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It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.
Bertrand Russell

Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attibutable to science.
Bertrand Russell

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

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

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Bertrand Russell

Fear is the main source of superstition & one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell

One of the most painful circumstances of recent advances in science is that each one makes us know less than we thought we did
Bertrand Russell

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Bertrand Russell

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Bertrand Russell

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand Russell

I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence.
Bertrand Russell

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

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 hard but just rule is that if the ideas don't work, you must throw them away. Don't waste any neurons on what doesn't work. Devote those neurons to new ideas that better explain the data. Valid criticism is doing you a favor.
Carl Sagan

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.
Carl Sagan

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says "Everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved in the writing of this book."?
Carl Sagan

We all have a thirst for wonder. It`s a deeply human quality. Science and religion are both bound up with it. What I`m saying is, you don`t have to make stories up, you don`t have to exaggerate. There`s wonder and awe enough in the real world. Nature`s a lot better at inventing wonders than we are.
Carl Sagan

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
Carl Sagan

In the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.
Carl Sagan

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

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.
Carl Sagan

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
Carl Sagan

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what`s true.
Carl Sagan

People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.
Carl Sagan

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.
Carl Sagan

Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience.
George Santayana

My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.
George Santayana

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

Books are like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you can't expect an angel to look out.
Arthur Schopenhauer

There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
Arthur Schopenhauer

The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice
Arthur Schopenhauer

Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't.
Pete Seeger

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

The orthodox doctor treats what you have, and the alternative practitioner says you have what she treats.
Rose Shapiro

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

No man ever believes that the Bible means what IT says; he is always convinced that it says what HE means.
George Bernard Shaw

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

It is vain philosophy that supposes more causes than are exactly adequate to explain the phenomena of things.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Design must be proved before a designer can be inferred.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.
Michael Shermer

Believe me, the library is the temple of God. Education is the most sacred religion of all.
Gene Simmons

A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
Paul Simon (in The Boxer)

It is hard to get a man to understand something, if his living depends on him not understanding it.
Upton Sinclair

I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.
Edith Sitwell

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
Adam Smith

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
Gerry Spence

Skepticism is the father of freedom. It is like the pry that holds open the door for truth to slip in.
Gerry Spence

Science is organized knowledge.
Herbert Spencer

Anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic by those, whom the masses adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. Such persons know that, with the removal of ignorance, the wonder which forms their only available means for proving and preserving their authority would vanish also.
Benedict da Spinoza

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