Monday, November 07, 2005

Some interesting quotes

"One of the severest tests of a scienĀ­tific mind is to discern the limits of the legitimate applications of scientific methods."
-- James Clerk Maxwell, "Paradoxical Philosophy" 1878

"Much is spoken today about the power of science, and rightly. It is awesome. But little is said about the inherent limitations of science, and both sides of the coin need equal scrutiny."
-- Vannevar Bush, "Science Pauses" in Fortune May 1965

"It's about as likely that an ape will prove to have a language ability as that there is an island somewhere with a species of flightless birds waiting for human beings to teach them to fly."
-- Noam Chomsky, Time March 10, 1980

[The widespread taking of mechanistic physics for the truth of a mechanistic philosophy proved to be] "a superstition far more dangerous than the one about the existence of witches: It leads to a general spiritual and moral drying-up which can easily lead to physical destruction. When once we have got to the stage of seeing in man merely a complex machine, what does it matter if we destroy him?"
-- W. Heitler, Man and Science

"I have no practice in abstract reasoning, and I may be all astray."
-- Charles Darwin, letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881

[The female pine cone, with its airfoils which set up spiral air currents, guiding the pollen between its scales... ...the work of a] "coniferous air traffic controller deliberately bending the flight paths of the pollen grains to its aerodynamic will..."
--B Fellman, "An Engineer's Eye Helps Biologists Understand Nature", Smithsonian July 1989

[quoted in "The Heuristics of Purpose", chapter 6 of The Purpose of It All by S. L. Jaki]


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