Computers make it easy to convert facts into statistics and to translate problems into equations. And whereas this can be useful (as when the process reveals a pattern that would otherwise go unnoticed), it is diversionary and dangerous when applied indiscriminately to human affairs. So is the computer's emphasis on speed and especially its capacity to generate and store unprecedented quantities of information. In specialized contexts, the value of calculation, speed, and voluminous information may go uncontested. But the "message" of computer technology is comprehensive and domineering. The computer argues, to put it baldly, that the most serious problems confronting us at both personal and professional levels require technical solutions through fast access to information otherwise unavailable. I would argue that this is, on the face of it, nonsense. Our most serious problems are not technical, nor do they arise from inadequate information. If a nuclear catastrophe occurs, it shall not be because of inadequate information If families break up, children are mistreated, crime terrorizes a city, education is impotent, it does not happen because of inadequate information. Mathematical equations, instantaneous communication, and vast quantities of information have nothing whatever to do with any of these problems. And the computer is useless in addressing them. Neil Postman The impasse contained in the scientific viewpoint itself can only be broken through by the attainment of a view of nothingness which goes further than, which transcends the nihil of nihilism. The basic Buddhist insight of Sunyata, usually translated as "emptiness," "the void," or "no-Thingness," that transcends this nihil, offers a viewpoint that has no equivalent in Western thought. The consciousness of the scientist, in his mechanized, dead and dumb universe, logically reaches the point where --- if he practices his science existentially and not merely intellectually -- the meaning of his own existence becomes an absurdity and he stands on the rim of the abyss of nihil face to face with his own nothingness. People are not aware of this dilemma. That it does not cause great concern is in itself a symptom of the sub-marine earthquake of which our most desperate world-problems are merely symptomatic. ... It is becoming ever clearer that the terrors of war, hunger and despoliation are neither economic, nor technolgical problems for which there are economic or technological solutions. They are primarily spiritual problems..."
Frederick Franck was born into a non-observant Jewish family in Holland. He was subsequently baptized a Protestant. After graduating as a dentist, Franck began the first dental clinic at Albert Schweitzer's hospital in West Africa. Later, having embarked a career as writer and artist, Mr. Franck heeded Pope John XXIII's call to build a society of peace on earth (Pacem in Terris.) Franck became the official artist of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and, as a tribute to Pope John, has created a temple of all faiths called Pacem in Terris on his property in Warwick, New York.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that we shall not have the benefits of this world for much longer. The imminent and expected destruction of the life cycle of world ecology can only be prevented by a radical shift in outlook from our present naive conception of this world as a testing ground to a more mature view of the universe as a comprehensive matrix of life forms. Making this shift is essentially religious, not political or economic. Vine DeLoria Jr.
I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents.
C. S. Lewis commenting on his inability to believe in the clarifying capability of logic and intellect if an accidental big bang set the universe in motion. Time is an illusion albeit a persistent one. Einstein A thought that sometimes makes me hazy, Am I, or are the others, crazy? Einstein Frank Harary once suggested the law that any field that had the word "science" in its name was guaranteed thereby not to be a science. He would cite as examples Military Science, Library Science, Political Science, Homemaking Science, Social Science, and Computer Science. Gerald Weinberg, "An Introduction to General Systems Thinking"
Often, people talk most about what they lack most. This may be an attempt to convince themselves that they should practice what they preach.
By the time a social science theory is formulated in such a way that it can be tested, changing circumstances have already made it obsolete. Professor Charles P. Issawi
Scarcely anyone believes today that Freud was doing science, any more than educated people believe that Marx was doing science, or Max Weber or Lewis Mumford or Bruno Bettelheim or Carl Jung or Margaret Mead or Arnold Toynbee. Their work is a form of storytelling. Unlike science, social research never discovers anything. It only rediscovers what people were once told and need to be told again... Neil Postman
Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals -- the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned, if at all. Martin Gardner
If government laboratories had been operating in the Stone Age we should have wonderful stone axes but no-one would have discovered metals. J. J. Thomson
A science is said to be useful if its development tends to accentuate the existing inequalities in the distribution of wealth, or more directly promotes the destruction of human life.
"A Mathematician's Apology," London, Cambridge University Press, 1941.
Godfrey H. Hardy, (1877 - 1947) Those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry with which they are surrounded. Herbert Spencer
In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. Carl Sagan
Art is I; science is we. Claude Bernard
Science can get along with talent, but art requires genius. Will Durant
The mechanistic world view, taking the play of physical particles as ultimate reality, found its expression in a civilization which glorifies physical technology that has led eventually to the catastrophes of our time. Possibly the model of the world as a great organization can help to reinforce the sense of reverence for the living which we have almost lost in the last sanguinary decades of human history. Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Metaphysics may be, after all, only the art of being sure of something that is not so, and logic only the art of going wrong with confidence. Joseph Wood Krutch
Science cannot determine origin, and so cannot determine destiny. As it presents only a sectional view of creation, it gives only a sectional view of everything in creation.
Though many have tried, no one has ever yet explained away the decisive fact that science, which can do so much, cannot decide what it ought to do.
The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Einstein, "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium," (1941) ch. 13
Science without Humanity
Politics without Principle
Wealth without Work
Commerce without Morality
Pleasure without Conscience
Education without Character
Worship without Sacrifice Science has radically changed the conditions of human life on earth. It has expanded our knowledge and our power but not capacity to use them with wisdom. J.
Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs it while the angels are debating the best way to use it. Alan Valentine
All our lauded technological progress -- our very civilization -- is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal. Einstein
Modern man worships at the temple of science, yet science tells him only what is possible, not what is right. John Milton S. Eisenhower
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. Helen Keller
Typically, hatred manifests as indifference, not as destructive violence. When violence is overt, it is often perpetrated by boring - and bored - human beings living safe little lives. During the Nuremberg Trials, political philosopher Hannah Arendt was so struck by Adolf Eichmann's meekness that she coined the phrase "the banality of evil" to explain "the sensible slaughter" of this good German bureaucrat. Paul Tillich observed that "boredom is rage spread thin." Violence is an attempt to "thicken" the thin-ness of apathetic rage so the intensity of violence (and the drama that accompanies it) will, at least, vouchsafe a simulacrum of life.
The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many
were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and
terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral
standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be
either good or evil. Hannah Arendt
Man's chief moral deficiency appears to be not his indiscretions but his reticence.
The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open. Gunter Grass
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to
In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. Carl Sagan
Science does not have a moral dimension. It is like a knife. If you give it to a surgeon or a murderer, each will use it differently. Werner von Braun
The peasant eats and drinks what was eaten and drunk by the peasants of ten thousand years ago; and the house he lives in has not altered as much in a thousand centuries as the fashion of a lady's bonnet in a score of weeks. George Bernard Shaw
Science has made gods of us before we were even worthy of being men.
Scientific "facts" are taught at a very early age and in the very same manner in which religious "facts" were taught only a century ago. There is no attempt to waken the critical abilities of the pupil so that he may be able to see things in perspective. At the universities the situation is even worse, for indoctrination is here carried out in a much more systematic manner ... science has now become as oppressive as the ideologies it had once to fight.
Paul Feyerabend, "How To Defend Society Against Science"
The sun, with all the planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
I believe that in actual fact, philosophy ranks before and above the natural sciences.
It is characteristic that Einstein and Planck had the greatest admiration for Kant's work, agreeing with his view that philosophy should be the basis of all sciences.
Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, "Reality and Scientific Truth" We are convinced that theories do not matter... Never has there been so little discussion about the nature of men as now, when, for the first time, anyone can discuss it... Good taste, the last and vilest of human superstitions, has succeeded in silencing us where all the rest have failed. Sixty years ago it was bad taste to be an avowed atheist... now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian. But there are some people nevertheless - and I am one of them - who think that the most important thing about man is still his view of the universe... We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them. G. K. Chesterton There are others whose state of mind is still more extraordinary. They not only do not need the landscape to corroborate their history, but they do not care if the landscape contradicts their history... If the map marks the place as a waterless desert, they will declare it as dry as a bone, though the whole valley resound with the rushing river. A whole huge rock will be invisible if a little book on geology says it is impossible. This is at the opposite extreme to the irrational credultiy of the rustic, but it is infinitely more irrational... This great delusion of the prior claim of printed matter, as something anterior to experience and capable of contradicitng it, is the main weakness of modern urban society. The chief mark of the modern man has been that he has gone through a landscape with his eyes glued to a guidebook, and could actually deny in the one, anything that he could not find in the other. One man, however, happened to look up from the book and see things for himself; he was a man of too impatient a temper, and later he showed too hasty a disposition to tear the book up or toss the book away. But there had been granted to him a strange and high and heroic sort of faith. He could believe his eyes. G. K. Chesterton, "William Cobbett" Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand... The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious and everything else becomes lucid... A symbol from physical nature will express sufficiently well the real place of mysticism before mankind. The one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything. G. K. Chesterton, "Orthodoxy" The task of the novelist is to deepen mystery, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind. Flannery O'Connor Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule. J. R. R. Tolkien
Prediction is risky, especially of the future. Neils Bohr