1. “Civilizations can only be understood by those who are civilized.” (Alfred North Whitehead)

2. “science is real. religion is made up. yes, i know religious people think they’re studying something real, so theologians are doing real work. i don’t think they are, they’re doing fake work with all the intellectual heft of a witch-doctor reading goat entrails.” (Razib Khan. To be fair to the witch-doctors, some ‘science’ is made up too. And some of the stuff people like to call science isn’t science at all. I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ll do it anyway; no, this does not improve upon the position/credibility of the witch-doctors – they’re still reading goat entrails.)

3. “statistical and probabilistic thinking is a real damper on “intellectual” conversation.” […] “introduction of questions about the moments about the distribution, or skepticism as to the representativeness of their sample, and so on, tends to have a chilling affect on the regular flow of discussion. While the average human being engages mostly in gossip and interpersonal conversation of some sort, the self-consciously intellectual interject a bit of data and abstraction (usually in the form of jargon or pithy quotations) into the mix. But the raison d’etre of the intellectual discussion is basically signaling and cuing; in other words, social display. No one really cares about the details and attempting to generate a rigorous model is really beside the point.” (Razib again, an old quote from a post called Why people don’t care about statistics)

4. “Douleur toujours nouvelle pour celui qui souffre et qui se banalise pour l’entourage.” – ‘Pain is always new to the sufferer, but loses its originality for those around him.’ (Alphonse Daudet)

5. “The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.” (Edmund Burke)

6. “It seems like the best time to start something is 5 years ago.” (Kelly Oxford)


April 12, 2011 Posted by | Quotes/aphorisms, Science, Statistics | Leave a comment