Category: Quotes

The chief cause of poverty in science is imaginary wealth. The chief aim of science is not to open a door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error

– Bertolt Brecht, Life of Galileo

I can’t think of a better way to put that.

Quote of the day: Thomas J. Watson

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crack-pot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.

— Thomas J. Watson

Mr. Watson, eponym of the IBM Watson artificial intelligence project, sounds like he was quite a man. I have to point out, however, that if ever I saw a man with a face crying out for a beard, or a ‘tache at the very least, Thomas J. Watson is that man:

Thought for the day: Knowledge

There is no harmful knowledge and there is no beneficial ignorance. All evil comes from ignorance and all good comes from knowledge.

Words to live by.

“Science’s only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts – no matter how fond of it we are – must be discarded or revised.” — Carl Sagan

And that is all I have to say about that.

Quote for the day.

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

Is there a more succinct way of putting that?

I was thinking about this quote by Upton Sinclair earlier today:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.
— Upton Sinclair

I realised that one might paraphrase Mr. Sinclair’s saying and apply it to a different domain of life:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when he believes his salvation depends on not understanding it.

I suppose that could – and perhaps should – be clarified by saying “It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get a man to understand something when he erroneously believes that his salvation and his immortal soul depends on him not understanding it”.

A bit arduous perhaps? Brevity does seem to add to the quote in my opinion.

The point stands and is underscored by every anti-evolution argument, every young earth argument and every anti-science argument raised by every creationists, ever. Arguing with a religious person is challenging if not futile since the religious have a vested interest in not understanding a point, seeing any proof or accepting that an argument against their dearly held beliefs might be correct.

A point well made by another quote:

You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

“Can’t” might be too strong a word but it does seem pretty unlikely that one would be able to reason a person out of a belief that they were not convinced of through reason, logic and evidence.

The bottom line? Convincing somebody of a fact using logic and reason when that person has a vested interest – not suffering terrible torture for eternity being a really good example of a vested interest – in not understanding that fact it futile. Or at least pretty freaking hard.

Thought for the day.

What could go wrong when you base your life on ancient laws written and re-written by anonymous authors in dead languages who were ignorant, racist, sexist, superstitious, goat herding barbarians and who believed everything they couldn’t explain was magic?

What, indeed.

Thought for the day

Until you have science, everything is a miracle — Lawrence M. Krauss

Thought for the day

Don’t ask what the meaning of life is.

You define it.

Quote: George Santayana

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject. — George Santayana, Reason In Religion, p28.

That fear keeps the gods alive, is perhaps just as true.

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