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Quotes of the day: Isaac Asimov
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Published Thursday, January 02, 2014 @ 6:42 AM EST
Jan 02 2014

Isaac Asimov (born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov; c. January 2, 1920 - April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in nine out of ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Creationists make it sound as though a “theory” is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

Happiness is doing it rotten your own way.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.

I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment should be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell.

I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties, that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just an infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think, is the secret of the Universe.

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

If the doctor told me I had only six months to live, I'd type faster.

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.

It is no defense of superstition and pseudoscience to say that it brings solace and comfort to people... If solace and comfort are how we judge the worth of something, then consider that tobacco brings solace and comfort to smokers; alcohol brings it to drinkers; drugs of all kinds bring it to addicts; the fall of cards and the run of horses bring it to gamblers; cruelty and violence bring it to sociopaths. Judge by solace and comfort only and there is no behavior we ought to interfere with.

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an orgy in my room and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence.

Properly read, it (the Bible) is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.

Thin people are thin because they don't know any better.

To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature, "human" might be the greater insult.

There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance only implies ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

We are reaching the stage where the problems we must solve are going to become insoluble without computers. I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.

When life is so harsh that a man loses all hope in himself, then he raises his eyes to a shining rock, worshiping it, just to find hope again, rather than looking to his own acts for hope and salvation. Yes, atheism is a redemptive belief. It is theism that denies man's own redemptive nature.

You can't reason with someone whose first line of argument is that reason doesn't count.

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To be sure, the Bible contains the direct words of God. How do we know? The Moral Majority says so. How do they know? They say they know and to doubt it makes you an agent of the Devil or, worse, a Lbr-l Dm-cr-t. And what does the Bible textbook say? Well, among other things it says the earth was created in 4004 BC (Not actually, but a Moral Majority type figured that out three and a half centuries ago, and his word is also accepted as inspired.) The sun was created three days later. The first male was molded out of dirt, and the first female was molded, some time later, out of his rib. As far as the end of the universe is concerned, the Book of Revelation (6:13-14) says: "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind."... Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.

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I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.


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