“Religion and science have a common ancestor – ignorance”

A.C. Grayling Permalink

Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.

Albert EinsteinPermalink

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 EinsteinPermalink

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.

Bertrand RussellPermalink

I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Bertrand RussellPermalink

The objections to religion are of two sorts – intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow.

Bertrand RussellPermalink

By simple common sense I don’t believe in God, in none.

Charlie ChaplinPermalink

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

Christopher HitchensPermalink

Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life — except religion

Christopher HitchensPermalink

I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.

Clarence DarrowPermalink

If Atheism is a religion, then health is a disease!

Clark AdamsPermalink

The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight — that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything [that] a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether.

Daniel DennettDarwin’s Dangerous IdeaPermalink

To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.

David BrooksThe Necessity of AtheismPermalink

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

Delos B. McKownPermalink

From ‘Marker In The Sand’

Those undecided,…. Needn’t have faith to be free

And those misguided, there was a plan for them to be

Now you’ve got both sides… claiming killing in god’s name

but god is nowhere,… to be found, conveniently

From ‘Big Wave’

I used to be crustacean, In an underwater nation

And I surf in celebration, Of a billion adaptations

From ‘Do The Evolution’

I am ahead… i am advanced…. i am the first mammal to wear pants

I’m at peace… with my lust… i can kill ’cause in god i trust

I’m a thief, i’m a liar… there’s my church, I sing in the choir

Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jamrd.net reader Richard T.Permalink

I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it..

Edith SitwellPermalink

They said God was on high and he controlled the world and therefore we must pray against Satan. Well, if God controls the world, he controls Satan. For me, religion was full of misstatements and reaches of logic that I just couldn’t agree with.

Gene RoddenberryPermalink

I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam — good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.

Gore VidalPermalink

We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart

H.L. MenckenPermalink

Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration–courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth.

H.L. MenckenPermalink

“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all… I personally resent it bitterly.” ~Isaac Asimov

Isaac AsimovIsaac AsimovPermalink

What have been [Christianity’s] fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

James MadisonPermalink

To enslave a man, then dope him to make him content! Do you call THAT a solace? . . . The honest fact is that the greatest hindrance to the progress of the Negro is that same dope that was shot into him during slavery. . . . The slogan of the Negro devotee is: Take the world but give me Jesus, and the white man strikes an eager bargain with him. . . . Another fact — there are far too many Negro preachers. Religion is the most fruitful medium for exploiting this already exploited group. As I said, the majority of the sharpers, who among the whites would go into other fields, go, in this case, to the ministry.

Joel Augustus RogersFrom “Superman” to Man, 1Permalink

The fight both for and against slavery in the United States was waged first along scriptural lines. . . . There was also the theory of the descent from Ham which attained great vogue and still does in certain quarters. . . . With the superseding of religion by science the battle of inequality shifted from a scriptural wording to a scientific one. Now it was no longer what “God had said” but what color, hair, and skull showed. . . . In other words, the pro-slavery faction and the antislavery one had entered the stage in new costumes. Underneath were the same bodies.

Joel Augustus RogersSex and Race, vol. 3Permalink

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate,
contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and
unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the
discomfort of thought.”

John F KennedyJohn F KennedyPermalink

Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.

Jon StewartPermalink

The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, “There’s a Chaplain who never visited the front.”

Kurt VonnegutPermalink

If Jesus had been killed 20 years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little Electric Chairs around their necks instead of crosses.

Lenny BrucePermalink

Live a good life. If there are gods & they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Marcus AureliusPermalink

No Gods — No Masters.

Margaret SangerPermalink

Science offers us an explanation of how complexity (the difficult) arose out of simplicity (the easy). The hypothesis of God offers no worthwhile explanation for anything, for it simply postulates what we are trying to explain.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any, so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies?

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

The trouble is that God in this sophisticated, physicist’s sense bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible or any other religion.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

A universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one. A physics, a biology where there is a God is bound to look different.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

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.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Religious people split into three main groups when faced with science. I shall label them the “know-nothings”, the “know-alls”, and the “no-contests”

Richard DawkinsPermalink

You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend

Richard JeniPermalink

I turned to speak to God, About the world’s despair; But to make bad matters worse, I found God wasn’t there.

Robert FrostPermalink

The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it.

Robert G. IngersollPermalink

Who needs Satan when you have a God like this?

Robert M. PricePermalink

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Seneca the YoungerPermalink

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.

Sir Arthur C. ClarkePermalink

“Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”


Stephen HawkinDaily MailPermalink

(Religion) With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

Steven WeinbergPermalink

Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

Thomas JeffersonPermalink

I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology..

Thomas JeffersonPermalink

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

Thomas JeffersonPermalink

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.

Thomas JeffersonLetter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 1816Permalink

My religion is to do good.

Thomas PainePermalink

We can’t help you with the hardware,
But the software update is free!


Deaths in the Bible. God – 2,270,365 not including the victims of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc because no specific numbers were given. Satan – 10.


Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.

VoltairePhilosophical DictionaryPermalink

Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us.

Walt WhitmanPermalink

There are, however, exceptions to this reliance on feelings as evidence of truth: if, for instance, your feelings lead to disbelief instead of belief, they’re apt to be dismissed as some form of denial. This is not a common problem. Usually intellectualism, not “feeling reality,” is blamed for disbelief. But, some angel experts suggest, there may be emotional as well as intellectual barriers to belief: unwillingness to believe in angels can reflect low self-esteem.

Wendy KaminerThe Latest Fashion in IrrationalityPermalink

It is the inevitable effect of religion on public policy that makes it a matter of public concern. Advocates of religiosity extol the virtues or moral habits that religion is supposed to instill in us. But we should be equally concerned with the intellectual habits it discourages.

Wendy KaminerThe Last Taboo (1996)Permalink

Secularists are often wrongly accused of trying to purge religious ideals from public discourse. We simply want to deny them public sponsorship.

Wendy KaminerThe Last Taboo (1996)Permalink

Scientific truth is too beautiful to be sacrificed for the sake of light entertainment or money. Astrology is an aesthetic affront. It cheapens astronomy, like using Beethoven for commercial jingles.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

I think it is not helpful to apply Darwinian language too widely. Conquest of nation by nation is too distant for Darwinian explanations to be helpful.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Certainly I see the scientific view of the world as incompatible with religion, but that is not what is interesting about it. It is also incompatible with magic, but that also is not worth stressing. What is interesting about the scientific world view is that it is true, inspiring, remarkable and that it unites a whole lot of phenomena under a single heading.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

What are all of us but self-reproducing robots? We have been put together by our genes and what we do is roam the world looking for a way to sustain ourselves and ultimately produce another robot child.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

…the stereo- type of scientists being scruffy nerds with rows of pens in their top pocket is just about as wicked as racist stereotypes.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Hot on the heels of its magnanimous pardoning of Galileo, the Vatican has now moved with even more lightning speed to recognise the truth of Darwinism.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

…the likelihood is that, in 100,000 years time, we shall either have reverted to wild barbarism, or else civilisation will have advanced beyond all recognition–into colonies in outer space…

Richard DawkinsPermalink

It is an article of passionate faith among “politically correct” biologists and anthropologists that brain size has no connection with intelligence; that intelligence has nothing to do with genes; and that genes are probably nasty fascist things anyway.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

It may be that brain hardware has co-evolved with the internal virtual worlds that it creates. This can be called hardware-software co-evolution.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

The patient typically finds himself impelled by some deep, inner conviction that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn’t seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless, he feels as totally compelling and convincing. We doctors refer to such a belief as ‘faith’.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Like computer viruses, successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect. If you are the victim of one, the chances are that you won’t know it, and may even vigorously deny it.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

…it is a telling fact that, the world over, the vast majority of children follow the religion of their parents rather than any of the other available religions.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

With so many mindbytes to be downloaded, so many mental codons to be replicated, it is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

I doubt that religion can survive deep understanding. The shallows are its natural habitat. Cranks and fundamentalists are too often victimised as scapegoats for religion in general. It is only quite recently that Christianity reinvented itself in non-fundamentalist guise, and Islam has yet to do so (see Ibn Warraq’s excellent book, Why I am not a Muslim). Moonies and scientologists get a bad press, but they just haven’t been around as long as the accepted religions. Theology is a respectable discipline when it studies such subjects as moral philosophy, the psychology of religious belief and, above all, biblical history and literature. Like Bertie Wooster, my knowledge of the Bible is above average. I seem to know Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon almost by heart. I think that the Bible as literature should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum – you can’t understand English literature and culture without it. But insofar as theology studies the nature of the divine, it will earn the right to be taken seriously when it provides the slightest, smallest smidgen of a reason for believing in the existence of the divine. Meanwhile, we should devote as much time to studying serious theology as we devote to studying serious fairies and serious unicorns.

Richard DawkinsThe Independent, 23 December 1998Permalink

It is grindingly, creakingly, crashingly obvious that if Darwinism was really a theory of chance, it could not work.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

It has become almost a cliché to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

if you want to do evil, science provides the most powerful weapons to do evil; but equally, if you want to do good, science puts into your hands the most powerful tools to do so.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

It’s been suggested that if the supernaturalists really had the powers they claim, they’d win the lottery every week. I prefer to point out that they could also win a Nobel Prize for discovering fundamental physical forces hitherto unknown to science.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

The world and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand about it the more beautiful does it appear.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

There are all sorts of things that would be comforting. I expect an injection of morphine would be comforting… But to say that something is comforting is not to say that it’s true.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

I don’t want to sound callous. I mean, even if I have nothing to offer, that doesn’t matter, because that still doesn’t mean that what anybody else has to offer therefore has to be true.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Most of what we strive for in our modern life uses the apparatus of goal seeking that was originally set up to seek goals in the state of nature.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Group selection of any kind is not Darwinism as Darwin understood it nor as I understand it.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Aquarius is a miscellaneous set of stars all at different distances from us, which have no connection with each other except that they constitute a (meaningless) pattern when seen from a certain (not particularly special) place in the galaxy (here).

Richard DawkinsPermalink

For the kinds of small animals we are talking about, we can assume one generation per year, so it seems that it would take less than half a million years to evolve a good camera eye.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Thus the creationist’s favourite question “What is the use of half an eye?” Actually, this is a lightweight question, a doddle to answer. Half an eye is just 1 per cent better than 49 per cent of an eye…

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Leon Lederman, the physicist and Nobel laureate, once half-jokingly remarked that the real goal of physics was to come up with an equation that could explain the universe but still be small enough to fit on a T-shirt. In that spirit, Dawkins offered up his own T-shirt slogan for the ongoing evolution revolution:

Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also

Mark TwainPermalink

Most people can’t bear to sit in church for an hour on Sundays. How are they supposed to live somewhere very similar to it for eternity?

Mark TwainPermalink

Man is a Religious Animal. Man is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven…. The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.

Mark TwainPermalink

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 Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born.

Mark TwainPermalink

There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one– the pulpit. It yielded last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession– at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery texts in the Bible remained; the practice changed; that was all.

Mark TwainPermalink

It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.

Mark TwainPermalink

I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

Mark TwainPermalink

The War Prayer: “O Lord our God, help us to tear their bodies to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded.”

Mark TwainPermalink

During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Mark TwainBible Teaching and Religious PracticePermalink

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.

Napoleon BonapartePermalink

When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it.

Oscar WildePermalink

The habit of religion is oppressive, an easy way out of thought.

Peter UstinovQuoted in Everybody’s magazine (1957)Permalink

Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them.

Peter UstinovPermalink

I want science to be taken seriously, because, after all, it’s less ephemeral–it has a more eternal aspect than whatever the politics of the day might be, which, of course, gets the lead in the news.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Religions do make claims about the universe–the same kinds of claims that scientists make, except they’re usually false.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe..

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Who will say with confidence that sexual abuse is more permanently damaging to children than threatening them with the eternal and unquenchable fires of hell?

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Justifying space exploration because we get non-stick frying pans is like justifying music because it is good exercise for the violinists right arm.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Flowers and elephants are ‘for’ the same thing as everything else in the living kingdoms, for spreading Duplicate Me programs written in DNA language. Flowers are for spreading copies of instructions for making more flowers. Elephants are for spreading copies of instructions for making more elephants.

Richard DawkinsClimbing Mount ImprobablePermalink

You could give Aristotle a tutorial. And you could thrill him to the core of his being … Such is the privilege of living after Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Planck, Watson, Crick and their colleagues.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

Sex brought into existence the gene pool, made meaningful the species, and changed the whole ball game of evolution itself.

Richard DawkinsThe Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of LifePermalink

…the individual organism is a very important unit in the hierarchy of life…But however unitary and discrete an individual wolf or buffalo may be, the package is temporary and unique. (pp. 216-217)…”Abraham was left in no doubt that the future lay with his seed, not his individuality. God knew his Darwinism.

Richard DawkinsUnweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for WonderPermalink

The position I have always adopted is that much of animal nature is indeed altruistic, cooperative and even attended by benevolent subjective emotions, but that this follows from, rather than contradicts, selfishness at the genetic level.

Richard DawkinsUnweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for WonderPermalink

The universe is a strange and wondrous place. The truth is quite odd enough to need no help from pseudoscientific charlatans.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

…when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can’t do it. You are a fake.

Richard DawkinsPermalink

There’s this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out.

Richard DawkinsPermalink


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