Reductionism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "reductionism" (showing 1-26 of 26)
J.R.R. Tolkien
“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Leo Tolstoy
“Human science fragments everything in order to understand it, kills everything in order to examine it. ”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Clarence Darrow
“Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads.

Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place.

Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows?

...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right.

How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads....

Why did they kill little Bobby Franks?

Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood.

. . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain”
Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

Pierre Bourdieu
“I would simply ask why so many critics, so many writers, so many philosophers take such satisfaction in professing that the experience of a work of art is ineffable, that it escapes by definition all rational understanding; why are they so eager to concede without a struggle the defeat of knowledge; and where does their irrepressible need to belittle rational understanding come from, this rage to affirm the irreducibility of the work of art, or, to use a more suitable word, its transcendence.”
Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field

Georg Simmel
“The calculative exactness of practical life which the money economy has brought about corresponds to the ideal of natural science: to transform the world by mathematical formulas. Only money economy has filled the days of so many people with weighing, calculating, with numerical determinations, with a reduction of qualitative values to quantitative ones.”
Georg Simmel, The Sociology of Georg Simmel

“We believe that religions are basically the same…they only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.”
Steve Turner, Up To Date

“It seemed a ruse that fear of death should be the sole motivation for living and, yet, to quell this fear made the prospect of living itself seem all the more absurd; to extend this further, the notion of living one’s life for the purposes of pondering the absurdity of living was an even greater absurdity in and of itself, which thus, by reductio ad absurdum, rendered the fear of death a necessary function of life and any lack thereof, a trifling matter rooted in self-inflicted incoherence.”
Ashim Shanker, Only the Deplorable

Peter   Atkins
“Someone with a fresh mind, one not conditioned by upbringing and environment, would doubtless look at science and the powerful reductionism that it inspires as overwhelmingly the better mode of understanding the world, and would doubtless scorn religion as sentimental wishful thinking. Would not that same uncluttered mind also see the attempts to reconcile science and religion by disparaging the reduction of the complex to the simple as attempts guided by muddle-headed sentiment and intellectually dishonest emotion?

...Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny. Through fear of being shown to be vacuous, religion denies the awesome power of human comprehension. It seeks to thwart, by encouraging awe in things unseen, the disclosure of the emptiness of faith. Religion, in contrast to science, deploys the repugnant view that the world is too big for our understanding. Science, in contrast to religion, opens up the great questions of being to rational discussion, to discussion with the prospect of resolution and elucidation. Science, above all, respects the power of the human intellect. Science is the apotheosis of the intellect and the consummation of the Renaissance. Science respects more deeply the potential of humanity than religion ever can.”
Peter Atkins

Silvia Hartmann
“Chaos is complexity viewed through a reductionist filter.”
Silvia Hartmann

Albert Einstein
“The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.

- Albert Einstein, letter of February 5, 1921”
Albert Einstein

Seyyed Hossein Nasr
“The ideal of the 11th/17th century physicists was to be able to explain all physical reality in terms of the movement of atoms. This idea was extended by people like Descartes who saw the human body itself as nothing but a machine. Chemists tried to study chemical reaction in this light and reduce chemistry to a form of physics, and biologists tried to reduce their science to simply chemical reactions and then finally to the movement of physical particles. The idea of reductionsm which is innate to modern science and which was only fortified by the tehory of evolution could be described as the reduction fo the spirit to the psyche, the psyche to biological activity, life to lifeless matter and lifeless matter to purely quantitative particles or bundles of energy whose movements can be measured and quantified.”
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, A Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World

“The history of atomism is one of reductionism – the effort to reduce all the operations of nature to a small number of laws governing a small number of primordial objects.”
Leon M. Lederman

Richard Feynman
“Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars—mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is 'mere'. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination—stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern—of which I am a part… What is the pattern or the meaning or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”
Richard Feynman

William Barrett
“We have come to understand the phenomena of life only as an assemblage of the lifeless. We take the mechanistic abstractions of our technical calculation to be ultimately concrete and "fundamentally real," while our most intimate experiences are labelled "mere appearance" and something having reality only within the closet of the isolated mind.

Suppose however we were to invert this whole scheme, reverse the order in which it assigns abstract and concrete. What is central to our experience, then, need not be peripheral to nature. This sunset now, for example, caught within the network of bare winter branches, seems like a moment of benediction in which the whole of nature collaborates. Why should not these colours and these charging banners of light be as much a part of the universe as the atoms and molecules that make them up? If they were only "in my mind," then I and my mind would no longer be a part of nature. Why should the pulse of life toward beauty and value not be a part of things?

Following this path, we do not vainly seek to assemble the living out of configurations of dead stuff, but we descend downwards from more complex to simpler grades of the organic. From humans to trees to rocks; from "higher grade" to "lower grade" organisms. In the universe of energy, any individual thing is a pattern of activity within the flux, and thereby an organism at some level.”
William Barrett, The Illusion of Technique: A Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization

T. Colin Campbell
“That's another pitfall of reductionism: Until scientists have the means to isolate and measure things, they insist those things don't and can't exist, and anyone who says otherwise is ignorant an superstitious.”
T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Peter   Atkins
“Someone with a fresh mind, one not conditioned by upbringing and environment, would doubtless look at science and the powerful reductionism that it inspires as overwhelmingly the better mode of understanding the world, and would doubtless scorn religion as sentimental wishful thinking. Would not that same uncluttered mind also see the attempts to reconcile science and religion by disparaging the reduction of the complex to the simple as attempts guided by muddle-headed sentiment and intellectually dishonest emotion?”
Peter Atkins

Carl Ludwig
“Scientific physiology has the task of determining the functions of the animal body and deriving them as a necessary consequence from its elementary conditions.”
Carl Ludwig

T. Colin Campbell
“By now, I hope you recognize this as one more example of the reductionist paradigm at work, even when it's couched in natural and alternative terms. As we saw in chapter ten, one of the major problems with modern medicine is its reliance on isolated, unnatural chemical pharmaceuticals as the primary tool in the war against disease. But the medical profession isn't the only player in the health-care system that has embraced this element of reductionism. The natural health community has also fallen prey to the ideology that chemicals ripped from their natural context are as good as or better than whole foods. Instead of synthesizing the presumed "active ingredients" from medicinal herbs, as done for prescription drugs, supplement manufacturers seek to extract and bottle the active ingredients from foods known or believed to promote good health and healing. And just like prescription drugs, the active agents function imperfectly, incompletely, and unpredictably when divorced from the whole plant food from which they're derived or synthesized.”
T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Carl Sagan
“The astonishing fact is that similar mathematics applies so well to planets and to clocks. It needn’t have been this way. We didn’t impose it on the Universe. That’s the way the Universe is. If this is reductionism, so be it.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

“At first sight nothing seems more obvious than that everything has a beginning and an end, and that everything can be subdivided into smaller parts. Nevertheless, for entirely speculative reasons the philosophers of Antiquity, especially the Stoics, concluded this concept to be quite unnecessary. The prodigious development of physics has now reached the same conclusion as those philosophers, Empedocles and Democritus in particular, who lived around 500 B.C.E. and for whom even ancient man had a lively admiration.”
Svante Arrhenius

“The brain’s dense thicket of interrelationships, like those of history or art, does not yield to the reductivist’s bright blade. (91)”
Thomas Lewis, A General Theory of Love

“I have a firm belief in such things as, you know, the water, the Earth, the trees and sky. And I'm wondering, it is increasingly difficult to find those elements in nature, because it's nature I believe in rather than some spiritual thing.”
Bill Blass

Abhijit Naskar
“The causal, abstract, binary, holistic, and reductionist functions of the human brain all help you to process the enormous amount of information coming into our brain from the external world every day.”
Abhijit Naskar

James Gleick
“It’s not an academic question any more to ask what’s going to happen to a cloud. People very much want to know—and that means there’s money available for it. That problem is very much within the realm of physics and it’s a problem very much of the same caliber. You’re looking at something complicated, and the present way of solving it is to try to look at as many points as you can, enough stuff to say where the cloud is, where the warm air is, what its velocity is, and so forth. Then you stick it into the biggest machine you can afford and you try to get an estimate of what it’s going to do next. But this is not very realistic.”
James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science

David Zindell
“Science,’ he informed me, ‘might not yet have all the answers, but it is the only verifiable—and hence meaningful—way of asking the right questions.’
‘But those questions are nearly always asked through the voices of materialism, mechanism, and reduction. Has it occurred to you that the only aspects of the universe that such an approach will reveal are those that are materialistic, mechanistic, and reductionist?’
‘Has it occurred to you,’ he countered, ‘that the universe really is nothing more than matter and energy, which we can understand through, and only through, analysis?’
I suddenly felt like launching myself out of the pool and landing on top of him. Instead I said, ‘And analyzing as you scientists do, every year you understand more and more about less and less until someday you will know everything about nothing.”
David Zindell, The Idiot Gods

Seyyed Hossein Nasr
“In the West, the great problem that was created for Christianity from the 17th century onward and even earlier during the Renaissance was that religion began to retreat from one domain after another in order to accommodate the forces of modernism and secularism. One can point to the Galileo trial, after which the Church ‘‘lost the cosmos.’’ In fact, the Church was right in many ways, because what Galileo was saying did not concern astronomy alone, but also theology, which was quite something else. As a consequence of this trial, the Church withdrew from its concern with the sciences of nature and no longer challenged what kind of science was developed, and suf- fered the results of accepting the reductionism and materialistic views of modern science. This process resulted in the complete secularization of nature and the cosmos.”
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, در جستجوي امر قدسي