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★ Certain & Certainty

Certain & Certainty: see Absolutism & Perfection & Truth & Science & Experiment & Religion & Faith & Belief & Knowledge & Proof

Donald Rumsfeld - Richard Dawkins - Werner Heisenberg - Stephen Hawking - Robert Ingersoll - Karl Popper - Richard Feynman - Rene Descartes - Benjamin Franklin - Jacob Bronowski - Christopher Hitchens - Bertrand Russell - Erich Fromm - Oliver Cromwell - 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God TV - Robert Winston - The Borgias TV - Vincent van Gogh - Blaise Pascal - Oliver Wendell Holmes - Lord Byron - Michael Crichton - Sam Harris - Shekhar Kapur - Pliney the Elder - Francis Bacon - Albert Einstein - Francois Gautier - Voltaire - H L Mencken - John Keats - The Assassination of Richard Nixon 2004 - Franz Kafka - esias - A Kind of Loving 1962 -          

 

 

6,783.  Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.  We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.  But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know.  (Knowledge & Certainty)  Donald Rumsfeld

 

 

95,698.  The other thing I cannot help remarking upon is the over-weening confidence with which the religious assert minute details for which they neither have, nor could have, any evidence.  (Religion & Certainty & Evidence)  Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion p34

 

 

80,798.  The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa.  (Measurement & Experiment & Quantum Physics & Certainty)  Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle

 

 

3,207.  The more accurately you try to measure the position of the particle, the less accurately you can measure its speed, and vice versa ... Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is a fundamental, inescapable property of the world.  (Certainty & Particle)  Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time p61

 

 

84,928.  Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain.  They did not reason or investigate.  They had no doubts.  They knew that they had the truth.  In their creed there was no guess – no perhaps.  They had a revelation from God.  They knew the beginning of things.  They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ.  They knew that in the eternity – back of that morning, he had done nothing.  They knew that it took him six days to make the earth – all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space.  They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested.  They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.  Robert Ingersoll

 

 

2,408.  Our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth.  We cannot reasonably aim at certainty.  Once we realize that human knowledge is fallible, we realize also that we can never be completely certain that we have not made a mistake.  (Science & Truth & Certainty & Knowledge & Mistake)  Karl Popper, In Search of a Better World 1984

 

 

2,446.  One thing is that I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing.  I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.  I have approximate answers and possible beliefs, in different degrees of certainty, about different things.  But I’m not absolutely sure of anything and of many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here and what the question might mean.  I might think about it a little bit, if I can't figure it out, then I go onto something else.  But I don’t have to know an answer.  I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly.  It doesn’t frighten me.  (Science & Doubt & Certainty & Knowledge & Meaning of Life & Universe & Answer & Mystery)  Richard Feynman, interview BBC Horizon 1981

 

 

2,448.  The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think.  When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant.  When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain.  And when he is pretty damn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt.  We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress, we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt.  Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty – some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.  (Science & Doubt & Certainty & Answer & Progress & Knowledge)  Richard Feynman, The Value of Science 1955

 

 

48,780.  We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is 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?  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.  (Physics & Science & Knowledge & Certainty & Meaning of Life & Question & Learning)  Richard P Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P Feynman

 

 

2,656.  I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me.  I think I have no senses.  I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions.  What is there then that can be taken as true?  Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.  (Science & Illusion & Exist & Nothing & Nihilism & Senses & Truth & Certain)  Rene Descartes
 

 

4,140.  Our new Constitution is now established and has the appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.  (Constitution & Death & Tax & Certainty)  Benjamin Franklin

 

 

5,859.  All knowledge is limited.  It’s an irony of history that at the very time this was being worked out, there should arise under Hitler and Germany and giants elsewhere a counter-conception, a principle of monstrous certainty.  When the future looks back on the 1930s, it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it – the Ascent of Man.  Against the throwback of despotic belief to the notion that they have absolute certainty.  (Evolution & Knowledge & Certainty & Nazi & Humanity & 1930s)  Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man: Knowledge or Certainty ***** 11/13

 

 

6,796.  The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having.  I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  (Knowledge & Certainty & Faith & Wisdom & Life's Like That)  Christopher Hitchens

 

 

102,397.  The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.  (Biography & Certainty)  Christopher Hitchens, cited The Hitch

 

 

9,104.  Dogmatism and scepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing.  What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.  (Philosophy & Dogma & Sceptic & Absolutism & Certainty & Knowledge & Ignorance)  Bertrand Russell   

 

 

58,707.  The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.  (Fundamentalism & Certainty)  Bertrand Russell

 

 

9,562.  Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.  (Courage & Creativity & Certainty)  Erich Fromm

 

 

66,536.  The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning.  Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.  (Certainty & Doubt)  Erich Fromm 

 

 

30,855.  I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.  (England & Oliver Cromwell & Certainty & Religion & Mistake)  Oliver Cromwell, letter to Church of Scotland 3rd August 1650

 

 

53,881.  Even the simplest things are hard to understand – a hydrogen atom for instance.  That makes me rather suspicious of anyone who claims to have a quick and easy answer to everything.  (God & Certainty)  50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God, Lord Martin Rees

 

 

58,731.  Some people, both scientists and religious people, deal with uncertainty by being certain.  That is dangerous in the fundamentalists and it is dangerous in the fundamentalist scientists.  (Fundamentalism & Certainty)  Robert Winston  

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