„But what is this but to say that facts by themselves, however well attested, are wholly useless in such circumstances to the cultivators of physical science, while any kind of vague hypothesis can be brought forward in opposition to them? What is it but to put conjecture or prejudice above fact, and indeed utterly to repudiate the Baconian method?“

Quelle: Testimony: its Posture in the Scientific World (1859), p. 10
Kontext: The fall of meteoric stones was occasionally reported by good witnesses during many ages. But science did not understand how stones should be formed in or beyond the atmosphere... The accounts of the fall of meteoric stones were held to be incompatible with the laws of nature, and specimens which had been seen to fall by hundreds of people were preserved in cabinets of natural history as ordinary minerals, 'which the credulous and superstitious regarded as having fallen from the clouds.' A committee of the French Academy of Sciences, including the celebrated Lavoisier, unanimously rejected an account of three nearly contemporary descents of meteorites which reached them on the strongest evidence. After two thousand years of incredulity, the truth in this matter was forced upon the scientific world about the beginning of the present century. There would have been at any time, of course, an instant cessation of skepticism if any one could have shewn, a priori, from ascertained principles in connection with the atmosphere, how stones were to be expected to fall from the sky. But what is this but to say that facts by themselves, however well attested, are wholly useless in such circumstances to the cultivators of physical science, while any kind of vague hypothesis can be brought forward in opposition to them? What is it but to put conjecture or prejudice above fact, and indeed utterly to repudiate the Baconian method?

Übernommen aus Wikiquote. Letzte Aktualisierung 3. Juni 2021. Geschichte
Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802) Foto
Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802)100
Scottish publisher and writer 1802 - 1871

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H.L. Mencken Foto

„I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.“

—  H.L. Mencken American journalist and writer 1880 - 1956

"What I Believe" in The Forum 84 (September 1930), p. 139; some of these expressions were also used separately in other Mencken essays.
1930s
Kontext: I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty and the democratic form is as bad as any of the other forms.
I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech — alike for the humblest man and the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society.
I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
I believe in the reality of progress.
I —But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

François Quesnay Foto

„Calculations are to the economic science what bones are to the human body. Without them it will always be a vague and confused science, at the mercy of error and prejudice.“

—  François Quesnay French economist 1694 - 1774

François Quesnay in letter to Mirabeau (Archives Nationales, Ms. 779, 4 bis, p.2 note); as cited in: Richard Van Den Berg and Albert Steenge. "Tableaux and Systèmes. Early French Contributions to Linear Production Models." Cahiers d'économie Politique/Papers in Political Economy 2 (2016): 11-30.

Philip Warren Anderson Foto

„My belief is based on the fact that string theory is the first science in hundreds of years to be pursued in pre-Baconian fashion, without any adequate experimental guidance.“

—  Philip Warren Anderson American physicist 1923

[New York Times, 2005-01-04, God (or Not), Physics and, of Course, Love: Scientists Take a Leap, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/04/science/04edgehed.html?pagewanted=3&ei=5090&en=ce9bddb9581db4d9&ex=1262581200&partner=rssuserland, 2006-08-22]
Anderson was describing his dislike for "string theory".

Thomas Henry Huxley Foto

„The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.“

—  Thomas Henry Huxley English biologist and comparative anatomist 1825 - 1895

Presidential Address at the British Association, "Biogenesis and abiogenesis" (1870) http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE8/B-Ab.html; later published in Collected Essays, Vol. 8, p. 229
1870s

Ludwig von Mises Foto

„In fact, however, the supporters of the welfare state are utterly anti-social and intolerant zealots.“

—  Ludwig von Mises, buch Socialism

Socialism (1922), Epilogue (1947)
Kontext: In fact, however, the supporters of the welfare state are utterly anti-social and intolerant zealots. For their ideology tacitly implies that the government will exactly execute what they themselves deem right and beneficial. They entirely disregard the possibility that there could arise disagreement with regard to the question of what is right and expedient and what is not. They advocate enlightened despotism, but they are convinced that the enlightened despot will in every detail comply with their own opinion concerning the measures to be adopted. They favour planning, but what they have in mind is exclusively their own plan, not those of other people. They want to exterminate all opponents, that is, all those who disagree with them. They are utterly intolerant and are not prepared to allow any discussion. Every advocate of the welfare state and of planning is a potential dictator. What he plans is to deprive all other men of all their rights, and to establish his own and his friends' unrestricted omnipotence. He refuses to convince his fellow-citizens. He prefers to "liquidate" them. He scorns the "bourgeois" society that worships law and legal procedure. He himself worships violence and bloodshed.

William James Foto

„Science… has ended by utterly repudiating the personal point of view.“

—  William James American philosopher, psychologist, and pragmatist 1842 - 1910

Lecture XX, "Conclusions"
1900s, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
Kontext: Science... has ended by utterly repudiating the personal point of view. She catalogues her elements and records her laws indifferent as to what purpose may be shown forth by them, and constructs her theories quite careless of their bearing on human anxieties and fates. Though the scientist may individually nourish a religion, and be a theist in his irresponsible hours, the days are over when it could be said that for Science herself the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Our solar system, with its harmonies, is seen now as but one passing case of a certain sort of moving equilibrium in the heavens, realized by a local accident in an appalling wilderness of worlds where no life can exist. In a span of time which as a cosmic interval will count but as an hour, it will have ceased to be. The Darwinian notion of chance production, and subsequent destruction, speedy or deferred, applies to the largest as well as to the smallest facts. It is impossible, in the present temper of the scientific imagination, to find in the driftings of the cosmic atoms, whether they work on the universal or on the particular scale, anything but a kind of aimless weather, doing and undoing, achieving no proper history, and leaving no result. Nature has no one distinguishable ultimate tendency with which it is possible to feel a sympathy. In the vast rhythm of her processes... she appears to cancel herself. The books of natural theology which satisfied the intellects of our grandfathers seem to us quite grotesque, representing, as they did, a God who conformed the largest things of nature to the paltriest of our private wants. The God whom science recognizes must be a God of universal laws exclusively, a God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his processes to the convenience of individuals. The bubbles on the foam which coats a stormy sea are floating episodes, made and unmade by the forces of the wind and water. Our private selves are like those bubbles—epiphenomena, as Clifford, I believe, ingeniously called them; their destinies weigh nothing and determine nothing in the world's irremediable currents of events.

David Deutsch Foto
Paul Karl Feyerabend Foto
Mark Twain Foto
Koenraad Elst Foto
Gottfried Leibniz Foto

„There are two kinds of truths: those of reasoning and those of fact. The truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; the truths of fact are contingent and their opposites are possible.“

—  Gottfried Leibniz German mathematician and philosopher 1646 - 1716

Il y a aussi deux sortes de vérités, celles de Raisonnement et celle de Fait. Les vérités de Raisonnement sont nécessaires et leur opposé est impossible, et celles de Fait sont contingentes et leur opposé est possible.
La monadologie (33).
The Monadology (1714)

Ludwig Wittgenstein Foto

„There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.“

—  Ludwig Wittgenstein Austrian-British philosopher 1889 - 1951

6.522
Original German: Es gibt allerdings Unaussprechliches. Dies zeigt sich, es ist das Mystische.
1920s, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)

Arthur C. Clarke Foto
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker Foto

„Never assume that any fact is useless until it is so proven.“

—  James Blish American author 1921 - 1975

Quelle: Short fiction, Midsummer Century (1972), Chapter 9 (p. 62)

Karl Pearson Foto
Robert Maynard Hutchins Foto
Peter Barlow (mathematician) Foto

„Opinions derived from long experience are exceedingly valuable, and outweigh all others, while they are consistent with facts and with each other; but they are worse than useless when they lead, as in this instance, to directly opposite opinions.“

—  Peter Barlow (mathematician) British mathematician and physicist 1776 - 1862

[Peter Barlow, Second report addressed to the directors and proprietors of the London and Birmingham Railway company, founded on an inspection of, and experiments made on the Liverpool and Manchester railway, B. Fellowes, 1835, 4]

Thomas Young (scientist) Foto

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