Sermon quotes on science

Isaac Asimov

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…’

Quoted in Betting On a Bass That Belts Them Out; Singing Fish Becomes Season’s Unlikely Hit, by Darragh Johnson, The Washington Post, July 30, 2000.

Isaac Asimov (For Contrast)

It is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works.

Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation

Isaac Asimov

Science doesn’t purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life. I should think people would want to know that what they know is truly what the universe is like, or at least as close as they can get to it.

Interview, Bill Moyers’ World of Ideas, October 21, 1988

Francis Bacon

God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.

Of Proficience and Advancement of Learning Divine and Human.

Omar Bradley

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount…Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.

Speech on Armistice Day, Boston, Mass., 11 Nov. 1948

E.H. Chapin

Let science extend the domain of actual knowledge, and lay bare as it may the secrets of the material world. It only exposes more and more the proportions of the great cathedral, and shows us the lamps of God’s glory, and the infinite recesses of his love. It only wafts us on through the ever-rolling harmonies of the universe, until we pause before that awful veil of mystery in which he hides the essence of his being and the counsels of his thought.

Living Words

Charles Darwin

Alas! A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone.

Letter to T. H. Huxley, July 9, 1857.

Richard Dawkins (For Contrast)

Science may be weird and incomprehensible–more weird and less comprehensible than any theology–but science works. It gets results. It can fly you to Saturn, slingshotting you around Venus and Jupiter on the way. We may not understand quantum theory (heaven knows, I don’t), but a theory that predicts the real world to ten decimal places cannot in any straightforward sense be wrong.

A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.

Freeman Dyson

Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.

Gifford lectures: Infinite in All Directions: Aberdeen, Scotland, April – November 1985.

Albert Einstein

Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

Taken from Ronald W. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, World Publishing Company, 1971.

Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein

All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.

Journal of the Franklin Institute, March 1936

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

When I observe the luminous progress and expansion of natural science in modern times, I seem to myself like a traveller going eastwards at dawn, and gazing at the growing light with joy, but also with impatience; looking forward with longing to the advent of the full and final light, but, nevertheless, having to turn away his eyes when the sun appeared, unable to bear the splendour he had awaited with so much desire. (Editor’s Note: Sounds like a religious experience to me!)

The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe, Penguin Classics.

Werner Heisenberg

The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you. (this quote is attributed to Heisenberg, but questioned for it’s authenticity)

Hildebrand, Das Universum, 10., taken from Joseph, Selbie. The Physics of God, New Page Books, p. 187.

Michio Kaku

I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.

Immanuel Kant

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

Joseph Alexander Leighton

Science … is organized common sense.

The Field of Philosophy

Jay Leno

A new study shows that American students are becoming less proficient in science, and if the trend continues, we will become a nation that’s science and chemistry illiterate. And you thought a lot of meth labs are blowing up now?

The Tonight Show, January 31, 2012

Isaac Newton

God created everything by number, weight and measure.

Karl Popper

Science is the century-old endeavour to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thorough-going an association as possible. To put it boldly, it is the attempt at a posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization. Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgements of all kinds remain necessary.

Jean Rostand

Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men.

Thoughts of a Biologist

Victor J. Stenger (For Contrast)

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason, Prometheus. 

Jules Verne

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Penguin Classics.

Kurt Vonnegut

“Science is magic that works.”

Cat’s Cradle:  A Novel, Dell Publishing.

Ernest Walton

One way to learn the mind of the Creator is to study His creation. We must pay God the compliment of studying His work of art and this should apply to all realms of human thought. A refusal to use our intelligence honestly is an act of contempt for Him who gave us that intelligence.

Taken from V.J. McBrierty, Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton, The Irish Scientist, 1903-1995, Trinity College Dublin Press, 2003.

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