consists of unprejudiced data-gathering without speculation are merely] cows grazing on the pasture of knowledge.