Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Meaning of It All Some of It

I just read the book The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist, a collection of three speaches made in 1963 by physicist Richard Feynman. In his speaches, Feynman not only discusses the nature of science, but also opines about religion, morality, politics, and other various topics. Here are some memorable quotes:

"Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order maintain that what they said was true."
"Science makes, indeed, an impact on many ideas associated with religion, but I do not believe it affects, in any very strong way, the moral conduct and ethical views."
"No government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated."
"This is in the attitude of mind of the populace, that they have to have an answer and that a man who gives an answer is better than a man who gives no answer, when the real fact of the matter is, in most cases, it is the other way around.... It's all genereated, maybe, by the fact that the attitude of the populace is to try to find the answer instead of trying to find a man who has a way of getting at the answer."

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