The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best – that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. (Thomas Huxley)
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.
(Charles Darwin , Introduction to The Descent of Man, 1871)
We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.
(Sir Isaac Newton , Principia: The system of the world)
(Galileo Galilei , 1600) I wish, my dear Kepler, that we could have a good laugh together at the extraordinary stupidity of the mob. What do you think of the foremost philosophers of this University? In spite of my oft-repeated efforts and invitations, they have refused, with the obstinacy of a glutted adder, to look at the planets or Moon or my telescope. … In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
(Max Planck, 1920) A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
The notion that all these fragments is separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)
Someday we’ll understand the whole thing as one single marvelous vision that will seem so overwhelmingly simple and beautiful that we may say to each other; ‘Oh, how could we have been so stupid for so long? How could it have been otherwise!’ (J. A. Wheeler)
What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space. Particles are just schaumkommen (appearances). … The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist. … Let me say at the outset, that in this discourse, I am opposing not a few special statements of quantum physics held today (1950s), I am opposing as it were the whole of it, I am opposing its basic views that have been shaped 25 years ago, when Max Born put forward his probability interpretation, which was accepted by almost everybody. I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it. (Erwin Schrödinger , The Interpretation of Quantum Physics.)
(Aristotle, 340BC) The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. … And here we will have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. … That among entities there must be some cause which moves and combines things. … There must then be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity.
(Gottfried Leibniz, 1646 – 1716) Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. … I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. … I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.
All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, ‘What are light quanta?’ Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. … I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence:
Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. …
Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept ‘empty space’ loses its meaning. … The field thus becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as the concept of matter (particles) in the theory of Newton. … The physical reality of space is represented by a field whose components are continuous functions of four independent variables – the co-ordinates of space and time. Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. (Albert Einstein, 1950)
(Bradley, 1846-1924) We may agree, perhaps, to understand by Metaphysics an attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply piecemeal or by fragments, but somehow as a whole.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
(Leonardo da Vinci)