Skeptic Quotes

 Nature is not cruel, pitilessly, indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 We are humble enough to say we don't know, what of theologians like McGrath? He knows. He's signed up to the Nicene Creed. The universe was created by a very particular supernatural intelligence who is actually three in one. Not four, not two, but three. Christian doctrine is remarkably specific: not only with cut-and-dried answers to the deep problems of the universe and life, but about the divinity of Jesus, about sin and redemption, heaven and hell, prayer and absolute morality. And yet McGrath has the almighty gall to accuse me of a 'glossy', 'quick fix', naive faith that science has all the answers. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it? 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 A universe with a God would look quite different from a universe without one. A physics, a biology where there is a God is bound to look different. So the most basic claims of religion are scientific. Religion is a scientific theory. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Personally, I rather look forward to a computer program winning the world chess championship. Humanity needs a lesson in humility.  
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 The essence of life is statistical improbability on a colossal scale. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies? 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 What has 'theology' ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has 'theology' ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious? What makes you think that 'theology' is a subject at all? 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 We humans are an extremely important manifestation of the replication bomb, because it is through us - through our brains, our symbolic culture and our technology - that the explosion may proceed to the next stage and reverberate through deep space. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 Isn't it a remarkable coincidence almost everyone has the same religion as their parents? And it always just happens to be the right religion. Religions run in families. If we'd been brought up in ancient Greece we would all be worshipping Zeus and Apollo. If we had been born Vikings we would be worshiping Wotan and Thor. How does this come about? Through childhood indoctrination. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow pre-ordained for us, because we are so well-suited to live in it, he [Adams] mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 I suggest that we might want to depose this incumbent God and start dealing with The Real World. He's proven - time and again - to be cruel, capricious, and vindictive. He drowns, crushes, burns, and starves millions of us every day. He created cancer, viruses, and germs to invade and destroy our bodies as He sees fit, and uses them very effectively. In His wisdom, He directed those in charge to impede stem cell research so that such a powerful approach would not be available to us and He wouldn't have to strain the Divine Intellect to disarm that defense. We amuse Him as we flail about vainly trying to appease Him. I vote that we dump Him. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 It's time for the opening lecture in Test Design 101: Consider: a woman claims to be a musician. You seat her at a piano and demand that she prove her claim. She cannot play the piano, and you conclude that her claim has been invalidated. Hardly. You see, the lady is a cellist. You cannot challenge a claimant to do something they've never claimed they can do. That's why, at the JREF, we design a protocol only after the applicant has clearly stated: a. What they can do b. Under what conditions c. With what expected degree of success. The applicant must find the protocol appropriate, fair, agreeable, and adequate to prove their claim. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Uri Geller may have psychic powers by means of which he can bend spoons; if so, he appears to be doing it the hard way. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Sir, there is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 The conjuror or con man is a very good provider of information. He supplies lots of data, by inference or direct statement, but it's false data. Scientists aren't used to that scenario. An electron or a galaxy is not capricious, nor deceptive; but a human can be either or both. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place - not to mention the "ethnic cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world - and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women. This comprehensive statement was arrived at by examining the statutes of those seven states that have remained in the Dark Ages, so that I might satisfy their definitions of blasphemy. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who encourage and support the fanatics and the frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. They are the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle fiercely to preserve their right to be victimized… the U.S. Patent Office handles an endless succession of inventors who still produce perpetual-motion machines that don't work, but no number of idle flywheels will convince these zealots of their folly; dozens of these patent applications flow in every year. In ashrams all over the world, hopping devotees of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will never abandon their goal of blissful levitation of their bodies by mind power, despite bruises and sprains aplenty suffered as they bounce about on gym mats like demented (though smiling) frogs, trying to get airborne. Absolutely nothing will discourage them.  
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Paranormal phenomena have a habit of going away whenever they are tested under rigorous conditions. This is why the $1,000,000 reward of James Randi, offered to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal effect under proper scientific controls, is safe. 
Author: Richard Dawkins
Nationality: British
b. 26 March 1941
  
 A quick example of that is a woman who said she'd been healed of throat cancer where the faith healer admitted he touched her on the forehead. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Feeling better is not actually being better. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 However, I believe that it would be difficult to have legitimate scientists agree to participate. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I do not expect that homeopathy will ever be established as a legitimate form of treatment, but I do expect that it will continue to be popular. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I don't expect that the million will ever be won, simply because there is no confirming evidence for any paranormal claims to date. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I questioned her further, and eventually got to talk to her doctor. And her doctor sort of shook his head and he said, 'I have examined her for throat cancer at least 15 times in the past few years. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I was not surprised by the results of the Horizon experiments, but I remain willing to observe and consider any and all other tests that are done under similarly precise conditions. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I would put my million dollars up as well. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 The New Age? It's just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 The only difference is that religion is much better organised and has been around much longer, but it's the same story with different characters and different costumes. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 The problem with experiments has always been that human beings make the decisions on whether or not the animals have benefitted from the treatment. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 There's something about the Houdini act that is not always made clear - about the escape act in general. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 They would have been very let down if they had to leave the theater and he had missed. He would feel badly. Everyone would feel badly. But he never let them down. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Of the hundreds of those we've tested over the past few years probably 85 percent were dowsers 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 I don't doubt the sincerity of dowsers, but even after we've demonstrated that they can't produce results that are any better than chance they'll still go away believing in their abilities. It is like the mother whose son is caught shoplifting on tape. She wonders why someone would want to frame her child by producing a fake video. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 This costs R275 per person, and besides the nonsense, you get tea, coffee and notes'. You're asked to bring a packed lunch. Alka-Seltzer apparently not supplied. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Far from being a curse, it might be lucky to disturb a pharaoh's tomb. These people beat the life span expectation for those days by about a year. 
Author: James Randi
Nationality: American
b. 07 August 1928
  
 Questioning our own motives, and our own process, is critical to a skeptical and scientific outlook. We must realize that the default mode of human psychology is to grab onto comforting beliefs for purely emotional reasons, and then justify those beliefs to ourselves with post-hoc rationalizations. It takes effort to rise above this tendency, to step back from our beliefs and our emotional connection to conclusions and focus on the process. The process - i.e science, logic, and intellectual rigor, has to be more important than the belief. 
Author: Dr. Steven Novella
Nationality: American
b. 29 July 1969
  
 You can't reason someone out of an opinion they didn't reason themselves into in the first place. 
Author: Dr. Steven Novella
Nationality: American
b. 29 July 1969
  
 zzzzz 
Author: Rebecca Watson
Nationality: American
b. 18 October 1980
  
 A woman exiting a building in Clearwater Florida noticed an unusual, colorful shape covering nine of its exterior glass windows. This vague outline (see picture on cover) was soon interpreted as the Virgin Mary making one of her many appearances to mankind. Word spread very quickly and in no time many of the faithful and curious journeyed to the site to see the image. Depending on your source, 500,000 to one million people from coast to coast eventually visited the building stopping traffic for miles around. All forms of media, local and national, also reported the phenomenon for days after this initial appearance. It's not too difficult to see what appears to be the outline of a hooded robe draped over a head and upper body. As you can see, the image is very vague and many other interpretations could be visualized. This is a classic case of pareidolia. 
Author: Robert Novella
Nationality: American   
 Vision is indeed the paragon of the human senses. With it we can distinguish millions of shades of colors, recognize thousands of faces instantly, and even detect the presence of a single photon of light. The vivid colors, the three-dimensional shapes, and the complicated motions we observe are all the more remarkable when we consider that the image on each retina is two-dimensional, upside down, distorted, and the size of a postage stamp. The vast majority of the information that sighted individuals acquire comes through the eyes and, if given a choice, most of us would rather lose any other sense than our precious vision. This feeling is likewise echoed by the brain's architecture itself. Almost one third the brain is involved in processing visual information. Indeed, the eyes themselves are really little bits of our brain that are poking out of our heads and peering at the world.  
Author: Robert Novella
Nationality: American   
 zzzzz 
Author: Evan Bernstein
Nationality: American   
 Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able to? Then he is not omnipotent Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able or wiling? Then why call him God? 
Author: Epicurus
Nationality: Greek
b. December 341  - d.  December 270
  
 Lunatic: Jesus was not God, but he mistakenly believed that he was. Liar: Jesus was not God, and he knew it, but he said so anyway. Lord: Jesus is God. 
Author: C. S. Lewis
Nationality: English
b. 29 November 1898  - d. 22 November 1963
  
 My area of research is something that in all fairness has no practical usability whatsoever and the thing is I'm often asked to apologize for that. It is interesting to me that people ask 'what's the point of doing that if it's not useful?' But they never ask that, or do they very rarely ask that about art or literature or music. Those things are not gonna produce a better toaster. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 There is a maxim about the universe which I always tell my students: That which is not explicitly forbidden is guaranteed to occur. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 Now, since the time of Newton there had been a debate about whether light was a wave - that is, a traveling disturbance in some background medium - or a particle, which travels regardless of the presence of a background medium. The observation of Maxwell that electromagnetic waves must exist and that their speed was identical to that of light ended the debate: light was an electromagnetic wave. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 Richard Feynman used to go up to people all the time and he'd say "You won't believe what happened to me today... you won't believe what happened to me" and people would say "What?" and he'd say "Absolutely nothing". Because we humans believe that everything that happens to us is special and significant. And that, and Carl Sagan wrote beautifully about that in The Demon-Haunted World - that is much of the source of religion. Everything that happens is unusual and I expect that the likelihood that Richard and I ever would've met. If you think about all the variables: the probability that we were in the same place at the same time, ate breakfast the same. Whatever. It's zero. Every event that happens has small probability... but it happens and then when it happens; if it's weird, if you dream one million nights and it's nonsense but one night you dream that your friend is gonna break his leg and the next day he breaks his arm - *sound of revelation*. So, the thing that physics tell us about the universe is that it's big, rare event happens all the time - including life - and that doesn't mean it's special. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 If you have nothing in quantum mechanics, you will always have something. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded. Because the elements, the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution weren't created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars. And the only way they could get into your body is if the stars were kind enough to explode. So forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  
 We seem doomed to travel in only one direction, into the future. 
Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Nationality: American
b. 27 May 1954
  




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