Rennan Barkana's Page of Serious Quotes on Other Subjects

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"I quote others only in order the better to express myself."
--- Michel de Montaigne

"In the discovery of hidden things and the investigation of hidden causes, stronger reasons are obtained from sure experiments and demonstrated arguments than from probable conjectures and the opinions of philosophical speculators of the common sort."
--- William Gilbert, 1600

"... what would convince me of Design... If man was made of brass or iron & no way connected with any other organism which had ever lived, I should perhaps be convinced."
--- Darwin, in an 1861 letter to Asa Gray

"Common sense is as rare as genius."
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
--- Thomas Paine

"Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."
--- Democritus

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish (Muslim), appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
--- Thomas Paine

"But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing."
--- Thomas Paine

"Character is much easier kept than recovered."
--- Thomas Paine

"We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance."
--- Thomas Paine

"That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly."
--- Thomas Paine

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"Well done is better than well said."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"Wish not so much to live long as to live well."
--- Benjamin Franklin

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"Health is worth more than learning."
--- Thomas Jefferson

"Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper."
--- Thomas Jefferson

" If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? "
--- Mark Twain, Harper's Magazine, September 1899

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
--- Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)

"At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense."
--- Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

"There is, in fact, no reason to believe that any given natural phenomenon, however marvelous it may seem today, will remain forever inexplicable. Soon or late the laws governing the production of life itself will be discovered in the laboratory, and man may set up business as a creator on his own account. The thing, indeed, is not only conceivable; it is even highly probable."
--- H. L. Mencken, 1930

"By the middle 1880's, practically all the roads except those in the South, were of the present standard gauge. The southern roads were still five feet between rails.
It was decided to change the gauge of all southern roads to standard, in one day. This remarkable piece of work was carried out on a Sunday in May of 1886. For weeks beforehand, shops had been busy pressing wheels in on the axles to the new and narrower gauge, to have a supply of rolling stock which could run on the new track as soon as it was ready. Finally, on the day set, great numbers of gangs of track layers went to work at dawn. Everywhere one rail was loosened, moved in three and one-half inches, and spiked down in its new position. By dark, trains from anywhere in the United States could operate over the tracks in the South, and a free interchange of freight cars everywhere was possible."

--- Robert Henry, "Trains", 1957

"William James used to preach the 'will to believe.' For my part, I should wish to preach the 'will to doubt.' ...What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite."
--- Lord Bertrand Arthur William Russell, Skeptical Essays (1928)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
--- George Bernard Shaw

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
--- H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."
--- Mark Twain

"Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."
--- originally attributed to Woodrow Wilson

"The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness."
--- Michel de Montaigne

"By doubting we all come at truth."
--- Marcus Tullius Cicero

"To be content with what one has is the greatest and truest of riches."
--- Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded."
--- Herbert Spencer


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