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Quotes About Scientific Method

Quotes tagged as "scientific-method" (showing 1-30 of 61)
Galileo Galilei
“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
Galileo Galilei

Agatha Christie
“Everything must be taken into account. If the fact will not fit the theory---let the theory go.”
Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Michael Crichton
“I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.”
Michael Crichton

Douglas Adams
“But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting.”
Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Richard P. Feynman
“So my antagonist said, "Is it impossible that there are flying saucers? Can you prove that it's impossible?" "No", I said, "I can't prove it's impossible. It's just very unlikely". At that he said, "You are very unscientific. If you can't prove it impossible then how can you say that it's unlikely?" But that is the way that is scientific. It is scientific only to say what is more likely and what less likely, and not to be proving all the time the possible and impossible.”
Richard P. Feynman

Jules Verne
“Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Robert M. Pirsig
“The TV scientist who mutters sadly, "The experiment is a failure; we have failed to achieve what we had hoped for," is suffering mainly from a bad script writer. An experiment is never a failure solely because it fails to achieve predicted results. An experiment is a failure only when it also fails adequately to test the hypothesis in question, when the data it produces don't prove anything one way or another.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Michael Crichton
“I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2. Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”
Michael Crichton

Jonah Lehrer
“Just because an idea is true doesn't mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn't mean it's true.”
Jonah Lehrer

Criss Jami
“For God to prove himself on demand, physically, would be a grave disappointment, and the strongest Christians should be considerably grateful that he chooses not to do so. The skeptic endlessly demands proof, yet God refuses to insult the true intelligence of man, the '6th sense', the chief quality, the acumen which distinguishes man from the rest of creation, faith.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Marc Bekoff
“The plural of anecdote is not data.”
Marc Bekoff

David Deutsch
“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

“Things that look like they were designed, probably were... If intelligence is an operative component of the universe, a science that methodologically excludes its existence will be susceptible to being trapped in an endless chase for materialistic causes that do not exist... Where there are sufficient grounds for inferring intelligent causation, based on evidence of "specified complexity," it should be considered as a component of scientific theories.

Inclusion of intelligent causation in the scientific equation is not novel and has not impeded the practice of science in the past, e.g. Newton and Kepler, in an age when science was not constrained by a philosophical materialism, and by many current scientists who have remained open to following the evidence where it leads.”
Donald L. Ewert

Cristina Marrero
“The Scientific Method is a wonderful tool as long as you don't care which way the outcome turns; however, this process fails the second one's perception interferes with the interpretation of data. This is why I don’t take anything in life as an absolute…even if someone can “prove” it “scientifically.”
Cristina Marrero

Bill Gaede
“Science is not about making predictions or performing experiments. Science is about explaining.”
Bill Gaede

Richard P. Feynman
“Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.”
Richard P. Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

Richard P. Feynman
“…if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.”
Richard P. Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

“Monotheism generally allows for no greys. Ideas are either true or false. Hence, although science develops out of the alchemy of the medieval Christian milieu (derived from Arabic alchemy, which was stimulated by the much earlier Chinese alchemy), science is not understood by the nonscientific monotheistic population. The general Western public mistakenly thinks science presents unalterable truth, as does their religion, rather than theories to be tested and continually discarded to be replaced by new hypotheses, which is the actual scientific method.”
Jordan D. Paper, The Deities Are Many: A Polytheistic Theology

“The quest for absolute certainty is an immature, if not infantile, trait of thinking.”
Herbert Feigl, Inquiries and Provocation: Selected Writings, 1929-1974

Bill Gaede
“Whereas a novice makes moves until he gets checkmated (proof), a Grand Master realizes 20 moves in advance that it’s futile to continue playing (conceptualizing).”
Bill Gaede

Daniel Gilbert
“When a fruit salad, a lover, or a jazz trio is just too imperfect for our tastes, we stop eating, kissing, and listening. But the law of large numbers suggests that when a measurement is too imperfect for our tastes, we should not stop measuring. Quite the opposite - we should measure again and again until niggling imperfections yield to the onslaught of data.”
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness

William Kamkwamba
“Mister Geoffrey, my experiment shows that the dynamo and the bulb are both working properly," I said. "So why won't the radio play?"

"I don't know," he said. "Try connecting them here."

He was pointing toward a socket on the radio labeled "AC," and when I shoved the wires inside, the radio came to life. We shouted with excitement. As I pedaled the bicycle, I could hear the great Billy Kaunda playing his happy music on Radio Two, and that made Geoffrey start to dance.

"Keep pedaling," he said. "That's it, just keep pedaling."

"Hey, I want to dance, too."

"You'll have to wait your turn."

Without realizing it, I'd just discovered the difference between alternating and direct current. Of course, I wouldn't know what this meant until much later.

After a few minutes of pedaling this upside-down bike by hand, my arm grew tired and the radio slowly died. So I began thinking, "What can do the pedaling for us so Geoffrey and I can dance?”
William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Stephen Jay Gould
“People, as curious primates, dote on concrete objects that can be seen and fondled. God dwells among the details, not in the realm of pure generality. We must tackle and grasp the larger, encompassing themes of our universe, but we make our best approach through small curiosities that rivet our attention - all those pretty pebbles on the shoreline of knowledge. For the ocean of truth washes over the pebbles with every wave, and they rattle and clink with the most wondrous din.”
Stephen Jay Gould

“How can you say one thing when your data shows something else. One doesn't know what was on the authors' minds and maybe they interpreted things differently but the sense is that the literature maintains an attitude somewhat like the approach of lawyers. If the jury buys it, it doesn't matter whether or not it's true. In scientific publishing, the jury are the reviewers and the editors. If they are already convinced of the conclusion, if there is no voir dire, you will surely win the case.”
Richard David Feinman, The World Turned Upside Down: The Second Low-Carbohydrate Revolution

“Science has an unfortunate habit of discovering information politicians don't want to hear, largely because it has some bearing on reality.”
Stephen L. Burns, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, 2012 December

Isaac Asimov
“[The theory of universal gravitation] is not cast-iron. No theory is, and there is always room for improvement. Isn't that so? Science is constructed out of approximations that gradually approach the truth. . . Well, that means all theories are subject to constant testing and modification, doesn't it? And if it eventually turns out that they're not quite close enough to the truth, they need to be replaced by something that's closer. Right?”
Isaac Asimov, Nightfall

Karl Popper
“There can be no ultimate statements science: there can be no statements in science which can not be tested, and therefore none which cannot in principle be refuted, by falsifying some of the conclusions which can be deduced from them.”
Karl Popper

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