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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, December 15, 2011 @ 11:57 PM EST
Dec 15 2011

Arthur C. Clarke, (December 16, 1917 - March 19, 2008)

A country's armed forces can no longer defend it; the most they can promise is the destruction of the attacker.

A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.

All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be!

As every researcher just out of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!

As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.

Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.

For much of history, religion may have been a necessary evil, but why has it been more evil than necessary?

How inappropriate to call this planet “Earth,” when it is clearly “Ocean.”

Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.

I am an optimist; anyone interested in the future has to be, otherwise he would simply shoot himself.

I don't believe in God but I'm very interested in Her.

I don't pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.

I have great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.

I'm appalled by what we all see on the news every day- massacres, atrocities, injustices, outrages of all kinds. When I see what's happening, I sometimes wonder if the human race deserves to survive.

I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here.

I've been saying for a long time that I'm hoping to find intelligent life in Washington.

If our wisdom fails to match our science, we will have no second chance. For there will be no one to carry our dreams across another Dark Age, when the dust of all our cities incarnadines the sunsets of the world.

If the house is to be demolished tomorrow anyhow, people seem to feel, we may as well burn the furniture today.

If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run- and often in the short one- the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.

It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.

It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him.

It must be wonderful to be seventeen, and to know everything.

It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one could not understand.

My objection to organized religion is the premature conclusion to ultimate truth that it represents.

One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn't require religion at all.

Perhaps we should thank the Taliban for finishing the task the Crusades began nine hundred years ago- proving beyond further dispute that Religion is incompatible with Civilization.

Reading computer manuals without the hardware is as frustrating as reading sex manuals without the software. In both cases the cure is simple though usually very expensive.

Religion is a disease promoted by starvation, because hungry people hallucinate, and then pray for food. This is why so many religions encourage fasting: it weakens the mind.

Science can destroy a religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the nonexistence of Zeus or Thor, but they have few followers now.

Science fiction seldom attempts to predict the future. More often than not, it tries to prevent the future.

Science is the only religion of mankind.

Technology is really civilization, let's face it.

The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.

The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.

The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I'm afraid.

The only real problem in life is what to do next.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

The psychologist who famously remarked that chastity was the rarest of all sexual perversions might have added that Religion was the most common.

The Solar System is rather a large place, though whether it will be large enough for so quarrelsome an animal as Homo sapiens remains to be seen.

There is a special sadness in achievement, in the knowledge that a long-desired goal has been attained at last, and that life must now be shaped toward new ends.

There is a time to battle against Nature, and a time to obey her. True wisdom lies in making the right choice.

There is a type of mind that will believe anything if it is sufficiently fantastic, and it is a waste of time arguing with it. No one has ever received much thanks for exposing credulity.

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

This is the first age that's ever paid much attention to the future, which is a little ironic since we may not have one.

Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

Unfortunately, most people do not understand even the basic elements of statistics and probability, which is why astrologers and advertising agencies flourish.

Utopia is very dull. That's the problem with science fiction. Smashing things is more interesting.

We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40- and half the things he knows at 40 hadn't been discovered when he was 20?

We seldom stop to think that we are still creatures of the sea, able to leave it only because, from birth to death, we wear the water-filled space suits of our skins.

What is life but organized energy?

What we need is a machine that will let us see the other guy's point of view.

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

When you finally understand the universe, it will not only be stranger than you imagine, it will be stranger than you can imagine.

Why is it that almost every man, when confronted by an unhappy woman, immediately assumes that her unhappiness is somehow related to him?

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