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David Deutsch quotes (showing 1-8 of 8)

“Like every other destruction of optimism, whether in a whole civilisation or in a single individual, these must have been unspeakable catastrophes for those who had dared to expect progress. But we should feel more than sympathy for those people. We should take it personally. For if any of those earlier experiments in optimism had succeeded, our species would be exploring the stars by now, and you and I would be immortal.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“The whole [scientific] process resembles biological evolution. A problem is like an ecological niche, and a theory is like a gene or a species which is being tested for viability in that niche.”
David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes--and Its Implications
“As the physicist Stephen Hawking put it, humans are ‘just a chemical scum on the surface of a typical planet that’s in orbit round a typical star on the outskirts of a typical galaxy’. The proviso ‘in the cosmic scheme of things’ is necessary because the chemical scum evidently does have a special significance according to values that it applies to itself, such as moral values. But the Principle says that all such values are themselves anthropocentric: they explain only the behaviour of the scum, which is itself insignificant.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“an unproblematic state is a state without creative thought. Its other name is death.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“Amending the ‘data’, or rejecting some as erroneous, is a frequent concomitant of scientific discovery, and the crucial ‘data’ cannot even be obtained until theory tells us what to look for and how and why.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“Feeling insignificant because the universe is large has exactly the same logic as feeling inadequate for not being a cow.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“Base metals can be transmuted into gold by stars, and by intelligent beings who understand the processes that power stars, but by nothing else in the universe.”
David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World
“So the professor takes the student's point seriously, and responds with a concise but adequate argument in defence of the disputed equation. The professor tries hard to show no sign of being irritated by criticism from so lowly a source. Most of the questions from the floor will have the form of criticisms which, if valid, would diminish or destroy the professor's life's work. But bringing vigorous and diverse criticism to bear on accepted truths is one of the very purposes of the seminar. Everyone takes it for granted that the truth is not obvious, and that the obvious need not be true; that ideas are to be accepted or rejected according to their content and not their origin; that the greatest minds can easily make mistakes; and that the most trivial-seeming objection may be the key to a great new discovery.”
David Deutsch


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