Saturday Quote-a-thon: Assumptions and Stubbornness

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ah, the old presupposed notions and the inability to see past one's own view. Ah, I've got a bunch of these....I think.

Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.
--Baltasar Gracián

Perseverance is the most overrated of traits, if it is unaccompanied by talent; beating your head against a wall is more likely to produce a concussion in the head than a hole in the wall.
--Sydney J. Harris

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
--Aldous Huxley

When a true genius appears in this world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
--Jonathon Swift

Life is so unlike theory.
--Anthony Trollope

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
--Mark Twain

As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life -- so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.
-- Matt Cartmill

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
-- Howard Aiken

Every time we start thinking we're the center of the universe, the universe turns around and says with a slightly distracted air, 'I'm sorry. What'd you say your name was again?'
-- Margaret Maron

God runs electromagnetics by wave theory on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Devil runs them by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
-- Sir William Bragg

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo

Ignorance is the mother of presumption.
-- Marie de Gournay

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
-- Charles Darwin

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.
-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Information cannot argue with a closed mind.
-- Elaine May

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.
-- Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-- Upton Sinclair

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
-- William G. McAdoo

It would appear that we have reached the limits of what is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.
-- John Von Neumann, 1949

Nothing is improbable until it moves into the past tense.
-- George Ade

Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.
-- Werner Heisenberg

Once, when the secrets of science were the jealously guarded property of a small priesthood, the common man had no hope of mastering their arcane complexities. Years of study in musty classrooms were prerequisite to obtaining even a dim, incoherent knowledge of science. Today all that has changed: a dim, incoherent knowledge of science is available to anyone.
-- Tom Weller

One must always tell what one sees. Above all, which is more difficult, one must always see what one sees.
-- Charles Pierre Péguy

Science is built with facts as a house is with stones -- but a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
-- Jules Henri Poincarxiée

Scientists, especially when they leave the particular field in which they have specialized, are just as ordinary, pig-headed and unreasonable as anybody else, and their unusually high intelligence makes their prejudices all the more dangerous.
-- H.J Eysenck

Scientists often have a naive faith that if only they could discover enough facts about a problem, these facts would somehow arrange themselves in a compelling and true solution.
-- Theodosius Dobzhansky

Sometimes men come by the name of genius in the same way that certain insects come by the name of centipede -- not because they have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above fourteen.
-- Georg Lichtenberg

Sometimes the best way to convince someone he is wrong is to let him have his way.
-- Red O'Donnell

“Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.”
-The Social Contract, Jean Jacques Rousseau

It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.
-Albert Einstein

Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
-Nikola Tesla

Ford stood up. "We're safe," he said.
"Oh good," said Arthur.
"We're in a small galley cabin," said Ford, "in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet."
"Ah," said Arthur, "this is obviously some strange usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of."
-From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I have more, but this is long enough for today.


  • Jeff King

    I think it is long enough, your point has been made.
    i would love to hear way you decided to make a blog, and what drives you in your every day life. what dreams fill your eyes when you think about the future...
    i would love to hear your thoughts on the half blood prince the movie, come to my blog and leave your opinion if you will..

  • Relax Max

    Me too. What Jeff said.

    Good quotes. Really good. I missed the quotes last Saturday when you were away.

  • doctor Faustroll

    Good list. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
    - Frank Zappa

    Wooden-headedness...plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts.
    - Barbara Tuchman

    Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
    - Jonathan Swift

    Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image, but thee who destroys a goode booke, kills reason it selfe.
    - John Milton

    A true noun, an isolated thing, does not exist in nature. Things are only the terminal points, or rather the meeting points, of actions, cross-sections cut through actions, snapshots. Neither can a pure verb, an abstract motion, be possible in nature. The eye sees noun and verb as one: things in motion, motion in things and so the Chinese conception tends to represent them . . . But in nature there is no completeness . . . motion leaks everywhere like electricity from an exposed wire...
    - Ernest Fenellosa

    Disorder! Disorder! I can't be blamed for all this damned disorder!
    - Ezra Pound

    The dismaying thing about the classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, though mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.

    Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and thirty three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year.

    The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten year olds, in most cases.
    - Kurt Vonnegut

    one tombstone for the mess,
    I say:
    humanity, you never had it
    from the beginning
    - Charles Bukowski

    The essence of man is, discontent, divine discontent; a sort of love without a beloved, the ache we feel in a member we no longer have.
    - Ortega y Gasset

    I find it particularly ironic that the Bukowski sentiment is often quoted as "to begin with," which entirely misses the point of what he wrote.

  • Stephanie B

    Max, darling, I pre-wrote all my blogs last weekend including the Quote-a-thon on change you asked for.

    Jeff, I'll see what I can do about your question on Ask Me Anything. I can go to your website, but I can't give you an opinion on Harry Potter's latest movie. I've neither read the book nor seen the movie.

  • Aron Sora

    When a true genius appears in this world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
    --Jonathon Swift

    NASA should put that quote in its media pack.

  • WillOaks Studio

    Fabulous...and inspiring...and sometimes pretty amusing list here...many thanks!

  • The Mother

    Love the Bragg quote.

    And the Conan-Doyle quote is fascinating, considering he was unapologetically determined that spiritualism was real.

  • Stephanie B

    You know, the Mother, one thing about collecting quotes is how often I found something I never expected coming out of someone's mouth. People I despise say things that inspire me. People I admire say something thoughtless.

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