Selected Quotes about Doubt

The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth. -- Pierre Abelard

Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous. -- Voltaire (Fran├žois-Marie Arouet)

Doubt whom you will, but never yourself. -- Christine Bovee

I show you doubt, to prove that faith exists. -- Robert Browning

Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. -- Frederick Buechner

There is something pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything. -- George Gordon Byron

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough. -- Frank Crane

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt. -- Clarence Darrow

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. -- Rene Descartes

There are no creeds in mathematics. -- Peter F. Drucker

Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our distrust is very expensive. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt. -- Bergen Evans

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him. -- Victor Frankl

It is reserved for man alone to find his very existence questionable, to experience the whole dubiousness of being. More than such faculties as power of speech, conceptual thinking, or walking erect, this factor of doubting the significance of his own existence is what sets man apart from animal. -- Victor Frankl

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. -- Erich Fromm

The common dogma [of fundamentalists] is fear of modern knowledge, inability to cope with the fast change in a scientific-technological society, and the real breakdown in apparent moral order in recent years.... That is why hate is the major fuel, fear is the cement of the movement, and superstitious ignorance is the best defense against the dangerous new knowledge. ... When you bring up arguments that cast serious doubts on their cherished beliefs you are not simply making a rhetorical point, you are threatening their whole Universe and their immortality. That provokes anger and quite frequently violence. ... Unfortunately you cannot reason with them and you even risk violence in confronting them. Their numbers will decline only when society stabilizes, and adapts to modernity. -- G Gaia

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. -- Andre Gide

A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. -- Arthur Golden

Doubt 'til thou canst doubt no more ... doubt is thought and thought is life. Systems which end doubt are devices for drugging thought. -- Albert Guerard

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Unthinking faith is a curious offering to be made to the creator of the human mind. -- John A. Hutchinson

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing. -- Thomas H. Huxley

I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality. -- James Joyce

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking. -- Alfred Korzybski

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking. -- Alfred Korzybski

Trust him not with your secrets, who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers. -- Johann Kaspar Lavater

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. -- Ursula K. LeGuin

To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting. -- Stanislaw Leszczynski

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt. -- Rollo May

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education. -- Wilson Mizner

To deny, to believe, and to doubt absolutely -- this is for man what running is for a horse. -- Blaise Pascal

We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything. -- Blaise Pascal

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention. -- Tom Peters

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection. -- Henri Poincare

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

When unhappy, one doubts everything; when happy, one doubts nothing. -- Joseph Roux

There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking. -- Theodore Rubin

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine. -- Bertrand Russell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise. -- Bertrand Russell

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also add that some things are more nearly certain than others. -- Bertrand Russell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -- Bertrand Russell

It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science. -- Carl Sagan

It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from the worthless ones. (1987 lecture "The Burden of Skepticism") -- Carl Sagan

Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win By fearing to attempt. -- William Shakespeare

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. -- William Shakespeare

Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters. -- Isaac Bashevis Singer

The doubt of an earnest, thoughtful, patient and laborious mind is worthy of respect. In such doubt may be found indeed more faith than in half the creeds. -- John Lancaster Spalding

The torch of doubt and chaos is what the sage steers by. -- Chuang Tzu

Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them. -- Peter Ustinov

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. -- Voltaire

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. -- John Wooden

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything. -- Virginia Woolf

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