« We Go One God Further »

My collection of (mostly) quotations and links (mostly) about skepticism, science, philosophical naturalism, freethought and humanism. Mostly. (Formerly “Un bon mot ne prouve rien”.)
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“Our team hunted for a special type of polarization called ‘B-modes,’ which represents a twisting or ‘curl’ pattern in the polarized orientations of the ancient light,” said BICEP2 co-leader Jamie Bock, a professor of physics at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1953)

Ludwig Wittgenstein

h/t Richard Wein @ WEIT

Of all questions, ‘why?’ is the least pertinent. It begs the question; it assumes the larger part of its own response; to wit, that a sensible response exists.

Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous (1984)

Rhialto the Marvellous

h/t Mark Joseph @ WEIT

A classic lecture series exploring the Solar System.

“A Universe Not Made For Us” — Carl Sagan on religion, geocentrism

Carl Sagan Tribute Series

h/t Renaldo @ WEIT

If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards — in heaven if not on earth — all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.

Paul Dirac, remarks made during the Fifth Solvay International Conference (October 1927), as quoted in Physics and Beyond : Encounters and Conversations (1971) by Werner Heisenberg, pp. 85-86

Paul Dirac

h/t Jiten @ WEIT

God has left no footprints on the snows of time.
Maybe the creator was a student god, and only got a B- on this project.

Louise Antony, professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, “Arguments Against God”, interview with Gary Gutting, New York Times Opinionator

Louise Antony

h/t WEIT

Jesus and Mo » prize2

Jesus and Mo » prize2