I don’t see any reason why we should have less confidence in this kind of perception, I.e., in mathematical intuition, than in sense perception, which induces us to build up physical theories and to expect that future sense perceptions will agree with them and, moreover, to believe that a question not decidable now has meaning and may be decided in the future.
Education is not to teach men facts, theories or laws, not to reform or amuse them or make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellect, teach them to think straight, if possible, but to think nevertheless.
Today scientists describe the universe in terms of two basic partial theories – the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. They are the great intellectual achievements of this century. The general theory of relativity describes the force of gravity and the large-scale structure of the universe (that is the structure on scales from only a few miles to as large as a million million million million miles – the size of the observable universe). Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, deals with phenomena on extremely small scales, such as a millionth of a millionth of an inch. Unfortunately, however, these two theories are known to be inconsistent with each other – they cannot both be correct.
What the world needs is a sense of ultimate embarrassment. Modern man has the power and the wealth to overcome poverty and disease, but he has no wisdom to overcome suspicion. We are guilty of misunderstanding the meaning of existence; we are guilty of distorting our goals and misrepresenting our souls. We are better than our assertions, more intricate, more profound than our theories maintain.
Learn your theories but put them aside when you confront the mystery of the living soul.
Precisely what we need are good theories to focus our attention, a good set of ideals to guide our action, and good visions of the future to mobilize our energies.
Scientific evidence is accretionary, built from blocks of evidence joined artfully by the blueprints and mortar of theory. Only very rarely, as in the theories of natural selection and relativity, does an idea change our conception of the world in one quantal leap.
Scientists look for four qualities in theory generally… parsimony: the fewer the units and process used to account for the phenomenon, the better… second, generality: the greater the range of phenomena covered by the model, the more likely it is to be true… Consilence: units and process of a discipline that conform with solidly verified knowledge in other disciplines have proven consistently superior in theory and practice to units and processes that do not conform… Predictiveness: those theories endure that are precise in the predictions they make across phenomena and whose predictions are easiest to test by observation and experiment.
I remember that one time Carl [Sagan] was giving a talk, and he spelled out, in a kind of withering succession, these great theories of demotion that science has dealt us, all of the ways in which science is telling us we are not who we would like to believe we are. At the end of it, a young man came up to him and he said: "What do you give us in return? Now that you've taken everything from us? What meaning is left, if everything that I've been taught since I was a child turns out to be untrue?" Carl looked at him and said, "Do something meaningful."
I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.
Today scientists describe the universe in terms of two basic partial theories - the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics... The general theory of relativity describes the force of gravity and the large-scale structure of the universe, that is, the structure on scales from only a few miles to as large as a million million million million (1 with twenty-four zeros after it) miles, the size of the observable universe. Quantum mechanics, on the other hands, deals with phenomena on extremely small scales, such as a millionth of a millionth of an inch. Unfortunately, however, these two theories are known to be inconsistent with each other - they cannot both be correct.
I have taken pains to show that financial markets left to their own devices don't tend towards an equilibrium that assures an optimum allocation of resources. The theories of efficient markets and rational expectations don't stand up to critical examination.
We do not talk - we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests.
We should accept the suitability of partial views for partial contexts... Too often the attempt to devise moral theories and systems that can encompass all problems leads to so much vagueness, unclarity, grandiosity, and indeterminacy in applying them that these theories and systems are actually applied to almost nothing.
Knowledge is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges toward an ideal view; it is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible (and perhaps even incommensurable) alternatives, each single theory, each fairy tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others into greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition to the development of our consciousness.
The dispute between the theory of a predestined future and the theory of a free future is an endless dispute. This is so because both theories are too literal, too rigid, too material, and the one excludes the other... The opposites are both equally wrong because the truth lies in the unification of these two opposite understandings into one whole. At any given moment all the future of the world is predestined and existing - provided no new factor comes in. And a new factor can only come in from the side of consciousness and the will resulting from it.
I am more fond of achieving than striving. My theories must prove to be facts or be discarded as worthless. My efforts must soon be crowned with success, or discontinued.
It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters. We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. Too often the pressure for popularity, on children and teens, places an economic burden on the income of the father, so mother feels she must go to work to satisfy her children’s needs. That decision can be most shortsighted. It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character. Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness. How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected!
No one has yet been found so firm of mind and purpose as resolutely to compel himself to sweep away all theories and common notions, and to apply the understanding, thus made fair and even, to a fresh examination of particulars. Thus it happens that human knowledge, as we have it, is a mere medley and ill-digested mass, made up of much credulity and much accident, and also of the childish notions which we at first imbibed.
As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.