Happy Spring Equinox!
eis meus predileitos de recem…
you can’t be a rational person six days a week…and on one day of the week, go to a building, and think you’re drinking the blood of a two thousand year old space god. via
Prov 14:15, 18:
The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going…
The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Mormon doctrine consists in the Old Testament (except the parts that aren’t doctrine), the New Testament (except the parts that aren’t doctrine), the Book of Mormon (except the parts that aren’t doctrine), the Doctrine and Covenants (except the parts that aren’t doctrine), and the Pearl of Great Price (except the parts that aren’t doctrine). All of these, as augmented by statements from church leaders (except the ones that aren’t doctrine).… And how do we know which aren’t doctrine? Well, we rely on scripture (except the part that isn’t doctrine) and church leader statements (except the non-doctrinal ones) to determine which ones are doctrine. And finally, there is no one Rosetta Stone giving an explanation of which statements really matter, and which don’t. via here and here
Annie Dillard, author (b. 1945):
I learn that ten percent of all the world’s species are parasitic insects. It is hard to believe. What if you were an inventor, and you made ten percent of your inventions in such a way that they could only work by harnessing, disfiguring or totally destroying the other ninety percent? via
Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.
Thomas Moore, “The Veiled Prophet” iii 356:
But Faith, fanatic Faith, once wedded fast
To some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last.
George Bernard Shaw:
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary:
pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.
Losing an illusion makes you wiser than gaining a truth.
The premise of evangelical atheism is that you can introduce people to the importance of reason and they will come to a reasonable conclusion on their own. The premise of evangelical faith is that people must accept an arbitrary belief because an arbitrary judge, who the convert may not query, demands it. The former kind of proselytizer ought to be called a teacher, but is more often called an arrogant asshole; the latter ought to be considered a liar, a fraud, and an arrogant asshole in fact, but they actually believe they are humble servants of the lord.
You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches. demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?
You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, July 30, 1995:
What if nothing really matters? … Or suppose everything matters. Which would be worse?
I care what is actually true even more than what I hope is true.
Scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results. Myths and faiths are not and do not.
I do not often debate the issue [religion]: debate requires reasoning, and faith lies beyond reason.
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
Robert Heinlein, Friday:
The great trouble with religion – any religion – is that the religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by reason. One can bask at the warm fires of faith, or choose to live in the cold reality of reason; one cannot have both.
Albert Einstein in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by
Helen Dukas (Einstein’s secretary) and Banesh Hoffman:
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
George H. Smith, Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies, p. 6:
Teach children to revere that which they cannot understand. Teach them that to doubt is sin. Teach them that faith is superior to reason. Teach children these things if you will, but do not be surprised if they eventually replace your brand of irrationalism with some other. Without the guidance of a sharp, disciplined mind, they will be easy prey for whatever cult can capture their emotional fancy.
PZ Myers, An Atheist’s Creed:
i believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.
i believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.
i believe in the power of doubt;
i do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.
i accept human mortality.
we have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.
i rejoice in this life that i have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me.
Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers.
Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead.
W. E. H. Lecky:
It is so much easier to assume than to prove.
It is so much less painful to believe than to doubt.
There is such a charm in the repose of prejudice,
When no discordant voice jars upon the harmony of belief.
There is such a thrilling pain when cherished dreams are scattered
And old creeds abandoned,
That it is not surprising that men close their eyes to the unwelcome light.
Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, III:2:
In religion, what damned error, but some sober brow will bless it and approve it with a text, hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
The Buddha, Kalama Sutra:
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Ghosts:
I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.
Science is open to criticism, which is the opposite of religion. Science begs you to prove it wrong – that’s the whole concept – whereas religion condemns you if you try to prove it wrong. It tells you to accept it on faith and shut the hell up.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Zena Kreps, paraphrasing William M. Bulger:
There is never a better measure of what a person is than what he does when he’s absolutely free to choose, without fear of man, and especially without fear of God.
Albert Einstein, in Time Magazine, 9 November 1930:
A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.
I count religion but a childish toy, And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
Michael Crichton in The Lost World:
Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told–and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. … We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion.
Miguel de Unamuno:
[The word] “Skeptic” does not mean one who doubts, but one who investigates or researches, as opposed to one who simply asserts and thus thinks that he has found.
My young son asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth–that most of us go to Hell and burn eternally–but I didn’t want to upset him.
Herbert Agar A Time for Greatness, 1942:
The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
Whoever says he knows the way, does not know the way.