Some Favourite Quotations
I'll add to this page as I find new quotations.
Astrology bears the same relationship to Astronomy as Homeopathy does to Medical Science.
It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).
The evidence of evolution pours in, not only from geology, paleontology, biogeography, and anatomy (Darwin's chief sources), but from molecular biology and every other branch of the life sciences. To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant -- inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write.
People sometimes try to score debating points by saying, "Evolution is only a theory". That is correct, but it's important to understand what that means. It is also only a theory that the world goes round the Sun -- it's just a theory for which there is an immense amount of evidence.
The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.
Most people, I believe, think that you need a God to explain the existence of the world, and especially the existence of life. They are wrong, but our education system is such that many people don't know it.
When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.
Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him or that frozen yoghurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs.
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Deaths in the Bible:
Fundamentalists know they are right because they have read the truth in a holy book and they know, in advance, that nothing will budge them from their belief ... the book is true, and if the evidence seems to contradict it, it is the evidence that must be thrown out, not the book ...
The central tenet of every religious tradition is that all others are mere repositories of error or, at best, dangerously incomplete. Intolerance is thus intrinsic to every creed.
To be fair, much of the bible is not systematically evil, but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled together anthology of distorted documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted, and "improved", by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors, copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other spannng nine centuries.
Even the least educated person among us simply knows more about certain matters than anyone did two thousand years ago - and much of this knowledge is incompatible with scripture.
Most of what we currently hold sacred is not sacred for any reason other than that it was thought sacred yesterday.
You see, the religious people - most of them - really think this planet is an experiment. That's what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesmen's wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can't say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and stuff like that. Why can't the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence. If God didn't want Lot's wife to look back, why didn't he make her obedient, so she'd do what her husband told her? Or if he hadn't made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would've listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn't he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why's he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there's one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He's not good at design, he's not good at execution. He'd be out of business if there was any competition.
On almost every page, the Quran instructs observant Muslims to despise non-believers.
The bottom line is that it is senseless and does not work.
Homeopathy has had more than 220 years to come up with some evidence to demonstrate that it actually works, that it is more than just a placebo. And it has singularly failed to do so.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
Gods don't kill people. People with Gods kill people.
So you believe that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humans because a women made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake in a magical garden to eat the fruit from a magical tree, which made an invisible man who lives in the sky very angry?
The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive...but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition.
The mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating. Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did. Still less can they hope to tell us the "meaning" of later discoveries and developments which, when they began, were either obstructed by the religions or denounced by them. And yet - the believers still claim to know! Not just to know, but to know everything.
A consistent proof that religion is man-made and anthropomorphic can also be found in the fact that it is usually "man"-made, in the sense of masculine, as well ... throughout all religious texts, there is a primitive fear that half the human race is simultaneously defiled and unclean, and yet is also a temptation to sin that is impossible to resist.
Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important.
Freedom of Religion ought also to mean Freedom from Religion.
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?' Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
If it wasn't for the Enlightenment, we'd still be wearing smocks, and throwing turnips at witches.
The Downside of Religion
Even the most docile forms of Christianity currently present insuperable obstacles to AIDS prevention and family planning in the developing world, to medical research and to the development of a rational drug policy - these contributions to human misery alone constitute some of the most appalling failures of reasonableness in any age.
Those opposed to therapeutic stem cell research on religious grounds constitute the biological and ethical equivalent of a flat-earth society.
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez De Trujillo, the Vatican's president for the Pontifical Council for the Family, carefully warned his audience that all condoms are secretly made with many microscopic holes, through which the AIDS virus can pass. Senior clerical figures in several other countries, Nicaragua, Kenya, Uganda, all told their flocks that condoms transmit AIDS.
There would be no churches in the first place if humanity had not been afraid of the weather, the dark, the plague, the eclipse and all manner of other things now easily explicable. And also if humanity had not been compelled, on pain of extremely agonising consequences, to pay the exorbitant tithes and taxes that raised the imposing edifices of religion.
Respect for Religion
Religion ... has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!"