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News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

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Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.


Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

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

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

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Quotations on Science, Politics and Belief

June 23rd, 2007

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. – Samuel Johnson

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

We may see the small value God has for riches, by the people he gives them to. – Alexander Pope (Thoughts on Various Subjects, 1792)

The certainty that life cannot be long, and the probability that it will be much shorter than nature allows, ought to awaken every man to the active prosecution of whatever he is desirous to perform. It is true, that no diligence can ascertain success; death may intercept the swiftest career; but he who is cut off in the execution of an honest undertaking has at least the honour of falling in his rank, and has fought the battle, though he missed the victory.- Samual Johnson (Rambler 134)

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, 1869.

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd… But as yet we have not come very far concretely, though it is recognized in abstracto. That explains why it still impresses people as prideful and overweening arrogance to speak of the separate individual, whereas this precisely is truly human: each and every one is an individual. Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. – Malala Yousafzai, 17, Pakistani schoolgirl awarded the 2014 Nobel peace prize after recovering from her Taliban shooting in the head.

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Seven years ago I went over to do what turned out to be the last interview with Bob McNamara who was Secretary of Defense for Kennedy and Johnson, Mr Vietnam, who apologized for Vietnam. It was three hours and he had an apartment in the Watergate. I kept pressing McNamara to squeeze out what’s the final lesson of the mistake of Vietnam and he said There is one lesson. That is, the advisers to the President need to sit around with the president and argue with him and say, Wait a minute, let’s look at all the options. You have to create a conflict situation. He said What happens in the Presidency is that no one wants to argue with the President, particularly in front of other advisers. So the President gets isolated and lives in a bubble and I think you can argue that happens to every President including this one.- Bob Woodward (on Face The Nation Sun Aug 9 2014).

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking. – Voltaire

To pray to God is to flatter oneself that with words one can alter nature. – Voltaire

TO argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals. And no man will envy you these honors, in which a savage only can be your rival and a bear your master.- Thomas Paine

I respect these mysteries; I submit myself to those who announce them. For they agree with me, that my reason, or their own reason, believe them not; but it is clear that if my reason is not persuaded, I am not persuaded. I and my reason cannot possibly be two different beings. It is an absolute contradiction that I should receive that as true which my understanding rejects as false. Faith, therefore, is nothing but submissive or deferential incredulity.
But why should this submission be exercised when my understanding invincibly recoils? The reason, we well know, is, that my understanding has been persuaded that the mysteries of my faith are laid down by God Himself. All, then, that I can do, as a reasonable being, is to be silent and adore. This is what divines call external faith; and this faith neither is, nor can be, anything more than respect for things incomprehensible, in consequence of the reliance I place on those who teach them.
If God Himself were to say to me, “Thought is of an olive color”; “the square of a certain number is bitter”; I should certainly understand nothing at all from these words. I could not adopt them either as true or false. But I will repeat them, if He commands me to do it; and I will make others repeat them at the risk of my life. This is not faith; it is nothing more than obedience. – Voltaire

[Christianity] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. … My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out. – Voltaire

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

A witty saying proves nothing. – Voltaire

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too. – Voltaire. (Usually misquoted as: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – actually S. G. Tallentyre’s paraphrase of Voltaire’s attitude in The Friends of Voltaire (1907))

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

I accept the universe. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Art can only be truly art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

I believe in Ahnungen (premonitions) beyond anything. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Safety is not to be secured, then, by the wisest foresight. I shall embark more composedly in our merchant-ship, praying fervently, indeed, that it may not be my lot to lose my boy at sea, either by unsolaced illness, or amid the howling waves; or, if so, that Ossoli, Angelo, and I may go together, and that the anguish may be brief. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli (letter April, 1850, died July, in the shipwreck of the schooner Elizabeth on Fire Island)

The electrical, the magnetic element in Woman has not been fairly brought out at any period. Everything might be expected from it; she has far more of it than Man. This is commonly expressed by saying that her intuitions are more rapid and more correct. You will often see men of high intellect absolutely stupid in regard to the atmospheric changes, the fine invisible links which connect the forms of life around them, while common women, if pure and modest, so that a vulgar self do not overshadow the mental eye, will seize and delineate these with unerring discrimination. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man. Were this done, and a slight temporary fermentation allowed to subside, we should see crystallizations more pure and of more various beauty. We believe the divine energy would pervade nature to a degree unknown in the history of former ages, and that no discordant collision, but a ravishing harmony of the spheres, would ensue.
Yet, then and only then will mankind be ripe for this, when inward and outward freedom for Woman as much as for Man shall be acknowledged as a right, not yielded as a concession. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

The better part of wisdom is a sublime prudence, a pure and patient truth that will receive nothing it is not sure it can permanently lay to heart. Of our study there should be in proportion two-thirds of rejection to one of acceptance. And, amid the manifold infatuations and illusions of this world of emotion, a being capable of clear intelligence can do no better service than to hold himself upright, avoid nonsense, and do what chores lie in his way, acknowledging every moment that primal truth, which no fact exhibits, nor, if pressed by too warm a hope, will even indicate. I think, indeed, it is part of our lesson to give a formal consent to what is farcical, and to pick up our living and our virtue amid what is so ridiculous, hardly deigning a smile, and certainly not vexed. The work is done through all, if not by every one.- Margaret Fuller Ossoli

All around us lies what we neither understand nor use. Our capacities, our instincts for this our present sphere are but half developed. Let us confine ourselves to that till the lesson be learned; let us be completely natural; before we trouble ourselves with the supernatural. I never see any of these things but I long to get away and lie under a green tree and let the wind blow on me. There is marvel and charm enough in that for me.- Margaret Fuller Ossoli

To one who has enjoyed the full life of any scene, of any hour, what thoughts can be recorded about it, seem like the commas and semicolons in the paragraph, mere stops. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Your prudence, my wise friend, allows too little room for the mysterious whisperings of life. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

I am ‘too fiery’ … yet I wish to be seen as I am, and would lose all rather than soften away anything. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

There are two modes of criticism. One which … crushes to earth without mercy all the humble buds of Phantasy, all the plants that, though green and fruitful, are also a prey to insects or have suffered by drouth. It weeds well the garden, and cannot believe the weed in its native soil may be a pretty, graceful plant.
There is another mode which enters into the natural history of every thing that breathes and lives, which believes no impulse to be entirely in vain, which scrutinizes circumstances, motive and object before it condemns, and believes there is a beauty in natural form, if its law and purpose be understood. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow.- Margaret Fuller Ossoli

The use of criticism, in periodical writing, is to sift, not to stamp a work. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

I now know all the people worth knowing in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my own. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Let no one dare to call another mad who is not himself willing to rank in the same class for every perversion and fault of judgment. Let no one dare aid in punishing another as criminal who is not willing to suffer the penalty due to his own offenses. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Might the simple maxim, that honesty is the best policy be laid to heart! Might a sense of the true aims of life elevate the tone of politics and trade, till public and private honor become identical! – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

It is astonishing what force, purity, and wisdom it requires for a human being to keep clear of falsehoods. – Margaret Fuller Ossoli

I think you’re trying to get me in trouble now. But, yes, as long as the science and practice of psychology is undertaken by human beings, I expect that some degree of system justification is likely, at least on occasion. Do I think that it’s easier to publish an article in one of our top journals that is largely compatible or incompatible with the status quo (i.e., past precedent and existing theory, as institutionalized in textbooks and so forth), I would bet on compatible.
The same is true of our legal system, which is heavily reliant on past precedent (stare decisis) and therefore inherently conservative. I am not saying that there are never good reasons to privilege what comes first — often there are. But if there is a bias that is built into scientific and legal systems, it is probably in favor of what has already been established (the status quo) and against what appears to challenge it. I suspect that this is part of human nature, and such a bias characterizes our way of thinking and most, if not all, of our social and cultural institutions. – John Jost

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

Indeed, in the science policy world, advice proudly presented as being “robust” simply implies that it has been thoroughly and properly assessed by peer preview (sic). Thus, the ubiquitous funding bureaucracies have created their own set of Catch-22 rules for ensuring that all criticism can be dismissed out of hand: comments on peer preview must, if they are not to be rejected, have peer preview approval. Thus, the received wisdom among scientific organizations everywhere today seems to be that any policy, advice, or research proposal that does not enjoy peer preview’s full blessing must be considered suspect or worthless. – Donal W. Braben

Without an awareness of ignorance, we are unlikely to have dissent, and without dissent, there can be no progress. – Donald W. Braben

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation.

Faith is a wonderful thing, but doubt gets you an education. – Wilson Mizner

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.- Tom Baker (aka Dr Who)

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. – Mark Twain

God’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn – Mark Twain

In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue, but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. – Mark Twain

There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry. – Mark Twain

Of all the creatures that were made he [man] is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one — the solitary one — that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices — the most hateful…He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain…Also — in all the list he is the only creature that has a nasty mind. – Mark Twain

The trade of critic, in literature, music, and the drama, is the most degraded of all trades. – Mark Twain

The self-taught man seldom knows anything accurately, and he does not know a tenth as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers; – Mark Twain

The power which a man’s imagination has over his body to heal it or make it sick is a force which none of us is born without. The first man had it, the last one will possess it. If left to himself, a man is most likely to use only the mischievous half of the force—the half which invents imaginary ailments for him and cultivates them; and if he is one of these—very wise people, he is quite likely to scoff at the beneficent half of the force and deny its existence. And so, to heal or help that man, two imaginations are required: his own and some outsider’s. The outsider, B, must imagine that his incantations are the healing-power that is curing A, and A must imagine that this is so. I think it is not so, at all; but no matter, the cure is effected, and that is the main thing. The outsider’s work is unquestionably valuable; so valuable that it may fairly be likened to the essential work performed by the engineer when he handles the throttle and turns on the steam; the actual power is lodged exclusively in the engine, but if the engine were left alone it would never start of itself. Whether the engineer be named Jim, or Bob, or Tom, it is all one—his services are necessary, and he is entitled to such wage as he can get you to pay. Whether he be named Christian Scientist, or Mental Scientist, or Mind Curist, or King’s-Evil Expert, or Hypnotist, it is all one; he is merely the Engineer; he simply turns on the same old steam and the engine does the whole work. – Mark Twain

No one doubts—certainly not I—that the mind exercises a powerful influence over the body. From the beginning of time, the sorcerer, the interpreter of dreams, the fortune-teller, the charlatan, the quack, the wild medicine-man, the educated physician, the mesmerist, and the hypnotist have made use of the client’s imagination to help them in their work. They have all recognized the potency and availability of that force. Physicians cure many patients with a bread pill; they know that where the disease is only a fancy, the patient’s confidence in the doctor will make the bread pill effective. – Mark Twain

The best of us would rather be popular than right. – Mark Twain

Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and…Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. – Mark Twain

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. – Mark Twain

Virtue never has been as respectable as money. – Mark Twain

You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I’ll tell you what his ‘pinions is. – Mark Twain

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

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane. – Mark Twain

The only reason why God created man is because he was disappointed with the monkey. – Mark Twain

Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is, I dunno. If the Eiffel Tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; and anybody would perceive that the skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno. – Mark Twain

Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that “plagiarism” farce! As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing. When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten centuries and ten thousand men — but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify. It is merely a Waterloo. It is Wellington’s battle, in some degree, and we call it his; but there are others that contributed. It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that. – Mark Twain

To create man was a fine and original idea; but to add the sheep was a tautology. – Mark Twain

Heaven for climate, Hell for society. – Mark Twain

Your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug,—push it a little—crowd it a little—weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand. – Mark Twain

The silent colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that afflict the peoples — that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at. – Mark Twain

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. – Mark Twain

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away and a sunny spirit takes their place. – Mark Twain

A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle – Schoolchild to Mark Twain

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. – Mark Twain

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will. – Mark Twain

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. – Albert Einstein

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. – George Santayana, Life of Reason (1905)

Whether increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is bad or good is a question of science. And in science, truth and facts are not the playthings of causes, nor a touchstone of political correctness, nor true religion, nor “what I tell you three times is true.” – Roger Cohen, William Happer, and Richard Lindzen (Letter, WSJ, Aug 13, 2012)

The epitaph that I would write for history would say: I conceal nothing. It is not enough not to lie. One should strive not to lie in a negative sense by remaining silent. – Leo Tolstoy

In God we trust; all others bring data!- Apollo Space Team (Motto)

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. – Richard Feynman

I want to be clear at the outset that we are not asking the Court to adjudicate a disputed question of science. – Attorney Harry MacDougall.
Good. – David Sentelle, Chief Justice of the US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit

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 or permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man. – Richard Feynman

Scientists best serve public policy by living within the ethics of science, not those of politics. If the scientific community will not unfrock the charlatans, the public will not discern the difference, and science and the nation will suffer. – Philip Handler

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. – Robert A. Heinlein

We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert. – J. Robert Oppenheimer

I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it would be better in some other state. If you don’t publish such a result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice. You’re being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice. – Richard Feynman (Cargo Cult Science, 1974)

There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made. – Richard Feynman

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive caction to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects…The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality. – Peter Gwyne, Newsweek, April 28, 1975, Lamenting the failure of governments to
prepare for global cooling.

It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young. – Konrad Lorenz

The influence of mankind on climate is trivially true and numerically insignificant. – Richard Lindzen

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

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. – Blaise Pascal

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm – but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves. – T.S. Eliot

The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement. – Anton Chekhov

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

Biology is not for engineers and number crunchers, as important as they may be, because, compared to their systems, biological response is much more complex and dynamic. – Colin Campbell

I am often asked why it is just myself, Harry Rubin, Joseph Sonnabend and a handful of others who question the virus-AIDS hypothesis. Why doesn’t a young, ambitious scientist make a name for himself by questioning it? The answer lies in the strong conformist pressures on scientists, particularly young, untenured scientists, in the age of biotechnology. Their conceptual obedience to the establishment is maintained by controlled access to research grants, journals and positions, and rewarded by conference engagements, personal prizes, consultantships, stocks and co-ownership in companies. A dissenter would have to be truly independent and prepared for a variety of sanctions. I, for instance, was sarcastically called a ‘brilliant chemist’, but labelled a bigot for considering daily administration of psychoactive and immunosuppressive chemicals more likely to be the cause of AIDS than a chronically dormant and chemically almost undetectable retrovirus. Invitations were issued only on the condition that I did not debate the ‘control’ of AIDS with the AIDS tests or the DNA-inhibitor AZT, both of which are based exclusively on the virus-AIDS hypothesis. – Peter Duesberg

An error can never become true however many times you repeat it. The truth can never be wrong, even if no one ever hears about it. Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. – Mahatma Gandhi

Thomas Henry] Huxley, I believe, was the greatest Englishman of the Nineteenth Century—perhaps the greatest Englishman of all time. When one thinks of him, one thinks inevitably of such men as Goethe and Aristotle. For in him there was that rich, incomparable blend of intelligence and character, of colossal knowledge and high adventurousness, of instinctive honesty and indomitable courage which appears in mankind only once in a blue moon. There have been far greater scientists, even in England, but there has never been a scientist who was a greater man. – H.L.Mencken

We are of many minds and opinions, yet we are one in the search for truth. – Peyton Rous

As for what I have done as a poet, I take no pride in whatever. Excellent poets have lived at the same time with me, poets more excellent lived before me, and others will come after me. But that in my country I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colors-of that, I say, I am not a little proud, and here have a consciousness of superiority to many. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals, never to the age. – Goethe

The first and last thing which is required of genius is the love of truth. – Goethe

I could never have known so well how paltry men are, and how little they care for really high aims, if I had not tested them by my scientific researches. Thus I saw that most men only care for science so far as they get a living by it, and that they worship even error when it affords them a subsistence. – Goethe

I had rather be Mercury, the smallest among seven [planets], revolving round the sun, than the first among five [moons] revolving round Saturn. – Goethe

Mathematicians are a kind of Frenchmen. Whenever you say anything or talk to them, they translate it into their own language, and right away it is something completely different. – Goethe

In all our academies we attempt far too much. … In earlier times lectures were delivered upon chemistry and botany as branches of medicine, and the medical student learned enough of them. Now, however, chemistry and botany are become sciences of themselves, incapable of comprehension by a hasty survey, and each demanding the study of a whole life, yet we expect the medical student to understand them. He who is prudent, accordingly declines all distracting claims upon his time, and limits himself to a single branch and becomes expert in one thing. – Goethe

In Nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it, and over it. – Goethe

It seems to me that every phenomenon, every fact, itself is the really interesting object. Whoever explains it, or connects it with other events, usually only amuses himself or makes sport of us, as, for instance, the naturalist or historian. But a single action or event is interesting, not because it is explainable, but because it is true. – Goethe

Someday someone will write a pathology of experimental physics and bring to light all those swindles which subvert our reason, beguile our judgement and, what is worse, stand in the way of any practical progress. The phenomena must be freed once and for all from their grim torture chamber of empiricism, mechanism, and dogmatism; they must be brought before the jury of man’s common sense. – Goethe

No one can take from us the joy of the first becoming aware of something, the so-called discovery. But if we also demand the honor, it can be utterly spoiled for us, for we are usually not the first. What does discovery mean, and who can say that he has discovered this or that? After all it’s pure idiocy to brag about priority; for it’s simply unconscious conceit, not to admit frankly that one is a plagiarist. – Goethe

Someone told me that each equation I included in the book [A Brief History of Time ] would halve its sales. – Stephen Hawking

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? – Stephen Hawking

Thirty years ago I was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and given two and a half years to live. I have always wondered how they could be so precise about the half. – Stephen Hawking

To the extent that one communicates with Nature, so one ascends to Divinity through Nature. – Giordano Bruno

We hereby, in these documents, publish, announce, pronounce, sentence, and declare thee the aforesaid Brother Giordano Bruno to be an impenitent and pertinacious heretic, and therefore to have incurred all the ecclesiastical censures and pains of the Holy Canon, the laws and the constitutions, both general and particular, imposed on such confessed impenitent pertinacious and obstinate heretics… We ordain and command that thou must be delivered to the Secular Court… that thou mayest be punished with the punishment deserved… Furthermore, we condemn, we reprobate, and we prohibit all thine aforesaid and thy other books and writings as heretical and erroneous, containing many heresies and errors, and we ordain that all of them which have come or may in future come into the hands of the Holy Office shall be publicly destroyed and burned in the square of St. Peter before the steps and that they shall be placed upon the Index of Forbidden Books, and as we have commanded, so shall it be done. – Official judgment on charges of heresy (16 February 1600);

Even to have come forth is something, since I see that being able to conquer is placed in the hands of fate. However, there was in me, whatever I was able to do, that which no future century will deny to be mine, that which a victor could have for his own: Not to have feared to die, not to have yielded to any equal in firmness of nature, and to have preferred a courageous death to a noncombatant life. – Giordano Bruno

Bruno stood at the stake in solitary and awful grandeur. There was not a friendly face in the vast crowd around him. It was one man against the world. Surely the knight of Liberty, the champion of Freethought, who lived such a life and died such a death, without hope of reward on earth or in heaven, sustained only by his indomitable manhood, is worthy to be accounted the supreme martyr of all time. – George William Foote (with A. D. McLaren, Infidel Deathbeds)

In 1584, twenty-five years before Galileo lifted a telescope, Bruno took the Copernican hypothesis to the outrageous new conclusion that the sun is merely one of an infinity of stars, which stretch across boundless and inexhaustible space. It was consummate audacity to proclaim an infinite universe in the teeth of the doctrinal dogfights of the 16th century. It was yet bolder to exult in the de immenso with the bounding wonder of a poet. The prospect of our earth reduced to a turning speck in endless space was terrifying to contemplate. An ecstatic Bruno cried, “My thoughts are stitched to the stars!” and contemplated little else. With an impetuous abandon that his contemporaries found reckless and even dangerous, Bruno proceeded to rethink man’s relationship to the universe, to himself, and to God by the unimaginable light of countless stars.- Bill Kuhns

After it hath been seen how the obstinate and the ignorant of evil disposition are accustomed to dispute, it will further be shewn how disputes are wont to conclude; although others are so wary that without losing their composure, but with a sneer, a smile, a certain discreet malice, that which they have not succeeded in proving by argument — nor indeed can it be understood by themselves — nevertheless by these tricks of courteous disdain they pretend to have proven, endeavouring not only to conceal their own patently obvious ignorance but to cast it on to the back of their adversary. For they dispute not in order to find or even to seek Truth, but for victory, and to appear the more learned and strenuous upholders of a contrary opinion. Such persons should be avoided by all who have not a good breastplate of patience. – Giordano Bruno

If all things are in common among friends, the most precious is Wisdom. What can Juno give which thou canst not receive from Wisdom? What mayest thou admire in Venus which thou mayest not also contemplate in Wisdom? Her beauty is not small, for the lord of all things taketh delight in her. Her I have loved and diligently sought from my youth up. – Giordano Bruno

Time is the father of truth, its mother is our mind. – Giordano Bruno

I aim here only at revealing myself, who will perhaps be different tomorrow, if I learn something new which changes me. I have no authority to be believed, nor do I want it, feeling myself too ill-instructed to instruct others. – Montaigne

The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us. –
Paul Valery

The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong. – Richard Horton

If you call up scientists asking simple, intelligent questions about the cause of AIDS you get a kind of irrational fury…. It is like holding a cross to a vampire. If you give any credence to these ideas you lose your contacts in the medical establishment and for a full-time medical reporter this is a problem. Investigative journalism and science haven’t met before…. What we are up against is a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure. – Celia Farber

General notions are generally wrong. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

You could write the entire history of science in the last 50 years in terms of the papers rejected by Science or Nature. – Paul Lauterbur

The really new, when it is far-reaching and thorough, can only gradually find an entrance, because numerous convictions must be altered in order to make its proper place for the newcomer. – John Beard

It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.- Max Planck

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of having a scientifically based argument, rather than waving your arms about. – Anthony Fauci

I have never been seriously in doubt as to why I am here—or, anyhow, why I believe I should be here. It is to seek the truth and relish it, especially when it is inconvenient, even gravely distasteful. I yearn to discomfort those who believe that the rich are not working because they have too little money, the poor are not working because they have too much. Similarly, I yearn to discomfort those who are committed to the prevailing economic doctrine that holds, in metaphor, that if you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. I yearn to have as my epitaph: “He Comforted the Afflicted and Afflicted the Comfortable.” – John Kenneth Galbraith.

I have not dared until now to bring my reasons and refutations into the open, being warned by the fortunes of Copernicus himself, our master, who procured for himself immortal fame among a few but stepped down among the great crowd. – Galileo Galilei (Letter to Johannes Kepler, 1597)

In order to convince those obdurate men, who are out for the vain approval of the stupid and vulgar, it would not be enough even if the stars came down on earth to bring witness about themselves. Let us be concerned only with gaining knowledge for ourselves, and let us find therein our consolation. – Galileo Galilei (to Benedetto Castelli, 1610)

First, I say it seems to me that your Reverence and Signor Galileo act prudently when you content yourselves with speaking hypothetically and not absolutely, as I have always understood that Copernicus spoke. For to say that the assumptions that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still saves all the celestial appearances better than do eccentrics and epicycles is to speak with excellent good sense and to run no risk whatever. Such a manner of speaking suffices for a mathematician. But to want to affirm that the Sun, in very truth, is at the centre of the universe and only rotates on its axis without traveling from east to west, and that the Earth is situated in the third sphere and revolves very swiftly around the Sun, is a very dangerous attitude and one calculated not only to arouse all Scholastic philosophers and theologians but also to injure our hold faith by contradicting the Scriptures…. – Cardinal Bellarmine (letter to Father Foscarini, 1615)

My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? What shall we make of this? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry? – Galileo Galilei (letter to Kepler, 1610)

Science is the search for truth, whether we like it or not. – David Bohm

(Before the battle of Passchendaele) the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies. – David Lloyd George, British prime minister during the Passchendaele campaign.

To begin with the great doctrine you discuss I neither deny nor affirm the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing in it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. Pray understand that I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force, or the indestructibility of matter. Whoso clearly appreciates all that is implied in the falling of a stone can have no difficulty about any doctrine simply on account of its marvellousness. But the longer I live, the more obvious it is to me that the most sacred act of a man’s life is to say and to feel, “I believe such and such to be true.” All the greatest rewards and all the heaviest penalties of existence cling about that act …
Surely it must be plain that an ingenious man could speculate without end on both sides, and find analogies for all his dreams. Nor does it help me to tell me that the aspirations of mankind–that my own highest aspirations even–lead me towards the doctrine of immortality. I doubt the fact, to begin with, but if it be so even, what is this but in grand words asking me to believe a thing because I like it. Science has taught to me the opposite lesson. She warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconseptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this. There are, however, other arguments commonly brought forward in favour of the immortality of man, which are to my mind not only delusive but mischievous. The one is the notion that the moral government of the world is imperfect without a system of future rewards and punishments. The other is: that such a system is indispensable to practical morality. I believe that both these dogmas are very mischievous lies. – Thomas Huxley (Letter to Charles Kingsley on the death of his own son, Sept 23 1860) (Full text at Alex O’Neal’s ‘The Alex Files’, drawn from Huxley’s other son Leonard Huxley’s The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley via Project Gutenberg

(Freeman) Dyson may be an Obama-loving, Bush-loathing liberal who has spent his life opposing American wars and fighting for the protection of natural resources, but he brooks no ideology and has a withering aversion to scientific consensus. …When Dyson joins the public conversation about climate change by expressing concern about the “enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories,” these reservations come from a place of experience. Whatever else he is, Dyson is the good scientist; he asks the hard questions. He could also be a lonely prophet. Or, as he acknowledges, he could be dead wrong….Climate models, he says, take into account atmospheric motion and water levels but have no feeling for the chemistry and biology of sky, soil and trees. “The biologists have essentially been pushed aside,” he continues. “Al Gore’s just an opportunist. The person who is really responsible for this overestimate of global warming is Jim Hansen. He consistently exaggerates all the dangers.”…Dyson says it’s only principle that leads him to question global warming: “According to the global-warming people, I say what I say because I’m paid by the oil industry. Of course I’m not, but that’s part of their rhetoric. If you doubt it, you’re a bad person, a tool of the oil or coal industry.” Global warming, he added, “has become a party line.” …What may trouble Dyson most about climate change are the experts. Experts are, he thinks, too often crippled by the conventional wisdom they create, leading to the belief that “they know it all.” The men he most admires tend to be what he calls “amateurs,” inventive spirits of uncredentialed brilliance like Bernhard Schmidt, an eccentric one-armed alcoholic telescope-lens designer; Milton Humason, a janitor at Mount Wilson Observatory in California whose native scientific aptitude was such that he was promoted to staff astronomer; and especially Darwin, who, Dyson says, “was really an amateur and beat the professionals at their own game.” – Nicholas Davidoff in The Civil Heretic in the New York Times Magazine, March 25, 2009.

(on Richard Feynman): It’s kind of interesting to look at. His style was always very much the same. He always just used regular calculus and things. Essentially nineteenth-century mathematics. He never trusted much else. – Stephen Wolfram

I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. […] I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose. – Richard Feynman

The young Feynman was heavily influenced by his father, Melville, who encouraged him to ask questions to challenge orthodox thinking. (Wiki)

The method of science is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them. – Karl Popper

What restrains the theorist from becoming wholly carried away by the attractions of some mathematical theory is the need to make predictions with it and to test them against the hard reality of the physical world. But as, during this century, experiments in fundamental physics have become harder to do, more costly and more consuming of time and manpower, this restraining empirical influence has weakened. – David Lindley (The End of Physics)

(All) human knowledge is uncertain, inexact and partial. To this doctrine we have not found any limitation whatever. – Bertrand Russell (Human Knowledge).

It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. – H. L. Mencken

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. It is better to know even if the knowledge endures only for the moment that comes before destruction than to gain eternal life at the price of a dull and swinish lack of comprehension of a universe that swirls unseen before us in all its wonder. That was the choice of Achilles, and it is mine, too. – Isaac Asimov

I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse. – Isaac Asimov

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers. – Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

It is difficult to mark the limits of superstition. – Voltaire

Don’t think, try. – William Harvey

“Yes, I always tell them the truth straight to their faces. I’m not afraid of anyone or anything. In this respect there is a vast difference between me and you. You people are in the dark, you are blind and beaten to the ground; you are nothing, and what you do see you fail to understand… They tell you the wind breaks loose from its chains, that you are beasts, savages, and you believe it. Someone punches you in the neck and you kiss his hand! A reptile in a raccoon coat strips you of everything you possess, and then tosses you a penny for your pains, and you say: “Sir, let me kiss your hand.’ You are outcasts, poor pathetic wretches…I am different. I live in full consciousness of my powers. I see everything, like a hawk or an eagle hovering over the earth, and I understand everything. I am protest incarnate. When I see tyranny, I protest. When I see cant and hypocrisy, I protest. When I see swine triumphant, I protest. I cannot be silenced: no Spanish Inquisition will make me hold my tongue. No! If you cut out my tongue, I will still protest–with gestures. Bury me in a cellar, and I will shout so loud they will hear me a mile away, or else I will starve myself to death, and thus hang another weight around their black consciences. Kill me and my ghost will haunt them! All my acquaintances say, ‘You are a most insufferable fellow, Pavel Ivanich!’ I am proud of my reputation. For three years I served in the Far East, and I shall be remembered there for a hundred years because I quarreled with everyone. My friends write to me from Russia: ‘Don’t come back!’ But as you see I am going back to spite them!… Yes, that’s life as I understand it! That’s what’s called life.” – Anton Chekhov, (Gusev, short story)

Remember, no honest man is ever insignificant. – Anton Chekhov

We are all full of weaknesses and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies, – it is the first law of nature. – Voltaire

The real story of our times is seldom told in the horse-puckey-filled memoirs of dopey, self-serving presidents or generals, but in the outrageous, demented lives of guys like Lenny Bruce, Giordano Bruno, Scott Fitzgerald — and Paul Krassner. The burrs under society’s saddle. The pains in the ass. – Harlan Ellison

The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men. – Julius Charles Hare

Dearer to me than a host of base truths is the illusion that exalts.- Alexander Pushkin

A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education. – George Bernard Shaw

We are all full of weaknesses and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies, – it is the first law of nature. – Voltaire

The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men. – Julius Charles Hare

The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters is simplicity: nothing is better than simplicity. – Walt Whitman

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple. – C. W. Ceram

It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas. – Charles Peguy

Simple truths are a relief from grand speculations. – Vauvenargues

I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job — Einstein’s idea that time duration depended on the observer was very much opposed to the “consensus” view of the time. Einstein’s idea that light was composed of particles (now called “photons”) was also considered crazy by all physicists when he first published the idea. At least then he could publish the idea. Now a refereed journal would never even consider a paper written by a patent clerk, and all 1905 physics referees would agree that relativity and quantum mechanics were nonsense, definitely against the overwhelming consensus view. So journals would reject Einstein’s papers if he were to write them today. – Frank Tipler

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. – Dwight D. Eisenhower (1961)

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people. – Isaac Newton

This most beautiful system [the universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. — Isaac Newton

When examining evidence relevant to a given belief, people are inclined to see what they expect to see, and conclude what they expect to conclude. Information that is consistent with our pre-existing beliefs is often accepted at face value, whereas evidence that contradicts them is critically scrutinized and discounted. Our beliefs may thus be less responsive than they should be to the implications of new information. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, “Sorry, but we don’t know”. The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed. – Freeman Dyson (in Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe (Page Barbour Lectures))

I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. Since I am a heretic, I am accustomed to being in the minority. If I could persuade everyone to agree with me, I would not be a heretic. – Freeman Dyson (Ibid).

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (Ibid.)

If we teach everybody, let’s say high school students, the habit of being skeptical, perhaps they will not restrict their skepticism to aspirin commercials and 35,000-year-old channelers (or channelees). Maybe they’ll start asking awkward questions about economic, or social, or political, or religious institutions. Then where will we be? – Carl Sagan (Ibid.)

I have here the program of this year’s Whole Life Expo in San Francisco. Twenty thousand people attended last year’s program. Here is (one) of the presentations: “Alternative Treatments for AIDS Patients: It will rebuild one’s natural defenses and prevent immune system breakdowns—learn about the latest developments that the media has so far ignored.” It seems to me that this presentation could do real harm. – Carl Sagan (Ibid).

It seems to be what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of those modes, which ever one it is, you’re in deep trouble. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) – Carl Sagan (Ibid).

I want to say a little more about the burden of skepticism. You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don’t see as clearly as you do. That is a potential social danger present in an organization like CSICOP. We have to guard carefully against it. – Carl Sagan (Ibid).

It sometimes happens that ideas that are accepted by everybody turn out to be wrong, or at least partially wrong, or at least superseded by ideas of greater generality. And, while there are of course some personal losses — emotional bonds to the idea that you yourself played a role inventing — nevertheless the collective ethic is that every time such an idea is overthrown and replaced by something better the enterprise of science has benefited. In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. – Carl Sagan (Ibid).

It is important to realize that scientific debates, just like pseudoscientific debates, can be awash with emotion. – Carl Sagan (Ibid).

We also know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling. – Henri Poincare.

There is no absolute up or down, as Aristotle taught; no absolute position in space; but the position of a body is relative to that of other bodies. Everywhere there is incessant relative change in position throughout the universe, and the observer is always at the centre of things. – Giordano Bruno

One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision. – Bertrand Russell

Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors… Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. – Albert Einstein.

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want… rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. – Frederick Douglass

A company of scholars going together to catch conies ((rabbits)), carried one scholar with them, which had not much more wit than he was born with; and to him they gave in charge, that if he saw any, he should be silent, for fear of scaring them. But he no sooner espied a company of rabbits before the rest, but he cried aloud, “Ecce multi cuniculi,” which in English signifies, behold many conies; which he had no sooner said, but the conies ran to their burrows: and he being checked by them for it, answered, “Who the devil would have thought that the rabbits understood Latin?” – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) (Apophthegms)((=Aphorisms))

There was a minister deprived for nonconformity, who said to some of his friends, that if they deprived him, it should cost an hundred men’s lives. The party understood it, as if being a turbulent fellow, he would have moved sedition, and complained of him; whereupon being convented and opposed upon that speech, he said his meaning was, that if he lost his benefice, he would practise physic, and then he thought he should kill an hundred men in time. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) (Apophthegms)

Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man’s mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

‘Tis a pleasant thing, from the shore, to behold the dangers of another upon the mighty ocean, when the winds are lashing the main: not because it is a grateful pleasure for any one to be in misery, but because it is a pleasant thing to see those misfortunes from which you yourself are free: ’tis also a pleasant thing to behold the mighty contests of warfare, arrayed upon the plains, without a share in the danger: but nothing is there more delightful than to occupy the elevated temples of the wise, well fortified by tranquil learning, whence you may be able to look down upon others, and see them straying in every direction, and wandering in search of the path of life. – Lucretius.

Not even the angels stand higher than the man who took the wrong way and then returned. – The Talmud

A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it. – Steven Pinker.

But alas! Science cannot now rescue us, for even the scientist is lost in the terrible midnight of our age. Indeed, science gave us the very instruments that threaten to bring universal suicide. – Martin Luther King, Jr

The most formidable barrier to the advancement of science is the conventional wisdom of the dominant group. – Conrad Hal Waddington, Embryologist & Geneticist (1905-1975).

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Verily, just as serpents close their ears, so do men close their eyes to the truth. – Galileo Galilei.

It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile. – Sting

The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it. – Peter Medawar

People will always prefer black-and-white over shades of grey, and so there will always be the temptation to hold overly-simplified beliefs and to hold them with excessive confidence. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

I cannot give any scientist of any age any better advice than this: the intensity of the conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing on whether it is true or not. – Peter Medawar, Advice To A Young Scientist.

A scientist who habitually deceives himself is well on the way toward deceiving others. – Peter Medawar, Ibid.

Here we encounter the dogmatic stupidity proper to a signifier as such, the stupidity which assumes the shape of a tautology: a name refers to an object because this object is called that. – Slavoj Zizek

Excess of confidence in the rightness of their own views is a sort of senile hubris, as offensive in older scientists as excess of hubris in the young. – Peter Medawar, Ibid.

Criticism is the most powerful weapon in any methodology of science; it is the scientist’s only assurance that he need not persist in error. All experimentation is criticism. If an experiment does not hold out the possibility of causing one to revise one’s views, it is hard to see why it should be done at all. – Peter Medawar, Ibid.

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

It seems that once again people engage in a search for evidence that is biased toward confirmation. Asked to assess the similarity of two entities, people pay more attention to the ways in which they are similar than to the ways in which they differ. Asked to assess dissimilarity, they become more concerned with differences than with similarities. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid. – James Watson

Malice, sir, is the spirit of criticism, and criticism marks the origin of progress and enlightenment. – Thomas Mann

Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. – Noam Chomsky

Since then, I never pay any attention to anything by “experts”. I calculate everything myself. When people said the quark theory was pretty good, I got two Ph.D.s, Finn Ravndal and Mark Kislinger, to go through the whole works with me, just so I could check that the thing was really giving results that fit fairly well, and that it was a significantly good theory. I’ll never make that mistake again, reading experts’ opinions. – Richard Feynman, Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!.

So I have just one wish for you – the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom. – Richard Feynman, Ibid.

If you live inside Washington, as is true for any culture– the culture starts shaping your own thinking. It starts infecting the way it is that you think. Everybody you speak to is infected by it. Everybody that you know is a part of it. And it’s very difficult to step back and to look at it and examine it when you’re too enmeshed in it. On top of that, people who live in the beltway are invested in the people who are there. They are their friends, those are their colleagues. The people on whom they rely for their next job. And for their support. And so, if you’re actually removed from it. If you stay far away from it and outside of it, I think you can actually understand it better than if you’re enmeshed in it and sort of subsumed by it. And the less invested you are in that culture, I think, the freer you are to think about it and critique it and understand it, without any fear of repercussions. – Glenn Greenwald (to Bill Moyers, Oct 30, 2009, PBS)

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action. – Bertrand Russell

If there is any one way to confess one’s own mediocrity, it is the willingness to place one’s work in the absolute power of a group, particularly a group of one’s professional colleagues. Of any form of tyranny, this is the worst; it is directed against a single human attribute: the mind–and against a single enemy: the innovator. The innovator, by definition, is the man who challenges the established practices of his profession. To grant a professional monopoly to any group, is to sacrifice human ability and abolish progress; to advocate such a monopoly, is to confess that one has nothing to sacrifice. – Ayn Rand, “The Return of the Primitive”

Objectivity cannot be equated with mental blankness; rather, objectivity resides in recognizing your preferences and then subjecting them to especially harsh scrutiny. – Stephen Jay Gould.

What is the suspension of consciousness which drugs or disease may bring about? Could either welfare or happiness be present under such conditions? And this is to say nothing of misery and disgrace, which will certainly be urged against us… – Plotinus, First Ennead.

Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes. – Isaac Newton, Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy, Rule I.

We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to itself. – Isaac Newton, Master of the Mint 1699-1727, Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy, Rule III.

I blamed my own imprudence on parting with so substantial a blessing as my quiet to run after a shadow. – Isaac Newton, Master of the Mint 1699-1727, on starting a controversy involving Hooke, Lucas, Linus, and others by communicating his discovery on light to the Royal Society, 1671.

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? – Joseph Welch, Army-McCarthy Hearings, 9 June 1954 (full transcript at History Matters)

What could stand more in the way of genuine philosophy, of honest inquiry after truth, which is the noblest calling of noblest men, than that conventional metaphysics to which the state has granted a monopoly? – Arthur Schopenhauer.

The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public.- Arthur Schopenhauer.

No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men.- Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881, Heroes and Hero Worship.

Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and the hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward. – Edward Abbey.

“Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he is willing to make gods by dozens.” – Michel de Montaigne

If, in earliest childhood, a man has certain principles and doctrines repeatedly recited to him with abnormal solemnity and with an air of supreme earnestness such as he has never before beheld, and at the same time the possibility of doubt is never so much as touched on, or if it is only in order to describe it as the first step toward eternal perdition, then the impression produced will be so profound that in almost every case the man will be almost as incapable of doubting his doctrine as of doubting his own existence, so that hardly one in a thousand will then possess the firmness of mind seriously and honestly to ask himself: is this true? The expression esprits forts, strong minds, applied to those who do still possess it, is more fitting than those who use it know. But for the remainder, however, there is nothing so absurd or revolting that they will not firmly believe it once they have been inoculated with it in this fashion. – Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860).

The king was bled to the extent of a pint from a vein in his right arm. Next, his shoulder was cut into and the incised area was sucked of an additional 8 oz of blood. An emetic and a purgative were administered, followed by a second purgative, followed by an enema containing antimony, sacred bitters, rock salt, mallow leaves, violets, beetroot, chamomile flowers, fennel seeds, linseed, cinnamon, cardamom seed, saffron, cochineal and aloes. The king’s scalp was shaved and a blister raised. A sneezing powder of hellebore was administered. A plaster of burgundy pitch and pigeon dung was applied to the feet. Medicaments included melon seeds, manna, slippery elm, black cherry water, lime flowers, lily of the valley, peony, lavender and dissolved pearls. As he grew worse, forty drops of extract of human skull were administered, followed by a rallying dose of Raleigh’s antidote. Finally, bezoar stone was given. Curiously, his Majesty’s strength seemed to wane after all these interventions and, as the end of his life seemed imminent, his doctors tried a last-ditch attempt by forcing more Raleigh’s mixture, pearl julep and ammonia down the dying king’s throat. Further treatment was rendered more difficult by the king’s death.- Rob Buckman, Magic or Medicine (1994)

Intellectual activity has often a structure and direction that it impresses one as an extremely clever apparatus precisely for the avoidance of facts, as an activity which distracts from reality. – Wilhelm Reich

The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the right. – Douglas McGarel Hogg, Lord Hailsham

But when a man shamelessly goes on using circumlocutions, and never acknowledges when he has had a fall, he is like the amateur wrestlers, who, when they have been overthrown by the experts and are lying on their backs on the ground, so far from recognizing their fall, actually seize their victorious adversaries by the neck and prevent them from getting away, thus supposing themselves to be the winners. – Galen

True science thrives best in glass houses where everyone can look in. When the windows are blacked out, as in war, the weeds take over; when secrecy muffles criticism, charlatans and cranks flourish. – Max Perutz

Hereafter, when they come to model Heav’n, And calculate the Stars, How will they wield The mighty frame, how build, unbuild, contrive, To save appearances, how grid the Sphere With Centric and Eccentric scribbl’d o’er, Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb. – John Milton, Paradise Lost

Biologists can be just as sensitive to heresy as theologians. – H.G.Wells.

The independent scientist who is worth the slightest consideration as a scientist has a consecration which comes entirely from within himself: a vocation which demands the possibility of supreme self-sacrifice. – Norbert Weiner, The Human Use of Human Beings.

You have to write a grant a year almost. And you have to write four to get one, if you’re any good. I got out just in time. Everybody who’s still in there says the same thing. Before the biotech boom, we never had this incessant urging to produce something useful, meaning profitable. Everybody is caught up in it. Grants, millions of dollars flowing into laboratories, careers and stars being made. The only way to be a successful scientist today is to follow consensus. If you’re going to produce something and put it on the market you don’t want any goddamn surprises. You’ve got the next quarter to report and you don’t want any bad news. It’s all about the short term now. Science has totally capitulated to corporate interests. Given their power and money, it’s going to be very hard to work our way out of this. – Richard Strohman, emeritus professor of biology at UC Berkeley (quoted in Celia Farber, Out of Control, Harpers 2006)

Men truly pious and philosophical are led by their reasons to honor and love only what is true, and refuse to follow traditional opinions, when they are false. – Justin the Christian martyr (scourged and beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods, by command of Emperor Marcus Aurelius).

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

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy. -H. L. Mencken

“Every man has his price.” This is not true. But for every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing. To win over certain people to something, it is only necessary to give it a gloss of love of humanity, nobility, gentleness, self-sacrifice – and there is nothing you cannot get them to swallow. To their souls, these are the icing, the tidbit; other kinds of souls have others. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw.

If you want to see with your own eyes and from close to what early inoculation with faith can do, look at the English, nature has favored them before all other nations and furnished them with more understanding, judgment and firmness of character than all the rest; yet they have been degraded lower than all the rest, indeed been rendered almost contemptible, by their stupid church superstition, which infiltrates all their capabilities like an idea fixe, a downright monomania. The only reason for this is that education is in the hands of the clergy, who take care so to imprint all the articles of faith in earliest youth that it produces a kind of partial paralysis of the brain, which then gives rise to that lifelong imbecile bigotry through which even people otherwise in the highest degree intelligent degrade themselves and make a quite misleading impression on the rest of the world. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw.

The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control – “indoctrination,” we might say – exercised through the mass media. – Noam Chomsky

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

God has infinite wisdom, goodness and power; he created the universe…He created this speck of dirt and the human species for his glory, and with deliberate design of making nine-tenths of our species miserable for ever for his glory. This is the doctrine of Christian theologians, in general, ten to one…Wretches! What is his glory? Is he ambitious? Does he want promotion? Is he vain, tickled with adulation, exulting and triumphing in his power and the sweetness of his vengeance? Pardon me, my Maker, for these awful questions. – John Adams.

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it! – John Adams.

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. – Susan Ertz

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.- John Kenneth Galbraith

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

There is not a crime, there is not a vice which does not live in secrecy. Get these things out in the open, describe them, attack them, ridicule them in the press and sooner or later public opinion will sweep them away. – Joseph Pulitzer.

Every man who attacks my belief, diminishes in some degree my confidence in it, and therefore makes me uneasy; and I am angry with him who makes me uneasy. – Samuel Johnson

The true scientist never loses the faculty of amusement. It is the essence of his being. – J. Robert Oppenheimer, lecture, 1954.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. – Albert Einstein.

Want of tenderness is a sure sign of stupidity. – Samuel Johnson.

Madness … is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups. – Daniel Goleman of Harvard (after Nietzche).

Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand. – George Augustus Moore

To be good is noble, but to tell others how to be good is nobler, and no trouble. – Mark Twain

We can hardly expect a committee to acquiesce in the dethronement of tradition. Only an individual can do that, an individual who is not responsible to the mob. Now that the truly independent man of wealth has disappeared, now that the independence of the academic man is fast disappearing, where are we to find the conditions of partial alienation and irresponsibility needed for the highest creativity? – Garrett Hardin, biologist and historian of science (1959)

One of the greatest creations of the human mind is the art of reviewing books without having read them. – Georg C. Lichtenberg

Whatever system we adopt, it must be kind to rebels, and there must be no good-conduct prizes…If we do not train our students to think for themselves–perhaps it would be fairer to say, if we do not allow them to think for themselves–no opportunities that we provide in later life will be of much avail. – W.W. C. Topley, physician (1940)

The danger comes when scientists allow themselves to be organized, when they begin to respect and obeypronouncements on science by academies, universities, societies, and, finally, governments. May that day never come! – Clifford Truesdell, mathematical physicist and historian of science (1984)

Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. this is the principle of lotteries, dating, and religion. – Scott Adams

Just because an idea appeals to a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s wrong. But that’s a good working theory. – John Tierney, New York Times columnist (Tierney Lab, Science Times, every Tuesday).

Avoid popularity if you would have peace. – Abraham Lincoln

As science pushes forward, ignorance and superstition gallop around the flanks and bite science in the rear with big dark teeth. – Philip Jose Farmer

Name me an Emperor who was ever struck by a cannonball. – Charles V

Galileo wrote to the Grand Duchess Christina in a way, which is curiously resonant today: “Some years ago I discovered in the heavens many things that had not been seen before our own age. The novelty of these things, as well as some consequences which followed from them in contradiction to the physical notions commonly held among academic philosophers, stirred up against me no small number of professors, as if I had placed these things in the sky with my own hands in order to upset nature and overturn the sciences. Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them.” – Michael Tracy

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind.
– Emily Dickinson

Rebel spirits like Louis Leakey and Alister Hardy are sadly becoming a rare and vanishing species in the scientific world, and it is the poorer for it. — Desmond Morris

I no longer know whether I can be classified as a modern scientist or as an example of a beast on its way to extinction. – Barbara McClintock

Moving between fields is the way to be creative. Keep your fingers in a lot of pies. I do it because I’m curious. I’m the only person I know who goes into a poster session [at a scientific meeting] and stops at the first poster I have no idea what it’s about. Find the poster you don’t know anything about and look at it for a long time, and you might learn something totally different.- Kary Mullis

Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man. – Bertrand Russell

For Carruthers, the dawn of excitement came while he was a graduate student at Cornell. He had been studying quantum field theory, a subject that confused him because it seemed riddled with dogma rather than equations that were simple or elegant. “The nightmare of it always made me uneasy in my stomach,” he recalls. “I’d go to class and the students would sit there nodding their heads in rhythm to these incantations from the lectern, And I’d be sitting there thinking, ‘They all understand it and I don’t.’ I was sure they were all much brighter than I was.” Put off by the confusion, he was about to flee particle physics when Dr. Richard P. Feynman, a Nobel Laureate, came to Cornell and taught a course on the subject. “He made complete fun of the ridiculous problems of field theory. And I thought, ‘My God, maybe I’m right. Maybe there’s a reason I don’t understand this stuff.’ That experience became the turning point in my development.” — Interview of Peter Carruthers, theoretical physicist and violinist, by William Broad (1984).

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. – Voltaire.

A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable.- Carl Sagan

The religious interpretations that compel Muslim women to wear the veil in secular countries where church and state have long been separated and where equality of the sexes is firmly established, reveals a mentality that is not content mere with veiling women, but seeks to shroud man, society, life in general–to pull the veil over the eyes of reason itself. – Adonis (Ali Ahmad Sa’id)

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen. It is assuming a superiority, and it is particularly wrong to question a man concerning himself. There may be parts of his former life which he may not wish to be made known to other persons, or even brought to his own recollection. – Samuel Johnson

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster but an opportunity. – Alfred North Whitehead.

“It is easy enough to find a theory, logically harmonious and with important applications in the regions of fact, provided that you are content to disregard half the facts…. An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion.” – Alfred North Whitehead

When all funding for research intended to have an urgent public use is placed in one basket, the funding body is left empty-handed if the hypothesis is barren. Public commitment to a barren hypothesis introduces another prestige factor making it difficult to revise the hypothesis. That factor is the loss of face involved in admitting error. The need to keep up the appearance of the reliability of the scientific consensus thus locked AIDS science into a no-win predicament that becomes ever more intransigent as the futility of the hypothesis becomes ever more apparent.- Hiram Caton

On the face of it, the designation of AIDS as the most significant threat to public health is nonsense…This catastrophic vision is the AIDS mirage. I call it a mirage because health authorities embrace a contingent future as an incontrovertible truth. The passion invested in the viral epidemic dogma is transferred to the entire AIDS management program, so that the whole is seized by cataleptic rigidity (a panic symptom). Our AIDS management systems are incapable of reviewing evidence which shows that there have been mistakes about HIV causality, mistakes of diagnosis, mistakes about its transmission, mistakes about HIV antibody tests, mistakes about therapies. – Hiram Caton Why We Need AIDS; The AIDS Mirage 1995)

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. – Napoleon Bonaparte

All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth ..Every elevation of man brings with it the overcoming of narrower interpretations…every strengthening and increase of power opens up new perspectives and means believing in new horizons. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The search for truth and justice is always in conflict with the search for wealth and popularity. That is the lesson of my life. – Michael Phillip Wright, Norman, Oklahoma

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God? – George Daagon.

Malice, sir, is the spirit of criticism, and criticism marks the origin of progress and enlightenment. – Thomas Mann

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. – Bertrand Russell

There has never been anything, however absurd, that myriads of people weren’t prepared to believe, often so passionately that they’d fight to the death rather than abandon their illusions. To me, that’s a good operational definition of insanity. – Arthur C. Clarke.

This is one of those views which are so absolutely absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them. – Bertrand Russell

Man won’t fly for a thousand years. – Wilbur Wright, to his brother Orville after a disappointing flying experiment (1901)

It is in the nature of a hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it, that it assimilates every thing to itself, as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, generally grows stronger by every thing you see, hear, read or understand. – Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1760)

There are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies and statistics. – Mark Twain, Autobiography (1924)

Generally speaking, truth management is merely one application of the arts of persuasion, promotion, and propaganda. It is not distinguished by the novelty of its devices, but in the boldness of their application to the one patch of modern culture that is supposed to be impervious to these arts. The details of the promotion of the viral theory (of AIDS) show that managing truth is not an occasional lapse from rigid integrity. It is an indispensable tool, used daily by editors, grant bodies, policy-makers and the like, to shape the direction of otherwise “chaotic” science. To use an economic analogy, it replaces individualistic laissez-faire in discovery with “research management plans”. – Hiram Caton

Statistics are no substitute for judgment. – Henry Clay

If you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid-not only what you think is right about it… Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.- Richard Feynman.

Every man has some favourite topic of conversation, on which, by a feigned seriousness of attention, he may be drawn to expatiate without end.- Samuel Johnson

Happy is he who has been able to learn the causes of things. – Virgil, Georgics (36-29 BC)

“Science is the only self-correcting human institution, but it is also a process that progresses only by showing itself to be wrong.”–Astronomer Allan Sandage.

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. – Thomas Paine.

Science is all those things which are confirmed to such a degree that it would be unreasonable to withhold one’s provisional consent.- Stephen Jay Gould, in a lecture on evolution at Cambridge, 1984.

Nothing is more interesting to the true theorist than a fact which directly contradicts a theory generally accepted up to that time, for this is his particular work. – Max Planck, A Survey of Physics (1925).

Science advances funeral by funeral… A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents finally die out. – Max Planck

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarised with the ideas from the beginning. – Max Planck (New York 1949)

If anybody says he can think about quantum problems without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them.- Max Planck

Only those who have got something to hide don’t want to discuss it. – Simon Wain-Hobson (quoted by Ed Hooper in The River).

They don’t award Nobel prizes for finding out that things are wrong. – James Duff.

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue.—Winston Churchill

Atomic energy might be as good as our present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything very much more dangerous. – Winston Churchill (1939)

Plato is my friend – Aristotle is my friend – but my greatest friend is truth. – Isaac Newton.

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune. – Noam Chomsky

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite. – Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).

You can’t convince a believer of anything, for their belief is not based on evidence, but a deep-seated need to believe. – Carl Sagan.

People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive. – Blaise Pascal

“When one person has a delusion they are considered crazy, when millions of people have the same delusion, they call it religion.” – Richard Dawkins

In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better that it should go first than last. – Hugh Walpole

Most men can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it obliges them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven thread by thread into the fabric of their lives. – Leo Tolstoy.

I am tired of this thing called science…. We have spent millions on that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped. – Senator Simon Cameron, 1861 (demanding that the funding of the Smithsonian Institution be cut off).

The peer pressure on both sides of that argument creates people that are going to be followers and people that are going to be leaders. You know, you go out drinking beer and there is one person that is kind of the leader of the group and if you want to stay in the group then you kind of agree. That’s the way it goes. – Mark Furman (Detective, O.J.Simpson case, author, “The Murder Business, How The Media Turns Crime into Entertainment and Subverts Justice”, to Oprah Winfrey, Oct 11, 2010)

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

La bave du crapaud n’atteint pas la blanche colombe (The spit of the toad doesn’t reach the white dove) – French saying

We know it will discover exciting things. We just don’t know what they are yet. – CERN physicist Brian Cox on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

The way to change people’s minds is to make sure your mind is open and have a genuine discussion. – Stephen Gerald Breyer (US Supreme Court Justice)

Simplicity is infinitely more fascinating than intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none. – Claude Chabrol

I love learning of new findings that overturn or at least complicate abiding verities, even when I may have written about those verities in the past… In fact, if there is any lesson I have learned in my years of following science, it is that nothing is as it seems. Instead, things are as they seem plus the details you are just beginning to notice. New truth rarely overturn old ones; they simply add nuanced brushstrokes to the portrait. – Natalie Angier, New York Times science writer and author.

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. – Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970).

He who has never been deceived by a lie does not know the meaning of bliss. – Albert Einstein (letter to Elisa Lowenthal, April 30, 1912).

From a drop of water a logician could predict an Atlantic or a Niagara. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet (1887)

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. – Theodosius Gregorievich Dobzhansky (title of his article in American Biology Teacher, 1973).

Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification. – Harold Fabing and Ray Marr, Fischerisms (1937)

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it. – Samuel Johnson

That’s what reporters do. They write about things people know nothing about, including themselves sometimes. – Andy Rooney.

I accepted the Copernican position several years ago and discovered from thence the causes of many natural effects which are doubtless inexplicable by the current theories. I have written up many reasons and refutations on the subject, but I have not dared until now to bring them into the open, being warned by the fortunes of Copernicus himself, our master, who procured for himself immortal fame among a few but stepped down among the great crowd (for this is how foolish people are to be numbered), only to be derided and dishonoured. I would dare publish my thoughts if there were many like you; but since there are not, I shall forbear. – Galileo Galilei
(Letter to Johannes Kepler, 4 Aug 1597)

Nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor. – Voltaire

To act intelligently in human affairs is only possible if an attempt is made to understand the thoughts, motives, and apprehensions of one’s opponent so fully that one can see the world through his eyes. – Albert Einstein.

There are only two things, science and opinion; the former yields knowledge, the latter ignorance. – Hippocrates, Law (5th-4th Century BC, probably460-370 BC.)

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

Experimental evidence is strongly in favor of my argument that the chemical purity of the air is of no importance. – L. Erskine Hill, Lecturer on Physiology at London Hospital, in “Impure Air Not Unhealthful If Stirred and Cooked”, New York Times, Sept 22, 1912.

The universe consists only of atoms and the void: all else is opinion and illusion. – Edward Robert Harrison, Masks of the Universe (1985)

It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., The Poet at the Breakfast-Table (1892)

It would be interesting to inquire how many times essential advances in science have first been made possible by the fact that the boundaries of special disciplines were not respected….Trespassing is one of the most successful techniques in science. – Wolfgang Kohler, Dynamics in Psychology (1940)

People who write obscurely are either unskilled in writing or up to mischief. – Sir Peter Medawar, Science and Literature in Plato’s Republic (1984)

Freedom is for science what the air is for an animal. – Henri Poincare, Dernieres Pensees

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock. – Ben Hecht

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. – B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)

All problems are finally scientific problems. – George Bernard Shaw, Preface, The Doctor’s Dilemma (1911)

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation without investigation.” – Herbert Spencer

It is a test of true theories not only to account for but to predict phenomena. – William Whewell, Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840)

Be enthusiastic. Remember the placebo effect – 30% of medicine is showbiz. – Ronald Spark, Medical World News, February 16 1981.

It would be a poor thing to be an atom in the universe without physicists, and physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is an atom’s way of knowing about atoms. – George Wald, The Fitness of the Environment, by L. J. Henderson (1958)

Science is the topography of ignorance. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Medical Essays (1883)

If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility. – Peter B. Medawar

The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions. – Clause Levi-Strauss, The Raw and the Cooked (1964)

Every scientist is an agent of cultural change. He may not be a champion of change; he may even resist it, as scholars of the past resisted the new truths of historical geology, biological evolution, unitary chemistry, and non-Euclidean geometry. But to the extent that he is a true professional, the scientist is inescapably an agent of change. His tools are the instruments of change: skepticism, the challenge to established authority, criticism, rationality and individuality. – Alexander Vucinich, Science in Russian Culture: A History to 1860 (1963)

A minority may be right, and a majority is always wrong. – Henrik Ibsen

It is always the minorities that hold the key to progress; it is always through those who are unafraid to be different that advance comes to human society. – Raymond B. Fosdick

One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him. – Chinese proverb.

You do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. — Václav Havel, (Living in Truth, 1986)

Get your facts first, then you may distort them as much as you please. – Mark Twain.

Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 19,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons. Popular Mechanics, March 1949.

A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries better. – Stephen Leacock.

To believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting. – Stanislaus, King of Poland.

A ready man is made by conversation. He that buries himself among his manuscripts ‘besprent,’ as Pope expresses it, ‘with learned dust,’ and wears out his days and nights in perpetual research and solitary mediation, is too apt to lose in his elocution what he adds to his wisdom; and when he comes into the world, to appear overloaded with his own notions, like a man armed with weapons which he cannot wield. He has no facility of inculcating his speculations, of adapting himself to the various degrees of intellect which the accidents of conversation will present; but will talk to most unintelligibly, and to all unpleasantly. – Samuel Johnson.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one. – Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

Thousands upon thousands of persons have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health. – Adelle Davis

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise. – Shakespeare (1564-1616), Troilus and Cressida

Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality. – Martin Luther King Jr.

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and therefore never scrutinize or question. – Stephen Jay Gould (1941 – 2002)

Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers. – Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

Immortality. I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you know. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.- Woody Allen

What men want is not knowledge, but certainty. – Bertrand Russell.

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers. – Erich Fromm.

There are no facts, only interpretations. – Frederich Nietzche.

When a man of science speaks of his “data”, he knows very well what he means. Certain experiments have been conducted, and have yielded certain observed results, which have been recorded. But when we try to define a “datum” theoretically, the task is not altogether easy. A datum, obviously, must be a fact known by perception. But it is very difficult to arrive at a fact in which there is no element of inference, and yet it would seem improper to call something a “datum” if it involves inferences as well as observation. This constitutes a problem. – Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Matter (1954)

‘For example’ is not proof. – Jewish proverb.

It is ironical that, in the very field in which Science has claimed superiority to Theology, for example – in the abandoning of dogma and the granting of absolute freedom to criticism – the positions are now reversed. Science will not tolerate criticism of special relativity, while Theology talks freely about the death of God, religionless Christianity, and so on. – Herbert Dingle, Science at the Crossroads, 1972

All scientific knowledge is provisional. Everything that science “knows,” even the most mundane facts and long-established theories, is subject to reexamination as new information comes in. – Scientific American editorial, December 2002.

That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on your way to the pertinent answer. – Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man, 1973.

Truth never dies, but leads a wretched life. – Yiddish proverb.

In every generation there is some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it. – Boris Pasternak.

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking. – Voltaire

Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized: In the first it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third it is regarded as self-evident. – often said to be by Arthur Schopenhauer, but not found in his writings, so probably Louis Agassiz (1807-1873, Swiss American naturalist) who reportedly said “when a new doctrine is presented, it must go through three stages. First, people say it isn’t true. Then, that it’s against religion. In the third stage, that it has long been known.”

To truth only a brief celebration of victory is allowed between the two long periods during which it is condemned as paradoxical or disparaged as trivial.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Worstellung (1818)

The passion for truth is silenced by answers which have the weight of undisputed authority. – Paul Tillich.

If you want to see with your own eyes and from close to what early inoculation with faith can do, look at the English, nature has favored them before all other nations and furnished them with more understanding, judgment and firmness of character than all the rest; yet they have been degraded lower than all the rest, indeed been rendered almost contemptible, by their stupid church superstition, which infiltrates all their capabilities like an idea fixe, a downright monomania. The only reason for this is that education is in the hands of the clergy, who take care so to imprint all the articles of faith in earliest youth that it produces a kind of partial paralysis of the brain, which then gives rise to that lifelong imbecile bigotry through which even people otherwise in the highest degree intelligent degrade themselves and make a quite misleading impression on the rest of the world. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand. – Josh Billings.

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.- Voltaire

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

I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more, as I grow older. – Montaigne

One truth discovered, one pang of regret at not being able to to express it, is better than all the fluency and flippancy in the world. – William Hazlitt.

There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. That time was called the Dark Ages. – Richard Lederer.

If you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup. – Turkish proverb.

It takes two to speak the truth. One to speak, and another to hear. – Henry David Thoreau.

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. – Bertrand Russell

What is research, but a blind date with knowledge? – Will Henry.

When the human mind has once quitted the luminous track pointed out by nature, it returns to it no more; it wanders round the truth, but never obtains of it more than a few faint glimmerings, which, mingling with the false lights of surrounding superstition, leave it, in fact, in complete and palpable obscurity. – Voltaire

When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. It is much more nearly certain that we are assembled here tonight than it is that this or that political party is in the right. Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact, because otherwise one is landed in an utter skepticism, and complete skepticism would, of course, be totally barren and completely useless. – Bertrand Russell, “Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?”, 1947

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. – Voltaire

Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day. – Bertrand Russell.

The clever men at Oxford,
Know all there is to be Knowed.
But they none of them know as half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad. – Kenneth Grahame.

When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. – Sigmund Freud

There’s no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible. -Sean O’Casey.

There is a crack in everything God has made. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784),

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed. – Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

Even if you know the way, ask one more time. – Korean proverb.

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. – Friedrich Nietzsche

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. – Plato.

Humankind cannot bear very much reality. – T. S. Eliot.

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths. – Bertrand Russell, Impact of Science on Society (1952) ch. 1

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. – Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals (1929) ch. 5

Men are most apt to believe what they least understand. – Michel Eyquem de Montaigne.

It takes a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious. – Alfred North Whitehead.

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. – John Locke.

To fix the thoughts by writing, and subject them to frequent examinations and reviews, is the best method of enabling the mind to detect its own sophisms, and keep it on guard against the fallacies which it practises on others: in conversation we naturally diffuse our thoughts, and in writing we contract them; method is the excellence of writing, and unconstraint the grace of conversation.- Samuel Johnson.

It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity. – Abraham Lincoln.

All empty souls tend to extreme opinion. – William Butler Yeats.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 5

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 4

Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it. – Bertrand Russell, Why I am Not a Christian.

Public opinion, a vulgar, impertinent, anonymous tyrant who deliberately makes life unpleasant for anyone who is not content to be the average man. – Dean William R. Inge.

With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed. – Abraham Lincoln

In heaven all the interesting people are missing. – Friedrich Nietzsche

If you keep your mind sufficiently open, people will throw a lot of rubbish into it. – William A. Orton.

Our minds are lazier than our bodies. – Francois Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Measure for Measure”, Act 2 scene 1

That which enters the mind through reason can be corrected. That which is admitted through faith, hardly ever. – Santiago Ramon y Cajal.

The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self- respecting human beings. (…) A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. – Bertrand Russell.

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed. – Thomas Henry Huxley.

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority. – Thomas Henry Huxley.

In a war of ideas it is people who get killed. – Stanislaus J. Lec

Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity. – Dr Samuel Johnson.

Oh God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Moral indignation: jealousy with a halo. – H. G. Wells.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. – Friedrich Nietzsche

If the greatest philosopher in the world find himelf upon a plank wider than actually necessary, but hanging over a precipice, his imagination will prevail, though his reason convince him of his safety. – Blaise Pascal.

The very bulk of scientific publications is itself delusive. It is of very unequal value; a large proportion of it, possibly as much as three-quarters, does not deserve to be published at all, and is only published for economic considerations which have nothing to do with the real interests of science.
– John Desmond Bernal (The Social Function of Science (1939), 118.)

Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Joyous distrust is a sign of health. Everything absolute belongs to pathology. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye: the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract. – G. W. Holmes Jr.

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. – Noam Chomsky

I’ll not listen to reason… Reason always means what someone else has got to say. – Mrs Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell.

It seemed so simple when one was young and new ideas were mentioned not to grow red in the face and gobble. – Logan Pearsall Smith.

There are boxes in the mind with labels on them: To study on a favorable occasion; Never to be thought about; Useless to go further; Contents unexamined; Pointless business; Urgent; Dangerous; Impossible; Abandoned; Reserved; For others; My forte; etc. – Paul Valery.

We are not won by arguments that we can analyze but tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself. – Samuel Butler.

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

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. – Samuel Johnson

Gold is worse poison to a man’s soul, doing more murders in this loathsome world, than any mortal drug. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

False face must hide what the false heart doth know. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Only when we know little do we know anything. Doubt grows with knowledge. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

He that is giddy thinks the world turns round. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Taming of the Shrew

There is somebody wiser than any of us, and that is everybody. – Napoleon Bonaparte.

To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. – G. W. Holmes.

There is no philosopher in the world so great but he believes a million things on the faith of other people and accepts a great many more truths than he demonstrates. – Alexis de Toqueville.

To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. – Thomas Jefferson.

The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others. – Bertrand Russell

Truths turn into dogmas the moment they are disputed. – Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

The art of diplomacy consists in the fact that the people never discover the truth until it is too late. – Count of Monte Christo (1930s movie script)

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed. – William Blake.

It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and end as superstitions. -Thomas Henry Huxley.

There is nothing more likely to drive a man mad than an obstinate, constitutional preference of the true to the agreeable. – William Hazlitt.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.- Voltaire

It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

Doubt is the origin of wisdom. – Rene Descartes

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! – Friedrich Nietzsche

It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce. – Voltaire

Mathematics is the queen of sciences and arithmetic is the queen of mathematics. –
Carl Friedrich Gauss

Truth generally is kindness, but where the two diverge and collide, kindness should override truth. – Samuel Butler.

A system-grinder hates the truth.- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The comprehension of truth calls for higher powers than the defense of error. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Cease being the slave of a party and you become its deserter. – Jules Simon.

Common sense is not so common. – Voltaire

Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology. – Friedrich Nietzsche.

The people cannot see, but they can feel. – James Harrington.

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare the truth you have, that all may share; be bold, proclaim it everywhere: they only live who dare. Voltaire

The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third.- Voltaire

The responses of the faithful to any bad idea often consist in holding up a mirror to themselves and describing their critics in terms of what they see, and thoroughly deploring it. – Anthony Le Vere Sage

The masses of men are very difficult to excite on bare grounds of self-interest; most easy if a bold orator tells them confidently they are wronged.- Walter Bagehot.

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. – Bertrand Russell.

Prejudices are what fools use for reason. – Voltaire.

Convictions are the more dangerous enemy of truth than lies. – Friedrich Nietzsche

To succeed in chaining the crowd you must seem to wear the same fetters. – Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. – Voltaire

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

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. – Voltaire

I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom. – Voltaire

Most of the crackpot papers which are submitted to The Physical Review are rejected, not because it is impossible to understand them, but because it is possible. Those which are impossible to understand are usually published. When the great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer himself it will be only half-understood; to everybody else it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope. – Freeman Dyson (‘Innovation in Physics’, Scientific American (Sep 1958).)

A prince who will not undergo the difficulty of understanding must undergo the danger of trusting. – Marquis of Halifax, George Savile.

Unanimity is almost always an indication of servitude. – Charles de Remusat.

Power is so apt to be insolent, and liberty so saucy, that they are very seldom upon good terms. – Marquis of Halifax, George Savile.

Burning stakes do not lighten the darkness. – Nathaniel Lec.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. – (supposedly Voltaire but actually apocryphal, an invention of Voltaire biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall)

Who shall stand guard to the guards themselves? – Juvenal.

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts. – Henry Adams.

The world of politics is always twenty years behind the world of thought. – John Jay Chapman.

I will make a Star-chamber matter of it. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, Act 1 scene 1

Dullness is decent in the Church and State. John Dryden.

The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good. – Bertrand Russell

I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it, but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow.- Voltaire

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it. – Voltaire

Everything written to please the author is worthless. – Blaise Pascal.

Everything that one thinks about a lot becomes problematic. – Friedrich Nietzsche

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation. – Saki (H. H. Munro).

The so-called medical literature is stuffed to bursting with junk, written in a hopscotch style characterised by a Brownian movement of uncontrolled parts of speech which seethe in restless unintelligibility. – William B(ennett) Bean
(Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine (1952), 39, 3).

The reciprocal civility of authors is one of the most risible scenes in the farce of life. – Dr Samuel Johnson.

Morality is the greatest of all tools for leading mankind by the nose. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The man who is asked by an author what he thinks of his work is put to the torture and is not obliged to speak the truth. – Dr. Samuel Johnson.

A journalist is stimulated by a deadline: he writes worse when he has time. – Karl Kraus.

f we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion. – Noam Chomsky

A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable and literature is unread. – Oscar Wilde.

Skilled verse is the art of a profound skeptic.- Paul Valery.

Genuinely good remarks surprise their author as well as his audience. – Joseph Joubert.

The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. – Abraham Lincoln

To write simply is as difficult as to be good. – Somerset Maugham.

It is not so much what you say in a book that constitues its value…(but) all you would like to say, which nourishes it secretly. – Andre Gide.

Art is I; Science is We. – Claude Bernard.

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. – Noam Chomsky

The great tragedy of science: ”the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. – Thomas Henry Huxley.

As for your doctrines I am prepared to go to the Stake if requisite … I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted or annoyed by the considerable abuse & misrepresentation which unless I greatly mistake is in store for you… And as to the curs which will bark and yelp – you must recollect that some of your friends at any rate are endowed with an amount of combativeness which (though you have often & justly rebuked it) may stand you in good stead – I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness. – Thomas Henry Huxley (Letter (23 Nov 1859) to Charles Darwin a few days after the publication of Origin of Species)

In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. – Bertrand Russell.

There can be mathematicians of the first order who cannot count. – Novalis (Baron Friedrich von Hardenberg).

Books must follow sciences, and not sciences books. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

No, ’tis slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
All corners of the world.
– William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Cymbeline”, Act 3 scene 4

Bourgeois scientists make sure that their theories are not dangerous to God or to capital. – Georgi V. Plekhanoff.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. — Edward R. Murrow, (“A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”, CBS News broadcast, 9 March 1954)

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Friedrich Nietzsche

A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone. – Charles Darwin

A doctor used to say, “Only heirs pay well.” – Sebastien Roch Nicolas Chamfort.

The pleasure of novelty being past, I have put off from time to time the execution of this design, and I know not when I shall ever come to an end of it, being often turned aside either by business or by some new study. Considering which I have finally judged that it was better worth while to publish this writing, such as it is, that to let it run the risk, by waiting longer, of remaining lost. – Christian Huygens, 1629-1695, Treatise of Light.

For believe me: the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is – to live dangerously. – Friedrich Nietzsche

You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

A young man is embarrassed to question an older one. – Homer (800 BC – 700 BC), The Odyssey

There is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “Twelfth Night”, Act 3 scene 4

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. – Rene Descartes

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “The Merchant of Venice”, Act 1 scene 3

All churches whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim appear to me to be no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and to monopolize power and profit. – Thomas Paine (1737-1809).

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust. – Charles Baudelaire.

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library; for who can see the wall crowded on every side by mighty volumes, the works of laborious meditations and accurate inquiry, now scarcely known but by the catalogue. – Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

A corporation cannot blush. – Howard Walsh (ascribed).

Beware of telling an improbable truth. – Dr Thomas Fuller.

Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man’s?
– Friedrich Nietzsche,

All men are born truthful, and die liars. – Marquis de Vauvenargues (Luc de Clapiers).

Every invalid is a physician. – Irish proverb.

I observe the physician with the same diligence as the disease. – John Donne.

In science we are really good at disproving things and are very poor at proving things. Theories like the Theory of Relativity go on and on because no one can think of anything better. – Richard Zayre.

The very first requirement of a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm. – Florence Nightingale.

There are some remedies worse than the disease. – Publilius Syrus.

God heals, and the doctor takes the fees. – Benjamin Franklin.

Nature heals, under the auspices of the medical profession. – Haven Emerson.

Faith: not *wanting* to know what is true. – Friedrich Nietzsche

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a lifetime’s experience. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841 – 1935)

The placebo cures 30% of the patients no matter what they have.- David Kline.

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals. – William Osler.

Pray, O pray to God, dear friends, if you are not already asses — that he will cause you to become asses… There is none who praiseth not the golden age when men were asses: they knew not how to work the land. One knew not how to dominate another, one understood no more than another; caves and caverns were their refuge; they were not so well covered nor so jealous nor were they confections of lust and of greed. Everything was held in common. – Giordano Bruno

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time. – James Thurber

There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

That everybody is allowed to learn to read spoileth in the long run not only writing but thinking. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Who is better, they who promote truth over happiness, or happiness over truth? – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can’t understand.- Cardinal de Retz.

Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain. – Friedrich von Schiller.

Every man with an idea has at least two or three followers. – Brooks Atkinson.

If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it. – Thomas Mann.

Man is more ape than many of the apes. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Every time a man puts a new idea across he finds ten men who thought of it before he did, but they only thought of it. – Anon.

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified and new prejudices to be opposed. – Samuel Johnson

No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo.

Man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

An idea is salvation by imagination. -Frank Lloyd Wright.

Only the wise possess ideas; the greater part of mankind are possessed by them. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Man makes holy what he believes, as he makes beautiful what he loves. – Ernest Renan.

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. – Samuel Butler.

How good bad music and bad reasons sound when we march against an enemy. – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

Man’s most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe. – Euripides.

The strongest human instinct is to impart information, the second strongest is to resist it. – Kenneth Grahame.

Who is wise? He that learns from everyone.
Who is powerful? He that governs his passions.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody. – Benjamin Franklin.

Whosoever would be a man must be a non-conformist. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Dead fish go with the flow. – Roy Keane

Men of genius are are meteors destined to burn themselves out in lighting up their age.’ – Napoleon Bonaparte

Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.’ – Charles Bukowski

The race of man, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity. – Carl van Doren.

In this world, a man must either be anvil or hammer. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted. – Aldous Huxley.

It is said that no man can be a hero to his valet. That is because a hero can be recognized only by a hero. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck. – George Carlin (1937 – 2008)

Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open. Thomas Dewar

Noble acts and momentous events happen in the same way and produce the same impression as the ordinary facts. – Roberto Rosselini.

Talent works for money and fame: the motive which moves genius nto productivity is, on the other hand, less easy to determine. It isn’t money, for genius seldom gets any. It isn’t fame: fame is too uncertain and, more closely considered, of too little worth. Nor is it strictly for its own pleasure, for the great exercise involved almost outweighs the pleasure. It is rather an instinct of a unique sort by virtue of which the individual possessed of genius is impelled to express what he has seen and felt in enduring works without being conscious of any further motivation. It takes place, by and large, with the same sort of necessity as a tree brings forth fruit, and demands no more of the world that a soil on which the individual can flourish. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

The game of History is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.- Eric Hoffer.

With knowledge doubt increases. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I would proclaim that the vast majority of what that magazine (Scientific American] prints is true—yet my ability to defend such a claim is weaker than I would like. And most likely the readers, authors, and editors of that magazine would be equally hard pressed to come up with cogent, non-technical arguments convincing a skeptic of this point, especially if pitted against a clever lawyer arguing the contrary. How come Truth is such a slippery beast? – Douglas Hofstadter (Metamagical Themas: Questing for the essence of mind and pattern (1985), 93.)

Unfortunately, universities do not offer degrees in Common Sense. – Ibid.

Knowledge and ability must be combined with ambition as well as with a sense of honesty and a severe conscience. Every analyst occasionally has doubts about the accuracy of his results, and also there are times when he knows his results to be incorrect. Sometimes a few drops of the solution were spilt, or some other slight mistake made. In these cases it requires a strong conscience to repeat the analysis and to make a rough estimate of the loss or apply a correction. Anyone not having sufficient will-power to do this is unsuited to analysis no matter how great his technical ability or knowledge. A chemist who would not take an oath guaranteeing the authenticity, as well as the accuracy of his work, should never publish his results, for if he were to do so, then the result would be detrimental not only to himself, but to the whole of science. – Carl Remigius Fresenius (Anleitung zur Quantitativen Analyse (1847), preface. F. Szabadvary, History of Analytical Chemistry (1966), trans. Gyula Svehla, 176)

Being a hero is about the shortest lived profession on earth. – Will Rogers.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. – Jonathan Swift.

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. – Jonathan Swift

I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine. – Bertrand Russell.

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. – Bertrand Russell.

While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming. – Lee DeForest, 1926 (American radio pioneer)

There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home. – Ken Olson, 1977, President, Digital Equipment Corp

The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it. . . . Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient. – Dr. Alfred Velpeau (1839) French surgeon.

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this. – Bertrand Russell

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. – Bertrand Russell

Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim. – Bertrand Russell.

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. – Bertrand Russell

We define genius as the capacity for productive reaction against one’s training. – Bernard Berenson.

The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction. – Dr Samuel Johnson.

The foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments. A.W. Bickerton (1926) Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury College, New Zealand.

You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets and wonder when you are done that they do not delight in your company. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Genius is an African who dreams up snow. – Vladimir Nabokov.

so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of.0
– William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Action is eloquence. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Genius, in truth, means little more that the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way. – William James.

X-rays are a hoax. – Lord Kelvin, engineer and physicist (c. 1900)

A genius is the man in whom you are least likely to find the power of attending to anything insipid or distasteful in itself. He breaks his engagements, leaves his letters unanswered, neglects his family duties incorrigibly, because he is powerless to turn his attention down and back from those more interesting trains of imagery with which his genius constantly occupies his mind.’ – William James

Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority for any town? – Mark Twain.

If you want to earn the gratitude of your own age you must keep in step with it. But if you do you will produce nothing great. If you have something great in view you must address yourself to posterity. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice. – Edgar Watson Howe.

Even knowledge has to be in fashion and where it is not it is wise to affect ignorance. – Baltasar Gracian.

Insanity in individuals is rare, but in groups. parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports that myth. – Edward de Bono.

A decent boldness ever meets with friends. – Homer.

Medicine being a compendium of the successive and contradictory mistakes of medical practitioners, when we summon the wisest of them to our aid, the chances are that we may be relying on a scientific truth the error of which will be recognized in a few years’ time. – Marcel Proust.

When we are born, we cry, that we are come
To this great stage of fools. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

The biggest things are alway the easiest to do because there is no competition. – William Van Horne.

Less is more. – Robert Browning.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

Of religion I know nothing, at least, in its favor. – Lord George Gordon Byron.

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

I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them. ” – Charles Darwin

Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity. – Arthur Koestler

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt. – Clarence Darrow.

Truth is more of a stranger than fiction. – Mark Twain.

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

I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follow[s] from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion. – Charles Darwin.

I am a friend of truth, but no friend at all to martyrdom. – Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.

A witty saying proves nothing. – Voltaire

The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out. – Voltaire

The ear is the avenue to the heart. – Voltaire

If God had intended that man should fly, he would have given him wings. – (attrib to) George W. Melville, chief engineer of the U.S. Navy (c. 1900)

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Thomas A Edison

Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure. – Henry Morton, President of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison’s incandescent lamp (c.1880).

I must confess that my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea. – H.G. Wells, Anticipations (1901)

All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. – Voltaire

The war against our enemies cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. Man has become great through struggle. Whatever goal, man has reached is due to his originality plus his brutality. If you do not fight, life will never be won. The man who has no sense of history is like a man who has no ears or eyes. It must be thoroughly understood that the lost land will never be won back by solemn appeals to God, nor by hopes in any United Nations, but only by the force of arms. A single blow must destroy the enemy, without regard of losses. A gigantic all-destroying blow. Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong. – Adolf Hitler (born Adolf Schicklgruber).

It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge. – Adolf Hitler.

The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. – Adolf Hitler

There is no patriotic art and no patriotic science. – Goethe

There is no permanence in doubt; it incites the mind to closer inquiry and experiment, from which, if rightly managed, certainty proceeds, and in this alone can man find thorough satisfaction. – Goethe

Whether one show one’s self a man of genius in science or compose a song, the only point is, whether the thought, the discovery, the deed, is living and can live on. – Goethe

Hypotheses are scaffoldings erected in front of a building and then dismantled when the building is finished. They are indispensable for the workman; but you mustn’t mistake the scaffolding for the building. – Goethe

Without my attempts in natural science, I should never have learned to know mankind such as it is. In nothing else can we so closely approach pure contemplation and thought, so closely observe the errors of the senses and of the understanding, the weak and strong points of character. – Goethe

The broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. – Adolf Hitler.

By the skilful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.- Adolf Hitler.

The required message does not have multiple shadings; it has a positive and a negative; love or hate, right or wrong, truth or lie, never half this way and half that way. This is the very first condition which has to be fulfilled in every kind of public relations: a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with. The best means of defense is attack. – Adolf Hitler.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach. – Adolf Hitler.

How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. – Adolf Hitler.

It is not truth that matters, but victory. – Adolf Hitler.

I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few. – Adolf Hitler.

The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. – Adolf Hitler.

Great liars are also great magicians. – Adolf Hitler.

Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.- Adolf Hitler.

The clergy know, I know, that they know they do not know. – G. Ingersoll, Book of Robert.

If any man think, by his inquiries after material things, to discover the nature or will of God, he is indeed spoiled by vain philosophy. – Francis Bacon (Advancement of Learning)

Universality of belief assures vast faith but warranties no truth whatsoever. – Anthony Le Vere Sage

Genius is a nuisance, and it is the duty of schools and colleges to abate it by setting genius-traps in its way.’
— Samuel Butler

All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women. – Voltaire

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. – Voltaire

The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great. – Voltaire

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it. – Voltaire

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason. – Voltaire

How do we distinguish between the legitimate skepticism of those who scoffed at cold fusion, and the stifling dogma of the seventeenthcentury clergymen who, doubting Galileo’s claim that the earth was not the center of the solar system, put him under house arrest for the last eight years of his life? In part, the answer lies in the distinction between skepticism and closed-mindedness. Many scientists who were skeptical about cold fusion nevertheless tried to replicate the reported phenomenon in their own labs; Galileo’s critics refused to look at the pertinent data. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

We humans seem to be extremely good at generating ideas, theories, and explanations that have the ring of plausibility. We may be relatively deficient, however, in evaluating and testing our ideas once they are formed. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

For desired conclusions, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe this?”, but for unpalatable conclusions we ask, “Must I believe this? – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

What we believe is heavily influenced by what we think others believe. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

When we do cross paths with people whose beliefs and attitudes conflict with our own, we are rarely challenged. – Thomas Gilovich (How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life)

The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon Earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings. – Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. – Voltaire

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered. – Voltaire

We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies – it is the first law of nature. – Voltaire

Love of money is the root of all evil. – 1 Timothy 6.

If they give you lined paper, write the other way. – William Carlos Williams

When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion. – Voltaire

O sacred hunger of pernicious gold!
What bands of faith can impious lucre hold?
Virgil, Aeniad – Dryden.

Man calleth thee, his wealth, who made thee rich,
And while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch. – George Herbert.

To Gain, the master idol of the realm,
Perpetual sacrifice. – William Wordsworth.

What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys.
Every gate is thronged with suitors, all the markets overflow.
I have but an angry fancy:what is that which I should do? – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke

Gold is the greatest God, though yet we see
No temples raised to money’s majesty. – Juvenal, First Satire, Dryden.

But, scarce observed, the knowing and the bold
Fall in the general massacre of gold;
Wide wasting pest! that rages unconfin’d
And crowds with crimes the records of mankind.
– Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes

“Curse the whole pack of money-grubbing vulgarians!” – W. M. Thackeray, mVanity Fair

I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain. – Pierre de Fermat (August 17, 1601 – January 12, 1665)

I never truckled; I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. By God, I told them the truth. – Frank Norris

Your words have come true with a vengeance that I shd [should] be forestalled … I never saw a more striking coincidence. If Wallace had my M.S. sketch written out in 1842 he could not have made a better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as Heads of my Chapters. – Charles Darwin (Letter to Charles Lyell, 18 June 1858. In F. Burkhardt and S. Smith (eds.), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin 1858-1859, Supplement 1821-1857 (1991), Vol. 7, 107.)

Getting money is not all a man’s business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. – Samuel Johnson (Boswell).

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise. – Victor Hugo

It is physically impossible for a well-educated, intellectual, or brave man to make money the chief object of his thoughts; just as it is for him to make his dinner the principal object of them. – John Ruskin.

The love of money and the love of learning rarely meet. – George Herbet Jacula Prudentum, (1640)

I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive. – Albert Einstein.

However, shocking to me, not one of my friends or colleagues would get excited over the potential for such a process. True. I was always having wild ideas, and this one maybe looked no different than last week’s. But it WAS different. There was not a single unknown in the scheme. Every step involved had been done already. Everyone agreed that you could extend a primer on a DNA template, everyone knew you could melt double stranded DNA. Everyone agreed that what you could do once, you could do again. Most people didn’t like to do things over and over, me in particular. If I had to do a calculation twice, I preferred to write a program instead. But no one thought it was impossible. It could be done, and there was always automation. The result on paper was so obviously fantastic, that even I had little irrational lapses of faith that it would really work in a tube, and most everyone who could take a moment to talk about it with me, felt compelled to come up with some reason why it wouldn’t work. It was not easy in that post-cloning, pre-PCR year to accept the fact that you could have all the DNA you wanted. And that it would be easy.- Kary Mullis (Nobel lecture, Chemistry, 1993)

What makes men of genius, or rather, what they make, is not new ideas, it is that idea—possessing them—that what has been said has still not been said enough.’ – Eugene Delacroix

Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor. – Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603), in Francis Bacon, Apophthegms, 1625

Fortune has rarely condescended to be the companion of genius.’ – Isaac D’Israeli

People are often reproached for wishing for money above all things, and for loving it more than anything else;but it is natural and even inevitable for people to love that which, like an unwearied Proteus, is always ready to turn itself into whatever object their wandering wishes or manifold desires may for the moment fix upon. Everything else can satisfy only one wish, one need: food if you are hungry,; wine, if you are able to enjoy it; fur for the winter, love for youth, and so on. These are all only relatively good. Money alone is absolutely good, because it is not only a concrete satisfaction of one need in particular; it is an abstract satisfaction of all. – Arthur Schopenhauer, Parega and Paralipomena, Saunders.

The estimated total number of iatrogenic deaths—that is, deaths induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures— in the US annually is 783,936…….while 553,251 died of cancer. – Gary Null, et al., Death by Medicine

Never go head to head against a core belief that someone holds deeply. It’s very rare for people to change such beliefs…we suggest trying to find a different belief or point of view around which you can come together. – Mario Moussa, co-author with Richard Shell of The Art of Woo (Wharton).

Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield. – George Orwell

Dibdin said: ‘I see you’ve put your own name at the top of your paper, Mr Woods.’ His eyes looked sad and thoughtful. ‘I always make it a matter of principle to put my name as well on every paper that comes out of the department.’ ‘Yours?’ Albert said incredulously. ‘Yes,’ said Dibdin, still sad and thoughtful. ‘I make it a matter of principle, Mr Woods. And I like my name to come first—it makes it easier for purposes of identification.’ He rounded it off. ‘First come, first served’. – William Cooper (The Struggles of Albert Woods (1952), 53.)

My work as a mathematical biologist has been built in large part on the paradigm that HIV causes AIDS, and I have since come to realize that there is good evidence that the entire basis for this theory is wrong. AIDS, it seems, is not a disease so much as a sociopolitical construct that few people understand and even fewer question…Why have we as a society been so quick to accept a theory for which so little solid evidence exists?…For over twenty years, the general public has been greatly misled and ill-informed. – Rebecca V. Culshaw, Ph.D., Why I Quit HIV; Lew Rockwell, March 3, 2006.

The central role of HIV in the development of immunodeficiency is, in my view, established by the force of epidemiological and laboratory evidence. On this key issue, Duesberg is, I believe, in error… (but) Duesberg has predicted, correctly, that the virus alone is not enough to explain all aspects of the immunodeficiency process. – Richard Horton

The HIV hypothesis ranks with the ‘bad air’ theory for malaria and the ‘bacterial infection’ theory of beriberi and pellagra [caused by nutritional deficiencies]. It is a hoax that became a scam. – Dr. Bernard Forscher, Conspiracy of Silence, The Sunday Times, 3 April 1994.

An intrinsic cytopathic effect of the virus is no longer credible. Simon Wain-Hobson (Nature, 373: 102, 1995).

If ever there was a rush to judgment with its predictable disastrous results it has been the HIV/AIDS hypothesis and its aftermath. Announced at a press conference prior to the publication of any scientific proof, complicated and confused by early legal arguments concerning theft of the “French” virus by American researchers, the continuing inability of a worldwide scientific effort to muster clear proof for causality of AIDS by HIV, the inability-after 10-plus years and billions of dollars-to generate any progress in prevention or therapy, and amid growing controversy about effectiveness of drugs like AZT to have any benefit, the HIV/AIDS hypothesis remains simply that: a theory with erratic correlation, but no proof of causality, between HIV and AIDS. I say “erratic,” because of the many HIV-positive cases with no AIDS and of the many AIDS cases with no HIV (see Chapter Seven), and also because the circular definition of AIDS (no HIV = no AIDS) makes any correlation meaningless to begin with (AIDS patients without HIV are not officially listed by the CDC as having AIDS). – Richard Strohman.

To an extent that undermines classical standards of science, some purported scientific results concerning ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ have been handled by press releases, by disinformation, by low-quality studies, and by some suppression of information, manipulating the media and people at large. When the official scientific press does not report correctly, or obstructs views dissenting from those of the scientific establishment, it loses credibility and leaves no alternative but to find information elsewhere.- Serge Lang (Challenges, 1998)

Sometimes when I have given a talk on HIV, questioning the orthodoxy, members of the bio-medical establishment have not come to my talk and have refused to answer scientific questions, giving to colleagues the reason that what I do “is dangerous”. But I regard as dangerous to censor or suppress information, and to allow a situation to develop when people appear unable to distinguish between facts and an orthodox view. The orthodox view is accepted uncritically by people at large as a result of mass conditioning by the media’s uncritical acceptance of the scientific orthodoxy, and the refusal to publish information which goes counter to the orthodoxy. It may also be dangerous not to tell people that poppers may be dangerous to their health. – Serge Lang

An error can never become true however many times you repeat it. The truth can never be wrong, even if no one ever hears about it. Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. – Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948).

Even among the small number of writers who actually think seriously before they start writing, there are extremely few who think about the subject itself: the rest merely think about books, about what others have said about the subject. They require, that is to say, the close and powerful stimulation of ideas produced by other people in order to think at all. These ideas are then their immediate theme, so that they remain constantly under their influence and consequently never attain to true originality. The above mentioned minority, on the other hand, are stimulated to think about the subject itself, so that their thinking is directly immediately to this. Among them are to be discovered those writers who endure and become immortal. Only he who takes what he writes directly out of his own head is worth reading. – Arthur Schopenhauer.

Scientists will then have to come to terms with the awful fact that the AIDS epidemic was a mirage manufactured by scientists who believed that integrity could be maintained amidst the diverting influences of big money, prestige and politics. – Professor Hiram Caton, Conspiracy of Silence, The Sunday Times, April 1994.

“Where is the research that says HIV is the cause of AIDS? If there is evidence that HIV causes AIDS, there should be scientific documents which either singly or collectively demonstrate that fact, at least with a high probability. There is no such document.” – Dr. Kary Mullis, Biochemist, 1993 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, The Sunday Times, 28 November 1993.

The HIV-causes-AIDS dogma represents the grandest and perhaps the most morally destructive fraud that has ever been perpetrated on the young men and women of the Western world. – Dr. Charles Thomas, Conspiracy of Silence, The Sunday Times, April 1994.

Politically it stinks. Medically it stinks. Culturally it stinks. More and more people are beginning to realize this and are demanding a full-scale public investigation of what, quite literally, is turning out to be a (medical) fairy tale…Those who continue to perpetrate the myth that HIV is ‘the deadly AIDS virus’ have blood on their hands and will be tried as war criminals once the truth about ‘AIDS’ is finally brought to light. – Dr. Michael Ward, Is the ‘deadly AIDS virus’ Government Fraud?, New York Native, 4, February, 1991.

To understand the fiasco of AIDS, all that is required is common sense, hard work to become informed, and above all else, courage.- David Rasnick.

The official AIDS paradigm represents the most colossal blunder in medical history. The Crimes Against Humanity committed in the AIDS War rank with any in history…If there were justice in the world, the AIDS-criminals would be brought to justice, given fair trials, and executed…” – John Lauritsen, The AIDS War, Asklepios, New York, 1993.

“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth….” – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900).

Doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into human beings of whom they know nothing. -Voltaire

He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. – Chinese Proverb

“I have attended, as a reporter, eight International AIDS Conferences. They are uniformly awful, a total waste of a journalist’s time. Mostly I go just to fortify my belief that AIDS – the entire industry and social machinery of it – is at its root a totalitarian system. By that, I mean that there is a central ideology that seeks to enforce its domination by methodically obstructing any ideas that run counter to it.” – Celia Farber, Fear & Loathing in Geneva, Impressions Magazine, 24 August, 1998.

“On the face of it, the designation of AIDS as the most significant threat to public health is nonsense…This catastrophic vision is the AIDS mirage. I call it a mirage because health authorities embrace a contingent future as an incontrovertible truth. The passion invested in the viral epidemic dogma is transferred to the entire AIDS management program, so that the whole is seized by cataleptic rigidity (a panic symptom). Our AIDS management systems are incapable of reviewing evidence which shows that there have been mistakes about HIV causality, mistakes of diagnosis, mistakes about its transmission, mistakes about HIV antibody tests, mistakes about therapies.” – Professor Hiram Caton, Why We Need AIDS; The AIDS Mirage, 1995.

“It is a mistake to believe that a science consists in nothing but conclusively proved propositions, and it is unjust to demand that it should. It is a demand only made by those who feel a craving for authority in some form and a need to replace the religious catechism by something else, even if it be a scientific one. Science in its catechism has but few apodictic precepts; it consists mainly of statements which it has developed to varying degrees of probability. The capacity to be content with these approximations to certainty and the ability to carry on constructive work despite the lack of final confirmation are actually a mark of the scientific habit of mind.” – Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).

“Science is about making observations and trying to fit them into a theoretical framework. Having the theoretical framework allows us to make predictions about phenomena that we can then test. HIV ‘science’ long ago set off on a different path…People who ask simple, straightforward questions are labelled as loonies who are dangerous to public health…Yet HIV ‘science’ has declined so far that these elementary questions are addressed neither by the research groups themselves, nor the referees at Nature whose job it is to critique the papers before publication. But nobody in the HIV research community is at all bothered by this…One gets a remarkable sense of being disassociated from the real world when entering the realm of AIDS research.” – Mark Craddock, HIV: Science by press conference; AIDS: VIrus- or Drug Induced?, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996.

I mistrust all systemizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity. – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources, it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology. – Barack Obama (March 9 2009)

“I would like to present the evidence available to me in support of the hypothesis: a) that AIDS is a typical example of epidemic hysteria, b) that the epidemic has at its core an unconscious group delusion, which can be called the group-fantasy of scapegoating, c) that the combination of these unconscious group tensions brought about a subtle and sophisticated, but nevertheless sacrificial witch hunt, in which the participants were the Moral Majority, d) that these attacks resulted in an epidemic of depression based mostly on shame; e) that the core sign of AIDS, the reduction of cell-mediated response, is one of the typical vegetative signs of severe depression; f) that the epidemic represents, in the group’s unconscious fantasies, an equivalent war, during which the group keeps careful count of the sacrifices; g) and finally that, since the epidemic is psychogenic, the prediction can be made that the group will decide when it should be over (when they have “had enough”), a decision which will be broadcast to the group members through the media, so that after a suitable lag period the epidemic will resolve and the incidence will descend from epidemic to endemic levels.” – Caspar Schmidt, The AIDS Cult; Asklepios Pagan Press, 1997.

“…since 1990, Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and other mainline, peer-reviewed journals have preferred to reject papers by others besides my colleagues and myself containing verifiable data that throws doubt on the claim that AIDS is capable of causing epidemics in general populations of developed countries…The Lancet has published some short letters but has consistently refused to publish fuller reasons for dissent…” – Prof. Gordon Stewart (epidemiologist, A paradigm under pressure, Index on Censorship, Vol.28, No.3, May/June 1999.

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current concepts, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently
the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships. There is the whole case against censorships in a nutshell. – George Bernard Shaw (Introduction to Mrs Warran’s Profession).

The official AIDS paradigm represents the most colossal blunder in medical history. The Crimes Against Humanity committed in the AIDS War rank with any in history…If there were justice in the world, the AIDS-criminals would be brought to justice, given fair trials, and executed. – John Lauritsne

“The AIDS research establishment are responsible for this tragedy. The marketing of HIV, through press releases and statements, as a killer virus, has so distorted research and treatment that it may have caused thousands of people to suffer and die.” – Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, AIDS physician, The London Sunday Times, 17 May 1992.

This is my battle with John Maddox [editor of Nature] and with people who are actually fabricating the data [Ascher et al in Nature, March 11, 1993]. They claim to have such a group that had not used any drugs. When I analysed the data, it turned out that there was not a single person in their paper that was drug-free. I submitted a critique to Maddox, but his response was, I could no longer respond. I was censored. – Peter Duesberg, interview with Bob Guccione, Spin magazine, September, 1993.

Have you ever noticed how defensive, angry and hysterical many ‘HIV’ diagnosed gay men become when you inform them that ‘HIV’ does not exist? It is as if they need the necessary ‘HIV’ lie to sustain their existence; the virtual ‘HIV’ acting as an identity crutch to fill up a void. Many attributes of the ‘HIV’ Homofascist Movement (or HIVism) resemble those of Fascism and the psychology of the Freikorpsmen: an authoritarian personality; extreme emphasis on the masculine principal, male dominance and blood brotherhood bonding; exclusive membership of an elite in-group; and the fetishization and aestheticization of suffering, self-sacrifice and death…
One can see actual group hypnotic trance phenomena working within both Fascism and HIVism where devotion, ceremony, and obedience are called upon and used by the cloned membership of the elite in-group. Fascism and HIVism, as products of group hysteria, are psychologically contagious cultural/social beliefs spread through mass hysteria, mass-hypnosis and mass-media. Psychologist Gustav Le Bon stated: In a group, every sentiment and act is contagious, and contagious to such a degree that an individual readily sacrifices his personal interest to the collective interest…’HIV’ belief is psychologically contagious. Many gay men long to belong to the HIV Blood Brotherhood because they feel secure and at home in this slave-morality clone-zone where blind belief replaces autonomous thinking. At a psychological level, the price for the passionate devotion to HIV Belief is giving up a critical faculty: when people leave HIV Belief (like leaving Scientology) you see them regain their critical faculty. There is no loyalty without hatred: passionate membership to the ‘HIV’ Homofascist in-group can fuel hatred for the out-group (the ‘HIV-negative’ outsider or ‘HIV’ non-existentialists) – seeing AIDS dissidents as a threat and obstacle to their blind ‘HIV’ Belief….AIDS doctors (like Nazi doctors) operate through genocidal bureaucracy using pseudo-science to justify sexual ethnic cleansing. Many gay men branded ‘HIV-positive’ passively accept that they are marked for slaughter, slavishly sign their own death warrants and run giggling into the gas chambers. On Nazi doctors, Robert Jay Lifton wrote: The genocidal bureaucracy contributes also to collective feelings of inevitability. The elaborateness of the bureaucracy’s organization coveys a sense of the inexorable – that one might as well, as a perpetrator or victim, go along because nothing else can be done. Under certain circumstances, victims’ bureaucracies can be coerced into participating in their own people’s victimization. Today, the many ‘AIDS’ bureaucracies run by gay careerists are participating in their own queer brothers iatrogenic and psychogenic annihilation. – Alex Russell, in Outcast Magazine.

No style of conversation is more extensively acceptable than the narrative.- Samuel Johnson.

First let me state that Peter Duesberg is a personal friend, he is also my guru. Whether or not ‘retroviruses’ exist is a matter of debate; Peter believes that they exist and is the foremost expert in the field. Therefore, if the foremost retrovirologist in the world still maintains that ‘HIV’ is not, and cannot be, the cause of the destruction of the cellular immune system, then on a retrovirological level, I trust him completely. When I interviewed eminent scientists during the making of the various AIDS programmes for Channel 4 television, two of them–eminent virologist Professor Beverley Griffin and editor of Bio-Technology, Harvey Bialy, said of Peter Duesberg that they had never known him to be wrong. When I put it to Duesberg the last time we met in Berlin in 1995, that Dr Stefan Lanka maintains that ‘HIV’ has never been isolated and that I wondered whether ‘retroviruses were an over interpretation of aggregated molecular particles, he replied: ‘Anything is possible in science.’ This shows the open mind of a great man who stands head and shoulders above his fellow microbiologists. – Michael Verney-Elliott

Quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.- Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR, for which he received the Nobel prize.

Attempts to rigorously test the ruling medical hypothesis of the age are met not with reasoned debate but with the rhetoric of moral blackmail: Peter Duesberg has the blood of African AIDS babies on his hands. Duesberg is evil, a scientific psychopath. He should be imprisoned. Those who wish to engage the AIDS research establishment in the sort of causality debate that is carried on in most other branches of scientific endeavor are tarred as AIDS ‘denialists,’ as if skepticism about the pathogenicity of a retrovirus were the moral equivalent of denying that the Nazis slaughtered 6 million Jews…. Similarly, it was known in advance that AZT was a ‘magic bullet’ against HIV; the word was out that it was a ‘life-saving drug’ before anyone could possibly verify this, and so scientific controls were compromised. Journalists (myself included) who reported at the time that the drug apparently was killing patients were labeled ‘AZT refuseniks’ and even ‘murderers.’- Celia Farber

As a general rule, any treatments that were previously devised to combat cancer will fail disastrously in the treatment of ‘AIDS’. Cancer is the unstoppable production of cells; ‘AIDS’ would appear to be the unstoppable diminution of cells. Thus protease inhibitors, nucleoside analogues and indeed the whole ball of wax devised to stop production of cells can only have a disastrous effect on people who are already losing cells in an unstoppable way. This basic error to apply cell inhibitory treatments was devised against cancer and invariably abandoned because of their toxicity. My belief, that if they were not good enough to treat cancer, then they sure as hell are not going to work against ‘AIDS’. We must stop using inept anti-cancer drugs (AZT, ddI, ddC) on people with ‘AIDS.’ The future of ‘AIDS’ research must lie in rebuilding a damaged immune system and not in the fruitless pursuit of a clapped-out phantom non-isolated ‘virus’.- Michael Verney-Elliott

This is a war, there are no rules, and we will crush you, one at a time, completely and utterly (at least the more influential ones; foot-soldiers like you aren’t worth bothering with).” John P Moore, PhD, Cornell Weill AIDS researcher to AIDS dissident Michael Geiger, 27 January 2007.

As Karl Marx said, ‘All great fortunes are based upon a great crime.’ I think this is apt because ‘HIV’ careerists are greedy criminals. As I’ve always prided myself that gay men are more perceptive than most, I’m astonished that more of my fellow gay men have not yet rumbled the ‘HIV’ hoax. When Joan Shenton and I were invited to Bristol University, to defend the programme ‘The AIDS Catch,’ we faced an audience of some three hundred very hostile ‘HIV’ counselors, ‘HIV’ monitors, and other ancillary ‘AIDS’ carers and workers. AT that time the official figure for the number of ‘AIDS’ cases in the West Country was 18! One young man with ‘AIDS’ said he seldom got any peace and quiet and virtually had to beat off these ‘HIV/AIDS’ carers with a stick when they invaded his flat. He had an army of ‘HIV’ home-help busy bodies banging on his door 24 hours a day. He had an ‘HIV’ meals-on-wheels, and ‘HIV’ social-worker, and ‘HIV’ psychologist, and ‘HIV’ MacMillan nurse, an ‘HIV’ buddy, and ‘HIV’ masseur barging into his flat day and night brandishing their compassion like Smaritans with attitude. If nothing else, ‘HIV’ has certainly created a lot of jobs, which is exactly what the CDC intended when they invented the ‘AIDS’ epidemic. Still it’s an ill-wind that blows no one any good.”- Michael Verney-Elliott.

The official AIDS paradigm…represents the most colossal blunder in medical history…it will become plain why I have employed the metaphor of war: the terrible suffering and loss of life, propaganda, censorship, rumours, hysteria, profiteering, espionage, and sabotage. The Crimes Against Humanity committed in the AIDS War rank with any in history. It takes awhile for the enormity of the situation to sink in: that at this very moment, a quarter of a million people are being murdered by nucleoside therapy. In the AIDS War, there is a vast army of fools: venal fools and non-venal fools, crooked fools and honest fools…At the same time, there are also those in the AIDS Establishment who know exactly what they are doing , and are profiting thereby. If there were any justice, the AIDS-criminals would be brought to justice, given fair trials and executed”. John Lauritsen, The AIDS War: Propaganda, Profiteering and Genocide from the Medical-Industrial Complex, Asklepios, New York, 1993.

I’ve received death threats — been slandered and ostracized — been on television and radio — been cited innumerable times in books and articles — and so on. If I could go back in time, I’d still fight against the AIDS lies, only I hope that I’d do it better. Despite substantial financial losses from abandoning my market research career, I am at peace with myself. I believe that I and the many other AIDS-dissidents have saved lives. In the short run, Goliath usually defeats David — and the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex is formidable. In the long run, Truth will prevail.- John Lauritsen.

Chuck Ortleb and Neenyah Ostrum of the (now defunct) New York Native stated that there will need to be Nuremberg-type ‘AIDSGATE’ War Crimes Trials to prosecute and execute those that have been complicit in man-made mass death.. Those guilty of ‘AIDS GATE’ War Crimes include: Robert Gallo, Myron ‘Max’ Essex, Dr Anthony Fauci, David Baltimore, Dr Jonathan Mann, Prof. Luc Montagnier, Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, Jean-Claude Chermann, William Paul, Harold Varmus, Jay Levy, Abraham Karpas, Dr James Curran, Mikulas Popovic, Michael Gottlieb, Daniel Zagury, Donald Francis, Peter Piot, Dr David Ho, Martin Markowitz, Max Perutz, Sir Aaron Klug, Jerome Horwitz, David Barry, Frank Young, Margaret Fischl, Dr Samuel Broder, William Blattner, Harold Jaffe, Howard Temin, Margaret Heckler, Dr Paul Volberding, Dr Marcus Conant, Robert Redfield, Prof.Richard Tedder, Dr Robin Weiss, Prof. M W Adler, Dr A J Pinching, James Deutsch, Sarah Darby, Dr Diana Gibb, Prof. Cathrine Peckham, Dr Janet Darbyshire, Dr Phillipa Easterbrook, Dr Brian Gazzard, Dr Mike Youle, Dr Ian Williams, Dr Ian Weller, Sir Richard Sykes, Prof. Trevor Jones, Dr Peter King, Dr James Palmer, Tessa Jowell, Lord Jellicoe, Sir Donald Acheson, Sir Austin Bide, Baroness Jay, Steve Connor, Phyllida Brown, Chris Mihill, Jon Cohen, Lawrence Altman, Sir John Maddox, Richard Horton, Hilary Curtis, Julian Meldrum, Derek Bodell, Susie Parsons, Nick Partridge, Larry Kramer, Martin Delaney, Paul Ward, Dr Sandra Hernandez, Simon Watney, Edward King, Keith Alcorn, Chris Smith MP, Duncan Campbell, Stuart Weir, David Smith, Peter Tatchell, David Pollard, Liza Power, Robin Gorna, Sean O’ Brian Strubb, Bob Lederer, Mark Harrington plus thousands of other HIV Inc. scientists, counsellors, doctors. – Alex Russell.

Intriguingly, more than 60% of all “AIDS-cases’ in a population of 80 million in Germany occur in the immediate vicinity of six large university clinics in six towns which rather supports the view that AIDS should be called an ‘Acquired Iatrogenic Death Syndrome’….” – Dr. Heinrich Kremer, ‘Acquired Iatrogenic Death Syndrome’, Continuum, Vol.4, No 4,1996

San Francisco Act Up, The AIDS Liberation Front, and Gays Against Genocide (GAG) have been forced into using radical-violence and counter-justice because the HIV Junta has consistently refused to engage in rational debate. The HIV Junta incite violence through their censorship and silencing (and silence equals death) – Alex Russell.

The ‘HIV’ Regime, as a political movement, is what Antonio Gramsci would have termed ‘expansive hegemony’. Hegemony is the ability of one group to articulate the interests of other social groups for its own ends. – Alex Russell

“The entire Gallo affair provides evidence of the way the scientific community is unable to police itself….Scientists should be subject to the same laws as other citizens so far as criminal behaviour is concerned.” Serge Land, The Gallo Case, Challenges.

On April 23, 1984 Margaret Heckler, with a concrete coiffure and severe laryngitis, croaked to a packed press conference in Washington DC that: “the probable cause of aids had been found”. This ill-looking US Secretary for Health and Human Services was flanked by gangster, Robert Gallo, somewhat apprehensive and creepy in tainted glasses, a Mafioso fearing being fingered and bumped-off.. Perhaps even then he was anticipating the inevitable ten years of sleaze and stinky revelations of scientific skulduggery that would entertain the cognoscenti. Heckler did not read her prepared statement in its entirety omitting a backhanded acknowledgement that Pasteur scientists had “previously identified a virus which they had linked to AIDS patients,” as well as the prediction that the alleged ‘French’ virus “will prove to be the same” as Gallo’s ‘HTLV-IIIB’. David Rasnick stated: “With that announcement, Gallo had publicly leapfrogged straight across the scientific process – across peer-review and analysis, across the very checks and balances of sciences. He made no attempt to demonstrate his claim but fed it straight to the global media, which broadcast it without hesitation” (Spin magazine, June, 1997). Serge Lang was alarmed: “I was very upset. The cause of AIDS was discovered by government fiat…then that announcement was made at the press conference. As far as I’m concerned, from that point on AIDS research turned into seedy, criminal politics, and it remained that way.” …In a calculated pre-emptive strike, Gallo seized the initiative in establishing his discovery ‘HTLV-III’ as the cause of ‘AIDS’. It was pre-emptive because the scientific papers concerning its discovery had not yet been published and indeed, the necessary peer review process had not been completed and none of Gallo’s colleagues had a chance to assess the work or duplicate his results prior to the all important announcement. The US Government gave official backing to what would turn out to be deeply flawed, if not down right fraudulent research. The ‘HTLV-III’ (‘HIV’) hypothesis of ‘AIDS’ causation was engraved in stone and the qualifying word ‘probable’ might never have been croaked. So the premature consensus of the press-conference (23 April, 1984) pre-empted the publication of the Gallo-Popovic four Science (4 May, 1984) papers! Had the four ‘seminal’ Gallo-Popovic Science papers been subjected to rigorous and unbiased peer review they would never have been published and the press conference postponed. Regarding the four fake Science papers, The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) Reports, supported by HIH scientific advisers, found that Gallo and his lab engaged in a number of mal-practices: “lack of laboratory records…lack of attention to details which resulted in false representation…lack of scientific rigor…breached overall responsibility…to ensure the accuracy of the paper…created and fostered conditions that give rise to falsified/fabricated data and falsified scientific reports…” While in spring 1992, the press reported the OSI investigation had cleared Gallo of ‘misconduct’, criticism of the report soon surfaced and a special panel of consultants nominated by the NAS, at the request of HHS and HIH to oversee the investigation, actually charged Gallo with: “a pattern of behavior…that repeatedly misrepresents, suppresses, and distorts data and their interpretation…intellectual recklessness of a high degree – in essence intellectual appropriation of the French viral isolate…” In a written submission to the investigators, Popovic stated:”I did not agree with Dr. Gallo that the references to the work we did with the French virus should be omitted or even significantly minimized. I thought it was wrong not to credit Dr. Montagnier’s group’s contribution more clearly.” The [NIH] Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) “Final Report” concerning Gallo’s research was revealed in Science & Government Report (June 1, 1992) to be: “a deeply flawed document reflecting an incomplete investigation. The report has been substantially ‘watered down’ from the hard-hitting draft report. Material apparently damaging to Gallo, including some of his own testimony, has been deleted…” Dr. Sonnabend was sickened by Gallo’s dishonesty: “Gallo was certainly committing open fraud. But the point is not to focus on Gallo. It’s us – all of us in the scientific community, we let him get away with it. None of this was hidden…” (Spin, June, 1992)

To an extent which undermines classical standards of science, the scientific establishment has handled purported scientific results concerning AIDS by press releases rather than by scientific exchanges, thereby manipulating the media at large.” Serge Lang to the Council, National Academy of Sciences, USA.

A ‘Commentary’ in Nature (11, March,’93), “Does drug use cause AIDS?” by M.S. Ascher et al., was strategically ‘advertised’ a week before publication in a Nature press release headlined without qualification: “Drug use does not cause AIDS.” The press release announced the publication of that piece,and concluded: “These findings seriously undermine the argument [sic] put forward by Dr Peter Duesberg that drug consumption causes AIDS…” The press started calling Duesberg to get his comments on the forthcoming article in Nature, but the article has not been made available to him. Duesberg told the journalists that he could not comment on an article he had not seen. Serge Lang concluded: “Thus does Nature and the authors of the article use the media to manipulate public opinion before their article had been submitted to the scientific scrutiny of other scientists, especially Duesberg who is principally concerned…Incidentally, when Duesberg submitted a reply to the Ascher et al., ‘Commentary”, he was at first told by Nature to limit his reply to at most 500 words. This is less than one-fourth the space (two full pages) allotted to Ascher et al…I wish to warn you here against Maddox’s unscientific, irresponsible and manipulative journalism.” Serge Lang, Letter to Nat. Ac. Sci.)

According to Mark Craddock, (School of Mathematics, University of New South Wales, Sydney), the Nature papers (12 January, 1995) by Wei et al (Viral dynamics in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection) and Ho et al (Rapid turnover of plasma virions and CD4 lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection) should have failed peer review for the following reasons alone:1) Obvious mathematical errors, 2) Unjustified assumptions unrelated to the empirical data, 3) Lack of control groups: (a) “Neither group compared the rate of T4 cells generated in the HIV positive patients with HIV negative controls”, (b) “It must surely be admitted that the system they are trying to study, namely the interaction of HIV with T4 cells, might behave substantially differently in people who are not being pumped full of new drugs, in addition to ‘antiretrovirals’ like Zidovudine?” Yet these flawed papers got past the peer reviewers and instigated the fatal consequences of ‘early intervention’ (‘hit early, hit fast’) which translated is a cynical marketing strategy for retroviral drug-pushers. Craddock on the Ho and Shaw Nature papers stated: “Does what Shaw and Ho say actually make sense?… Is their mathematical analysis sound?…As a mathematician, I was intrigued by the claim of John Maddox, editor of Nature, that the new results provide a new mathematical understanding of the immune system. Unfortunately, my confidence in this claim was badly shaken when it turned out that on the very first page of the Shaw paper (Wei et al., p 117) they make an appalling mathematical error. And in the same paragraph make an assumption which turns out, by their own admission to have no basis in observation, and which they give no justification for…They are trying to estimate viral production rates by measuring viral loads at different times and trying to fit the numbers to their formula for free virus. But if their formula is wrong, then their estimates for viral production will be wrong too. ..Yet ‘HIV’ science has declined so far that these elementary questions are addressed neither by the research groups themselves, nor the referees at Nature whose job it is to critique the papers before publication. Is nobody at Nature bothered by the fact that neither paper contain any hard data which can be independently analysed?…” (‘HIV: Science by Press Conference’, AIDS – Virus or Drug Induced?’, Kluwer Academy, 1996).

In a letter published in Nature (‘HIV an illusion’ ,18 May,1995), Duesberg and Bialy debunked the Ho and Wei papers following Nature’s rejection of their substantial rebuttal (which finally appeared in Genitica): “Sir – In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited ‘Duesberg and his associates’ to comment on the ‘HIV-1 dynamics’ papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al and the Wei et al papers that we believed met the criteria of ‘not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand’ that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge. Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally ‘gone over it with a fine-tooth comb’ to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them…” This letter is followed by a statement from the editor: “Peter Duesberg was offered space in Scientific Correspondence for 500 words of his choice, but declined”. Serge Lang comments: “The editor’s statement is false. Duesberg did not decline. The ‘words of his choice’ constituted the letter printed above this statement, which therefore gives one more prima facie example of Nature editor’s inability to report facts correctly…I have documented the way Nature’s editor Maddox has censored information, and proudly advertised this censorship. Nature has been in a class of its own in its aggressivity against the dissenters in general and Duesberg in particular…” – Alex Russell.

The peer review system emerged in the 1800s and became more widespread in the middle of this century. The peer review system is a kind of consensus-policing instrument that ‘legitimates’ what constitutes ‘scientific knowledge’. The peer reviewers we are assured are ‘unbiased’, ‘fair’, ‘neutral’, ‘honest’, and ‘disinterested’ referees. What naive nonsense. Peer reviewers are not neutral or apolitical but deeply inscribed in particular ‘paradigms’ which they often have vested interests in promoting. As former editor of Science, Daniel Koshland , stated: “Almost all commissions, judges, peer review panels are chosen from within the discipline that is to be regulated…The procedures devised by insiders should always be subjected to the scrutiny of outsiders…” (Science, 13 July, 1990). I.Catt stated that referees are censors who operate within “a system of censorship, the censor having no training in how to differentiate between ‘wrong’ and ‘heretical’…What is not permissible is to write or say something which contradicts the shared paradigm, and expect it to be tolerated by the accepted journals…” (Moran, 1998).- Alex Russell

Publications such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Science, The Lancet, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, New Scientist, Scientific American, Poz, Positive Nation, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, Gay Times, The Pink Paper have acted in an unscientific and irresponsible way by propagating the ‘hiv’ fraud; they will eventually be discredited for their criminal behaviour. Philip Campbell, Richard Horton, Phyllida Brown, Steve Connor, Floyd Bloom, Jon Cohen, Rudy Baum, Madeleine Jacobs, Nicholas Wade, Lawrence Altman, Laurie Garrett, et al are accountable to the scientific and ‘aids’ communities for their tendentious selectivity in presenting ‘hiv/aids’ issues; they have behaved like bought politicians propagating ‘hiv’ propaganda. – Alex Russell

(Quotes above include many from Alex Russell’s Alien AIDS Archive, where the socio-psychological hysteria generated by the HIV=AIDS culture among gay men is fully pictured)

Like Altman in the New York Times and Cohen in Science, Horton (of the Lancet, writing in the New York Review of Books) contributes to fudging the issue about relationships between AIDS (whatever it is), HIV and other viruses…Horton is still accountable to the scientific community for his tendentious selectivity in presenting the HIV/AIDS issues…I accuse you, Richard Horton, of scientific and journalistic irresponsibility.- Serge Lang, Yale mathematician.

As AIDS grew in the 1980s into a global, multibillion-dollar juggernaut of diagnostics, drugs, and activist organizations, whose sole target in the fight against AIDS was HIV, condemning Duesberg became part of the moral crusade. Prior to that 1987 paper, Duesberg was one of a handful of the most highly funded and prized scientists in the country. Subsequently, his NIH funding was terminated and he has received not one single federal research dollar since his pre-1987 Outstanding Investigator Grant ran out. Duesberg lost his lab facilities and had to move twice within a few years to smaller labs on the Berkeley campus, where he spent much of his time writing futile research grant proposals asking to test his hypothesis that AIDS is a chemical syndrome, caused by accumulated toxins from heavy drug use. He lost his graduate students, who were warned that to emerge from his lab would blight their careers. He was denied and had to fight for routine pay increases by his employers at UC Berkeley, where he has tenure and still teaches. He was “disinvited” from scientific conferences, and colleagues even declared that they would refuse to attend any conference that included him. Duesberg also was banished from publishing in scientific journals that previously had welcomed his contributions, most theatrically by the editor of Nature, Sir John Maddox, who wrote a bizarre editorial declaring that Duesberg would he denied the standard scientific “right of reply” in response to personal attacks that were frequently published in that journal. Prior to 1987, Peter Duesberg never had a single grant proposal rejected by the NIH. Since 1991 he has written a total of twenty-five research proposals, every single one of which has been rejected. “They took him out, just took him right out,” says Richard Strohman, an emeritus professor of biology at UC Berkeley. And what was it, exactly, that Peter Duesberg had done? He simply pointed out that no one had yet proven that HIV is capable of causing a single disease, much less the twenty-five diseases that are now part of the clinical definition of AIDS.12 He pointed to a number of paradoxes regarding HIV and argued that far from being evidence that HIV is “mysterious” or “enigmatic,” these paradoxes were evidence that HIV is a passenger virus. – Celia Farber, Out of Control, AIDS and the corruption of medical science, Harpers, March 2006.

I have to say, though, that all the denialist postings on scientific subjects that I’ve read on this string do confirm one thing: AIDS denialism is not rooted in science. It never has been, because when Duesberg first launched AIDS denialism, it was because of his jealousy at the professional success of Bob Gallo (just as his earlier attacks on oncogenes etc were based on his resentment of Bishop, Varmus, Baltimore et al.; there’s a nice essay on the subject on AIDS Truth). Duesberg’s “malignant narcissism” (as one of his peer group has put it) triggered all of this nonsense, and although he tried to put a veneer of science on it all, what he was up to was so obviously transparent that he was ostracized by the scientific community for putting his ego before his responsibility to the public (just as Mullis was, although for slightly different reasons). So AIDS denialism never had a basis in science, and it still doesn’t. Nowadays, it’s a quasi-religious operation based on faith, with elements of conspiracy theory, “pharmanoia”, anti-governmentalism, quack medicine profiteering and personal fear of a lethal virus all thrown into the pot. But science, no, it’s not science, as is borne out by the sub-High School quality of the scientific material posted on this thread by the denialists. It would be pathetic if it weren’t so dangerous to the health of people who actually believe this claptrap and make poor personal (or in the case of Mbeki, political) decisions as a result.- John P. Moore, AIDS microbicide researcher at Weill-Cornell, an editor of

To believe that science is in some peculiar way ‘rational’ or above the petty concerns which bedevil the human race is as absurd as believing that journalists are purveyors of the truth or lawyers vendors of justice. Of course, there is some validity in these statements: some truth is forthcoming and some justice available from journalistic and legal enterprises. But this is hardly the whole story. A young person does not have to be very advanced into adolescence before realising that there are other factors acting on professionals besides the abstract notions of truth or justice of which the average lawyer or journalist might not think from one week to the next. Remuneration, position in a hierarchy, the pressure to get results, obeisance to traditional values, skill and personal beliefs are all factors in professional life and scientists have no immunity. – Jad Adams (AIDS:The HIV Myth)

In the short run, Goliath usually defeats David — and the Medical-Pharmaceutical Complex is formidable. In the long run, Truth will prevail. – John Lauritsen.

“AIDS” is not a coherent disease entity, but a phoney construct. In reality, different individuals and different groups are getting sick in different ways and for different reasons. – John Lauritsen.

The New York City Health Department issued tables with glaring mistakes in ordinary arithmetic. When I pointed this out to Polly Thomas, head of the department, they solved the problem — by purchasing tens of thousands of dollars worth of new computer hardware and software. – – John Lauritsen.

Walter Nelson-Rees was a kind and gentle man – and a most unusual hero. He was also one of the most loyal and valued supporters of my work on the origins of AIDS.
Walter’s main claim to fame was the fact that, as an employee of the Naval Biological Laboratory in Berkeley, California, he more or less single-handedly revealed the extraordinary fact that roughly one third of all the tissue cultures in laboratories around the world had been colonised and taken over by the human cancer cell line called HeLa. This story is beautifully told in Michael Gold’s book, A Conspiracy of Cells [SUNY Press, New York; 1985/1986]. This reveals that the reward that Walter received for his significant act of courage was to be driven out of his job at the NBL, after his lab was subjected to swingeing cuts. The great irony about Walter’s work was that scientists in labs around the world had been aware, since the 50s, that many standard tissue cultures had been “transformed” by HeLa. In fact, anyone who spends a few hours looking through the published literature of the 1950s should be able to discern what is happening. The other scientists, however, were more comfortable with keeping quiet and pretending that nothing was amiss. After Walter had resigned his post, one of his former colleagues, Jim Duff, commented: “They don’t award Nobel prizes for finding out that things are wrong.” Walter was thus a martyr to the cause of truth-telling in science, a martyr of the calibre of that other great American hero, Bernice Eddy of the NIH, who blew the whistle on the fact that by 1960 most of the world’s polio vaccines had been contaminated with a monkey virus, SV-40, that caused tumours in hamsters. Like Walter, Bernice Eddy’s reward for this brave act was to be persecuted and driven out of her lab by powerful members of the scientific establishment. These persecutors were individuals whose own interests were better served if the whistle-blowers kept quiet, even if this might lead to serious scientific miscalculations, and even if this in turn translated into human deaths and human suffering. According to the cowards who drove these two truth-tellers from their jobs, it was better to have a comfy status quo in which no fingers of blame were pointed, no responsibility taken. The histories of these two courageous scientists speak volumes about the moral calibre of modern-day science and contemporary scientists. – Ed Hooper, author of The River, which claims that the origin of AIDS lies in contaminated oral polio vaccine in Africa (not viewed as credible or even logical here at Science Guardian, since it assumes that HIV causes AIDS, which we have long pointed out is unsustainable according to the best reviews in the journal literature).

First, do no harm. – Hippocrates.

Let thy food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. – Hippocrates

Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food. – Hippocrates

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need. – Ayurvedic saying.

He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician.
– Chinese saying.

The fools of the world have been those who have established religions, ceremonies, laws, faith, rule of life. The greatest asses of the world are those who, lacking all understanding and instruction, and void of all civil life and custom, rot in perpetual pedantry; those who by the grace of heaven would reform obscure and corrupted faith, salve the cruelties of perverted religion and remove abuse of superstitions, mending the rents in their vesture. It is not they who indulge impious curiosity or who are ever seeking the secrets of nature, and reckoning the courses of the stars. Observe whether they have been busy with the secret causes of things, or if they have condoned the destruction of kingdoms, the dispersion of peoples, fires, blood, ruin or extermination; whether they seek the destruction of the whole world that it may belong to them: in order that the poor soul may be saved, that an edifice may be raised in heaven, that treasure may be laid up in that blessed land, caring naught for fame, profit or glory in this frail and uncertain life, but only for that other most certain and eternal life. – Giordano Bruno

You are what you eat. – American saying.

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them. ~Ecclesiasticus 38:4

Stomach: A slave that must accept everything that is given to it, but which avenges wrongs as slyly as does the slave. – Emile Souvester

Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks. – Lin Yutang

Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion. – Lin Yutang

Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. – William Shakespeare

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art. – La Rochefoucauld

Let nothing which can be treated by diet be treated by other means. – Maimonides

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Thomas Edison

Optimum nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow. – Linus Pauling

You see, good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars. – Andrew W. Saul (in Food Matters, movie).

More quotations on related or other topics:

No man is an Iland, intire of its selfe: every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine: if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were: any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde: and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee. – John Donne

The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit. – Martin Luther King

One has to look out for engineers—they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. – Marcel Pagnol

Since when was genius found respectable? -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee. If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Consultation and compliance can conduce little to the perfection of any literary performance; for whoever is so doubtful of his own abilities as to encourage the remarks of others, will find himself every day embarrassed with new difficulties, and will harass his mind, in vain, with the hopeless labour of uniting heterogeneous ideas, digesting independent hints, and collecting into one point the several rays of borrowed light, emitted often with contrary directions.- Johnson: Rambler #23 (June 5, 1750)

Obsession: The first attack of Satan, antecedent to possession. – Samuel Johnson (Dictionary)

But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so much eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting beetles. It was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not dissect them, and rarely compared their external characters with published descriptions, but got them named anyhow. I will give a proof of my zeal: one day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one. – Charles Darwin (In Charles Darwin and Francis Darwin (ed.), Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of His Published Letters (1892), 20)

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. – Barry Goldwater

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. – Martin Luther King, Jr

A second basic fact that characterizes nonviolence is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. – Martin Luther King, Jr

Many of our moral and political policies are designed to preempt what we know to be the worst features of human nature. The checks and balances in a democracy, for instance, were invented in explicit recognition of the fact that human leaders will always be tempted to arrogate power to themselves. – Steven Pinker

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance. – Samuel Johnson

Genius will live and thrive without training, but it does not the less reward the watering pot and the pruning knife. – Margeret Fuller

What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. – Samuel Johnson

Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good. – Samuel Johnson

Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out. – Samuel Johnson

I have reviewed this work elsewhere under the title ‘Natural Products Chemistry 1950 to 1980-A Personal View.’ It is with some relish that I recall the flood of reprint requests prompted by the following footnote on the title page: ‘Selected personal statements by the author were removed by the editor without Professor Djerassi’s consent. An uncensored version of this paper can be obtained by writing to Professor C. Djerassi’. – Carl Djerassi (Steroids Made it Possible (1990), 14.)

Of all things, good sense is the most fairly distributed: everyone thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those who are the hardest to satisfy in every other respect never desire more of it than they already have.- Rene Descartes

Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. – Samuel Johnson

Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others. – Samuel Johnson

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. – Noam Chomsky

To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. – Charles Darwin.

When once a man has made celebrity necessary to his happiness, he has put it in the power of the weakest and most timorous malignity, if not to take away his satisfaction, at least to withhold it. His enemies may indulge their pride by airy negligence and gratify their malice by quiet neutrality. – Samuel Johnson

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

A keen observer once said of Einstein that part of his genius was his inability to understand the obvious.’ – Henry Eyring

I myself, a professional mathematician, on re-reading my own work find it strains my mental powers to recall to mind from the figures the meanings of the demonstrations, meanings which I myself originally put into the figures and the text from my mind. But when I attempt to remedy the obscurity of the material by putting in extra words, I see myself falling into the opposite fault of becoming chatty in something mathematical. – Johannes Kepler (Astronomia Nova, New Astronomy, (1609), Introduction, second paragraph.)

There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. Albert Einstein, 1932.

As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly. – Samuel Johnson

A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything. – Samuel Johnson

If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions. – Noam Chomsky

The intellectual tradition is one of servility to power, and if I didn’t betray it I’d be ashamed of myself. – Noam Chomsky

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people. – Noam Chomsky

Such is the common process of marriage. A youth and maiden, meeting by chance or being brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home, and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention, or diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed; they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. – Samuel Johnson.

If you act like there is no possibility of change for the better, you guarantee there will be none. – Bill Quigley (after Noam Chomsky, it appears)

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

I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so remarkable in some clever men, for instance Huxley. – Charles Darwin

Our powers owe much of their energy to our hopes: “Possunt quia posse videntur.” – Samuel Johnson (Life of Milton, Lives of the Poets, Pafraets Press Troy, 1903, p61)

Hope is more pleasing than fear, but not less fallacious. – Samuel Johnson (Letter to Mrs Thrale, April 27, 1778).

Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.- James Boswell, Life of Johnson.

Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever. – Noam Chomsky

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 14

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 5

Sex energy is the creative energy of all geniuses. There never has been, and never will be a great leader, builder or artist lacking in the driving force of sex.’ – Napoleon Hill

No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a public library. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Anybody who thinks of going to bed before 12 o’clock is a scoundrel. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

On Copernicus: He was a man of grave and cultivated mind, of rapid and mature intelligence; inferior to no preceding astronomer, unless in order of succession and time ; a man, who in natural ability was far superior to Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Eudoxus, and all those others who followed in their footsteps. What he was, he became through having liberated himself from certain false axioms of the common and vulgar philosophy — I will not say blindness. Nevertheless, he did not depart far from them ; because, studying mathematics rather than Nature, he failed to penetrate and dig deep enough altogether to cut away the roots of incongruous and vain principles, and thus, removing perfectly all opposing difficulties, free himself and others from so many empty investigations into things obvious and unchangeable. In spite of all this, who can sufficiently praise the magnanimity of this German, who, having little regard to the foolish multitude, stood firm against the torrent of contrary opinion, and, although well-nigh unarmed with living arguments, resuming those rusty and neglected fragments which antiquity had transmitted to him, polished, repaired, and put them together with reasonings more mathematical than philosophical ; and so rendered that cause formerly contemned and contemptible, honourable, estimable, more probable than its rival, and certainly convenient and expeditious for purposes of theory and calculation ? Thus this Teuton, although with means insufficient to vanquish, overthrow, and suppress falsehood, as well as resist it, nevertheless resolutely determined in his own mind, and openly confessed this final and necessary conclusion : that it is more possible that this globe should move with regard to the universe, than that the innumerable multitude of bodies, many of which are known to be greater and more magnificent than our earth, should be compelled, in spite of Nature and reason, which, by means of motions evident to the senses, proclaim the contrary, to acknowledge this globe as the centre and base of their revolutions and influences. Who then will be so churlish and discourteous towards the efforts of this man, as to cover with oblivion all he has done, by being ordained of the Gods as an Aurora – which was to precede the rising of this Sun of the true, ancient philosophy, buried during so many centuries in the tenebrous caverns of blind, malignant, froward, envious ignorance ; and, taking note only of what he failed to accomplish, rank him amongst the number of the herded multitude, which discourses, guides itself, precipitates to destruction, according to the oral sense of a brutal and ignoble belief, rather than amongst those who, by the use of right reason, have been able to rise up, and resume the true course under the faithful guidance of the eye of divine intelligence. – Giordano Bruno

No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money. – Dr Samuel Johnson.

You raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. – Samuel Johnson

Silence is the virtue of fools. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

They never will try to steal the phonograph. It is not of any commercial value. – Thomas Edison (c. 1915)

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. – Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Knowledge is power (Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est). – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), Meditationes Sacræ, De Hæresibus (Religious Meditations, Of Heresies) 1597

Discretion in speech is more than eloquence. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Unlimited economic growth has the marvelous quality of stilling discontent while maintaining privilege. – Noam Chomsky

The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours. – Bertrand Russell

Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue. – Charles Darwin

To some degree it matters who’s in office, but it matters more how much pressure they’re under from the public. – Noam Chomsky

The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

A prudent question is one half of wisdom. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

There is a difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man is really so; but he that thinks himself the wisest is generally the greatest fool. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

The understanding between a non-technical writer and his reader is that he shall talk more or less like a human being and not like an Act of Parliament. I take it that the aim of such books must be to convey exact thought in inexact language… he can never succeed without the co-operation of the reader. – Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (Messenger Lectures (1934), New Pathways in Science (1935), 279.)

It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity. – Francis Bacon

Do not, for one repulse, forego the purpose that you resolved to effect. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), ‘The Tempest’

An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “King Richard III”, Act 4 scene 4

he fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “As You Like It”, Act 5 scene 1

No profit grows where is no pleasure ta’en;
In brief, sir, study what you most affect.
– William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), “The Taming of the Shrew”, Act 1 scene 1

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

I publish this Essay in its present imperfect state, in order to prevent the furacious attempts of the prowling plagiary, and the insidious pretender to chymistry, from arrogating to themselves, and assuming my invention, in plundering silence: for there are those, who, if they can not be chymical, never fail by stratagem, and mechanical means, to deprive industry of the fruits, and fame of her labours. – Elizabeth Fulhame (Preface to An Essay on Combustion with a View to a New Art of Dyeing and Painting (1794), vii-viii.)

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued – they may be essential to survival. – Noam Chomsky

Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like a toad, though ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in its head. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

See first that the design is wise and just: that ascertained, pursue it resolutely; do not for one repulse forego the purpose that you resolved to effect. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Strong reasons make strong actions. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

I pray you bear me henceforth from the noise and rumour of the field, where I may think the remnant of my thoughts in peace, and part of this body and my soul with contemplation and devout desires. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

I am not bound to please thee with my answers. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
– William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Julius Caesar

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.- John Foster Dulles

Be great in act, as you have been in thought. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

If you love life as much as I do, life loves you, too. – Artur Rubinstein

You must choose between making money and making sense. The two are mutually exclusive. – Buckminster Fuller

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. – Aesop

The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords, in such a just and charitable war. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

I did never know so full a voice issue from so empty a heart: but the saying is true ‘The empty vessel makes the greatest sound’. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Brevity is the soul of wit. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Hamlet

The world is seldom what it seems; to man, who dimly sees, realities appear as dreams, and dreams realities. – Thomas Moore

It is meant that noble minds keep ever with their likes; for who so firm that cannot be seduced. – William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken. – Adolf Hitler

Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong. – Adolf Hitler.

Walk in the noble path of righteousness and thou wilt understand that while there is death in self, there is immortality in truth.- Buddha

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. – Buddha

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.’ – Albert Einstein

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. – Buddha

When I’ve painted a woman’s bottom so that I want to touch it, then the work is finished. – Pierre Auguste Renoir

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. – Buddha

Every human being is the author of his own health or disease. – Buddha

He is able who thinks he is able. – Buddha

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. – Buddha

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. – Buddha

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed. – Buddha

The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood. – Buddha

Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it. – Noam Chomsky

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. – Buddha

Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction. – Adolf Hitler.

War does not determine who is right – only who is left. – Bertrand Russell

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. – Noam Chomsky

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. – Betty Reese

Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good. – Buddha

If the eye of thy mind were undimmed thou couldst see the glory and the power of truth. – Buddha

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. – Emile-Auguste Chartier

There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. – J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoted in Life, October 10, 1949.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. – Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, 563-483 B.C

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent. – Buddha

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. – Bertrand Russell.

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. – Bertrand Russell

Abraham Lincoln photographed at Antietam (Library of Congress)Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all. – Abraham Lincoln

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln

Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves. – Abraham Lincoln

Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. – Abraham Lincoln

Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one’s training.’ — Bernard Berenson

The function of genius is to furnish cretins with ideas twenty years later. – Louis Aragon

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.’ – William Blake

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it. – Abraham Lincoln.

Few have been taught to any purpose who have not been their own teachers. – Sir Joshua Reynolds

The greatest benefit which one friend can confer upon another, is to guard and excite and elevate his virtues. – Samuel Johnson (Letter to James Elphinston, Sep 25, 1750)

Until I became a published writer, I remained completely ignorant of books on how to write and courses on the subject … they would have spoiled my natural style; made me observe caution; would have hedged me with rules. – Isaac Asimov (Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov (ed.), It’s Been a Good Life (2002), p38.)

It’s hard for me to say what I think about it because it’s kind of embarrassing. I think the stuff is very good – technically very good … But I think it’s the fact that I’m 83 and living here in one room and that I’m blind and I’m also kind of gamy. I think they gambled on this book, and I think part of it is this old nut, a character. – Virginia Hamilton Adair (02/28/1913 – 09/16/2004), on being published for the first time at 83

You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length. – Carl Friedrich Gauss (Quoted in G. Simmons, Calculus Gems (1992).)

Learn this from water: loud splashes the brook but the oceans depth are calm. – The Buddha (Siddhartha Gotama)

Silence is so accurate. – Mark Rothko

Let truth be thy light. – The Buddha

Strange to say what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition. – Samuel Pepys

If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. – Mario Andretti

I have always a secret veneration for any one I observe to be a little out of repair in his person, as supposing him either a poet or a philosopher; because the richest minerals are ever found under the most ragged and withered surface of earth. – Jonathan Swift (Letter of Advice to a Young Poet).

In the game of life it’s a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season. – Bill Vaughan

What most of us are after, when we have a picture taken, is a good natural-looking picture that doesn’t resemble us. – Peg Bracken

A gossip is someone who talks to you about others, a bore is someone who talks to you about himself, and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself. – Lisa Kirk

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading. – Henny Youngman

If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again! – Stan Laurel

Some people think they are worth a lot of money just because they have it. – Fannie Hurst

Another damned thick square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr Gibbon?” – Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (on being presented with a copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).

I am no saint, never was, and never shall be a saint; I am not, and never shall be, a great man; but I have always had, and trust I always shall have, the honor of being regarded by my friends and associates as impolitic, as rash, imprudent, and impracticable. I was and am, in my natural disposition, frank, truthful, straightforward, and earnest; and, therefore, have had, and, I doubt not, shall carry to the grave with me, the reputation of being reckless, ultra, a well meaning man, perhaps an able man, but so fond of paradoxes and extremes, that he cannot be relied on, and is more likely to injure than serve the cause he espouses. So, wise and prudent men shake their heads when my name is mentioned, and disclaim all solidarity with me. – Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803-1876), American theologian and author, 1857.

Conversation without paradox is apt to be as dull as still champagne.- Birrell Augustine.

I am fully aware of the unpopularity of the task I have undertaken; but though I expect ridicule and censure, I do not fear them. A few years hence the opinion of the world will be a matter in which I shall have not even the most transient interest; but this book will be abroad on its mission of humanity long after the hand that wrote it is mingling with the dust. Should it be the means of advancing even one single hour the inevitable progress of truth and justice, I would not exchange the consciousness for all Rothschild’s wealth or Sir Walter’s fame. – Lydia Maria Child, Anti-slavery author (1802-1880) in 1833, Appeal in behalf of that class of Americans called Africans, Preface. (That book’s appearance “served to cut her off from the friends and admirers of her youth,” according to editor Charles Wells Moulton’s Library of Literary Criticism. “Social and literary circles shut their doors to her. The sales of her books and subscriptions to her magazines fell off, and her life became one of battle. Through it all she bore herself with patience and courage, and she threw herself into the movement with all her powers….Her Anti-Slavery writings aided powerfully in bringing about the overthrow of slavery, and she lived to see a reversal of the hostile opinions that greeted her first plea for the negroes (sic).”)

What, then, is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten — that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.” – Judge Learned Hand (1944) (spoken to thousands, including many new citizens, at a huge “I Am An American Day” ceremony in Central Park in the midst of wartime).

When I was in medical school I learned nothing about prevention, about maintenance of health, and it seemed to me that that should be the main business of a doctor. When I was 28 I decided to change a lot of things in my life. I was overweight, sedentary, allergic, so I stopped eating meat, I started walking a lot, swimming, meditation and in the course of a year my allergies disappeared, I had a lot more energy, slept better and that changed everything. And then I felt ready to go off round the world and study healing in other cultures. I saw some great cures, and a lot of medical nonsense. I came back convinced that nobody had all the right answers. Through the late nineteen seventies and nineteen eighties as I wrote books and practiced I was completely ignored by my medical colleagues. I felt lonely but I knew I was on the right path. After some time people started showing up on my doorstep wanting me to treat them, and I found people were eager to have the ear of a medically trained person who was open minded and knew about things beyond the world of conventional medicine. I called what I did Integrative Medicine because I was pulling things together. Integrative medicine can really give people advice about how to eat, how to exercise, how to handle stress. The most important point about integrative medicine is that the body is capable of healing itself. It is the kind of medicine patients want, the kind of medicine more and more doctors what to practice. And I think the success of this one day will be that we drop the word Integrative and it will be just good medicine. – Andrew Weil, Arizona Health Science Center

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety. – Isaac Asimov

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster. – Isaac Asimov

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome. – Isaac Asimov

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. – Isaac Asimov

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. – Isaac Asimov

Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. – Albert Einstein

John Dalton’s records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war. – Isaac Asimov

This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone. – Horace

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.- Albert Einstein

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.- Albert Einstein

No matter how long he lives, no man ever becomes as wise as the average woman of forty-eight. – H. L. Mencken

It is not wise to be wiser than necessary. – Philippe Quinault

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. – Albert Einstein

To be wise and love exceeds man’s might. – William Shakespeare

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. – George Bernard Shaw

People are always neglecting something they can do in trying to do something they can’t do. – Edgar Watson Howe

The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.- Albert Einstein

We are too busy listening to hear anything in particular, too overwhelmed by the parts to see any outline of the whole. History, to be understood at all, should be absorbed a very little at a time, in solitude, and always a step or two behind the actual march of events. – Wolcott Gibbs (in 1939)

(On the scholars of Oxford): A constellation of the most pedantic, obstinate ignorance and presumption, mixed with a kind of rustic incivility, which would try the patience of Job. – Giordano Bruno

Men bred in the universities of Scotland cannot be expected to be often decorated with the splendours of ornamental erudition, but they obtain a mediocrity of knowledge, between learning and ignorance, not inadequate to the purposes of common life, which is, I believe, very widely diffused among them, and which, countenanced in general by a national combination, so invidious, that their friends cannot defend i, and actuated in particulars by a spirit of enterprise, so vigorous, that their enemies are constrained to praise it, enables them to find, or to make their way to employment, riches and distinction. – Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Hebrides.

Son of Perseverance, whoever thou art, whose curiosity has led thee hither, read and be wise. – Samuel Johnson, The Vision of Theodore, The Hermit of Tenerriffe, Found in His Cell. in the Preceptor, 1748.

Dear Reverend Fathers, my letters are not normally so frequent nor so extensive. On both counts it is lack of time that is at fault. I have rendered this letter at such length only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. – Blaise Pascal, Lettres provinciales, December 4,1656.

Man will be ever to their errours blind,
Where woman’s not allowed to speak her mind….

In vain proud man usurp’s what’s woman’s due;
For us, alone they honour’s paths pursue:
Inspir’d by us, they glory’s heights ascend;
Woman the source, the object, and the end.
Though wealth, and pow’r, and glory, they receive,
These are all trifles to what we can give.
For us the statesman labors, hero fights,
Bears toilsome days, and wakes long tedious nights;
And, when blest peace has silenc’d war’s larms,
Receives his full reward in beauty’s arms.
– Samuel Johnson, Epilogue, By Sir William Yonge.

Civility costs nothing and buys everything. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with yourself. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

The idle mind will sometimes fall into contemplations that serve for nothing but to ruin the health, destroy good humour, hasten old age and wrinkles, and bring on an habitual melancholy. ‘Tis a maxim with me to be young as long as one can: there is nothing can pay one for that invaluable ignorance which is the companion of youth; those sanguine groundless hopes, and that lively vanity, which make all the happiness of life. To my extreme mortification I grow wiser every day. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

It has all been very interesting. – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, last words, 1762

Turn on the prudent ant thy heedful eyes,
Observe her labours, sluggard, and be wise:
No stern command, no monitory voice,
Prescribes her duties, or directs her choice;
Yet, timely provident, she hastes away,
To snatch the blessings of the plenteous day;
When fruitful summer loads the teeming plain,
She crops the harvest, and she stores the grain.

How long shall sloth usurp thy useless hours,
Unnerve thy vigour, and enchain thy pow’rs;
While artful shades thy downy couch inclose,
And soft solicitation courts repose?
Amidst the drowst charms of dull delight,
Year chases year with unremitted flight,
Till want now following, fraudulent and slow,
Shall spring to seize thee like an ambushed foe.
– Samuel Johnson, Go to the Ant, Thou Sluggard, Paraphrase of Proverbs, Chap. IV, Verses 6,7,8,9,0,11.

MOSCOW, 1886: You have often complained to me that people “don’t understand you”! Goethe and Newton did not complain of that…. Only Christ complained of it, but He was speaking of His doctrine and not of Himself…. People understand you perfectly well. And if you do not understand yourself, it is not their fault. I assure you as a brother and as a friend I understand you and feel for you with all my heart. I know your good qualities as I know my five fingers; I value and deeply respect them. If you like, to prove that I understand you, I can enumerate those qualities. I think you are kind to the point of softness, magnanimous, unselfish, ready to share your last farthing; you have no envy nor hatred; you are simple-hearted, you pity men and beasts; you are trustful, without spite or guile, and do not remember evil…. You have a gift from above such as other people have not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth only one out of two millions is an artist. Your talent sets you apart: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then, people would respect you, for to talent all things are forgiven. You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture. Forgive me, please, but veritas magis amicitiae…. You see, life has its conditions. In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent. Talent has brought you into such a circle, you belong to it, but … you are drawn away from it, and you vacillate between cultured people and the lodgers vis-a-vis. Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions: They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes.
They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother. They respect the property of others, and therefor pay their debts. They are sincere, and dread lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk. They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false…. They have no shallow vanity. They do not care for such false diamonds as knowing celebrities, shaking hands with the drunken P., [Translator’s Note: Probably Palmin, a minor poet.] listening to the raptures of a stray spectator in a picture show, being renowned in the taverns…. If they do a pennyworth they do not strut about as though they had done a hundred roubles’ worth, and do not brag of having the entry where others are not admitted…. The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one. If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity…. They are proud of their talent…. Besides, they are fastidious.
They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano [a healthy mind in a healthy body]. And so on. This is what cultured people are like. In order to be cultured and not to stand below the level of your surroundings it is not enough to have read “The Pickwick Papers” and learnt a monologue from “Faust.” … What is needed is constant work, day and night, constant reading, study, will…. Every hour is precious for it…. Come to us, smash the vodka bottle, lie down and read…. Turgenev, if you like, whom you have not read. You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty. It is time! I expect you…. We all expect you. – Anton Chekhov, 26, letter to brother Nikolai, 28

Seldom have I known any profound being that had anything to say to this world, unless forced to stammer out something by way of getting a living.” – Herman Melville

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us. – Voltaire

Such then is the human condition, that to wish greatness for one’s country is to wish harm to one’s neighbors. – Voltaire

The secret of being a bore is to tell everything. – Voltaire

The composition of a tragedy requires testicles. – Voltaire

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. – Voltaire

It is characteristic of fanatics who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob deceived, Rachel stole: so I must steal, deceive, lie. But, wretch, you are neither Rachel, nor Jacob, nor Abraham, nor God; you are just a mad fool, and the popes who forbade the reading of the Bible were extremely wise. – Voltaire

We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization. – Voltaire

God created woman to tame man. – Voltaire

It is forbidden to kill, therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. – Voltaire

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. I have no merit in thinking that this eternal and infinite being, whom I consider as virtue, as goodness itself, is desirous that I should be good and virtuous. Faith consists in believing not what seems true, but what seems false to our understanding. The Asiatics can only by faith believe the journey of Mahomet to the seven planets, and the incarnations of the god Fo, of Vishnu, Xaca, Brahma, and Sommonocodom. They submit their understandings; they tremble to examine: wishing to avoid being either impaled or burned, they say: “I believe.”
We do not here intend the slightest allusion to the Catholic faith. Not only do we revere it, but we possess it. We speak of the false, lying faith of other nations of the world, of that faith which is not faith, and which consists only in words.
There is a faith for things that are merely astonishing and prodigious, and a faith for things contradictory and impossible.
Vishnu became incarnate five hundred times; this is extremely astonishing, but it is not, however, physically impossible; for if Vishnu possessed a soul, he may have transferred that soul into five hundred different bodies, with a view to his own felicity. The Indian, indeed, has not a very lively faith; he is not intimately and decidedly persuaded of these metamorphoses; but he will nevertheless say to his bonze, “I have faith; it is your will and pleasure that Vishnu has undergone five hundred incarnations, which is worth to you an income of five hundred rupees: very well; you will inveigh against me, and denounce me, and ruin my trade if I have not faith; but I have faith, and here are ten rupees over and above for you.” The Indian may swear to the bonze that he believes without taking a false oath, for, after all, there is no demonstration that Vishnu has not actually made five hundred visits to India.
But if the bonze requires him to believe what is contradictory or impossible, as that two and two make five, or that the same body may be in a thousand different places, or that to be and not to be are precisely one and the same thing; in that case, if the Indian says he has faith he lies, and if he swears that he believes he commits perjury. He says, therefore, to the bonze: “My reverend father, I cannot declare that I believe in these absurdities, even though they should be worth to you an income of ten thousand rupees instead of five hundred.”
“My son,” the bonze answers, “give me twenty rupees and God will give you grace to believe all that you now do not believe.”
“But how can you expect or desire,” rejoins the Indian, “that God should do that by me which He cannot do even by Himself? It is impossible that God should either perform or believe contradictions. I am very willing to say, in order to give you satisfaction, that I believe what is obscure, but I cannot say that I believe what is impossible. It is the will of God that we should be virtuous, and not that we should be absurd. I have already given you ten rupees; here are twenty more; believe in thirty rupees; be an honest man if you can and do not trouble me any more.”
It is not thus with Christians. The faith which they have for things which they do not understand is founded upon that which they do understand; they have grounds of credibility. Jesus Christ performed miracles in Galilee; we ought, therefore, to believe all that He said. In order to know what He said we must consult the Church. The Church has declared the books which announce Jesus Christ to us to be authentic. We ought, therefore, to believe those books. Those books inform us that he who will not listen to the Church shall be considered as a tax-gatherer or a Pagan; we ought, therefore, to listen to the Church that we may not be disgraced and hated like the farmers-general. We ought to submit our reason to it, not with infantile and blind credulity, but with a docile faith, such as reason itself would authorize. Such is Christian faith, particularly the Roman faith, which is “the faith” par excellence. The Lutheran, Calvinistic, or Anglican faith is a wicked faith. – Voltaire

Mohammed the fanatic, the cruel, the deceiver, and to mens’ shame, the great, who from a grocer’s boy became a prophet, a legislator and a monarch. – Voltaire

But that a camel-merchant should stir up insurrection in his village; that in league with some miserable followers he persuades them that he talks with the angel Gabriel; that he boasts of having been carried to heaven, where he received in part this unintelligible book, each page of which makes common sense shudder; that, to pay homage to this book, he delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: this is assuredly nothing any man can excuse, at least if he was not born a Turk, or if superstition has not extinguished all natural light in him. – Voltaire

It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God? – Voltaire

Democracy: The worship of jackals by jackasses. – H.L. Mencken

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. The Idiot’s activity is not confined to any special field of thought or action, but “pervades and regulates the whole.” He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line. – Ambrose Bierce

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. – H. L. Mencken

The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement. – Anton Chekhov

Voltaire-Common-Sense-is Not so Common not so common

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