I personally feel it is presumptuous to believe that man can determine the whole temporal structure of the universe, its evolution, development and ultimate fate from the first nanosecond of creation to the last 10^10 years, on the basis of three or four facts which are not very accurately known and are disputed among the experts.
In history an additional result is commonly produced by human actions beyond that which they aim at and obtain -- that which they immediately recognize and desire. They gratify their own interest; but something further is thereby accomplished, latent in the actions in question, though not present to their consciousness, and not included in their design.
Wonder [admiratio astonishment, marvel] is a kind of desire for knowledge. The situation arises when one sees an effect and does not know its cause, or when the cause of the particular effect is one that exceeds his power of understanding. Hence, wonder is a cause of pleasure insofar as there is annexed the hope of attaining understanding of that which one wants to know. . . . For desire is especially aroused by the awareness of ignorance, and consequently a man takes the greatest pleasure in those things which he discovers for himself or learns from the ground up.
This revelation of the secrets of nature, long mercifully withheld from man, should arouse the most solemn reflections in the mind and conscience of every human being capable of comprehension. We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce to peace among the nations, and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.
. . . the life of the planet began the long, slow process of modulating and regulating the physical conditions of the planet. The oxygen in today's atmosphere is almost entirely the result of photosynthetic living, which had its start with the appearance of blue-green algae among the microorganisms.
The various systems of doctrine that have held dominion over man have been demonstrated to be true beyond all question by rationalists of such power-to name only a few-as Aquinas and Calvin and Hegel and Marx. Guided by these master hands the intellect has shown itself more deadly than cholera or bubonic plague and far more cruel. The incompatibility with one another of all the great systems of doctrine might surely be have expected to provoke some curiosity about their nature.
The horrors of Vivisection have supplanted the solemnity, the thrilling fascination, of the old unetherized operation upon the human sufferer. Their recorded phenomena, stored away by the physiological inquisitor on dusty shelves, are mostly of as little present use to man as the knowledge of a new comet or of a tungstate of zirconium. . . -contemptibly small compared with the price paid for it in agony and torture.
No mathematician should ever allow him to forget that mathematics, more than any other art or science, is a young man's game. . . . Galois died at twenty-one, Abel at twenty-seven, Ramanujan at thirty-three, Riemann at forty. There have been men who have done great work later;. . . [but] I do not know of a single instance of a major mathematical advance initiated by a man past fifty. . . . A mathematician may still be competent enough at sixty, but it is useless to expect him to have original ideas.