A bishop wrote gravely to the Times inviting all nations to destroy ‘the formula’ of the atomic bomb. There is no simple remedy for ignorance so abysmal.
Today the world changes so quickly that in growing up we take leave not just of youth but of the world we were young in. Fear and resentment of what is new is really a lament for the memories of our childhood.
If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility.
Considered in its entirety, psychoanalysis won’t do. It’s an end product, moreover, like a dinosaur or a zeppelin; no better theory can ever be erected on its ruins, which will remain for ever one of the saddest and strangest of all landmarks in the history of twentieth-century thought.
To abdicate from the rule of reason and substitute for it an authentication of belief by the intentness and degree of conviction with which we hold it can be perilous and destructive. Religious beliefs give a spurious spiritual dimension to tribal enmities … It goes with the passionate intensity and deep conviction of the truth of a religious belief, and of course of the importance of the superstitious observances that go with it, that we should want others to share it—and the only certain way to cause a religious belief to be held by everyone is to liquidate nonbelievers. The price in blood and tears that mankind generally has had to pay for the comfort and spiritual refreshment that religion has brought to a few has been too great to justify our entrusting moral accountancy to religious belief.
If politics is the art of the possible, research is surely the art of the soluble. Both are immensely practical-minded affairs.
I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of a conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing over whether it is true or not.
Topics: Advice, Truth
The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Arthur Eddington English Astronomer
- Paul Dirac English Theoretical Physicist
- Aaron Klug English Biophysicist
- Bertrand A. Russell British Philosopher, Mathematician
- Charles Reade British Author
- David Attenborough English Naturalist, Broadcaster
- Fred Hoyle English Astrophysicist
- Anthony Hopkins Welsh-American Actor
- Richard Eyre British Director
- Arthur C. Clarke English Science-fiction Writer