For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?
If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.
The price we pay for anticipation of the future is anxiety about it
Our ancestors lived out of doors. They were as familiar with the night sky as most of us are with our favorite television programs.
The fact is that far more crime and child abuse has been committed by zealots in the name of God, Jesus and Mohammed than has ever been committed in the name of Satan. Many people don't like that statement, but few can argue with it.
Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science sometimes requires courage - at the very least the courage to question the conventional wisdom.
Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.
The dumbing down of America is evident in the slow decay of substantive content, a kind of celebration of ignorance.
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
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. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
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.
Some racists still reject the plain testimony written in the DNA that all the races are not only human but nearly indistinguishable. . . .
It's sometimes easier to reject strong evidence than to admit that we've been wrong, this is information about ourselves worth having.
There are in fact 100 billion galaxies, each of which contain something like a 100 billion stars. Think of how many stars, and planets, and kinds of life there may be in this vast and awesome universe.
If we continue to accumulate only power and not wisdom, we will surely destroy ourselves.
There are many hypotheses in physics of almost comparable brillance and elegance that have been rejected because they did not survive such a confrontation with experiment. In my view, the human condition would be greatly improved if such confrontations and willingness to reject hypotheses were a regular part of our social, political, economic, religious and cultural lives.
The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.
What counts is not what sounds plausible, not what we would like to believe, not what one or two witnesses claim, but only what is supported by hard evidence rigorously and skeptically examined. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Every cell is a triumph of natural selection, and we're made of trillions of cells. Within us, is a little universe.
Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.
We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called the library
Modern Darwinism makes it abundantly clear that many less ruthless traits, some not always admired by robber barons and Fuhrers - altruism, general intelligence, compassion - may be the key to survival.
There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That's perfectly all right: it's the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process.
Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.
The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
But nature is always more subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine.
We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.
Our perceptions are fallible. We sometimes see what isn't there. We are prey to optical illusions. Occasionally we hallucinate. We are error-prone.
The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.
We are made of stellar ash. Our origin and evolution have been tied to distant cosmic events. The exploration of the cosmos is a voyage of self-discovery.
The lifetime of a human being is measured by decades, the lifetime of the Sun is a hundred million times longer. Compared to a star, we are like mayflies, fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their lives in the course of a single day.
We humans look rather different from a tree. Without a doubt we perceive the world differently than a tree does. But down deep, at the molecular heart of life, the trees and we are essentially identical.
Not all birds can fly. What separates the flyers from the walkers is the ability to take off.
The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff
The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.
Science is not perfect. It's often misused; it's only a tool, but it's the best tool we have. Self-correcting , ever changing, applicable to everything: with this tool, we vanquish the impossible.