Sign-off Quotations

Since Skeptical Sunday started in August 2012, I’ve ended every show with a quotation.  Here are some of my favorites, including some I’ve haven’t used yet, roughly organized by subject.

Alternative Medicine

Anyone who thinks homeopathy is an appropriate therapy for anything but thirst is in my opinion, unfit to care for others. They are divorced from reality as I understand it.  Mark Crislip

You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? – Medicine.Tim Minchin


Atheism isn’t a religion. It’s a personal relationship with reality.Anon.

Being an atheist it’s kinda like being the only sober person in the car and nobody will let you drive. Anon., Facebook

The Jew says: “Christians and Muslims are wrong.” The Christian says: “Muslims and Jews are wrong.” The Muslim says: “Christians and Jews are wrong.” The Atheist says: “You are all correct!”Anon.

The Pope says atheists pick and choose their morals. In this, he is correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse, supporting a woman’s right to choose & not having a problem with homosexuality.  Anon

Jesus loves me, this I know. Group psychosis tells me so.  Anon., Facebook

There may or may not be atheists in foxholes, but I’m certain there are none in the Ku Klux Klan – George Carlin

We promote anti-theism because sometimes it’s a good thing to be anti something.
We’re also anti-homophobia, anti-racism, anti-child abuse, and anti anything else that causes harm
. – Richard Dawkins

If all the atheists and agnostics left America, they’d lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences and less than 1% of the prison population.Ricky Gervais

If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him less an insult than religion.  Edmond de Goncourt

Yes, atheists harbor all sorts of beliefs–ethical, political, scientific–but they don’t get these beliefs from atheism. Rather, their atheism is itself the product of what they believe about science and about the merely human origin of all our books.Sam Harris

Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.  – Sam Harris

The reasons to doubt the existence of God are in plain view for everyone to see: everyone can see that the Bible is not the perfect word of an omniscient deity; everyone can see that there is no evidence for a God who answers prayers and that any God who would grant prayers for football championships, while doling out cancer and car accidents to little boys and girls, is unworthy of our devotion. Everyone who has eyes to see can see that if the God of Abraham exists, He is an utter psychopath—and the God of Nature is too. If you can’t see these things just by looking, you have simply closed your eyes to the realities of our world.Sam Harris

As an atheist, I am angry that we live in a society in which the plain truth cannot be spoken without offending 90% of the population.  Sam Harris

Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs.Sam Harris

Atheism has no doctrines. It does not demand that a person do anything, or refrain from doing anything, on the basis of his unbelief. Consequently, to know that someone is an atheist is to know almost nothing about him—apart from the fact that he does not accept the unwarranted claims of any religion.

Atheism is simply the condition of not believing in Poseidon, Thor, or any of the thousands of dead gods that lie in the graveyard we call mythology. To that extent, everyone knows exactly what it is to be an atheist—he has simply added the god of Abraham to the list of the dead.

If a belief in astrology were causing people to go berserk—to deny medical care to their children or to murder unbelievers—many of us would speak and write about the dangerous stupidity of astrology. This would not be bigotry or intolerance on our part. It would be a plea for basic human sanity. And that is all that an atheist’s criticism of religious tribalism and superstition ever is.

If you understand this, you will recognize any attempt to blame atheism for specific crimes, great or small, for what it is: A fresh act of religious demagoguery. – No rational atheist (or “New Atheist”) holds religion accountable for every idiotic or unethical thing religious people do. We blame a religion only for what its adherents do as a direct result of its doctrines, such as opposing gay marriage or killing apostates. Sam Harris

An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question. John McCarthy

I would sacrifice a little happiness to know the truth, and I would find no consolation in a lie, no matter how cheerful that lie might be. I’m sure there was a time when I was extremely happy about Santa Claus, but that was long ago, and I have no desire to return to that state of blissful ignorance. I grew up.P.Z. Myers


If God really does exist, then science is His way of telling you that he didn’t write the Bible.Anon., Facebook.

What do you call a bookclub that has been stuck on the same book for thousands of years? Church.  Anon., Facebook.

The majority of Christians don’t read their Bible. They pay a guy to read it for them and show up on Sunday for the book report.Shay Chandler

Isn’t it ironic that we say: I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth while putting our hand on a book which contains nothing but myths and allegories and wrong historic accounts? Dörte Faatz

It’s almost as if the Bible was written by racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, sexually frustrated men, instead of a loving God. Weird.  Ricky Gervais

I studied every page of this book, and I didn’t find enough love to fill a salt shaker. God is not love in the Bible; God is vengeance, from Alpha to Omega.Ruth Hurmence Green

No rational atheist is dogmatically opposed to believing in God. It’s just that the evidence for His existence is terrible. It would be trivially easy, in fact, for an omniscient Being to write (or inspire) a book that would remove all doubt about Him. Neither the Bible nor the Qur’an is that sort of book. For instance, if the Old Testament contained a single chapter that resolved the deepest questions of 21st century science–rather than merely telling us how to sacrifice goats and when to stone our daughters to death–I, too, would be a believer. – Sam Harris

Here then we are first to consider a book, presented to us by a barbarous and ignorant people, written in an age when they were still more barbarous, and in all probability long after the facts which it relates, corroborated by no concurring testimony, and resembling those fabulous accounts, which every nation gives of its origin.David Hume

[T]he Old Testament, […] if considered as a general rule of conduct, would lead to consequences destructive of all principles of humanity and morality. – David Hume

To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it, they just scroll to the bottom and click “Agree.”  Bill Maher

The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief—call it what you will—than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counter-attractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course.A.A. Milne

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

If God needs money, why doesn’t he just write another Bible? The first one sold pretty well.  Homer Simpson

I actually read the Bible quite frequently. Can I tell you why? I stay in a lot of hotels. And I like to scare my kids before bed.Jon Stewart

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 Twain

The essence of Christianity is told us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the tree of knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on.Frank Zappa


Blasphemy is speech that has been outlawed to prevent your religion from losing argumentsAnon, Facebook

Blasphemy: a law to protect an all-powerful supernatural deity from getting its feelings hurt. Ricky Gervais

All great truths begin as blasphemies.George Bernard Shaw

Bumper Sticker Aphorisms

Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers

Honk If Your Religious Beliefs Make You An Asshole

The fact that you can’t sell your daughter from three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.

Critical Thinking: The other National Deficit

Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?

Science: more than a wild-ass guess

God was my co-pilot but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him

HWJD : How would Jesus drive ?

I am a creationist: I believe man created god.

Focus on your own damn family

Critical Thinking, Skepticism & Science

If anyone can show me and prove to me that I am wrong in thought or deed I will gladly change. I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm. – Marcus Aurelius

The trouble with people is not that they don’t know, but that they know so much that ain’t so.Josh Billings

I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge.Daniel Boorstin

The longer you stay skeptical, doubtful, intellectually uncomfortable, the better it is for you. – Joseph Brodsky

Perhaps the greatest triumph of the scientific revolution has been in the realm of methodology. Control groups, double-blind experiments, an insistence on precise and testable predictions – a suite of techniques constructed to guard against the very human tendency to see things that aren’t there. – Sean Carroll

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.Clarence Darrow

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.Charles Darwin

I’m not an enthusiast for diversity of opinion where factual matters are concerned.  Richard Dawkins

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.Albert Einstein

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself…and you are the easiest person to fool. – Richard P. Feynman

Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.Richard P. Feynman

I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.Richard P. Feynman

If you are asked what would change your mind and you say “nothing”, you are a selfish, stubborn fool. Stubborness isn’t the pathway to the truth. Nothing true has ever needed to be shielded from checking into the matter.  Jason A. Emerson on Facebook

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. – Ben Franklin

It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man. – Richard P. Feynman

Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism–and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency. – Stephen Jay Gould

Scientists suffer from the confirmation bias like everybody else, but the genius of science as an institution is that it incentivizes scientists to disconfirm each others’ ideas, and it creates a community within which a reasoned consensus eventually emerges.Jonathan Haidt

Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to 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 what so ever. – Sam Harris

There’s a mighty big difference between good, sound reasons and reasons that sound good. – Burton Hillis

I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel of all inquiry, all discovery and all innovation.  Christopher Hitchens

Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. – Christopher Hitchens

Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. – Christopher Hitchens

That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.P.C. Hodgell

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.– Robert Hughes

As reasoning is not the source, whence [such a] disputant derives his tenets; it is in vain to expect, that any logic, which speaks not to the affections, will ever engage him to embrace sounder principles.David Hume

All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be sceptical, or at least cautious, and not to admit of any hypothesis whatever, much less of any which is supported by no appearance of probability. David Hume

All sentiment is right; because sentiment has a reference to nothing beyond itself, and is always real, wherever a man is conscious of it. But all determinations of the understanding are not right; because they have a reference to something beyond themselves, to wit, real matter of fact; and are not always conformable to that standard. – David Hume

In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence. David Hume

When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities. – David Hume

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true, the other is to refuse to accept what is true.Soren Kierkegaard

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. Kennedy

We learn about the world by trying to prove ourselves wrong, not trying to find validation for our ideas. And that’s the dangerous idea that I want people to learn. It’s not just for religion, it’s for global warming and other important problems of our time. If you come into these problems knowing what’s right before even asking the questions, you’ll never get anywhere. Laurence Krauss

Mysticism is about answers; skepticism is about questions. It’s not so much criticizing your conclusions, as it is the methods you used to get to them. If you evaluate a claim using methods that decrease bias and account for error, you are being skeptical. Sara Mayhew

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. – H. L. Mencken

The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.  Friedrich Nietzsche

Disconnected from the reality check of science, there is no apparent limit to the nonsense in which humans will confidently believe. – Steven Novella

Being an activist skeptic means being reminded, almost on a daily basis, that there is no idea so absurd that there will not be those who fervently believe it.Steven Novella

Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths. – Karl Popper

The best lies about me are the ones *I* told. – Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

What science cannot discover, mankind cannot know. – Bertrand Russell

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite. Bertrand Russell

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.Carl Sagan

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. – Carl Sagan

When you are dead, you don’t know that you’re dead. It is only difficult for the others. It is the same when you are stupid. Michael Shermer

The basic ethics of an open and free society are to be prepared to defend what you believe with reasoned argument from public evidence, be prepared to change your mind, and be tolerant of diverse views on questions the evidence does not suffice to decide. – Lee Smolin

Our brains have built-in biases that stack the odds against objectivity, so much so that the success of the scientific endeavor can be attributed to one factor: it pits itself against our natural leanings, erects barriers across openings to rabbit trails, and systematically exposes faulty thinking to public critique. In fact, the scientific method has been called “what we know about how not to fool ourselves.”  Valerie Tarico

It is easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.  – Mark Twain

If you want to assert a truth, first make sure it’s not just an opinion that you desperately want to be true.  Neil de Grasse Tyson

Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance Neil de Grasse Tyson

I am convinced that the act of thinking logically cannot possibly be natural to the human mind. If it were, then mathematics would be everybody’s easiest course at school and our species would not have taken several millennia to figure out the scientific method. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Those who can have you believe absurdities can have you commit atrocities.Voltaire 

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.  Ludwig Wittgenstein


Christianity: because you’re so awful you made God kill himself. – Anon., Facebook

Christianity: believing that a cosmic jewish zombie can make you live forever if you eat his flesh and drink his blood and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master so he can remove an evil force in humanity that resulted when a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Anon., Facebook

Sin is an imaginary disease invented to sell you an imaginary cure.  Anon. Facebook

Salvation is an attempt to solve a problem of its own making — like a doctor running around cutting people with a knife in order to sell them a Band Aid.Dan Barker

…if there is a deity, then leaving behind cross-shaped debris after something has wreaked destruction, ruin, and death is a pretty peculiar way to communicate with his followers – Gordon Bonnet

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.Charles Darwin

Christianity, above all, consoles; but there are naturally happy souls who do not need consolation. Consequently, Christianity begins by making such souls unhappy, for otherwise it would have no power over them.  André Gide

Priests…dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live. – Thomas Jefferson

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its 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 Madison

Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent.
George Orwell

God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflecting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.St. Paul, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9

I have a problem with the resurrection. So Jesus is Lord, right? So as I understand it, for us to be saved, God sacrificed HIMSELF TO himself, to save US, FROM himself. This sound incompreshensible to me, barking mad.Michael Shermer

Conspiracy Theories

People crave conspiracies for the same reasons they crave gods.  They want a higher power to be responsible; they want to live in a world in which someone is there, pulling the strings.  David G. McAfee

The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theorists is that they actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is that it is not the Jewish Banking Conspiracy or the gray aliens or the 12-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening: nobody is in control. The world is rudderless. Alan Moore

The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy. H. L. Menken


Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: as one dies so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal, for all is vanity.Ecclesiastes 3:19

When I shall be dead, the principles of which I am composed will still perform their part in the universe, and will be equally useful in the grand fabric, as when they composed this individual creature.David Hume

The only completely consistent people are the dead. Aldous Huxley

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. – Steve Jobs

We are all dead men on leave. – Eugene Levine

I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.Jack London

Lots of things happen after you die.  Just none of them include you.  Louis C.K.

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour) Vladimir Nabokov “Speak, Memory”


‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’Douglas Adams

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.W.K. Clifford

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason. – Benjamin Franklin

[Faith]: the permission religious people give one another to believe things strongly without evidence – Sam Harris

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews

Faith is intellectual laziness.Robert A. Heinlein

No amount of belief makes something a fact  James Randi

Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. – Frater Ravus

Where there is evidence, no one speaks of faith.  We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence.  Bertrand Russell

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.George Bernard Shaw

Faith is believing what you know ain’t so. Mark Twain

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.  Kurt Vonnegut


When inventing a god, the most important thing is to claim that it is invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people will become skeptical when it appears to no one, is silent, and does nothing. Anon.

Gods don’t kill people, people with gods kill people.Anon., Facebook

If it turns out that there is a God…the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. Woody Allen

Tell people that there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe and the vast majority will believe you, tell them the paint is wet, and they’ll have to touch it to be sure  George Carlin

Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.George Carlin

There is no evidence for gods. The rest is commentary.  Jerry Coyne

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?” – Annie Dillard, ‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ 

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. Albert Einstein

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own—a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.Albert Einstein

Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? then whence evil?Epicurus

While He may be many things, the God of the Bible and the Qur’an is not a moderate.Sam Harris

Nature, you say, is totally inexplicable without a God. That is to say, to explain what you understand very little, you have need of a cause which you understand not at all. – Baron d’Holbach

…if the ignorance of nature gave birth to Gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them. Baron d’Holbach

It is an absurdity to believe that the deity has human passions, and one of the lowest of human passions, a restless appetite for applause.  David Hume

God so loved the world that he made up his mind to damn a large majority of the human race.Robert Green Ingersoll

I cannot see why we should expect an infinite God to do better in another world than he does in this one. Robert Green Ingersoll

If there is a God, his plan is very similar to someone not having a plan.  Eddie Izzard

When we landed on the moon, that was the point where God should have come up and said hello. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you fuckin’ turn up and say ‘well done.’  Eddie Izzard

Fear is the mother of all gods. Nature does all things herself without their meddling – Lucretius

I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books. – Bill Maher

If the All Powerful God controls Satan, he is an accomplice, if he doesn’t, he isn’t all powerful.  Friedrich Nietzche

I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t. Jules Renard

The existence of a world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all of his perfection, creating imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell.Armand Salacrou

If [God] is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him? If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future? If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses? If grace does everything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them? If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him? If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable? If he is immovable, by what right do we pretend to make him change his decrees? If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? IF HE HAS SPOKEN, WHY IS THE UNIVERSE NOT CONVINCED? – Percy Bysshe Shelley

If this is your god, he’s not very impressive. He’s got psychological problems.  He’s so insecure he demands worship every seven days. He creates faulty humans, then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.Spock (dialogue cut from Star Trek the Motion Picture during production)

It is an insult to God to believe in God. For on the one hand it is to suppose that he has perpetrated acts of incalculable cruelty. On the other, it is to suppose that he has perversely given his human creatures an instrument — their intellect — which must inevitably lead them, if they are dispassionate and honest, to deny his existence. It is tempting to conclude that if he exists, it is the atheists and agnostics that he loves best, among those with any pretensions to education. For they are the ones who have taken him most seriously.Galen Strawson

If God doesn’t like the way I live, let him tell me, not you. – Unknown


You recollect that the gods came down and made love to the daughters of men, and I never blamed them for it. I have never read a description of any heaven I would not leave on the same errand.  R.G. Ingersoll

In Heaven, all the interesting people are missing.Friedrich Nietzsche

What is Heaven? Heaven is a make-believe fairyland for adults who’ve never grown out of intellectual childhood.John Sullivan

We may not doubt that society in heaven consists mainly of undesirable persons. – Mark Twain


God loves you so much, that he created Hell, just in case you don’t love him back.Anon

Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love.  Bill Hicks


[Jesus knocking on closed door]…let me’s me, Jesus!

[Voice from inside] “Why?”

“So I can save you.”

“From what?”

“From what I’m going to do to you if you don’t let me in.” Anon., Facebook

[Jesus in Heaven takes a call on his cell phone] An amputee?, No sorry, I don’t do those… do you like toast?Anon., Facebook

If your relationship with Jesus is so personal why do I keep hearing about it?Anon., Facebook

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823.

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.Jesus (Matthew 10:34-36)

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.Jesus (Luke 14:26)


No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact which it endeavors to establish. – David Hume

The many instances of forged miracles, and prophecies, and supernatural events, which, in all ages, have either been detected by contrary evidence, or which detect themselves by their absurdity, prove sufficiently the strong propensity of mankind to the extraordinary and the marvellous, and ought reasonably to beget a suspicion against all relations of this kind.David Hume

A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.Robert Green Ingersoll

Naturalism & Humanism

An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source not only of a great curiosity, but great fulfillment. Sir David Attenborough

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

I’m afraid that we’ve been looking to the sky for our marching orders for so long that we’ve gotten things turned around. You depend on that star for survival but it depends on you for significance. If that star and this planet is important at all, it is important because it gives life to you. This entire cosmos can only be made significant through our story, along with the story of all other sentient beings that experience life within it. What an awesome privilege that is. – Jeremy Beahan

Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things. – George Carlin

Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I think truer to consider him created from animals.Charles Darwin

It takes a fearless, unflinching love and deep humility to accept the universe as it is.  Ann Druyan

An astronomically overwhelming majority of the people who could be born never will be. You are one of the tiny minority whose number came up. Be thankful that you have a life and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one.Richard Dawkins

The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.Stephen Jay Gould

Life would be tragic if it were not funny.  Stephen Hawking

Atheism, and the related conviction that we have just one life to live, is the only sure way to regard all our fellow creatures as brothers and sisters. Christopher Hitchens

The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster.  – David Hume

As I see it the world is undoubtedly in need of a new religion, and that religion must be founded on humanist principles. When I say religion, I do not mean merely a theology involving belief in a supernatural god or gods; nor do I mean merely a system of ethics, however exalted; nor only scientific knowledge, however extensive; nor just a practical social morality, however admirable or efficient. I mean an organized system of ideas and emotions which relate man to his destiny, beyond and above the practical affairs of every day, transcending the present and the existing systems of law and social structure. The prerequisite today is that any such religion shall appeal potentially to all mankind; and that its intellectual and rational sides shall not be incompatible with scientific knowledge but on the contrary based on it.Julian Huxley

To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues. – John Locke 

Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own.Bertrand Russell, “What I Believe”, 1925

Every aspect of Nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe. Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.Carl Sagan

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?Carl Sagan

If you lived two or three millenia ago there was no shame in holding that the universe was made for us: it was an appealing thesis, consistent with everything we knew. It was what the most learned among us taught without qualification. But we found out much since then. Defending such a position today amounts to willful disregard for the evidence and a flight from self-knowledge. – Carl Sagan

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.Carl Sagan

If you are going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh. Otherwise they’ll kill you. – George Bernard Shaw


Those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand Kurt Vonnegut


If you talk to God, you are praying.  If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.  Anon, Facebook.

Prayer: like chronic gambing, you never talk about your losses.  Anon., Facebook

Never trust a person who can clear their conscience of any immoral act by asking forgiveness of their imaginary friend. – Anon. Facebook

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. – Superintendent Chalmers, The Simpsons

Nothing fails like prayerAnne Nicol Gaylor

God has an unalterable perfect plan for every person…but you should still pray in a vain attempt to change itDavid G. McAfee


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.Philip K. Dick

If we are to address the multitudinous difficulties facing us as a species, from climate change to geo-politics, then we need to embrace reality over ideologically motivated fictions. To this end, we need to better understand how and why some ideas are entrenched and persistent among certain groups despite the evidence, and how we might counteract this. – David Robert Grimes

A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digests his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow. – Friedrich Nietzsche

It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.Carl Sagan

Knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth, than a reassuring fable.Carl Sagan


So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.Benjamin Franklin

I know of no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.  Sam Harris

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.  Thomas Paine


Dad, why are there no Jews, Christians, or Muslims on Star Trek?”  “Because it’s the future, son.” – Anon, Facebook.

Why don’t I go to church?  Same reason you don’t go unicorn hunting. – Anon, Facebook

The difference between a cult and a religion:  in a cult there is a person at the top who knows it’s a scam. In a religion that person is dead.Anon.

Religion is a lot like circumcision. If you wait until they’re 21 to tell them about it, they probably won’t be interested. – Anon.

Four great truths about religion: 1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as the chosen people. 2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. 3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world. 4. Born-again Christians do not recognize each other at strip clubs.Anon

Insanity is believing your hallucinations are real. Religion is believing other peoples’ hallucinations are real. – Anon, Facebook.

The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anyone but himself.  Richard F. Burton

I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.George Carlin

How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that, wherever you happen to be born, the local religion always turns out to be the true one.Richard Dawkins

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

What I find disappointing about most religious beliefs is that they are a kind of statement of contempt for nature and reality. It’s absurdly hubristic. It holds the myths of a few thousand years above nature’s many billion-yeared journey. It says reality is inferior and less satisfying than the stories we make up.  Ann Druyan

The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine if you carried on believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy into adulthood. And even killed & started wars over it. Haha. Imagine that.  – Tweet from Ricky Gervais

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him. I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of ‘prejudice’ or ‘ignorance’, but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal. When you demand ‘respect’, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade. – Johann Hari

The human need to worship, to debase ourselves, the sadomasochistic impulse, is unfortunately, deplorably strong.  Many people would make the trade of security for freedom, thinking that they would get at least one, and don’t learn that they will end up with neither.Christopher Hitchens

One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human pre-history where nobody had the smallest idea what was going on. Christopher Hitchens

Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child’s mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them. Hypatia of Alexandria

Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion. – L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology

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

If you are a faithful Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Mormon, then you must accept that God does not convey any really important information except through the medium of a few prophets. In other words, there is a rigidly hierarchical, cognitive class system inherent in revealed religion. There are a few people who have been in direct contact with God and are in the know about his plans and instructions. These are the people who tell us what to believe and do. Then there are the billions of the rest of us, who just have to follow along. – Ronald Lindsay

All criticism begins with the criticism of religion.Karl Marx

The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.Thomas Paine

 Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.Blaise Pascal

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion. – Robert M. Pirsig

I’d be more willing to accept religion, even if I didn’t belief it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other, but I don’t think it does.Andy Rooney

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

Religion is not merely a tool to oppress the masses, it is a self-perpetuation scam that leads the masses to oppress themselves.Michael Sherlock

It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not record the tragic fact, that men have gone to war and cut each other’s throats because they could not agree as to what was to become of them after their throats were cut. – Walter P. Stacey

Religion: it’s given people hope in a world torn apart by….religion.  Jon Stewart

Religion, in interfering with the free exercise of our critical faculties, in setting out an outlandishly untrue history of the cosmos and humankind’s position in it, and in purporting universality that some are willing to die and kill for, is more than just what the physicist Steven Weinberg called “an insult to human dignity;” it is, in our age of weapons of mass destruction and increasing global instability, a threat to us all. Jeffrey Taylor

The religious argue that the absurdity of their holy books’ tenets presents them with an opportunity to win bona fides with their god by suspending their critical faculties and believing them anyway, but no rational human being should be obligated to respect their decision – let alone submit to their mandates.  Jeffrey Taylor

I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious — except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force. – Mark Twain

Celibacy, fasting, penance, mortification, self-denial, humility, silence, solitude and the whole train of monkish virtues…Stupify the understanding and harden the heart, obscure the fancy and sour the temper…A gloomy hair-brained enthusiast, after his death, may have a place in the calendar, but will scarcely ever be admitted, when alive, into intimacy and society, except by those who are as delerious and dismal as himself. –

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

Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. – George Washington, letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792

Religion is an insult to human dignity. 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 Weinberg

The difference between a religion and a cult is determined by how much real estate is owned. – Frank Zappa

Religion and Misogyny

Why does God have a gender?  Does he have a penis?  A Y chromosome?  Or is it because he was invented by misogynistic men?  Anon, Facebook.

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.George W. Foote

Wherever we find laws of state bearing with greater hardship upon woman than upon man, we shall ever find them due to the teachings of the church. – Matilda Joslyn Gage

As long as a woman regards the Bible as the charter of her rights, she will be the slave of man.  The Bible was not written by a woman. Within its lids there is nothing but humiliation and shame for her. She is regarded as the property of man.Robert Ingersoll

You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman…What power is it that makes the Hindoo woman burn herself upon the funeral pyre of her husband? Her religion. What holds the Turkish woman in the harem? Her religion. By what power do the Mormons perpetuate their system of polygamy? By their religion. Man, of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ of course he can do it. So long as ministers stand up and tell us Christ is the head of the church, so is man the head of woman, how are we to break the chains which have held women down through the ages? – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The Bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgment seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a period of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man’s bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire on the vital questions of the hour, she was commanded to ask her husband at home. Here is the Bible position of woman briefly summed up. Elizabeth Cady Stanton


The idea that any book was inspired by the creator of the universe is poison—intellectually, ethically, and politically.Sam Harris

If one comprehends the fallacies of any revealed religion, one comprehends them all. – Christopher Hitchens

If you are a faithful Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Mormon, then you must accept that God does not convey any really important information except through the medium of a few prophets. In other words, there is a rigidly hierarchical, cognitive class system inherent in revealed religion. There are a few people who have been in direct contact with God and are in the know about his plans and instructions. These are the people who tell us what to believe and do. Then there are the billions of the rest of us, who just have to follow along.Ronald Lindsay

Science vs. Religion

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdomIsaac Asimov

There’s no reason to be agnostic about ideas that are dramatically incompatible with everything we know about modern science. Sean Carroll

We’re not allowed to call the ‘Higgs Boson’ the God-particle anymore because now there’s evidence it exists.  Sean Carroll

The absence of evidence is evidence of absence if the evidence should be there. This is precisely the reason why we don’t accept the existence of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.  You don’t hear people say, “science neither proves nor disproves the existence of Nessie. – Jerry Coyne

I’d rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.  Richard P. Feynman

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. – Galileo Galilei

It is time that all rational people acknowledged that where claims about the nature of reality are concerned, there is only one magisterium.Sam Harris

Let’s say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I’ll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years. Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks “That’s enough of that. It’s time to intervene,” and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don’t let us appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let’s go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can’t be believed by a thinking person. Christopher Hitchens

First, what do these two gentlemen think my position is on the theory of evolution by natural selection? I will re-state it, yet again. It is that I am quite prepared to accept that it may be true, though I should personally be sorry if it turned out to be so as, it its implication is plainly atheistical, and if its truth could be proved, then the truth of atheism could be proved. I believe that is its purpose, and that it is silly to pretend otherwise. – Peter Hitchens (theist & brother of Christopher Hitchens)

My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageousJames Inhoffe, Senator from Oklahoma and (future) Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it… We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.  Hippocrates

I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man afraid to face the truth.Thomas Henry Huxley (During a public confrontation at Oxford in 1860, Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, tongue-in-cheek, had inquired of Huxley whether it is through his grandfather or grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey.)

There is no god and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.  Penn Jillette

As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people.  One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.William Provine

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.  William Provine

Science has taught us that, because we have a talent for deceiving ourselves, subjectivity may not freely reign. Its conclusions derive from the interrogation of Nature… and are not in all cases predesigned to satisfy our wants. – Carl Sagan

Science flies you the moon, religion flies you into buildings. – Victor Stenger

Every great scientific truth goes through three phases. First, people deny it. Second they say it conflicts with the Bible. Third, they say they’ve known it all along.  – Neil de Grasse Tyson

I am all in favor of a dialogue between science and religion, but not a constructive dialogue. One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.Steven Weinberg


I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence, rather than the unknown rational efforts of extraterrestrial intelligenceRichard P. Feynman

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