Saturday, September 21, 2013

P-branes dropping apples from the shoulders of giants

Who said what? Each of the following quotations is from a different renowned scientist. Answers below.

  1. Science is powerless to answer questions such as "Why did the universe come into being?" "What is the meaning of human existence?" "What happens after we die?"

  2. I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today, and even professional scientists, seem to me like someone who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is, in my opinion, the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.

  3. Is the world divided into mind and matter, and, if so, what is mind, what is matter? Is mind subject to matter, or is it possessed of independent powers? Has the universe any unity or purpose? Is it evolving towards some goal? Are there really laws of nature, or do we believe in them only because of our innate love of order? Is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water impotently crawling on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet? Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are all ways of living merely futile? . . . To such questions no answers can be found in the laboratory.

  4. There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and upon his profession than roundly to declare – particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for – that science knows, or soon will know, the answers to all questions worth asking, and that questions which do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or "pseudo-questions" that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer. . . . The existence of a limit to science is, however, made clear by its inability to answer childlike elementary questions having to do with first and last things – questions such as: "How did everything begin?" "What are we all here for?" "What is the point of living?"

  5. Science puts everything in a consistent order but is ghastly silent about everything that really matters to us: beauty, color, taste, pain or delight, origins, God and eternity.

  6. How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a Creator? . . . Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. It has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly in physics. As a result scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.

Answers (reversed and upside-down):

  1. suılloƆ sıɔuɐɹℲ
  2. uıǝʇsuıƎ ʇɹǝql∀
  3. llǝssnʁ puɐɹʇɹǝB
  4. ɹɐʍɐpǝW ɹǝʇǝԀ
  5. ɹǝƃuıpöɹɥɔS uıʍɹƎ
  6. ƃuıʞʍɐH uǝɥdǝʇS

As people can see, one of them is not like the others! Hawking denigrates philosophy at the same time as he lauds science, whereas the other scientists can respect both.

HT: John Lennox.


  1. How did you get that text in there upside down? It's gotta be some kind of mind trick.

    1. Indeed, it's an old Jedi mind trick. ;-)

    2. Indeed, it's an old Jedi mind trick ...