Top Scepticism Quotes

Browse top 41 famous quotes and sayings about Scepticism by most favorite authors.

Favorite Scepticism Quotes

1. "Generations of Humeans have… been misled into offering analyses of causation and of natural law that have been far too weak because they had no basis for accepting the existence of either cause and effect or natural laws… Hume's scepticism about cause and effect and his agnosticism about the external world are of course jettisoned the moment he leaves his study."
Author: Anthony Flew
2. "Philosophy arises from an unusually obstinate attempt to arrive at real knowledge. What passes for knowledge in ordinary life suffers from three defects: it is cocksure, vague and self-contradictory. The first step towards philosophy consists in becoming aware of these defects, not in order to rest content with a lazy scepticism, but in order to substitute an amended kind of knowledge which shall be tentative, precise and self-consistent."
Author: Bertrand Russell
3. "El escepticismo tiene por función ser peligroso. Es un desafío a las instituciones establecidas. Si enseñamos a todo el mundo, incluyendo por ejemplo a los estudiantes de educación secundaria, unos hábitos de pensamiento escéptico, probablemente no limitarán su escepticismo a los ovnis, los anuncios de aspirinas y los profetas canalizados de 35.000 años. Quizá empezarán a hacer preguntas importantes sobre las instituciones económicas, sociales, políticas o religiosas. Quizá desafiarán las opiniones de los que están en el poder. ¿Dónde estaremos entonces?"
Author: Carl Sagan
4. "If we offer too much silent assent about mysticism and superstition - even when it seems to be doing a little good - we abet a general climate in which scepticism is considered impolite, science tiresome, and rigorous thinking somehow stuffy and inappropriate. Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom."
Author: Carl Sagan
5. "If you're only sceptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything. You become a crochety misanthrope convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) Since major discoveries in the borderlines of science are rare, experience will tend to confirm your grumpiness. But every now and then a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you're too resolutely and uncompromisingly sceptical, you're going to miss (or resent) the transforming discoveries in science, and either way you will be obstructing understanding and progress. Mere scepticism is not enough."
Author: Carl Sagan
6. "Likewise, if we offer too much silent assent about mysticism and superstition - even when it seems to be doing a little good - we abet a general climate in which scepticism is considered impolite, science tiresome, and rigorous thinking somehow stuffy and inappropriate."
Author: Carl Sagan
7. "Is it really for love he is going to marry you?" She asked.I was so hurt by her coldness and scepticism that the tears rose to my eyes."I am sorry to grieve you," pursued the widow; "but you are so young, and so little acquainted with men, I wished to put you on your guard. It is an old saying that ‘all is not gold that glitters;' and in this case I do fear there will be something found to be different to what either you or I expect."
Author: Charlotte Brontë
8. "La cultura no garantiza el buen juicio, el escepticismo ni la sabiduría."
Author: Cicero
9. "«Porque felizmente (pensaba) el hombre no está solo hecho de desesperación sino de fe y esperanza; no solo de muerte sino también de anhelo de vida; tampoco únicamente de soledad sino de momentos de comunión y amor. Porque si prevalece la desesperación, todos nos dejaríamos morir o nos mataríamos, y eso no es de ninguna manera lo que sucede. Lo que demostraba, a su juicio, la poca importancia de la razón, ya que no es razonable mantener esperanzas en este mundo en que vivimos. Nuestra razón, nuestra inteligencia, constantemente nos están probando que este mundo es atroz, motivo por el cual la razón es aniquiladora y conduce al escepticismo, al cinismo y finalmente a la aniquilación. Pero, por suerte, el hombre no es casi nunca un ser razonable, y por eso la esperanza renace una y otra vez en medio de las calamidades.»"
Author: Ernesto Sabato
10. "The shadow of scepticism is dispelled in the light of real knowledge."
Author: Etienne De L'Amour
11. "I find that the critics of voluntary service are all too often those who are prepared to accept such services when they require them but deride them with cynicism and scepticism when they see others helping and being helped."
Author: Eva Hart
12. "Oxford also taught me something else - it taught me scepticism."
Author: Frank Scott
13. "Scepticism is as important for a good journalist as it is for a good scientist."
Author: Freeman Dyson
14. "Scepticism is never certain of itself, being less a firm intellectual position than a pose to justify bad behavior."
Author: Fulton J. Sheen
15. "Yes, the laws of self-preservation and of self-destruction are equally powerful in this world. The devil will hold his empire over humanity until a limit of time which is still unknown. You laugh? You do not believe in the devil? Scepticism as to the devil is a French idea, and it is also a frivolous idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know his name? Although you don't know his name you make a mockery of his form, following the example of Voltaire. You sneer at his hoofs, at his tail, at his horns—all of them the produce of your imagination! In reality the devil is a great and terrible spirit, with neither hoofs, nor tail, nor horns; it is you who have endowed him with these attributes! But… he is not the question just now!"
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
16. "Latter-day scepticism is fond of calling itself progressive; but scepticism is really reactionary. Scepticism goes back; it attempts to unsettle what has already been settled. Instead of trying to break up new fields with its plough, it simply tries to break up the plough."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
17. "It is quite an old-fashioned fallacy to suppose that our objection to scepticism is that it removes the discipline from life. Our objection to scepticism is that it removes the motive power. Materialism is not a thing which destroys mere restraint. Materialism itself is the great restraint."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
18. "The cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving. If the world is good we are revolutionaries, if the world is evil we must be conservatives. These essays, futile as they are considered as serious literature, are yet ethically sincere, since they seek to remind men that things must be loved first and improved afterwards."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
19. "He had found the thing which the modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for that final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe."
Author: G.K. Chesterton
20. "There is not steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and a the last one pause: - through infancy's unconscious spell, boyhood's thoughtless faith, adolescence' doubt (the common doom). and then scepticism, then disbelief, resting at last in manhood's pondering repose of If."
Author: Herman Melville
21. "There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause:-- through infancy's unconscious spell, boyhood's thoughtless faith, adolescence' doubt (the common doom), then scepticism, then disbelief, resting at last in manhood's pondering repose of If. But once gone through, we trace the round again; and are infants, boys, and men, and Ifs eternally. Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling's father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it."
Author: Herman Melville
22. "The Greeks made Space the subject-matter of a science of supreme simplicity and certainty. Out of it grew, in the mind of classical antiquity, the idea of pure science. Geometry became one of the most powerful expressions of that sovereignty of the intellect that inspired the thought of those times. At a later epoch, when the intellectual despotism of the Church, which had been maintained through the Middle Ages, had crumbled, and a wave of scepticism threatened to sweep away all that had seemed most fixed, those who believed in Truth clung to Geometry as to a rock, and it was the highest ideal of every scientist to carry on his science 'more geometrico."
Author: Hermann Weyl
23. "Both the fanatical believers and the fixed attitude people are loud in their scorn of what they call "woolly minds."… [But it] is the woolly mind that combines scepticism about everything with credulity about everything. Being woolly it has no hard edges. It is easy, pliant, yet it has its own toughness. Because it bends, it does not break. … The woolly mind realizes that we live in an unimaginable gigantic, complicated, mysterious universe. To try to stuff the vast bewildering creation into a few neat pigeon-holes is absurd. We don't know enough, and to pretend we do is mere intellectual conceit. … The best we can do is keep looking out for clues, for anything that will light us a step or two in the dark."
Author: J.B. Priestley
24. "Usually they looked past me hopefully and some even went and peered into the car to see if the man they really wanted was hiding in there. And it was uphill work examining an animal when its owner was chafing in the background, wishing with all his heart that I was somebody else. But I had to admit they were fair. I got no effusive welcomes and when I started to tell them what I thought about the case they listened with open scepticism, but I found that if I got my jacket off and really worked at the job they began to thaw a little."
Author: James Herriot
25. "The scepticism which men affect towards their higher inspirations is often not an honest doubt, but a guilty negligence, and is a sign of narrow mind and defective wisdom."
Author: James Martineau
26. "Cada vez que espero una respuesta me horroriza la idea de que no la haya y también de que llegue. Todo resulta luego un desastre, pero mientras está todo por suceder tengo la impresión de la absoluta limpieza y la infinita posibilidad. Me siento como con quince años, no me cabe el escepticismo, es raro. No puedo evitar hacerme ilusiones. (...) Por eso el estado perfecto es el de la espera y el de la ignorancia, lo malo es que si supiera que ese estado iba a durar indefinidamente entonces ya no me gustaría tampoco."
Author: Javier Marías
27. "Dumnezeu,asa cum ne este El zugravit in crestinism,ma face sa ma gandesc la Xenofon-considerat de unii ca intemeietorul scolii eleate si cu,orice s-ar spune,un atat de clar ponuntat scepticism-,care spunea ca daca boii si caii si-ar zugravi zeii i-ar infatisa ca boii si caii cei mai alesi.Asa si oamenii,au inzestrat un om cu toate insusirile ce li se pareau lor mai grozave,fiecare din ele impinsa la perfectiune,si au zis:"asta e Dumnezeu"."
Author: Jeni Acterian
28. "The merits and services of Christianity have been industriously extolled by its hired advocates. Every Sunday its praises are sounded from myriads of pulpits. It enjoys the prestige of an ancient establishment and the comprehensive support of the State. It has the ear of rulers and the control of education. Every generation is suborned in its favor. Those who dissent from it are losers, those who oppose it are ostracised; while in the past, for century after century, it has replied to criticism with imprisonment, and to scepticism with the dungeon and the stake. By such means it has induced a general tendency to allow its pretensions without inquiry and its beneficence without proof."
Author: Joseph Mazzini Wheeler
29. "He gave the impression that he believed in things. We did too—it was just that we wanted to believe in our own things, rather than what had been decided for us. Hence what we thought of as our cleansing scepticism."
Author: Julian Barnes
30. "Historians need to treat a participant's own explanation of events with a certain scepticism. It is often the statement made with an eye to the future that is the most suspect."
Author: Julian Barnes
31. "Hubiera sido tan fácil organizar un esquema coherente, un orden de pensamiento y de vida, una armonía. Bastaba la hipocresía de siempre, elevar el pasado a valor de experiencia, sacar partido de las arrugas de la cara, del aire vivido que hay en las sonrisas o los silencios de más de cuarenta años. Después uno se ponía un traje azul, se peinaba las sienes plateadas y entraba en las exposiciones de pintura, en la Sade y en el Richmond, reconciliado con el mundo. Un escepticismo discreto, un aire de estar de vuelta, un ingreso cadencioso en la madurez, en el matrimonio, en el sermón paterno a la hora del asado o de la libreta de clasificaciones insatisfactoria. Te lo digo porque yo he vivido mucho. Yo que he viajado. Cuando yo era muchacho. Son todas iguales, te lo digo yo. Te hablo por experiencia, m'hijo. Vos todavía no conocés la vida."
Author: Julio Cortázar
32. "When we are tired or preoccupied - what psychologists call 'resource-depleted' - we start to economise, to conserve those resources. Higher-order thinking is more expensive. So too is doubt, scepticism, arugment. 'Resource depletion specifically disables cognitive elaboration,' wrote Harvard psychologist Daniel Gillbert...Because it takes less brain power to believe than to doublt, we are, when tired or distracted, gullible. Because we are all biased, and biases are quick and effortless, exhaustion tends to make us prefer the information we know and are comfortable with. We are too tired to do the heavier lifting of examining new or contradictory information, so we fall back on our biases the opinions and the people we already trust"
Author: Margaret Heffernan
33. "The more she rejected us the more convinced I was that she was another version of the real Molly, her disdain for authority, her scepticism that she had to do what the white man told her because it was good for her... She is Molly."
Author: Phillip Noyce
34. "My main reason for scepticism about the Huxley/Sagan theory is that the human brain is demonstrably eager to see faces in random patterns, as we know from scientific evidence, on top of the numerous legends about faces of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or Mother Teresa, being seen on slices of toast, or pizzas, or patches of damp on a wall. This eagerness is enhanced if the pattern departs from randomness in the specific direction of being symmetrical."
Author: Richard Dawkins
35. "Not to grow up properly is to retain our 'caterpillar' quality from childhood (where it is a virtue) into adulthood (where it becomes a vice). In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don't grow out of it in the fullness of time, our caterpillar nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists and quacks. The genius of the human child, mental caterpillar extraordinary, is for soaking up information and ideas, not for criticizing them. If critical faculties later grow it will be in spite of, not because of, the inclinations of childhood. The blotting paper of the child's brain is the unpromising seedbed, the base upon which later the sceptical attitude, like a struggling mustard plant, may possibly grow. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive scepticism of adult science."
Author: Richard Dawkins
36. "There's a certain kind of scepticism that can't bear uncertainty."
Author: Rupert Sheldrake
37. "Unwilling wholly to abandon the project for which his wife had died, unable to maintain any longer the absolute belief which the enterprise required, Muhammad Din entered the station wagon of scepticism."
Author: Salman Rushdie
38. "Nuestra época se muere de escepticismo moral y nulidad espiritual. La pereza imaginativa, al entregarse al seudoprogreso mecánico, momentáneo y material del período de posguerra, ha desjerarquizado el espíritu. Lo ha desarmado, deshonrado ante la muerte y la eternidad. La civilización mecánica será destruida por la guerra. La máquina está destinada a derrumbarse y enmohecerse, atascada en los campos de batalla, y las jóvenes y enérgicas masas que la construyeron están condenadas a servir de carne de cañón."
Author: Salvador Dalí
39. "The idea that the State is capable of solving social problems is now viewed with great scepticism – which foretells a coming change. As soon as scepticism is applied to the State, the State falls, since it fails at everything except increasing its power, and so can only survive on propaganda, which relies on unquestioning faith."
Author: Stefan Molyneux
40. "In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith."
Author: Terry Eagleton
41. "Moral scepticism can no more be refuted or proved by logic than intellectual scepticism can. When we stick to it that there is truth (be it of either kind), we do so with our whole nature, and resolve to stand or fall by the results. The sceptic with his whole nature adopts the doubting attitude; but which of us is the wiser, Omniscience only knows."
Author: William James

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Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.' When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart."
Author: Abu Huraira

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