theESP

Quotes

Adam Smith:

“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.”

Ep. #137
 
Dame Agatha Christie:

“Everything must be taken into account. If the fact will not fit the theory – let the theory go.”

Ep. #045
 
Albert Einstein:

“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth”

Ep. #175
 

“One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike – and yet it is the most precious thing we have.”

Ep. #091
 

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. … Don’t stop to marvel.”

Ep. #007, Ep. #255
 
Albert Szent-Györgyi:

“The essence of the scientific method is that it deals with problems as such and thus it seeks solutions, without prejudice or chauvinism. The question we ask is not who’s right, but what the truth is.”

Ep. #063, Ep. #113
 
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

“Skepticism is a way of freeing the dogmatic mind, and that’s where its value lies.”

Ep. #201
 
Alexander Graham Bell:

“There cannot be mental atrophy in any person who continues to observe, to remember what he observes, and to seek answers for his unceasing hows and whys about things.”

Ep. #134
 
Alfred Korzybski:

“Humans can be literally poisoned by false ideas and false teachings. Many people have a just horror at the thought of putting poison into tea or coffee, but seem unable to realize that, when they teach false ideas and false doctrines, they are poisoning the time-binding capacity of their fellow men and women.”

Ep. #234
 
Anatole France:

“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”

Ep. #164
 
André Paul Guillaume Gide:

“Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.”

Ep. #192
 
Anonymous:

“Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need the most never use it.”

Ep. #172
 

“I just finally discovered what’s wrong with my brain – on the left side there’s nothing right, and on the right side there’s nothing left”

Ep. #199
 
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier:

“We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”

Ep. #009, Ep. #109, Ep. #157
 
Aristotle:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Ep. #047
 

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Ep. #187
 

“Wise men speak when they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something .”

Ep. #099
 
Arne Tiselius:

“We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.”

Ep. #013, Ep. #110
 
Arthur C. Clarke:

​”I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.”

Ep. #120
 

“As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.”

Ep. #253
 
Arthur Schopenhauer:

“The method of viewing things which proceeds in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason is the rational method, and it alone is valid and of use in practical life and in science. The method which looks away from the content of this principle is the method of genius, which is only valid and of use in art.”

Ep. #059
 
Baruch Spinoza:

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”

Ep. #039
 

“Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that, once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away, which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.”

Ep. #067
 
Ben Goldacre:

“Problems in medicine do not mean that homeopathic sugar pills work; just because there are problems with aircraft design, that doesn’t mean that magic carpets really fly.”

Ep. #275
 
Bertrand Russell:

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance with his instincts, he will accept it even on the slenderest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”

Ep. #225
 

“Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead.”

Ep. #005
 

“The trouble with the world is that stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”

Ep. #029
 

“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 will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

Ep. #004
 
Blaise Pascal:

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

Ep. #073, Ep. #115, Ep. #212
 

“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”

Ep. #279
 
Brian Cox:

“I’m comfortable with the unknown — that’s the point of science. There are places out there, billions of places out there, that we know nothing about. And the fact that we know nothing about them excites me, and I want to go out and find out about them. And that’s what science is. So I think if you’re not comfortable with the unknown, then it’s difficult to be a scientist… I don’t need an answer. I don’t need answers to everything. I want to have answers to find.”

Ep. #226
 

“Skepticism must go hand in hand with rationality. When theories are shown to be false, the correct thing to do is to move on.”

Ep. #264
 

“The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!”

Ep. #025
 
Carl Friedrich Gauss:

“It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.”

Ep. #220
 

“There are problems to whose solution I would attach an infinitely greater importance than to those of mathematics, for example touching ethics, or our relation to God, or concerning our destiny and our future; but their solution lies wholly beyond us and completely outside the province of science.”

Ep. #272
 
Carl Sagan:

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.”

Ep. #294
 
Charles Darwin:

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”

Ep. #145
 

“Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue”

Ep. #041
 

“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often long endure; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, as every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”

Ep. #251
 

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

Ep. #053
 

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”

Ep. #166, Ep. #204
 
Charles Fabry:

“The impression that science is over has occurred many times in various branches of human knowledge, often because of an explosion of discoveries made by a genius or a small group of men in such a short time that average minds could hardly follow and had the unconscious desire to take breath, to get used to the unexpected things that came to be revealed. Dazzled by these new truths, they could not see beyond. Sometimes an entire century did not suffice to produce this accommodation.”

Ep. #232
 
Christopher Hitchens:

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence”.

Ep. #270
 
Claude Bernard:

“The great experimental principle, then, is doubt, that philosophic doubt which leaves to the mind its freedom and initiative, and from which the virtues most valuable to investigators in physiology and medicine are derived. ”

Ep. #179
 
Dara Ó Briain:

“‘Herbal medicine’, “Oh, herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years!” Indeed it has, and then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became ‘medicine’. And the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri, so knock yourselves out.”

Ep. #260
 

“Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”

Ep. #184
 
Sir David Attenborough:

“If we [humans] disappeared overnight, the world would probably be better off […] It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”

Ep. #191
 

“People sometimes say to me, “Why don’t you admit that the hummingbird, the butterfly, and the Bird-of-Paradise are proof of the wonderful things produced by Creation?” And I always say, “Well, when you say that, you’ve also got to think of a little boy sitting on a riverbank, like here, in West Africa, that’s got a little worm, a living organism, that’s in its eye and boring through its eyeballs and is slowly turning it blind. The creator God that you believe in, presumably, also made that little worm.” Now I personally find that difficult to accommodate and so therefore [sic] when I make these films, I prefer to show what I know to be the facts, what I know to be true, and then people can deduce what they will from that.”

Ep. #273
 
David Hume:

“In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”

Ep. #069, Ep. #126, Ep. #169
 

“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.”

Ep. #037
 
Denis Diderot:

“Scepticism is the first step towards truth.”

Ep. #132
 

“Skepticism is the first step toward truth. It must be applied generally, because it is the touchstone.”

Ep. #280
 
Derren Brown:

“Science is unusual in that it is cumulative. It is a system built over time, wherein useful information is retained and ideas that simply don’t stand up are discarded, based on the confirmation of knowledge through testing.”

Ep. #263
 
Desmond Morris:

“We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species.”

Ep. #258
 
Douglas Adams:

“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands.”

Ep. #265
 

“The invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes.”

Ep. #017
 
Edward Jenner:

“I hope that some day the practice of producing cowpox in human beings will spread over the world. When that day comes, there will be no more smallpox.”

Ep. #274
 
Edzard Ernst:

“The fact that any person or institution, however well respected, praises or adopts something never constitutes proof of anything. It might merely illustrate that even well-educated people or powerful institutions can sometimes commit the silliest and most obvious of mistakes.”

Ep. #292
 
Emilie du Chatelet:

“Love of learning is the most necessary passion … in it lies our happiness. It’s a sure remedy for what ails us, an unending source of pleasure.”

Ep. #178
 
Emma Goldman:

“Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think.”

Ep. #093
 
Enrico Fermi:

“It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge”

Ep. #139
 
Erich Seligmann Fromm:

“Critical thinking is the only weapon and the only defense that the human being has against the dangers of life. Because if I do not think critically, I will be subject to all influences, to all suggestions, to all errors and to all the lies that are spread, and with which I have been indoctrinated since childhood.”

Ep. #227
 
Sir Francis Bacon:

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

Ep. #155
 

“The general root of superstition: namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.

Ep. #174
 
Friedrich Nietzsche:

“A great truth wants to be criticized not idolized”

Ep. #043
 
Galileo Galilei:

“I have never met a man so ignorant that I could not learn something from him.”

Ep. #107
 

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

Ep. #176
 

“In the long run my observations have convinced me that some men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads. Such arguments in support of their fixed idea as they hit upon themselves or hear set forth by others, no matter how simple and stupid these may be, gain their instant acceptance and applause. On the other hand whatever is brought forward against it, however ingenious and conclusive, they receive with disdain or with hot rage — if indeed it does not make them ill.”

Ep. #262
 

“In the sciences the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in one individual. Besides, the modern observations deprive all former writers of any authority, since if they had seen what we see, they would have judged as we judge.”

Ep. #269
 

“Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.”

Ep. #128
 
George Bernard Shaw:

“Science is always simple and always profound. It is only the half-truths that are dangerous.”

Ep. #083
 
George Cuvier:

“To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.”

Ep. #229
 
George Orwell:

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.”

Ep. #181
 
Georges Cuvier:

“To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.”

Ep. #206
 
Gerhard Casper:

“The search to know has always been characterized by the need to doubt, the need to be critical, including the need to be self-critical.”

Ep. #087, Ep. #163
 
Gerty Cori:

“The love for and dedication to my work seems to me to be the basis for happiness. As a research worker, the unforgotten moments of my life are those rare ones… when the veil over nature’s secrets seems suddenly to lift and when what was dark and chaotic appears in a clear and beautiful light and pattern”

Ep. #286
 
Hans Rosling :

“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”

Ep. #301
 
Harriet Martineau:

“It is my deliberate opinion that the one essential requisite of human welfare in all ways is scientific knowledge of human nature.”

Ep. #065
 
Helen Czerski:

“Critical thinking is essential to make sense of our world, especially with advertisers and politicians all telling us loudly that they know best. We need to be able to look at the evidence and work out whether we agree with them.”

Ep. #298
 
Hendrik Willem van Loon:

“A few drops of science will often disinfect an entire barrel full of ignorance and prejudice.”

Ep. #089
 
Hermann von Helmholtz:

“Each individual fact, taken by itself, can indeed arouse our curiosity or our astonishment, or be useful to us in its practical applications. But intellectual satisfaction we obtain only from a connection of the whole, just from its conformity with law.”

Ep. #289
 
Dame Hilary Mary Mantel:

“It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”

Ep. #027, Ep. #159
 
Horace Walpole:

“I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel – a solution of why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept.”

Ep. #195
 
Immanuel Kant:

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.”

Ep. #103, Ep. #156
 

“Skepticism is thus a resting-place for human reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty. But it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. Such can be obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our knowledge of objects is enclosed.”

Ep. #097
 
Isaac Asimov:

“Science doesn’t purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life. I should think people would want to know that what they know is truly what the universe is like, or at least as close as they can get to it.”

Ep. #277
 

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

Ep. #248
 
Sir Isaac Newton:

“To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. ‘Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”

Ep. #202, Ep. #254
 

“We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.” – 1st rule (of 4) of scientific reasoning

Ep. #151
 
Jacques-Yves Cousteau:

“What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.”

Ep. #237
 
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz:

“The facts will eventually test all our theories, and they form, after all, the only impartial jury to which we can appeal.”

Ep. #224
 
Jim Al-Khalili:

“For me, I think the greatest achievement of science is to allow humanity to realize that our world is comprehensible. Through science, rational thinking, we can understand how the universe works.”

Ep. #033, Ep. #111
 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“If many a man did not feel obliged to repeat what is untrue, because he has said it once, the world would have been quite different.”

Ep. #117
 

“Science helps us before all things in this, that it somewhat lightens the feeling of wonder with which Nature fills us; then, however, as life becomes more and more complex, it creates new facilities for the avoidance of what would do us harm and the promotion of what will do us good.”

Ep. #246
 
Johannes Kepler:

“Of a number of variant hypotheses about the same facts, that one is true which shows why facts, which in the other hypotheses remain unrelated, are as they are, i.e., which demonstrates their orderly and rational mathematical connexion.”

Ep. #135
 
John Locke:

“False and doubtful positions, relied upon as unquestionable maxims, keep those who build on them in the dark from truth.”

Ep. #185
 
John Oliver:

“In science, you don’t just get to cherry-pick the parts that justify what you were going to do anyway! That’s religion!”

Ep. #271
 
Jonas Salk:

“Nothing happens quite by chance. It’s a question of acretion of information and experience.”

Ep. #119
 
Jonathan Swift:

“You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday.”

Ep. #183
 
Joseph Joubert:

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it”

Ep. #049
 

“The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.”

Ep. #223
 
Jules Verne:

“Science, my lad, has been built upon many errors; but they are errors which it was good to fall into, for they led to the truth.”

Ep. #167
 
Karl Popper:

“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.”

Ep. #233
 
Karl Raimund Popper:

“If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.”

Ep. #285
 
Ladislav Hromadka:

“The basics are knowing which small steps to take – you can’t start out planning world salvation from the get go. You have to be ready to do gruelling work. You have to find role models, who will teach you how to think better. You can’t always trust what you believe yourself. Every truth starts off as a delusion. It can only become truth after it is critiqued.”

Ep. #143
 
Leonardo da Vinci:

“Experiment is the interpreter of nature. Experiments never deceive. It is our judgment which sometimes deceives itself because it expects results which experiment refuses. We must consult experiment, varying the circumstances, until we have deduced general rules, for experiment alone can furnish reliable rules.”

Ep. #162, Ep. #219
 

“The acquisition of knowledge is always of use to the intellect, because it may thus drive out useless things and retain the good. For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known.”

Ep. #055
 

“Those who fall in love with practice without science are like a sailor who enters a ship without a helm or a compass, and who never can be certain whither he is going.”

Ep. #244
 
Lewis Wolpert:

“I would teach the world that science is the best way to understand the world, and that for any set of observations, there is only one correct explanation. Also, science is value-free, as it explains the world as it is. Ethical issues arise only when science is applied to technology – from medicine to industry.”

Ep. #015
 
Lise Meitner:

“Science makes people reach selflessly for truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality, with wonder and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy that the natural order of things brings to the true scientist.”

Ep. #011, Ep. #177
 

“Science makes people reach selflessly for truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality, with wonder and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy that the natural order of things brings to the true scientist.”

Ep. #124
 
Ljupka Cvetanova:

“The unspoken rule of democracy: three stupid ones will always outvote two smart ones.”

Ep. #207
 
Louis Pasteur:

“I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the most for the sake of suffering humanity.”

Ep. #230
 

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.”

Ep. #021, Ep. #168, Ep. #290
 
Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim:

“I was a scientist and then I noticed: I have to go into science communication! It has turned into a political thing to stand for facts.”

Ep. #287
 
March for Science:

“Are you alive and over 40 years old? You are welcome. Science”

Ep. #071
 
Marcus Aurelius:

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

Ep. #214
 

“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”

Ep. #281
 
Marie Curie:

“Humanity needs practical men, who get the most out of their work, and, without forgetting the general good, safeguard their own interests. But humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Without doubt, these dreamers do not deserve wealth, because they do not desire it. Even so, a well-organized society should assure to such workers the efficient means of accomplishing their task, in a life freed from material care and freely consecrated to research.”

Ep. #003
 

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Ep. #170
 
Martin H. Fischer:

“It is not hard to learn more. What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.”

Ep. #023
 
Mary Shelley:

“In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.

Ep. #051
 
Massimo Pigliucci:

“Given the power and influence that science increasingly has in our daily lives, it is important that we as citizens of an open and democratic society learn to separate good science from bunk. This is not just a matter of intellectual curiosity, as it affects where large portions of our tax money go – and in some cases whether people’s lives are lost as a result of nonsense.”

Ep. #257
 

“What skeptics are about is to keep that candle lit and spread it as much as possible.”

Ep. #205
 
Master Yoda:

“Do! Or do not! There is no try!”

Ep. #200
 
Max Beerbohm:

“The one real goal of education is to leave a person asking questions.”

Ep. #105, Ep. #193
 
Napoléon Bonaparte:

“The only victories which leave no regret are those which are gained over ignorance.”

Ep. #141, Ep. #203
 
Natalie Grams-Nobmann:

“Homeopathy doesn’t work beyond the Placebo effect.”

Ep. #296
 
Neil deGrasse Tyson:

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

Ep. #002
 
Niels Bohr:

“Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account for such experience in a manner independent of individual subjective judgement and therefore objective in the sense that it can be unambiguously communicated in ordinary human language.”

Ep. #243
 
Nikola Tesla:

“The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter — for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”

Ep. #057, Ep. #282
 
Oscar Wilde:

“The fact is, that the public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesmanlike habits, supplies their demands.”

Ep. #218
 

“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”

Ep. #165
 

“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing”

Ep. #196
 
Pauline Diana Baynes:

“Believe what you like, but don’t believe everything you read without questioning it.”

Ep. #194
 
Plato:

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”

Ep. #189
 
Publius Cornelius Tacitus:

“Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty. Take your time to decide don’t rush. ”

Ep. #130
 
Rein Vihalemm:

“The scientific world picture does not include … things that have not been constructed, that are not understood as artefacts … Instead of the final cause one starts to speak about purpose, which nature itself does not have. Only humans can set aims and achieve them by their activities if they know the laws of nature and set up various processes based on them and organise them purposively.”

Ep. #266
 
René Descartes:

“For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellence, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it”

Ep. #197
 

“Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.”

Ep. #268
 

“In order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things”

Ep. #085
 
Richard Dawkins:

“[Science] works! Planes fly. Cars drive. Computers compute. If you base medicine on science, you cure people. If you base the design of planes on science, they fly. If you base the design of rockets on science, they reach the moon. It works.”

Ep. #215
 

“I think that the appetite for mystery, the enthusiasm for that which we do not understand, is healthy and to be fostered. It is the same appetite which drives the best of true science, and it is an appetite which true science is best qualified to satisfy.”

Ep. #209
 

“If you want to do evil, science provides the most powerful weapons to do evil; but equally, if you want to do good, science puts into your hands the most powerful tools to do so. The trick is to want the right things, then science will provide you with the most effective methods of achieving them.”

Ep. #267
 

“Science may be weird and incomprehensible – more weird and less comprehensible than any theology – but science works. It gets results. It can fly you to Saturn, slingshotting you around Venus and Jupiter on the way. We may not understand quantum theory (heaven knows, I don’t), but a theory that predicts the real world to ten decimal places cannot in any straightforward sense be wrong.”

Ep. #249
 
Ricky Gervais:

“Science is constantly proved all the time. You see, If we took something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time, that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back because all the same tests would be the same result.“

Ep. #228
 
Robert Winston:

“I think it’s important for scientists to be a bit less arrogant, a bit more humble, recognising we are capable of making mistakes and being fallacious – which is increasingly serious in a society where our work may have unpredictable consequences.”

Ep. #283
 
Rosalind Franklin:

“But you look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralizing invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience and experiment.”

Ep. #158
 

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life… I do not accept your definition of faith i.e. belief in life after death… Your faith rests on the future of yourself and others as individuals, mine in the future and fate of our successors. It seems to me that yours is the more selfish… [as to] the question of a creator. A creator of what?… I see no reason to believe that a creator of protoplasm or primeval matter, if such there be, has any reason to be interested in our insignificant race in a tiny corner of the universe.”

Ep. #284
 

“You look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralising invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.” /Rosalind Franklin, English chemist and X-ray christallographer/

Ep. #061
 
Simon Singh:

“All that was required to measure the planet was a man with a stick and a brain. In other words, couple an intellect with some experimental apparatus and almost anything seems achievable.”

Ep. #291
 
Stanisław Lem:

“Even the fact that competent experts must serve under politicians of mediocre intelligence and little foresight is a problem that we are stuck with, because the experts themselves cannot agree on any major world issue. A logocracy of quarreling experts might be no better than the rule of the mediocrities to which we are subject. The declining intellectual quality of political leadership is the result of the growing complexity of the world. Since no one, be he endowed with the highest wisdom, can grasp it in its entirety, it is those who are least bothered by this who strive for power.”

Ep. #239
 
Stephen Fry:

“The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriousity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”

Ep. #122
 

“You’ll often hear the phrase “science doesn’t know everything.” Well, of course it doesn’t know everything. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean that it knows nothing”

Ep. #075
 
Stephen Hawking:

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

Ep. #256
 

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

Ep. #031
 
Taylor Swift:

“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.”

Ep. #150
 
Theodosius Grigorevich Dobzhansky:

“Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.”

Ep. #259
 
They Might Be Giants:

“A scientific theory; Isn’t just a hunch or guess; It’s more like a question; That’s been put through a lot of tests; And when a theory emerges; Consistent with the facts; The proof is with science; The truth is with science”

Ep. #235
 
Thomas Henry Huxley:

“Science … warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.”

Ep. #173
 

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.”

Ep. #079
 

“The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”

Ep. #245
 

“The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

Ep. #276
 

“The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.”

Ep. #221
 
Thomas Paine:

“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”

Ep. #217
 
Tim Minchin:

“A famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like arse-holes, in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this… but I would add that opinions differ significantly from arse-holes, in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat…. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” 

Ep. #001
 
Tom Baker:

“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.”

Ep. #293
 
Victor Borge:

“Santa Claus had the right idea – visit people only once per year”

Ep. #054
 
Victor Hugo:

“Because a fact seems strange to you, you conclude that it is not one. … All science, however, commences by being strange. Science is successive. It goes from one wonder to another. It mounts by a ladder. The science of to-day would seem extravagant to the science of a former time. Ptolemy would believe Newton mad.”

Ep. #019
 

“Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing”

Ep. #077
 
Voltaire:

“Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: ‘You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so.’ Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”

Ep. #182
 
Walter Kotschnig:

“Let us keep our minds open, by all means, as long as that means keeping our sense of perspective and seeking an understanding of the forces which mould the world. But don’t keep your minds so open that your brains fall out! There are still things in this world which are true and things which are false; acts which are right and acts which are wrong, even if there are statesmen who hide their designs under the cloak of high-sounding phrases.”

Ep. #101, Ep. #216
 
Werner Karl Heisenberg:

“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”

Ep. #241
 

“If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty—by forms I am referring to coherent systems of hypothesis, axioms, etc.—to forms that no one has previously encountered, we cannot help thinking that they are “true,” that they reveal a genuine feature of nature…”

Ep. #211
 
William Kingdon Clifford:

“In regard, to the sacred tradition of humanity, we learn that it consists, not in propositions or statements which are to be accepted and believed on the authority of the tradition, but in questions rightly asked, in conceptions which enable us to ask further questions, and in methods of answering questions. The value of all these things depends on their being tested day by day.”

Ep. #153
 

“Every time we let ourselves believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, of judicially and fairly weighing evidence. We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to, and the evil born when one such belief is entertained is great and wide.”

Ep. #147
 

“If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it—the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”

Ep. #278
 

“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

Ep. #148
 
William Ramsay:

“Progress is made by trial and failure; the failures are generally a hundred times more numerous than the successes; yet they are usually left unchronicled.”

Ep. #035
 
William Shakespeare:

“Modest doubt is call’d the beacon of the wise.”

Ep. #081