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Dennis Lindley

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In teaching there can be too much emphasis on certainty and a proper appreciation of uncertainty is to be encouraged.
--
6. Bayes Rule. p.81

 
Dennis Lindley

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You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty: the uncertainty ceasing, interest ceases also... But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty: without certainty, without formulation there is no interest;... the clearer the formulation the greater the interest.

 
Gerard Manley Hopkins
 

How does a person learn earnestness? Is it having an earnest person dictate something to him so that he can learn it? Not at all. If you have not yourself learned in this way from an earnest man, then imagine how it goes. See, the learner concerns himself (without concern there is no learner) about some object with his whole soul, and in this way the certainty of death becomes an object of concern. Now the concerned person turns to the teacher of earnestness, and thus death is indeed not a monster except for the imagination. The learner now wants this or that; he wants to do it thus and so and under these assumptions-“And it is bound to succeed, is it not so?” But the earnest person answers nothing at all, and finally he says, yet without mockery but with the calmness of earnestness, “Yes, it is possible!” The learner already becomes a little impatient; he suggests a new plan, changes the assumptions, and concludes his speech in a still more urgent way. But the earnest person is silent, looks calmly at him, and finally says, “Yes, it is possible!” Now the learner becomes passionate; he resorts to pleas or, if he is so equipped, to clever locutions-indeed, he perhaps even insults the earnest person and becomes totally confused himself and everything around him seems to be confusion. But when with these weapons and in this condition he charges at the earnest person, he has to endure his unaltered calm gaze and put up with his silence, because the earnest person merely looks at him and finally says, “Yes it is possible.” This is the way it is with death. The certainty is the unchanging, and the uncertainty is the brief statement: It is possible. Every condition that wants to make the certainty of death into a conditional certainty for the wisher, every agreement that wants to make the certainty of death into a conditional certainty for the person making up his mind, every arrangement that wants to condition the certainty of death as to time and hour for the one who is acting, every condition, every agreement, every arrangement runs aground on this statement: and all passionateness and all cleverness and all defiance are rendered powerless by this statement-until the learner sees the error of his ways. But the earnestness lies just in this, and it was to this that certainty and uncertainty wanted to help the learner. The certainty is allowed to leave open the question of what it can be, like a universal caption over life, instead of being the endorsement of the particular and the daily by usage, as happens with the help of uncertainty-then earnestness is not learned.

 
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
 

He is no wise man that will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.

 
Samuel Johnson
 

Acceptance is appreciation, and the high value of appreciation is such that to appreciate appreciation seems to be the fundamental prerequisite for survival. Mankind will not die for lack of information; it may perish for lack of appreciation.

 
Abraham Joshua Heschel
 

I make no vows. I take my chance. ... It means that I fear certainty as you fear uncertainty. It means that nothing is certain but uncertainty. If I bind the future I bind my will. If I bind my will I strangle creation.

 
George Bernard Shaw
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