Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Powerful Thoughts

Over the last couple of months I've posted a lot of my favorite quotes on topics such as theism and skepticism to my Twitter page, and I decided to compile them here. It's remarkable that combining just a few words in the right order can produce such powerful and thought-provoking ideas.

Here are some quotes on religion and theism:
  • "What worries me about religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding." –Richard Dawkins
  • "All [divine command theorists] can say about Al Qaeda and the Taliban is that they’re mistaken about what God commands." –Chris Hallquist
  • "When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." –Stephen Roberts
  • "As a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized the Lord doesn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me." –comedian Emo Philips
  • "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion." –Steven Weinberg
  • "Mythology is someone else's religion, different enough from your own for its absurdity to be obvious." –Anonymous
And on science, knowledge and skepticism:
  • "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." –Charles Darwin
  • "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge." –Stephen Hawking
  • "Throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be... not magic." –Tim Minchin
  • "You are not a Bayesian homunculus whose reasoning is 'corrupted' by cognitive biases. You just are cognitive biases." –Luke Muehlhauser
  • "If you attend only to favorable evidence, picking and choosing from your gathered data, then the more data you gather, the less you know." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • "If you are equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • "Everything is a mystery from the dawn of human experience right up until someone solves it." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
And finally, a few rather telling quotes from believers:
  • "The problem with Islam, then, is not that it has got the wrong moral theory; it’s that it has got the wrong God." –Christian apologist William Lane Craig
  • "Natural science at the moment seems to overwhelmingly point to an old cosmos." –YECs Paul Nelson & John Reynolds
  • ID must create a "theory of biological design. We don't have such a theory right now, and that's a real problem." –YEC/IDist Paul Nelson
I can't help but think how lucky I am to live in an age where all of these writers are instantly at my disposal. Darwin's writings can stand alongside those of a renowned modern genius like Hawking and lesser-known rationalists such as Eliezer Yudkowsky. The notion that we can only know what we know by "standing on the shoulders of giants" has never been more true than it is right now.

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