„The scientist believes in proof without certainty, the bigot in certainty without proof.“

The second sentence is often misquoted as “Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.” or “Religion gives us certainty without proof; science gives us proof without certainty.”
Context: Bigotry and science can have no communication with each other, for science begins where bigotry and absolute certainty end. The scientist believes in proof without certainty, the bigot in certainty without proof. Let us never forget that tyranny most often springs from a fanatical faith in the absoluteness of one’s beliefs.

Last update May 22, 2020. History
Ashley Montagu photo
Ashley Montagu8
British-American anthropologist 1905 - 1999

Related quotes

Varadaraja V. Raman photo
Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues photo
Jordan Peterson photo

„Proof itself, of any sort, is impossible, without an axiom (as Godel proved). Thus faith in God is a prerequisite for all proof.“

—  Jordan Peterson Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology 1962

Twitter, November 25, 2013 ( archive http://archive.is/khKVm)
Other

Henry Miller photo

„If we have not found heaven within, it is a certainty we will not find it without.“

—  Henry Miller American novelist 1891 - 1980

The Books in My Life (1952) Chapter 11: The Story of My Heart (2nd edition. New York: New Directions Publishing, 1969, p. 192)

Elbert Hubbard photo

„The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.“

—  Elbert Hubbard American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher fue el escritor del jarron azul 1856 - 1915

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay photo

„The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.“

—  Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay British historian and Whig politician 1800 - 1859

Review of Aiken’s Life of Addison (1843)

Claude Bernard photo
Roger Bacon photo

„If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics…“

—  Roger Bacon, book Opus Majus

Bk. 1, ch. 4. Translated by Robert B. Burke, in: Edward Grant (1974) Source Book in Medieval Science. Harvard University Press. p. 93
Opus Majus, c. 1267

Richard Feynman photo

„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. People are terrified — how can you live and not know?“

—  Richard Feynman, book The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.
from lecture "What is and What Should be the Role of Scientific Culture in Modern Society", given at the Galileo Symposium in Italy (1964)
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999)

H.L. Mencken photo

„The public…demands certainties…But there are no certainties.“

—  H.L. Mencken American journalist and writer 1880 - 1956

Source: 1910s, Prejudices, First Series (1919), Ch. 3

Chris Bohjalian photo
Nikos Kazantzakis photo

„Whatever it might be, we fight on without certainty, and our virtue, uncertain of any rewards, acquires a profound nobility.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis, book The Saviors of God

The Saviors of God (1923)
Context: The essence of our God is obscure. It ripens continuously; perhaps victory is strenghened with our every valorous deed, but perhaps even all these agonizing struggles toward deliverance and victory are inferior to the nature of divinity.
Whatever it might be, we fight on without certainty, and our virtue, uncertain of any rewards, acquires a profound nobility.

Stanisław Leszczyński photo

„To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.“

—  Stanisław Leszczyński king of Poland 1677 - 1766

No. 61.
Maxims and Moral Sentences

Andrew Wiles photo
John Stuart Mill photo

„Whatever can be proved to be good, must be so by being shown to be a means to something admitted to be good without proof.“

—  John Stuart Mill, book Utilitarianism

Source: Utilitarianism (1861), Ch. 1
Context: I shall, without further discussion of the other theories, attempt to contribute something towards the understanding and appreciation of the Utilitarian or Happiness theory, and towards such proof as it is susceptible of. It is evident that this cannot be proof in the ordinary and popular meaning of the term. Questions of ultimate ends are not amenable to direct proof. Whatever can be proved to be good, must be so by being shown to be a means to something admitted to be good without proof.

Eric Temple Bell photo

„Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions.“

—  Eric Temple Bell mathematician and science fiction author born in Scotland who lived in the United States for most of his life 1883 - 1960

Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 23-24. (1949), p. 161
Context: Euclid taught me that without assumptions there is no proof. Therefore, in any argument, examine the assumptions. Then, in the alleged proof, be alert for inexplicit assumptions. Euclid's notorious oversights drove this lesson home.

Carl Friedrich Gauss photo
Tacitus photo

Related topics