Unquote

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“If I were going to construct a God I would furnish Him with some ways and qualities and characteristics which the Present (Bible) One lacks. … He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when He could have made him happy with the same effort and He would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.” — Mark Twain

Unquote

“It is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.” — Plutarch

“He who boasts of his ancestry praises the merits of another.” — Seneca

“A man who makes boast of his ancestors doth but advertise his own insignificance.” — Benjamin Franklin

“The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato — the only good belonging to him is under ground.” — Sir Thomas Overbury

Unquote

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“When we go up to the shelves in the reading-room of the British Museum, how like it is to wasps flying up and down an apricot tree that is trained against a wall, or cattle coming down to drink at a pool!” — Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912

In a Nutshell

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“The difference between the amoeba and Einstein is that, although both make use of the method of trial and error elimination, the amoeba dislikes erring while Einstein is intrigued by it.” — Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach, 1972

Unquote

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“The only way to keep ahead of the procession is to experiment. If you don’t, the other fellow will. When there’s no experimenting there’s no progress. Stop experimenting and you go backward. If anything goes wrong, experiment until you get to the very bottom of the trouble.” — Thomas Edison

Misc

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  • The state sport of Maryland is jousting.
  • North and South Dakota were established together, in 1889.
  • NEAT TAILOR makes ALTERATION.
  • Percentages are reversible: 25% of 16 is 16% of 25.
  • “Success in research needs four Gs: Glück, Geduld, Geschick, und Geld [luck, patience, skill, and money].” — Paul Ehrlich

Reflections

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Maxims of Goethe:

  • When a rainbow has lasted as long as a quarter of an hour we stop looking at it.
  • Researching into nature we are pantheists, writing poetry we are polytheists, morally we are monotheists.
  • Considered historically, our good points appear in a moderate light, our faults excuse themselves.
  • To do well you need talent, to do good you need means.
  • For surely everyone only hears what he understands.
  • If you miss the first buttonhole, you can’t ever get fully buttoned up.
  • You really only know when you know little; doubt grows with knowledge.
  • People think one ought to be busy with them when one isn’t busy with oneself.
  • Acumen is least likely to desert clever men when they are in the wrong.
  • One doesn’t find frogs wherever there is water, but there is water where you hear frogs.
  • Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but not more interesting than contemplating.
  • Everyone manages to have just about enough strength left to act according to his convictions.
  • Let memory fail as long as our judgment remains intact when needed.
  • Dirt glitters when the sun happens to shine.
  • Beauty can never be clear about itself.
  • Mysteries do not as yet amount to miracles.

“There are people who ponder about their friends’ shortcomings: there’s nothing to be gained by that. I have always been on the lookout for the merits of my opponents, and this has been rewarding.”

Unquote

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“It has always puzzled me that so many religious people have taken it for granted that God favors those who believe in him. Isn’t it possible that the actual God is a scientific God who has little patience with beliefs founded on faith rather than evidence?” — Raymond Smullyan