Monday, September 5, 2011

Powerful Thoughts, Vol. 2

I've posted both my own pithy thoughts on religion and skepticism related topics and those of various other thinkers (which isn't to say that I equate my ideas with theirs–on the contrary, I owe them a great deal for helping me formulate my views in the first place). By now I've compiled more than enough additional quotes for another installment.

We'll start with the ones related to God and religion:
  • "The word 'militant' is applied to the religious when they bomb and to atheists when they speak with non-deferential clarity." –Anon
  • "If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse." –Woody Allen
  • "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." –Susan B. Anthony
  • "To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today." –Isaac Asimov
  • "Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail." –Sam Harris
  • "Every pulpit is a pillory, in which stands a hired culprit, defending the justice of his own imprisonment." –Robert Ingersoll
  • "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." –Thomas Jefferson
  • "The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike." –Delos B. McKown
  • "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." –Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme is up to all of us to become his moral superior." –Terry Pratchett
  • "Saying the United States is a Christian nation is just as ridiculous as saying it is a white nation." –from Reddit
And here are some related to science and skepticism:
  • "Just because something is obvious doesn't mean it's true." –Anon
  • "If animal body plans do reflect design, we can conclude that the designer wanted to make things look as though they had evolved." –Jerry Coyne
  • "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." –Philip K. Dick
  • "The Creator, if he exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles." –J.B.S. Haldane
  • "Certainty is responsible for some of the most awful terrors in the world." –Anthony Hopkins
  • "Forget Jesus. The stars died so you could be here today." –Lawrence Krauss
  • "The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning... However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." –Stanley Kubrick
  • "You know what they call 'alternative medicine' that's been proved to work? Medicine." –Tim Minchin
  • "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently." –Friedrich Nietzche
  • "How many people here have telekinetic powers? Raise my hand." –Emo Philips
  • "Believing in microevolution but not macroevolution is like saying you believe in millimeters but not miles." –from Reddit
  • "Science is atheistic in the sense that plumbing is atheistic. It limits itself to the study of natural causes." –Eugenie Scott
  • "He must be very ignorant, for he answers every question he is asked." –Voltaire
  • "Most people are happy to explain away even the most compelling data rather than abandon their cherished beliefs." –Richard Wiseman
And finally, a few fundamentalist quotes:
  • "What God sanctioned in the Old Testament, and permitted in the New, cannot be a sin." –Rev. Richard Fuller, in 1845, on slavery
  • "Monkeys are still having babies; why don't they have another human today?" –YEC Kent Hovind
  • "You know, it's a theory that's out there. It's got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution." –Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, unaware that Texas doesn't teach creationism
I like being able to present comedians and ordinary internet denizens along with legendary thinkers like Voltaire and Nietzsche. It helps to demonstrate that the source of an idea doesn't really matter, because it's the meaning that counts. In my first installment I went through a lot of trouble to ensure the veracity of every quote, but it occurred to me that if they offer insightful commentary on the nature of belief and science, that insight is valuable regardless of who it came from.

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