- Of course, Behaviourism ‘works’. So does torture. Give me a no-nonsense, down-to-earth behaviourist, a few drugs, and simple electrical appliances, and in six months I will have him reciting the Athanasian Creed in public.
A Certain World (1970) 1907–73 English poet:
- For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes.
Novum Organum (1620) bk. 1, Aphorism 49 (tr. J. Spedding);see Caesar, Demosthenes 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist:
- Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
: St Mark ch. 9, v. 24
- Of course not, but I am told it works even if you don't believe in it.
when asked whether he really believed a horseshoe hanging over his door would bring him luck, c.1930
Inward Bound (1986) 1885–1962 Danish physicist: A. Pais
- Just when we are safest, there's a sunset-touch,
A fancy from a flower-bell, some one's death,
A chorus-ending from Euripides,—
And that's enough for fifty hopes and fears
As old and new at once as nature's self…
The grand Perhaps!
1812–89 English poet: ‘Bishop Blougram's Apology’ (1855) l. 182
- Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Through the Looking-Glass (1872) ch. 5 1832–98 English writer and logician:
- It is wrong, always, everywhere and for any one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. 1845–79 English mathematician and philosopher: ‘The Ethics of Belief’, lecture, 1879
- plato told
him: he couldn't
believe it (jesus
told him; he
1 x 1 (1944) no. 13 (Edward Estlin Cummings) 1894–1962 American poet:
- I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure—that is all that agnosticism means. 1857–1938 American lawyer: speech at the trial of John Thomas Scopes for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in school, 15 July 1925
- I, the man without a rag of a label to cover himself with…took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic’.
Collected Essays (1893–4) ‘Agnosticism’ 1825–95 English biologist:
- The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. 1825–95 English biologist: attributed
- A believer is a songless bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wings.
An Arraignment of the Church, and a Plea for Individuality (1877) 1833–99 American agnostic:
- I do not believe…I know.
Jung and the Story of our Time (1976) 1875–1961 Swiss psychologist: L. van der Post
- Credulity is the man's weakness, but the child's strength.
Essays of Elia (1823) ‘Witches, and Other Night-Fears’ 1775–1834 English writer:
- There is a great deal of difference between still believing something, and again believing it. 1742–99 German scientist and drama critic: Notebook E no. 8 1775–6
- Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
Essays (1580, ed. M. Rat, 1958) bk. 1, ch. 32 1533–92 French moralist and essayist:
- We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe. 1801–90 English theologian and leader of the Oxford Movement; later Cardinal: letter to Mrs William Froude, 27 June 1848
- It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
The Age of Reason pt. 1 (1794) 1737–1809 English political theorist:
- The sceptical are the most credulous.
Penseés (1670) no. 257 1623–62 French mathematician, physicist, and moralist:
- Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.
Sceptical Essays (1928) ‘Dreams and Facts’ 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician:
- Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Unpopular Essays (1950) ‘An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish’ 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician:
- I confused things with their names: that is belief.
Les Mots (1964) ‘Écrire’ 1905–80 French philosopher, novelist, dramatist, and critic:
- Certum est quia impossibile est.
It is certain because it is impossible.
often quoted as ‘Credo quia impossibile [I believe because it is impossible]’
c.ad 160–c.225 Roman theologian and Church Father from Carthage: De Carne Christi ch. 5