Inquiry Quotes

Quotes tagged as "inquiry" Showing 1-30 of 80
Thomas Jefferson
“4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ.

...Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost...

[Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Edwin Powell Hubble
“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”
Edwin Hubble

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know—the Church does neither.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Thomas Paine From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'

Richard Dawkins
“The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.”
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

Criss Jami
“Beyond all sciences, philosophies, theologies, and histories, a child's relentless inquiry is truly all it takes to remind us that we don't know as much as we think we know.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

“If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquires. We all have the answers within ourselves, we just have not got in touch with them yet. The potential of finding the truth within requires faith in ourselves.”
Ayya Khema

Louisa May Alcott
“Jo's face was a study next day, for the secret rather weighed upon her, and she found it hard not to look mysterious and important. Meg observed it, but did not troubled herself to make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

William Kingdon Clifford
“In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.”
William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays

Carl Sagan
“All inquiries carry with them some element of risk.”
Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science

Criss Jami
“As a writer of philosophy, it's good to ask oneself, 'Will I still believe this a week from now, or months, or even years?”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Richard Wright
“You asked me questions nobody ever asked me before. You knew that I was a murderer two times over, but you treated me like a man...”
Richard Wright, Native Son

Elspeth Huxley
“The best way to find out things, if you come to think of it, is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing off a gun; bang it goes, and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit quite still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone; and if you are very patient, you will see and understand a great deal more than a man with a gun.”
Elspeth Huxley, The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

Thomas Jefferson
“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Ozzie Zehner
“Truths are as much a matter of questions as answers.”
Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

Thomas Jefferson
“Speaking one day to Monsieur de Buffon, on the present ardor of chemical inquiry, he affected to consider chemistry but as cookery, and to place the toils of the laboratory on the footing with those of the kitchen. I think it, on the contrary, among the most useful of sciences, and big with future discoveries for the utility and safety of the human race.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Carl Sagan
“But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

“Just as we may, through an appalled realization that we were unaware of what was going on in the mind of one we thought we knew, come to wonder how we ever know what another person is thinking or feeling, so too we may, having on some occasion wanted badly to understand and having clearly failed, come to wonder how we ever manage to understand, and how we know that we have succeeded.”
Patrick Wilson

Abhijit Naskar
“Once you learn to question, you will start to learn.”
Abhijit Naskar, Sleepless for Society

Abhijit Naskar
“Everything that's worth anything in the world has been achieved by the inquiring mind full of questions, not by those full of rituals and prejudice.”
Abhijit Naskar, Sleepless for Society

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
“Yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquires.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Rod Dreher
“In Chapter 77, you had people of totally different worldviews and ideas joined together,” says Patrik. “You had, for example, democratic socialists on the one side and fervent Catholics on the other side. It was totally normal for me that as a small child, I was being raised in a community of people with very different opinions. So it shattered the bubble around me.”
The lesson of valuing diversity within a broader unity of shared goals is something that Christians today need to embrace.
“When we look at what’s happening in America today, we see that you are building walls and creating gaps between people,” he says. “For us, we are always willing to speak, to talk with the other side to avoid building walls between people. You know, it is much easier to indoctrinate someone who is enclosed within a set of walls.”
Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents

“The things about which we inquire are equal in number to the things we understand.”
Aristotle, Posterior Analytics

Ashim Shanker
“Ask me any question–preferably one with no simple answer. Or one with no answer at all–even better. Just ask, and await no answer. Let the question take on a life of its own.”
Ashim Shanker

“Curiosity did not kill the Cat, it transformed the Cat into a Lion.”
Constance Friday

“Curiosity didn't kill the Cat, it transformed the Cat into a Lion.”
Constance Friday

Dalai Lama XIV
“Popper's falsifiability thesis resonates with a major methodological principle in my own Tibetan Buddhist philosophical tradition. We might call this the "principle of the scope of negation." This principle states that there is a fundamental difference between that which is "not found" and that which is "found not to exist." If I look for something and fail to find it, this does not mean that the thing I am seeking does not exist. Not seeing a thing is not the same as seeing its non-existence.”
Dalai Lama XIV, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

Abhijit Naskar
“Question leads to correction and correction leads to growth.”
Abhijit Naskar, Hometown Human: To Live for Soil and Society

Edward Craig
“they may also be implying that making the discovery that human beings just can’t cope with certain kinds of question, and making that discovery for yourself – and actually making it, rather than just lazily assuming that you know it already – isn’t a valuable experience, or is an experience without effects. Surely that cannot be true?”
Edward Craig, Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

V.S. Naipaul
“Indians have made some contribution to science in this century; but - with a few notable exceptions - their work has been done abroad. And this is more than a matter of equipment and facilities. It is a cause of concern to the Indian scientific community - which feels itself vulnerable in India - that many of those men who are so daring and original abroad should, when they are lured back to India, collapse into ordinariness and yet remain content, become people who seem unaware of their former worth, and seem to have been brilliant by accident. They have been claimed by the lesser civilization, the lesser idea of dharma and self-fulfillment. In a civilization reduced to its forms, they no longer have to strive intellectually to gain spiritual merit in their own eyes; that same merit is now to be had by religious right behaviour, correctness.

India grieved for the scientist Har Gobind Khorana, who, as an American citizen, won a Nobel Prize in medicine for the United States a few years ago. India invited him back and fêted him; but what was most important about him was ignored. 'We could do everything for Khorana,' one of India's best journalists said, 'except do him the honour of discussing his work.' The work, the labour, the assessment of labour: it was expected that somehow that would occur elsewhere, outside India.”
V.S. Naipaul, India: A Wounded Civilization

Lucy  Carter
“However, if it is not viewed as an academic discipline, it might be different. In philosophy, things such as reality, knowledge, the significance of things, and morality are questioned, and since these things pretty much ask about life, every living being would probably have asked at least one philosophical question, because if a person is living, why would they not question their own lives? This could especially be the case with young children, who can ask questions such as “How come adults can stay up late while I can’t?” or “How do you know that God exists?” (And adults somehow think that us kids have less complex thoughts!) In these cases, a person questioning his/her life is trying to satisfy his/her OWN need to learn something, which is pretty much what Aurelius was trying to say. For the first question, “How come adults can stay up late while I can’t?,” the hypothetical child is questioning the purposes of children and adults, and how they contrast, which makes it a philosophical question, but the child pursued it not because he/she was assigned to do it, but because the question applied to his/her OWN life. The child might have noticed that the parents were able to stay up watching two hours of TV at 8:00 pm while being asked to go back to bed, and knew that the question should be asked during this point in his/her own life.”
Lucy Carter, The Reformation

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