Quotations

Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity, of application of new ideas of scientific progress for the benefit of all - Linus Pauling

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. - Pericles, 4BCE

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous. - David Hume

One of the most frightening things in the Western world, and in this country in particular, is the number of people who believe in things that are scientifically false. If someone tells me that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, in my opinion he should see a psychiatrist. - Francis Crick, Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology, 1962

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. - Albert Einstein

Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: 'Have they discovered evolution yet?' - Richard Dawkins

Since the masses of the people are inconstant, full of unruly desires, passionate and reckless of consequence, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods, and the belief in punishment after death. - Polybius, Histories (ca. BCE 125)

And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. - Bertrand Russell

We are each free to believe what we want, it is my view that the simplest explanation is: there is no God. No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: There is probably no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful. - Stephen Hawking (Curiosity)

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. - Bertrand Russell

Consider the idea of God. We do not know how it arose in the meme pool. Probably it originated many times by independent `mutation'. In any case, it is very old indeed. How does it replicate itself? By the spoken and written word, aided by great music and great art. Why does it have such high survival value? Remember that `survival value' here does not mean value for a gene in a gene pool, but value for a meme in a meme pool. The question really means: What is it about the idea of a god that gives it its stability and penetrance in the cultural environment? The survival value of the god meme in the meme pool results from its great psychological appeal. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The `everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture. - Richard Dawkins

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. - Winston Churchill

There is a tendency for the ignorant to be religious and there is a tendency for the religious to be certain. – Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar

We don't have to invent new arguments for being an atheist or an agnostic. Plenty of sound science, philosophy, morality and logic support our position. We are on very solid ground. It's important that we know that. It's not our duty and not very realistic to expect that we can shake the foundations of religion anytime soon. It must fall under its own weight. - Bertrand Russell

The atheist does not say and cannot prove there is no deity. He or she says that no persuasive evidence or argument has ever been adduced for the notion. Surely this should place the burden on the faithful, who do after all make very large claims for themselves and their religions. - Christopher Hitchens

I will not attack your doctrines or 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. - Robert Ingersoll

Nature is not cruel, pitiless, indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous -- indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose. - Richard Dawkins

There are times, such as when the state school board in Kansas in 1999 removed evolution from its science curriculum, when I am reminded of (the father of modern chemistry Antoine) Lavoisier (who was guillotined in 1794), and shudder at the damage that can be done by ignorance combined with power. Even the magnificent modern edifice called science, built up over half a millennium of small increments toward the truth, is not safe from the vicissitudes of the political world. If, as Carl Sagan claimed, science is a "candle in the dark," banishing the demons that haunted the benighted eras of mankind, it burns tenuously at best. One generation of ignorance, steeped in myth and mysticism, is all that may be needed to snuff it out. - Lawrence M. Krauss, physicist

Forget the supernatural beings. Realise that non-existence after death is nothing to be afraid of - you've already done it for most of the history of the Universe. Look to science to fill the gaps in your understanding and take joy in it. - Ian Atkinson

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. - Edgar Allan Poe

A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable. - Carl Sagan

Science does not purvey absolute truth, science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature; it’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. - Isaac Asimov

[W]e shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man. - Lynn White, Jr.

Most people prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty. - Virginia Satir

When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lay exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong. - Richard Dawkins (citing a maxim when explaining the evolution & creationism debate)

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace. - Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician

Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist. - Prokhor Zakharov

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. - Max Planck

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. - Thomas Jefferson

Reason is non-negotiable. Try to argue against it, or to exclude it from some realm of knowledge, and you’ve already lost the argument, because you’re using reason to make your case. And no, this isn’t having "faith" in reason (in the same way that some people have faith in miracles), because we don’t “believe” in reason; we use reason. - Steven Pinker

Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing "Does not!" - Author Unknown

I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them. - Baruch Spinoza

I think many people are terribly afraid of being demoted by the Darwinian scheme from the role of authors and creators in their own right into being just places where things happen in the universe. - Daniel Dennett

You don't have to be a scientist to appreciate and love science just like you don't have to be a novelist to appreciate and love novels. - Faisal Saeed Al Mutar

All great truths begin as blasphemies. -  George Bernard Shaw

There is nothing in the realm of human knowledge that requires anything supernatural, anything beyond matter, to describe our observations. I am almost one hundred percent certain that the God of Abraham worshipped by Jews, Christians, and Muslims doesn’t exist. This God supposedly plays such an important role in the universe that there should be evidence that he exists.  ...  I won’t live to see it but someday religion will disappear from the face of the Earth. It has to. It is too evil and too absurd. - Victor Stenger

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool. - Mark Twain

There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said "Let us pray," and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible. - Desmond M. Tutu

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. - Nietzsche

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. - Voltaire

The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. - Carl Sagan

I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs. - Sam Harris

I think it’s ironic that the only people who claim that humans are too advanced to have evolved naturally are the ones who demonstrate the least advanced mode of thinking. - John Petrie

Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead. -  Thomas Paine

It is easy to shield the outer body from poisoned arrows, but it is impossible to shield the mind from the poisoned darts that originate within itself. - From Buddha, Truth and Brotherhood, 1934

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. - Voltaire

The most positive men are the most credulous. - Alexander Pope

The first ideas of religion arose, not from a contemplation of the works of nature, but from a concern with regard to the events of life. - David Hume

What does not destroy me, makes me stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana

There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table; what is national is no longer science. - Anton Chekhov

Science has promised us truth ... it has never promised us either peace or happiness. - Gustave Le Bon

Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. - Bertrand Russell

To write simply is as difficult as to be good. - W. Somerset Maugham

Man is a reasonable animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason. - Oscar Wilde

There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text.  The world is one of these books. - George Santayana

Joyous distrust is a sign of health.  Everything absolute belongs to pathology. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed. - T. H. Huxley

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority. - T. H. Huxley

Man was not born to solve the problems of the universe, but to put his finger on the problem and then to keep within the limits of the comprehensible. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is the triumph of reason to get on well with those who possess none - Voltaire

Religion is a man using a divining rod.  Philosophy is a man using a pick and a shovel. - Anonymous

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster - it is a opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is exactly the opposite. - Bertrand Russell

It has often and confidently been asserted, that man's origin can never be known. Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science. - Charles Darwin