Quotes about intelligence

A collection of quotes on the topic of intelligence.

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Terry Pratchett photo
Stephen Hawking photo

„Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.“

—  Stephen Hawking British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author 1942 - 2018

Terry Pratchett photo

„Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.“

—  Terry Pratchett, book Hogfather

Source: Hogfather

Albert Einstein photo

„If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Found in Montana Libraries: Volumes 8-14 (1954), p. cxxx http://books.google.com/books?id=PpwaAAAAMAAJ&q=%22more+fairy+tales%22#search_anchor. The story is given as follows: "In the current New Mexico Library Bulletin, Elizabeth Margulis tells a story of a woman who was a personal friend of the late dean of scientists, Dr. Albert Einstein. Motivated partly by her admiration for him, she held hopes that her son might become a scientist. One day she asked Dr. Einstein's advice about the kind of reading that would best prepare the child for this career. To her surprise, the scientist recommended 'Fairy tales and more fairy tales.' The mother protested that she was really serious about this and she wanted a serious answer; but Dr. Einstein persisted, adding that creative imagination is the essential element in the intellectual equipment of the true scientist, and that fairy tales are the childhood stimulus to this quality." However, it is unclear from this description whether Margulis heard this story personally from the woman who had supposedly had this discussion with Einstein, and the relevant issue of the New Mexico Library Bulletin does not appear to be online.
Variant: "First, give him fairy tales; second, give him fairy tales, and third, give him fairy tales!" Found in The Wilson Library Bulletin, Vol. 37 from 1962, which says on p. 678 http://books.google.com/books?id=KfQOAQAAMAAJ&q=einstein#search_anchor that this quote was reported by "Doris Gates, writer and children's librarian".
Variant: "Fairy tales … More fairy tales … Even more fairy tales". Found in Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes (1979), p. 1 http://books.google.com/books?id=MxZFuahqzsMC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false.
Variant: "If you want your children to be brilliant, tell them fairy tales. If you want them to be very brilliant, tell them even more fairy tales." Found in Chocolate for a Woman's Heart & Soul by Kay Allenbaugh (1998), p. 57 http://books.google.com/books?id=grrpJh7-CfcC&q=brilliant#search_anchor. This version can be found in Usenet posts from before 1998, like this one from 1995 http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.beatles/msg/cec9a9fdf803b72b?hl=en.
Variant: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Found in Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling (2005), p. 6 http://books.google.com/books?id=HjRYA3ELdG0C&lpg=PA6&dq=einstein%20%22want%20your%20children%20to%20be%20intelligent%22&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q=einstein%20%22want%20your%20children%20to%20be%20intelligent%22&f=false.
Variant: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Found in Super joy English, Volume 8 by 佳音事業機構 (2006), p. 87 http://books.google.com/books?id=-HUBKzP8zsUC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA87#v=onepage&q&f=false
Disputed
Context: Fairy tales and more fairy tales. [in response to a mother who wanted her son to become a scientist and asked Einstein what reading material to give him]

Colette photo
Steve Irwin photo

„I've got the Terri factor, mate. I've got this wife that is so incredibly intelligent and strong that I reckon, between us, we'll get through it.“

—  Steve Irwin Australian environmentalist and television personality 1962 - 2006

from "Enough Rope With Andrew Denton" on ABC, 2003

Alfred Percy Sinnett photo
Alan Turing photo

„If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent.“

—  Alan Turing British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist 1912 - 1954

Kunti photo
Albert Einstein photo

„The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Laozi photo

„If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.“

—  Laozi semi-legendary Chinese figure, attributed to the 6th century, regarded as the author of the Tao Te Ching and founder of… -604

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart photo

„Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.“

—  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Austrian Romantic composer 1756 - 1791

True genius without heart is a thing of nought - for not great understanding alone, not intelligence alone, nor both together, make genius. Love! Love! Love! that is the soul of genius. - Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, entry in Mozart's souvenir album (1787-04-11) from Mozart: A Life by Maynard Solomon [Harper-Collins, 1966, ISBN 0-060-92692-9], p. 312.
Misattributed

Mwanandeke Kindembo photo
Johannes Kepler photo

„I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.“

—  Johannes Kepler German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer 1571 - 1630

As quoted in (K)new Words: Redefine Your Communication (2005) by Gloria Pierre, p. 147

Edward Bellamy photo
Bertrand Russell photo

„The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970

Often paraphrased as "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
Compare: "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision." B. Russell, New Hopes for a Changing World (1951). Compare also: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming (1919).
See also: Dunning-Kruger effect, Historical Antecedents https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect#Historical_antecedents.
1930s, Mortals and Others (1931-35)

Paul Karl Feyerabend photo

„At all times man approached his surroundings with wide open senses and a fertile intelligence, at all times he made incredible discoveries, at all times we can learn from his ideas.“

—  Paul Karl Feyerabend, book Against Method

Pg. 306-307
Against Method (1975)
Context: Combining this observation with the insight that science has no special method, we arrive at the result that the separation of science and non-science is not only artificial but also detrimental to the advancement of knowledge. If we want to understand nature, if we want to master our physical surroundings, then we must use all ideas, all methods, and not just a small selection of them. The assertion, however, that there is no knowledge outside science - extra scientiam nulla salus - is nothing but another and most convenient fairy-tale. Primitive tribes has more detailed classifications of animals and plant than contemporary scientific zoology and botany, they know remedies whose effectiveness astounds physicians (while the pharmaceutical industry already smells here a new source of income), they have means of influencing their fellow men which science for a long time regarded as non-existent (voodoo), they solve difficult problems in ways which are still not quite understood (building of the pyramids; Polynesian travels), there existed a highly developed and internationally known astronomy in the old Stone Age, this astronomy was factually adequate as well as emotionally satisfying, it solved both physical and social problems (one cannot say the same about modern astronomy) and it was tested in very simple and ingenious ways (stone observatories in England and in the South Pacific; astronomical schools in Polynesia - for a more details treatment an references concerning all these assertions cf. my Einfuhrung in die Naturphilosophie). There was the domestication of animals, the invention of rotating agriculture, new types of plants were bred and kept pure by careful avoidance of cross fertilization, we have chemical inventions, we have a most amazing art that can compare with the best achievement of the present. True, there were no collective excursions to the moon, but single individuals, disregarding great dangers to their soul and their sanity, rose from sphere to sphere to sphere until they finally faced God himself in all His splendor while others changed into animals and back into humans again. At all times man approached his surroundings with wide open senses and a fertile intelligence, at all times he made incredible discoveries, at all times we can learn from his ideas.