Quoting Adam Savage

Doesn’t he sound like an action hero or intrepid explorer?

At the end of his Reason Rally speech, Adam Savage of Mythbusters provided one of the best ‘sound bites’ of the day:

I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I’m capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me; and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score —is me!

Isaac Asimov on evidence

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
— Isaac Asimov

No evidence, no gods!

Religion and violence


It is a real pity, a shame, that the believers choose to base their ‘identities’ on the rather shaky foundation of religious belief, when religion has been the single most divisive force in the history of humankind. Forget about the Crusades in the medieval times, or the calls to Jihad by several Islamic leaders between the 7th and the 20th century; the Thirty years War in early to mid-17th century were between Christian sects over doctrine. Sunni and Shia Muslims are engaged into terrible, violent hostilities even today, because of a disagreement over religious leadership that dates back to the 10th century! In the middle ages through modern times, Christianity in its various forms has been a major driving force for virulent anti-semitism.

Nomenclature Rule

In Life: An Unauthorized Biography, Richard Fortey documented a biologists’ rule:

The most primitive of  bacteria are known by the most wondrous jargon, mastery of which is guaranteed to cause jaws to drop at social functions, for the correct designation of many of them is ‘chemolithoautotrophic hyperthermophiles.’ Since these bacteria are only a thousandth of a millimetre long — minute rods, discs, or cocci (spheres), this affords an example of a rule well known to biologists: that the length of the description is inversely proportional to the size of the organism.

No doubt Fortey is an accomplished raconteur, but I find his written work almost unbearably wordy and have to take it in small doses.

Quoting Robert G. Ingersoll

Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872:

Looks like Christopher Hitchens

A very pious friend of mine, having heard that I had said the world was full of imperfections, asked me if the report was true. Upon being informed that it was, he expressed great surprise that any one could be guilty of such presumption. He said that, in his judgement, it was impossible to point out an imperfection “Be kind enough,” said he, “to name even one improvement that you could make, if you had the power.” “Well,” said I, “I would make good health catching, instead of disease.” The truth is, it is impossible to harmonize all the ills, and pains, and agonies of this world with the idea that we were created by, and are watched over and protected by an infinitely wise, powerful and beneficent God, who is superior to and independent of nature.

Albert Schweitzer on Jesus

“There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth and died to give His work its final consecration never had any existence.”

From Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965, Nobel Prize 1952), Ph.D, Christian theologian and Dean of the Theological College of Saint Thomas at the University of Strasburg; The Quest of the Historical Jesus: First Complete Edition, translated by W. Montgomery et al., edited by John Bowden (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), page 478.

Einstein on God

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” as if that meant that he believed in an invisible Heavenly Father taking an interest in our affairs. This longer quotation reflects his actual opinion.

You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religiosity of the naive man. For the latter, God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands, so to speak, in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe. But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection… It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages. —Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934

Happy Canada Day!

“Quoth Pierre Berton:

“We are a nation of canoeists, and have been since the earliest days, paddling our way up the St. Lawrence, across the lakes, over the portages of the shield, west along the North Saskatchewan through the Yellowhead gap and thence southwest by the Columbia and Fraser rivers to the sea. When someone asks you how Canada could exist as a horizontal country with its plains and mountains running vertically, tell him about the paddlers. —Why We Act Like Canadians, 1982

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