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CCCLXIII Quotes on Science and …

Quotation is the highest compliment you can pay to an author.  Samuel Johnson

I love deadlines.
I love the whooshing sound they make
as they go by.
   Douglas Adams

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it
than we do from learning the answer itself.
   Lloyd Alexander

Helmut,
you are the Linux of Bioequivalence!
   Susana Almeida

A Camel is a Horse designed by committee.    Anonymous

A drug is that substance which, when injected into a rat,
will produce a scientific report.
   Anonymous

An old error is always more popular
than a new truth.
   Anonymous (German proverb)

As hire As,
and Bs hire Cs.
   Anonymous

In the Middles Ages the lingua franca of science was Latin.
Nowadays the language of science is bad English.
   Anonymous

The quality of the responses received is directly proportional
to the quality of the question asked.
   Anonymous

To err is human, but to really foul things up
requires a computer.
   Anonymous

Trust, but verify    Anonymous (Russian proverb)

There are no dangerous thoughts;
thinking itself is dangerous.
   Hannah Arendt

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.    Aristotle

Even when laws have been written down,
they ought not always to remain unaltered.
   Aristotle

Law is mind without reason.    Aristotle

It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right,
but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong.
   Isaac Asimov

Those people who think they know everything
are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
   Isaac Asimov

Thou shalt not answer questionnaires Or quizzes upon world affairs,
Nor with compliance Take any test.
Thou shalt not sit with statisticians
nor commit A social science.
   W.H. Auden

Hast thou reason? I have.
Why then dost not thou use it?
   Marcus Aurelius

We can teach from our experience,
but we cannot teach experience.
   Sasha Azevedo

Errors using inadequate data are much less
than those using no data at all.
   Charles Babbage

On two occasions I have been asked,—“Pray, Mr. Babbage,
if you put into the machine wrong figures,…
will the right answers come out?”

I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas
that could provoke such a question.
   Charles Babbage

If a man will begin with certainties, he will end in doubts;
but if he will be content to begin with doubts,
he will end in certainties.
   Francis Bacon

It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding
to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than negatives.
   Francis Bacon

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability
to understand the exponential function.
   Albert Bartlett

The interpretation of facts in a certain way
stimulates other scientists’ thoughts.
   Robert Barany

Every system is perfectly designed
to get the results it gets.
   Paul B. Batalden

Like dreams, statistics are a form
of wish fulfillment.
   Jean Baudrillard

In advanced engineering, you expected failure;
you learned as much from failures as from successes –
indeed if you never suffered a failure
you probably weren’t pushing the envelope ambitiously enough.
   Stephen Baxter

Even though it’s applied science we’re
dealin’ with, it still is – science!
   Leslie Z. Benet

Pharmacokinetics may be simply defined as
what the body does to the drug,
as opposed to pharmacodynamics which may be defined as
what the drug does to the body.
   Leslie Z. Benet

No matter what side of the argument you are on,
you always find people on your side
that you wish were on the other.
   Thomas Berger

The art and science of asking questions
is the source of all knowledge.
   Thomas Berger

Genius is that which forces
the inertia of humanity to learn.
   Henri Bergson

Art is “I”; science is “we”.    Claude Bernard

[Those] who have an excessive faith in their theories or in their
ideas are not only poorly disposed to make discoveries, but they
also make very poor observations.
   Claude Bernard

You can observe a lot by watching.    Yogi Berra

Every new technology to me is like a newborn baby –
and you think that it’s become president
or it’s cure cancer or win a nobel prize.
But in the end, you’re perfectly happy
when it just stays out of jail […].
   Eric Betzig

I have finally come to the konklusion
that a good reliable set ov bowels
iz worth more to a man
than enny quantity of brains.
   Josh Billings

Laws are like sausages – it is better
not to see them being made.
   Otto von Bismarck

Scientists cannot simply hang their subjectivities
up on a hook outside the laboratory door.
   Ruth Bleier

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes,
which can be made, in a very narrow field.
   Niels Bohr

Every sentence I utter must be understood
not as an affirmation
but as a question.
   Niels Bohr

Truth and clarity are complementary.    Niels Bohr

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance –
it is the illusion of knowledge.
   Daniel J. Boorstin

I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science,
with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle
and find our way by trial and error,
building our road behind us as we proceed.
   Max Born

Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible;
reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless.
Even the possible can be senseless.
   Max Born

It is true that many scientists are not philosophically minded
and have hitherto shown much skill and ingenuity
but little wisdom.
   Max Born

The belief that there is only one truth and
that oneself is in possession of it,
seems to me the deepest root of all
that is evil in the world.
   Max Born

Nothing fails like success because you do not learn anything from it.
The only thing we ever learn from is failure.
Success only confirms our superstitions.
   Kenneth E. Boulding

Essentially, all models are wrong,
but some are useful.
   George E.P. Box

Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit
of falling in love with their models.
   George E.P. Box

Statistics is, or should be, about scientific investigation
and how to do it better, but many statisticians believe
it is a branch of mathematics.
   George E.P. Box

Statistics is the art of never having to say you’re wrong.
Variance is what any two statisticians are at.
   C.J. Bradfield

The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts
as to discover new ways of thinking about them.
   William Henry Bragg

Learning is a lifetime process, but there comes a time
when we must stop adding and start updating.
   Robert Brault

Basic research is what I’m doing
when I don’t know what I’m doing.
   Wernher von Braun

The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom,
but to set a limit to infinite error.
   Bertolt Brecht

There is no adequate defense, except stupidity,
against the impact of a new idea.
   Percy Williams Bridgman

Sometimes the key to an answer is found
in the way you formulate the question.
   David Brin

The plural of anecdote is not data.    Roger Brinner

The person interested in success has to learn
to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part
of the process of getting to the top.
   Joyce Brothers

No one should approach the temple of science
with the soul of a money changer.
   Thomas Browne

You can’t really say “similar” if it’s the same again you want.
“Similar” means something different.
   Anthony Burgess

An expert is one who knows more and more
about less and less.
   Nicholas Murray Butler

I can prove anything by statistics except the truth.    George Canning

No written law has ever been more binding than
unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
   Carrie Chapman Catt

Outside his own ever-narrowing field of specialization,
a scientist is a layman.
What members of an academy of science have in common
is a certain form of semiparasitic living.
   Erwin Chargaff

Science is wonderfully equipped to answer the question “How?”
but it gets terribly confused when you ask the question “Why?”
   Erwin Chargaff

There are only two kinds of scholars;
those who love ideas and those who hate them.
   Emile Chartier

Philosophy, like medicine, has plenty of drugs, few good remedies,
and hardly any specific cures.
   Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

He who fails to plan
is planning to fail.
   Winston Churchill

Natural ability without education
has more often attained to glory and virtue
than education without natural ability.
   Cicero

For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.    Arthur C. Clarke

It has yet to be proven
that intelligence has any survival value.
   Arthur C. Clarke

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that
something is possible, he is almost certainly right.
When he states that something is impossible,
he is very probably wrong.
   Arthur C. Clarke

Statistics are no substitute for judgment.    Henry Clay

When you know something, say what you know.
When you don’t know something, say that you don’t know.
That is knowledge.
   Confucius

To know that we know what we know,
and to know that we do not know what we do not know,
that is true knowledge.
   Nicolaus Copernicus

There are no routine statistical questions,
only questionable statistical routines.
   David R. Cox

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization.    Frederick E. Crane

A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician:
he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him
as though they were fairy tales.
   Marie Curie

There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors
instead of establishing the truth.
   Marie Curie

A mathematician is a blind man
in a dark room looking for a black cat
which isn’t there.
   attributed to Charles Darwin

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence
than does knowledge.
   Charles Darwin

By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded
that our brains drop out.
   Richard Dawkins

Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature
more difficult to explain than
simple, statistically probable things.
   Richard Dawkins

If you don’t know anything about computers,
just remember that they are machines that do exactly what you tell them
but often surprise you in the result.
   Richard Dawkins

In God we trust;
all others must bring data.
   W. Edwards Deming

Statistical problems are not solved by chemistry, administration,
engineering, medicine nor by anything
but statistical theory.
   W. Edwards Deming

The statistician has no magic touch by which
he may come in at the stage of tabulation
and make something of nothing.
   W. Edwards Deming

The worker is not the problem.
The problem is at the top!
Management!
   W. Edwards Deming

Skill is a function of chance.
It’s an intuitive best-use of chance situations.
   Philip K. Dick

If debugging is the process of removing bugs,
then programming must be the process of putting them in.
   Edsger W. Dijkstra

Scientists often have a naïve 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

“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently.
“I can’t make bricks without clay!”
   Arthur Conan Doyle

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.    Arthur Conan Doyle

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself,
but talent instantly recognizes genius.
   Arthur Conan Doyle

It is better to be wrong than to be vague.
In trial and error, the error is the true essential.
   Freeman Dyson

Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
Accordingly, a ‘genius’ is often merely a talented person
who has done all of his or her homework.
   Thomas Alva Edison

I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once.
I have succeeded in proving
that those 700 ways will not work.
   Thomas Alva Edison

I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any
of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.
   Thomas Alva Edison

If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed.
I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded
is another step forward.
   Thomas Alva Edison

Restlessness is discontent –
and discontent is the first necessity of progress.
Show me a thoroughly satisfied man –
and I will show you a failure.
   Thomas Alva Edison

There ain’t no rules around here!
We’re trying to accomplish something!
   Thomas Alva Edison

The National Academy of Sciences would be unable
to give a unanimous decision if asked
whether the sun would rise tomorrow.
   Paul Ehrlich

Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new.
   Albert Einstein

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics.
I can assure you mine are still greater.
   Albert Einstein

Everything should be made as simple as possible,
but not simpler.
   Albert Einstein

To raise new questions, new possibilities,
to regard old problems from a new angle,
requires creative imagination and
marks real advance in science.
   Albert Einstein

Half the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important.
   T. S. Eliot

If you don’t like something change it;
if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
   Mary Engelbreit

Statistics: The only science that enables different experts
using the same figures to draw different conclusions.
   Evan Esar

Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts
from reliable figures.
   Evan Esar

There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the
hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is
contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.
   Enrico Fermi

Most scientists today are devoid of ideas, full of fear, intent on
producing some paltry result so that they can add to the flood
of inane papers that now constitutes “scientific progress”
in many areas.
   Paul Feyerabend

One can show the following: given any rule, however “fundamental”
or “necessary” for science, there are always circumstances
when it is advisable not only to ignore the rule,
but to adopt its opposite.
   Paul Feyerabend

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems
is just as dumb as the next guy.
   Richard Feynman

I think it is much more interesting to live with uncertainty
than to live with answers that might be wrong.
   Richard Feynman

If there is an exception to any rule,
and if it can be proved by observation,
that rule is wrong.
   Richard Feynman

Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself,
and you are the easiest person to fool.
   Richard Feynman

The idea is to try and give all the information to help others
to judge the value of your contribution;
not just the information that leads to judgment
in one particular direction or another.
   Richard Feynman

We absolutely must leave room for doubt
or there is no progress and no learning.
There is no learning without having to pose a question.
And a question requires doubt.
People search for certainty.
But there is no certainty.
   Richard Feynman

Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty.    John Finley

Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window,
except that the birds might eat them.
   Martin H. Fischer

The analysis of variance is not a mathematical theorem,
but rather a convenient method of arranging the arithmetic.
   R.A. Fisher

The rise of biometry in this 20th century,
like that of geometry in the 3rd century before Christ,
seems to mark out one of the great ages or critical periods
in the advance of the human understanding.
   R.A. Fisher

To call the statistician after the experiment is done
may be no more than asking him to perform a postmortem examination:
he may be able to say what the experiment died of.
   R.A. Fisher

[…] I shall give up the wife
for the voyage of discovery; […]
   Matthew Flinders

You can do one of two things; just shut up,
which is something I don’t find easy,
or learn an awful lot very fast,
which is what I tried to do.
   Jane Fonda

Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether at twenty or eighty.
   Henry Ford

Being ignorant is not so much a shame,
as being unwilling to learn.
   Benjamin Franklin

Garbage in, garbage out.
It’s very very simple.
   Anders Fuglsang

Patients may recover in spite of drugs or because of them.    John Gaddum

How sickening Physick hangs her pensive head.
And what was once a Science, now is a Trade.
   Samuel Garth

I have had my results for a long time:
but I do not yet know how I am to arrive
at them.
   Carl Friedrich Gauss

Normality is a myth; there never was, and never will be,
a normal distribution.
   Roy C. Geary

I don’t write drafts.
I write from the beginning to the end,
and when it’s finished, it’s done.
   Clifford Geertz

A big computer, a complex algorithm and a long time
does not equal science.
   Robert Gentleman

Believe those who are seeking the truth.
Doubt those who find it.
   Andre Gide

It’s always fun to have your models validated,
but is way more fun to have them trashed.
Finding out you are completely wrong
is a great part of science.
   G. Randall Gladstone

Science and art belong to the whole world,
and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.
   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

That which is not controversial
is of no particular interest.
   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Science without epistemology is –
insofar as it is thinkable at all –
primitive and muddled.
   Kurt Goedel

[…] our greatest mistake would be to forget that data
is used for serious decisions in the very real world,
and bad information causes suffering and death.
   Ben Goldacre

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best &ndash
and therefore never scrutinize or question.
   Stephen Jay Gould

When people learn no tools of judgment
and merely follow their hopes,
the seeds of political manipulation are sown.
   Stephen Jay Gould

When puzzled, it never hurts to read the primary documents –
a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless,
completely disappeared from large sectors
of the American experience.
   Stephen Jay Gould

Nerds don’t just happen to dress informally.
They do it too consistently.
Consciously or not, they dress informally
as a prophylactic measure against stupidity.
   Paul Graham

Lack of clarity is always a sign of dishonesty.    Celia Green

The way to do research is to attack the facts
at the point of greatest astonishment.
   Celia Green

When someone says his conclusions are objective,
he means that they are based on prejudices
which many other people share.
   Celia Green

Inspiration is constantly in the air.
It’s up to us to develop the sensitivity
to pick up on it.
   Herbie Hancock

The whole purpose of education is
to turn mirrors into windows.
   Sydney J. Harris

Cave diving is like playing chess
but the king is not made of wood.
   Jochen Hasenmayer

Always listen to experts.
They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why.
Then do it.
   Robert A. Heinlein

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

In general, scientific progress calls for no more
than the absorption and elaboration of new ideas –
and this is a call most scientists are happy to heed.
   Werner Heisenberg

The existing scientific concepts cover always only
a very limited part of reality,
and the other part that has not yet
been understood is infinite.
   Werner Heisenberg

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself,
but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
   Werner Heisenberg

If you obey all the rules,
you will miss all the fun.
   Katharine Hepburn

Learning of many things
does not teach intelligence.
   Heraclitus

He who seeks for methods
without having a definite problem in mind
seeks in the most part in vain.
   David Hilbert

There are in fact two things, science and opinion;
the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.
   Hippocrates

I have no opinion about ‘incurred samples’ –
an expression which has no easily understandable
meaning for me in the English language.
   Nick Holford

In these days, a man who says a thing cannot be done
is quite apt to be interrupted by some idiot doing it.
   Elbert Green Hubbard

Operational hectic replaces
intellectual calms.
   Alexander Huiskes

When you meet the Buddha, you kill him;
when you meet the patriarchs, you kill them.
   Wumen Huikai

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.    Aldous Huxley

Science is simply common sense at its best that is,
rigidly accurate in observation, and
merciless to fallacy in logic.
   Thomas Henry Huxley

Sit down before fact as a little child,
be prepared to give up every conceived notion,
follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads,
or you will learn nothing.
   Thomas Henry Huxley

The great tragedy of Science – the slaying
of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
   Thomas Henry Huxley

The scientific spirit is of more value than its products,
and irrationally held truths may be more harmful
than reasoned errors.
   Thomas Henry Huxley

Try to learn something about everything
and everything about something.
   Thomas Henry Huxley

We must be careful not to confuse data with the abstractions
we use to analyze them.
   William James

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

The farther an experiment is from theory,
the closer it is to the Nobel Prize.
   Irene Joliot-Curie

Nothing shocks me. I’m a scientist.    Harrison Ford (as Indiana Jones)

Don’t compromise yourself.
You are all you’ve got.
   Janis Joplin

It is better to debate a question without settling it
than to settle a question without debating it.
   Joseph Joubert

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage
for which he himself was responsible.
Nonage is the inability to use one’s own intellect
without the direction of another.
   Immanuel Kant

The purpose of models is not to fit the data,
but to sharpen the questions.
   Samuel Karlin

To know the history of science is to recognize the mortality
of any claim to universal truth.
   Evelyn Fox Keller

If you cannot measure, then your knowledge
is meagre and unsatisfactory.
   Lord Kelvin

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie–
deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–
persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
   John F. Kennedy

Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds – and fanatics.
It is, for scientific folk, an unattainable ideal.
   Cassius J. Keyser

People demand freedom of speech
as a compensation for the freedom of thought
which they seldom use.
   Soeren Kierkegaard

Nothing in the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance
and conscientious stupidity.
   Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bones, I want the impossible checked out too.    William Shatner (as James T. Kirk)

Mankind has survived all catastrophes.
It will also survive modern medicine.
   Gerhard Kocher

Every mathematician believes he is ahead over all others.
The reason why they don’t say this in public,
is because they are intelligent people.
   Andrey Kolmogorov

The epistemological value of probability theory is based on the fact
that chance phenomena, considered collectively and on a grand scale,
create non-random regularity.
   Andrey Kolmogorov

Politicians use statistics like drunkards use lampposts:
not for illumination, but for support.
   attributed to Hans Kuhn

‘Normal science’ means research firmly based upon one or more
past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular
scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying
the foundation for its further practice.
   Thomas S. Kuhn

Research under a paradigm must be a particularly effective way
of inducing paradigm change.
   Thomas S. Kuhn

Never, never, never use any software!
Never, never, never trust any computer!
   Detlew Labes

It is a well-known experience that the only truly enjoyable and
profitable way of studying mathematics is the method of
“filling in details” by one’s own efforts.
   Cornelius Lanczos

Don’t undertake a project
unless it’s manifestly important
and nearly impossible.
   Edwin H. Land

The most important questions of life are, for the most part,
really only problems of probability.
   Pierre-Simon Laplace

The theory of probabilities is at bottom nothing but
common sense reduced to calculus.
   Pierre-Simon Laplace

Mediocrity is a fungus of the mind.    Reif Larsen

My dear, science is a cruel mistress.    Paul Shenar (as Dr. Laurence)

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers,
he’s one who asks the right questions.
   Claude Levi-Strauss

That which is static and repetitive is boring.
That which is dynamic and random is confusing.
In between lies art.
   John Locke

Reach for the stars,
even if you have to stand on a cactus.
   Susan Longacre

Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge
in which he must be an expert in order to compete with other people.
The specialist knows more and more about less and less
and finally knows everything about nothing.
   Konrad Lorenz

It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist
to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast.
It keeps him young.
   Konrad Lorenz

Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited
to open the way to the next better one.
   Konrad Lorenz

Imagination is as vital to any advance in science
as learning and precision are essential for starting points.
   Percival Lowell

You can’t fix by analysis
what you bungled by design.
   Richard J. Light, Judith D. Singer, John B. Willett

Freedom is always and exclusively
freedom for the one
who thinks differently.
   Rosa Luxemburg

I have never in my life learned anything
from any man who agreed with me.
   Dudley Field Malone

100% of all disasters are failures of design, not analysis.    Ronald G. Marks

They must find it difficult… those who have taken authority as the truth,
rather than truth as the authority.
   Gerald Massey

Fast cars, fast women, fast algorithms …
what more could a man want?
   Joe Mattis

My doctor gave me six months to live,
but when I couldn’t pay the bill
he gave me six months more.
   Walter Matthau

They were “so intent of making everything numerical”
that they frequently missed seeing
what was there to be seen.
   Barbara McClintock

Always remember that you are absolutely unique.
Just like everyone else.
   Margaret Mead

Those who make no mistakes are making the biggest mistakes of all –
they are attempting nothing new.
   Anthony de Mello

Tortured data will confess to anything.    Fredric Menger

The object of statistics is information.
The objective of statistics is the understanding of information
contained in data.
   Irwin and Marylees Miller

No computer has ever been designed
that is ever aware of what it’s doing;
but most of the time, we aren’t either.
   Marvin Minsky

You don’t understand anything until
you learn it more than one way.
   Marvin Minsky

No fret, no strain, no pain.
If you want my interest, interest me.
If you just want my presence, pay me.
   Robert Mitchum

If I’d observed all the rules,
I’d never have got anywhere.
   Marilyn Monroe

To know much is often the cause of doubting more.    Michel de Montaigne

It’s easy to lie with statistics;
it is easier to lie without them.
   Frederick Mosteller

No effect that requires more than ten percent accuracy in measurement
is worth investigating.
   Walther Nernst

Any one who considers arithmetical methods
of producing random digits is, of course,
in a state of sin.
   John von Neumann

With four parameters I can fit an elephant,
and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.
   John von Neumann

Young man, in mathematics you don’t understand things.
You just get used to them.
   John von Neumann

You are rewarding a teacher poorly
if you remain always a pupil.
   Friedrich Nietzsche

The internet gave us all the power of speech,
and what did we discover?
That victory goes to he who shouts the loudest,
and that reason does not sell.
   Claire North

Average a left-hander with a right-hander
and what do you get?
   Donald Norman

It is futile to do with more things
that which can be done with fewer.
   William of Ockham

I have stopped reading Stephen King novels.
Now I just read C code instead.
   Richard A. O'Keefe

There is one certainty in drug development
and statistics that one can depend on:
the data are always late.
   Scott Patterson and Byron Jones

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.
   Dorothy Parker

Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections.
You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.
   Vilfredo Pareto

In the field of observation,
chance favors only the mind that is prepared.
   Louis Pasteur

There are no such things as applied sciences,
only applications of science.
   Louis Pasteur

Facts are the air of scientists.
Without them you can never fly.
   Linus Pauling

Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources
of happiness in life.
   Linus Pauling

Statistics is the grammar of science.    Karl Pearson

Every man is fully satisfied that there is such a thing as truth,
or he would not ask any question.
   Charles Sanders Peirce

No one wants to learn from mistakes, but we cannot learn enough
from successes to go beyond the state of the art.
   Henry Petroski

Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses,
is in the eye of the beholder.
   Laurence J. Peter

For every fact
there is an infinity of hypotheses.
   Robert M. Pirsig

The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure
nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something
you actually don’t know.
   Robert M. Pirsig

My definition of an expert in any field
is a person who knows enough
about what’s really going on
to be scared.
   Phillip J. Plauger

In these matters the only certainty is
that nothing is certain.
   Pliny the Elder

To propose that poor design can be corrected by subtle analysis techniques
is contrary to good scientific thinking.
   Stuart J. Pocock

But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule
that the skill of the analyst is evinced.
He makes in silence a host of observations and inferences…
   Edgar Allan Poe

Science is built up 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.
   Henri Poincare

If you can’t solve a problem, then there is an easier problem
you can solve: find it.
   George Polya

There are many questions which fools can ask
that wise men cannot answer.
   George Polya

A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
   Alexander Pope

No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man
who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.
   Karl R. Popper

Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification –
the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit.
   Karl R. Popper

The game of science is, in principle, without end.
He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call
for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified,
retires from the game.
   Karl R. Popper

The true Enlightenment thinker, the true rationalist,
never wants to talk anyone into anything.
No, he does not even want to convince;
all the time he is aware that he may be wrong.
   Karl R. 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.
   Karl R. Popper

It’s difficult to work in a group
when you are omnipotent.
   John de Lancie (as Q)

We should not speak so that it is possible
for the audience to understand us,
but so that it is impossible
for them to misunderstand us.
   Quintilian

Never trust in any piece of software you haven’t written yourself
(and even then you should be cautious…)
   Jaime R.

Everybody is a Bayesian.
It’s just that some know it, and some don’t.
   Trivellore Raghunathan

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded
if you tied them the usual way.
This happens to us all the time with computers,
and nobody thinks of complaining.
   Jef Raskin

Science should always be the basis
of regulatory requirements.
   Joachim Roehmel

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.    Franklin D. Roosevelt

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content
to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
   Bertrand Russell

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think,
one of the essential things in rationality.
   Bertrand Russell

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown
is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
   Bertrand Russell

Science is what you know.
Philosophy is what you don’t know.
   Bertrand Russell

Science may set limits to knowledge,
but should not set limits to imagination.
   Bertrand Russell

So far as I can remember,
there is not one word in the Gospels
in praise of intelligence.
   Bertrand Russell

The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is
that the stupid are cocksure
while the intelligent are full of doubt.
   Bertrand Russell

The only people who see the whole picture are the ones
who step out of the frame.
   Salman Rushdie

If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done
a better experiment.
   Ernest Rutherford

A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues
(or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and
to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment.
Arguments from authority are unacceptable.
   Carl Sagan

I try not to think with my gut.
If I’m serious about understanding the world,
thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be,
is likely to get me into trouble.
   Carl Sagan

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at
does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.
   Carl Sagan

[The] impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase:
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
   Carl Sagan

I’m not a pessimist,
I’m just a well informed optimist.
   Jose Saramago

The scientist only imposes two things, namely truth and sincerity,
imposes them upon himself and upon other scientists.
   Erwin Schroedinger

Never trust in an old fart with a pocket calculator
too lazy to fire up some statistical software.
   Helmut Schuetz

Only dead fish go with the current.    Scuba divers' proverb

If you want to get people to believe
something really, really stupid,
just stick a number on it.
   Charles Seife

Biostatistician. One who has neither the intellect for mathematics
nor the commitment for medicine but likes to dabble in both.
   Stephen Senn

EMEA. The European Medicines Evaluation Agency.
The drug regulatory agency of the European Union.
A statistician-free zone.
   Stephen Senn

Equivalence Trials – Proving that apples are pears
by comparing the weight.
   Stephen Senn

Exploratory analysis: The art of finding a Rembrandt
in a Jackson Pollock.
   Stephen Senn

Medical researches can be divided into two sorts:
those who think that meta is better and those
who believe that pooling is fooling.
   Stephen Senn

Medical statistician: One who will not accept that Columbus discovered America…
because he said he was looking for India in the trial plan.
   Stephen Senn

Meta-analysis – A technique for adding apples and pears
together to produce turkeys.
   Stephen Senn

Multivariate analysis: A means of finding the answer
when you don’t know the question.
   Stephen Senn

Pharmacokinetics: one of the magic arts of divination
whereby needles are stuck into dummies in an attempt
to predict profits.
   Stephen Senn

Power Calculation – A guess masquerading
as mathematics.
   Stephen Senn

Power. That which statisticians are always calculating
but never have.
   Stephen Senn

Power: That which is wielded by the priesthood of
clinical trials, the statisticians, and a stick which they use
to beta their colleagues.
   Stephen Senn

Statistics – A subject which most statisticians find difficult
but in which nearly all physicians are expert.
   Stephen Senn

Statistics. A sort of elementary form of mathematics which consists of
adding things together and occasionally squaring them.
   Stephen Senn

The difference between a surrogate and a true endpoint
is like the difference between a cheque and cash.
You can get the cheque earlier but then,
of course, it might bounce.
   Stephen Senn

The history of statistics is like a telephone directory:
the plot is boring, full of numbers and the cast is endless.
   Stephen Senn

Science… never solves a problem
without creating ten more.
   George Bernard Shaw

The production of useful work
is strictly limited by the laws of thermodynamics.
The production of useless work
seems to be unlimited.
   Donald E. Simanek

Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove
anything that’s even remotely true!
   Homer Simpson

Science is the great antidote to the poison
of enthusiasm and superstition.
   Adam Smith

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

Rules are for the guidance of wise men
and the blind obedience of fools.
   attributed to Solon

Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years
of constant work and dedication.
   Roger Staubach

Data is not information.
Information is not knowledge.
And knowledge is certainly not wisdom.
   Clifford Stoll

If you think it’s simple,
then you have misunderstood the problem.
   Bjarne Stroustrup

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities.
In the expert’s mind there are few.
   Shunryu Suzuki

It is not every question that deserves an answer.    Publilius Syrus

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen
and thinking what nobody has thought.
   Albert Szent-Gyoergyi

A scientist’s aim in a discussion with his colleagues
is not to persuade, but to clarify.
   Leo Szilard

I’m all in favor of the democratic principle
that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line
when someone takes the next step and concludes
that two idiots are better than one genius.
   Leo Szilard

If you shut your door to all errors
truth will be shut out.
   Rabindranath Tagore

A refund for defective software might be nice,
except it would bankrupt the entire software industry
in the first year.
   Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Being really good at C++ is like being really good
at using rocks to sharpen sticks.
   Thant Tessman

Get it right or let it alone.
The conclusion you jump to may be your own.
   James Thurber

It is better to know some of the questions
than all of the answers.
   James Thurber

The function of genius is not to give new answers, but to pose
new questions which time and mediocrity can resolve.
   H.R. Trevor-Roper

You should treat as many patients as possible with the new drugs
while they still have the power to heal.
   Armand Trousseau

All we know about the world teaches us that the effects of A and B
are always different–in some decimal place–for any A and B.
Thus asking “are the effects different?” is foolish.
   John W. Tukey

Far better an approximate answer to the right question,
which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question,
which can always be made precise.
   John W. Tukey

The best thing about being a statistician is
that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.
   John W. Tukey

The combination of some data and an aching desire
for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer
can be extracted from a given body of data.
   John W. Tukey

The first time I was in a statistics course,
I was there to teach it.
   John W. Tukey

There is no point in being precise when you don’t know
what you’re talking about.
   attributed to John Tukey

That’s progress – when we prove things wrong.    Neil Turok

[…] an inappropriate study design is incapable of answering
a research question, no matter how careful the subsequent
methodology, conduct, analysis, and interpretation:
Flawless execution of a flawed design achieves nothing worthwhile.
   J. Rick Turner

If you tell the truth
you don’t have to remember anything.
   Mark Twain

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority,
it is time to pause & reflect.
   Mark Twain

The outcome of any serious research can only be
to make two questions grow
where only one grew before.
   Thorstein Veblen

Happy is he who gets to know the reasons for things.    Publius Vergilius Maro

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority
is not using his intelligence;
he is just using his memory.
   Leonardo da Vinci

No investigation can strictly be called scientific
unless it admits of mathematical demonstration.
   Leonardo da Vinci

Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little,
to cure diseases of which they know less,
in human beings of whom they know nothing.
   Voltaire

Doubt is not an agreeable condition,
but certainty is an absurd one.
   Voltaire

If you want to converse with me,
define your terms.
   Voltaire

No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.    Voltaire

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient
while nature cures the disease.
   Voltaire

The real struggle is not between the right and the left
but between the party of the thoughtful
and the party of the jerks.
   Jimmy Wales

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
   William Arthur Ward

I just can’t sit while people are saying nonsense in a meeting
without saying it’s nonsense.
   James D. Watson

An expert is a person who avoids the small errors
while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.
   Steven Weinberg

Don’t ever make the same mistake twice,
unless it pays.
   Mae West

It requires a very unusual mind
to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
   Alfred North Whitehead

The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanation of complex facts…
Seek simplicity and distrust it.
   Alfred North Whitehead

It is nice to know that the computer understands the problem.
But I would like to understand it too.
   Eugene Wigner

Old beliefs die hard even when demonstrably false.    E. O. Wilson

Only the curious will learn and
only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning.
The quest quotient has always excited me more than
the intelligence quotient.
   Eugene S. Wilson

Many people tend to look at programming styles and languages like religions:
if you belong to one, you cannot belong to others.
But this analogy is another fallacy.
   Niklaus Wirth

Every explanation is after all an hypothesis.    Ludwig Wittgenstein

Whereof one cannot speak,
thereof one must be silent.
   Ludwig Wittgenstein

Never never never never use Excel.
Not even for calculation of arithmetic means.
   Martin Wolfsegger

The plural of anecdote is data.    Raymond Wolfinger

Be very, very careful what you put into that head,
because you will never, ever get it out.
   Thomas Wolsey

Do, or do not.
There is no ‘try’.
   Yoda

A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound.
The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them
like a license to behave like an asshole.
   Frank Zappa

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


Quotes from 241 authors (as of 23 April 2015).
Statement of political incorrectness: 214 males (88.8%), 23 females (9.5%), four unknown (1.66%) …

Online: 1 (today: 3, yesterday: 2, total: 15,674 since 2010-11-15)