“The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way they are held in theology. The decisions of the Council of Nicaea are still authoritative, but in science fourth-century opinions no linger carry any weight…Science is empirical, tentative, and undogmatic; all immutable dogma is unscientific. The scientific outlook, accordingly, is the intellectual counterpart of what is, in the practical sphere, the outlook of Liberalism.” – Bertrand Russell

“It is commonly argued that, in a war between Liberals and fanatics, the fanatics are sure to win…This belief dies hard…Fanatics have failed, over and over again, because they have attempted the impossible, or because, even when what they aimed at was possible, they were too unscientific to adopt the right means; they have failed also because they roused the hostility of those whom they wished to coerce…Nor is it true that dogma is necessary for social coherence when social coherence is called for…” – Bertrand Russell


“Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.” – Bertrand Russell
“It’s not a prison if you never try the door.” -Jonathan Blumen

“Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves. ” – Bertrand Russell

“I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'” That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument.” – B. Russell

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” – Voltaire

“Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.” – H.L. Mencken

“When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.” – Peter O’Toole

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

“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.” – Albert Einstein

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” – Thomas Huxley

“The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.” Thomas H. Huxley

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

“If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.” – Noam Chomsky

“He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; he that dares not reason is a slave.” – William Drummond

“Nothing makes me sadder than the peer pressure that enforces conformity and erases wonder…Countless others had the light of intellectual wonder extinguished because a thoughtless and swaggering fellow student called them nerds on the playground.” – Stephen Jay Gould

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein”We must not believe the many who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.” – Epictetus, Roman philosopher and former slave

“…better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.” – Carl Sagan

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” – Carl Sagan

“Given the gaps in science, and given the elasticity of religious thinking, it will always be possible to reconcile the most gratuitous nonsense with our modern scientific worldview.” – Sam Harris

“If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson

“And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?” – Thomas Jefferson
“The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and his fellow men.” – Robert Ingersoll

“I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: “O Lord, make my enemies quite ridiculous!” And it was granted.” – Voltaire

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” – Voltaire

“A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy. ” – Aldous Huxley

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” – Gandhi

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

“Prayer: almost as good as wishing it were so.” – Anon.

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it, too?” – Douglas Adams

“All thinking men are atheists.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss

“I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.”
– Carl Sagan

“Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.” – Isaac Asimov

“It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” – Carl Sagan

“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” – Ayaan Hirsi Ali

“Political correctness, in the extreme versions worthy of the name, is antithetical to almost all surprising advances in thought.” – Daniel Dennett

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.” – Karl Popper

“It is as though a portal in time has opened, and the Christians of the 14th century are pouring into our world.” – Sam Harris

“We’re just a collection of cells overrating ourselves.” – Dave Matthews Band

“Personally, I rather look forward to a computer program winning the world chess championship. Humanity needs a lesson in humility.” – Richard Dawkins

“Men have learned gradually to free their God from the savagery with which the primitive Israelites endowed him; few now believe that it is his pleasure to torture most of the human race in an eternity of hell-fire. But they have not learned to free their national ideals from the ancient taint. Devotion to the nation is perhaps the deepest and most widespread religion of the present age. Like the ancient religions, it demands its persecutions, its holocausts, its lurid, heroic cruelties; like them, it is noble, primitive, brutal and mad.” – Bertrand Russell

“Dogma demands authority; rather than intelligent thought, as the source of opinion.” – Bertrand Russell

“This marriage of modern technology and preliterate superstition is a bad one, for reasons that I should not have to specify, much less argue for-and yet, arguing for them has taken up most of my time since September 11th, 2001, the day that nineteen pious men showed our pious nation just how beneficial religious certainty can be.” – Sam Harris

“Religion has caused more misery to all men in every state of human history than any other single idea.” – Madelyn Murray O’Hair

One Response to “Quotes”

  1. “I like big butts and I cannot lie” – Sir Mix-a-lot


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