Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance.
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.
How to enforce peace? Not by reason, certainly, nor by education.If a man could not look at the fact of peace and the fact of war and choose the former in preference to the latter, what additional argument could persuade him? What could be more eloquent as a condemnation of war that war itself?
If I had felt then as I feel now, or as I felt a few years after I had married her, nothing could possibly have persuaded me to marry a woman who smoked. Dates, yes. Sexual adventures, yes. But to pin myself permanently inside closed quarters with a smoker? Never. Never. Never. Beauty wouldn't count, sweetness wouldn't count, suitability in every other respect wouldn't count.
You see, proteins, as I probably needn't tell you, are immensely complicated groupings of amino acids and certain other specialized compounds, arranged in intricate three-dimensional patterns that are as unstable as sunbeams on a cloudy day. It is this instability that is life, since it is forever changing its position in an effort to maintain its identity--in the manner of a long rod balanced on an acrobat's nose.
[A]ll knowledge is one. When a light brightens and illuminates a corner of a room, it adds to the general illumination of the entire room. Over and over again, scientific discoveries have provided answers to problems that had no apparent connection with the phenomena that gave rise to the discovery.
I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.
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.
The peace and joy of the Christmas season was marred by a proclamation of a general strike of all the military forces of the world. Panic reigns in the hearts of all the patriots of every persuasion. Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all-time low over the world.
Science can be introduced to children well or poorly. If poorly, children can be turned away from science; they can develop a lifelong antipathy; they will be in a far worse condition than if they had never been introduced to science at all.
People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.
To those who are trained in science, creationism seems a bad dream, a sudden coming back to life of a nightmare, a renewed march of an Army of the Night risen to challenge free thought and enlightenment.
I was once being interviewed by Barbara Walters...In between two of the segments she asked me..."But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?" I said, "Type faster." This was widely quoted, but the "six months" was changed to "six minutes," which bothered me. It's "six months.
I'm gradually managing to cram my mind more and more full of things. I've got this beautiful mind and it's going to die, and it'll all be gone. And then I say, not in my case. Every idea I've ever had I've written down, and it's all there on paper. And I won't be gone; it'll be there.
Speech, originally, was the device whereby Man learned, imperfectly, to transmit the thoughts and emotions of his mind. By setting up arbitrary sounds and combinations of sounds to represent certain mental nuances, he developed a method of communication--but one which in its clumsiness and thick-thumbed inadequacy degenerated all the delicacy of the mind into gross and guttural signaling.
At two-tenths the speed of light, dust and atoms might not do significant damage even in a voyage of 40 years, but the faster you go, the worse it is--space begins to become abrasive. When you begin to approach the speed of light, hydrogen atoms become cosmic-ray particles, and they will fry the crew. ...So 60,000 kilometers per second may be the practical speed limit for space travel.
If you're born in a cubicle and grow up in a corridor, and work in a cell, and vacation in a crowded sun-room, then coming up into the open with nothing but sky over you might just give you a nervous breakdown.
I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway".
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.
I, on the other hand, am a finished product. I absorb electrical energy directly and utilize it with an almost one hundred percent efficiency. I am composed of strong metal, am continuously conscious, and can stand extremes of environment easily. These are facts which, with the self-evident proposition that no being can create another being superior to itself, smashes your silly hypothesis to nothing.
I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.
Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.
Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise-even in their own field.
It's just science fiction so it's allowed to be silly, and childish, and stupid. It's just science fiction, so it doesn't have to make sense. It's just science fiction, so you must ask nothing more of it than loud noises and flashing lights.
You don't need to predict the future. Just choose a future -- a good future, a useful future -- and make the kind of prediction that will alter human emotions and reactions in such a way that the future you predicted will be brought about. Better to make a good future than predict a bad one.
No one can possibly have lived through the Great Depression without being scarred by it. No amount of experience since the depression can convince someone who has lived through it that the world is safe economically.
As artists and traders in medieval cities began to form organizations, they instituted tough initiation ceremonies. Journeymen in Bergen, Norway, were shoved down a chimney, thrown three times into the sea, and soundly whipped. Such rites made belonging to the guild or corporation more precious to those who were accepted, and survived.
...democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.
Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests.
Early in my school career, I turned out to be an incorrigible disciplinary problem. I could understand what the teacher was saying as fast as she could say it, I found time hanging heavy, so I would occasionally talk to my neighbor. That was my great crime, I talked in school.
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. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always 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.
The energy requirements for interstellar travel are so great that it is inconceivable to me that any creatures piloting their ships across the vast depths of space would do so only in order to play games with us over a period of decades. If they want to make contact, they would make contact; if not, they would save their energy and go elsewhere.
To me it seems to be important to believe people to be good even if they tend to be bad, because your own joy and happiness in life is increased that way, and the pleasures of the belief outweigh the occasional disappointments. To be a cynic about people works just the other way around and makes you incapable about enjoying the good things.
I have never, in all my life, not for one moment, been tempted toward religion of any kind. The fact is that I feel no spiritual void. I have my philosophy of life, which does not include any aspect of the supernatural and which I find totally satisfying. I am, in short, a rationalist and believe only that which reason tells me is so.
Pierre Curie, a brilliant scientist, happened to marry a still more brilliant one-Marie, the famous Madame Curie-and is the only great scientist in history who is consistently identified as the husband of someone else.
Saying something is 'too bad' is easy. You say you disapprove, which makes you a nice person, and then you can go about your business and not be interested anymore. It's a lot worse than 'too bad.' It's against everything decent and natural.
The tyranny that now exists is actual. That which may exist in the future is potential. If we are always to draw back from change with the thought that the change may be for the worse, then there is no hope at all of ever escaping injustice.
Tell me why the stars do shine, Tell me why the ivy twines, Tell me what makes skies so blue, And I'll tell you why I love you. Nuclear fusion makes stars to shine, Tropisms make the ivy twine, Raleigh scattering make skies so blue, Testicular hormones are why I love you.
To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values, there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally, and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing
Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history : the republic whose ruler has every attribute of the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal "honor" and court etiquette.
Life would be impossible on such a planet. It wouldn't get enough heat and light, and if it rotated there would be total darkness half of every day. There wouldn't be any native inhabitants. You couldn't expect life---which is fundamentally dependent on light---to develop under such extreme conditions of light deprivation. Half of every axial rotation spent in Darkness! No, nothing could exist under conditions like that.
It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face.' But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you?
The day of the week on which the tour took place was known to all workers. All devices in its path ought to have been carefully neutralized or locked, since it was unreasonable to expect human beings to withstand the temptation to handle knobs, keys, handles and pushbuttons.
In a properly automated and educated world, then, machines may prove to be the true humanizing influence. It may be that machines will do the work that makes life possible and that human beings will do all the other things that make life pleasant and worthwhile
The Solarians have given up something mankind has had for a million years; something worth more than atomic power, cities, agriculture, tools, fire, everything; because it's something that made everything possible (...) The tribe, sir. Cooperation between individuals.
So, in a Civil Service where smooth and sociable performance was more useful than an individualistic competence, Enderby went up the scale quickly, and was at the Commissioner level when Baley himself was nothing more than a C-5.
They absorb carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. What could be more desirable? And they look good in the bargain. Stop chopping down the rain forests and plant more saplings, and we're on our way.
Science is complex and chilling. The mathematical language of science is understood by very few. The vistas it presents are scary-an enormous universe ruled by chance and impersonal rules, empty and uncaring, ungraspable and vertiginous. How comfortable to turn instead to a small world, only a few thousand years old, and under God's personal; and immediate care; a world in which you are His peculiar concern.
I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less. ... I don't suppose we can ever stop hating each other, but why encourage that by keeping the old labels with their ready-made history of millennial hate?
When life is so harsh that a man loses all hope in himself, then he raises his eyes to a shining rock, worshipping 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.
The appearance of strength is all about you. It would seem to last forever. However... the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had. The storm-blast whistles through the branches of the Empire even now. Listen... and you will hear the creaking.