Knowledge

1100 – Galileo on God and Science

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.”

-Galileo Galilei

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1041 – “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

-Isaac Asimov

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957 – Aristotle on Education and Judgement

“πεπαιδευομένου γάρ ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον τἀκριβὲς ἐπιζητεῖν καθ’ ἕκαστον γένος, ἐφ’ ὅσον ἡ τοῦ πράγματος φύσις ἐπιδέχεται. … ἕκαστος δὲ κρίνει καλῶς ἃ γινώσκει, καὶ τούτων ἐστὶν ἀγαθὸς κριτής. καθ’ ἕκαστον μὲν ἄρα ὁ πεπαιδευμένος, ἁπλῶς δ’ ὁ περὶ πᾶν πεπαιδευμένος.”

“It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; … Now each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a good judge of that subject, and the man who has received an all-round education is a good judge in general.”

-Aristotle [See Source Notes for Full Context]

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913 – “Randomness, chaos, uncertainty, and chance are all a part of our lives. They reside at the ill-defined boundaries between what we know, what we can know, and what is beyond our knowing. They make life interesting.”

-Ivars Peterson

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912 – “The world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. We think of a dictionary as the repository of meaning, but it defines words only in terms of other words. I liked the idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it’s related to, and how it’s related. There really is little else to meaning. The structure is everything.”

-Tim Berners-Lee

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901 – Wisława Szymborska on Knowledge

“Rozmaici oprawcy, dyktatorzy, fanatycy, demagodzy walczący o władzę przy pomocy kilku byle głośno wykrzykiwanych haseł, także lubią swoją pracę i także wykonują ją z gorliwą pomysłowością. No tak, ale oni “wiedzą”. Wiedzą, a to, co wiedzą, wystarcza im raz na zawsze. Niczego ponad to nie są ciekawi, bo to mogłoby osłabić siłę ich argumentów. A wszelka wiedza, która nie wyłania z siebie nowych pytań, staje się w szybkim czasie martwa, traci temperaturę sprzyjającą życiu. W najskrajniejszych przypadkach, o czym dobrze wiadomo z historii dawnej i współczesnej, potrafi być nawet śmiertelnie groźna dla społeczeństw”.

“All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.”

-Wisława Szymborska

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889 – “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

–Isaac Asimov

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