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Meditation 471
Quotations XXXVII

"I hate quotations, tell me what you know." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But as some people do like quotations and think they can be useful in succinctly communicating an opinion, we will publish a selection occasionally, mostly but not entirely relevant to agnosticism, rationalism, and free thought. This is the thirty-seventh in an apparently unending series. Quotations are now indexed by name and by opening words to assist anyone trying to locate a specific one.

  1. It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover. Henri Poincare

  2. Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands.Daniel Boorstin.

  3. When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.Mark Twain

  4. All of our religions but the Judaic and the Greek think more of us dead than alive. Joseph Heller

  5. One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have. Albert Einstein

  6. If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather than by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called education. This last is peculiarly dastardly since it takes advantage of the defenselessness of immature minds. Unfortunately it is practiced in a greater or less degree in the schools of every civilized country. Bertrand Russell

  7. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. Max Planck

  8. We must believe in free will. We have no choice. Isaac B. Singer

  9. The common idea that scientists reject a theory as soon as it leads to a contradiction is just not so. When they get something that works at all they plunge ahead with it and ignore its weak spots... scientists are just as bad as the rest of the public in following fads and being influenced by mass enthusiasm. Vannevar Bush

  10. It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. Epictetus

  11. School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Ivan Illich

  12. One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. James D. Watson

  13. Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are that good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats. Howard Aiken

  14. One person's blasphemy is another's orthodoxy. One person's orthodoxy is another's blasphemy. John Tyrrell

  15. A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. William James

  16. If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you. Don Marquis

  17. The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing -- to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. Not a select party. John Keats

  18. Never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by stupidity.Robert A Heinlein

  19. Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.
    Napoleon Bonaparte

  20. A witty saying proves nothing. Voltaire