The recent medical controversy over whether vaccinations cause autism reveals a habit of human cognition — thinking anecdotally comes naturally, whereas thinking scientifically does not.— Michael Shermer
The most floundering Michael Shermer quotes that will activate your inner potential
In the past 10,000 years, humans have devised roughly 100,000 religions based on roughly 2,500 gods. So the only difference between myself and the believers is that I am skeptical of 2,500 gods whereas they are skeptical of 2,499 gods. We're only one God away from total agreement.
Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.
Myths are stories that express meaning, morality or motivation. Whether they are true or not is irrelevant.
Religious faith depends on a host of social, psychological and emotional factors that have little or nothing to do with probabilities, evidence and logic.
Humans are, by nature, pattern-seeking, storytelling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns whether they exist or not.
But the power of science lies in open publication, which, with the rise of the Internet, is no longer constrained by the price of paper.
I’m a skeptic not because I do not want to believe, but because I want to know.
In comparison, Google is brilliant because it uses an algorithm that ranks Web pages by the number of links to them, with those links themselves valued by the number of links to their page of origin.
Human history is highly nonlinear and unpredictable.
Either the soul survives death or it does not, and there is no scientific evidence that it does.
Humans evolved brains that are pattern-recognition machines, adept at detecting signals that enhance or threaten survival amid a very noisy world. ... But there is only one surefire method of proper pattern recognition, and that is science.
Play hard, work hard, love hard. . . .The bottom line for me is to live life to the fullest in the here-and-now instead of a hoped-for hereafter, and make every day count in some meaningful way and do something-no matter how small it is-to make the world a better place.
Darwin matters because evolution matters.
Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age, an epic saga about who we are, where we came from and where we are going.
The price of liberty is, in addition to eternal vigilance, eternal patience with the vacuous blather occasionally expressed from behind the shield of free speech.
Belief is the natural state of things.
It is the default option. We just believe. We believe all sorts of things. Belief is natural; disbelief, skepticism, science, is not natural.
Absolute morality leads logically to absolute intolerance.
To be a fully functioning moral agent, one cannot passively accept moral principles handed down by fiat. Moral principles require moral reasoning.
Believing that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator when it is only the wind does not cost much, but believing that a dangerous predator is the wind may cost an animal its life.
We think of our eyes as video cameras and our brains as blank tapes to be filled with sensory inputs.
Mysteries once thought to be supernatural or paranormal happenings - such as astronomical or meteorological events - are incorporated into science once their causes are understood.
Being a skeptic just means being rational and empirical: thinking and seeing before believing.
The concept of God is generated by a brain designed by evolution to find design in nature (a very recursive idea).
A Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the universe evokes far more awe for creation than light streaming through a stained glass window in a cathedral.
We are a fluke of nature, a quirk of evolution, a glorious contingency.
No single discovery from any of these fields denotes proof of evolution, but together they reveal that life evolved in a certain sequence by a particular process.
The first-cause and prime-mover argument, brilliantly proffered by St.
Thomas Aquinas in the fourteenth century (and brilliantly refuted by David Hume in the eighteenth century), is easily turned aside with just one more question: Who or what caused and moved God?
Accepting evolution does not force us to jettison our morals and ethics, and rejecting evolution does not ensure their constancy.
...evolution is not a religious tenet, to which one swears allegiance or belief as a matter of faith.. It is a factual reality of the empirical world. Just as one would not say 'I believe in gravity," one should not proclaim 'I believe in evolution.
When alien abductees recount to me their stories, I do not deny that they had a real experience.
Mammals are sentient beings that want to live and are afraid to die.
Evolution vouchsafed us all with an instinct to survive, reproduce and flourish.
In principle, skeptics are neither closed-minded nor cynical. We are curious but cautious.
We know evolution happened because innumerable bits of data from myriad fields of science conjoin to paint a rich portrait of life's pilgrimage.
The actual atoms and molecules that make up my brain and body today are not the same ones that I was born with on September 8, 1954, a half-century ago this month.
So, of course, Gish's presentation was well received, which it would have been the case had he only gotten up and said "praise the Lord" and sat back down.
The whole point of faith, in fact, is to believe regardless of the evidence, which is the very antithesis of science.
Scientists like Bjorn Lomborg in The Skeptical Environmentalist have, in my opinion, properly nailed environmental extremists for these exaggerated scenarios.
But there is only one surefire method of proper pattern recognition, and that is science.
The fate of the paranormal is to become the normal as our horizons of understanding expand.
My thesis is that morality exists outside the human mind in the sense of being not just a trait of individual humans, but a human trait; that is, a human universal.
As Karl Marx once noted: 'Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.' William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes trial was a tragedy. The creationists and intelligent design theorists are a farce.
Through no divine design or cosmic plan, we have inherited the mantle of life's caretaker on the earth, the only home we have ever known.
... In a free society, skeptics are the watchdogs against irrationalism - the consumer advocates of ideas. Debunking is not simply the divestment of bunk; its utility is in offering a better alternative, along with a lesson on how thinking goes wrong.
Scientific prayer makes God a celestial lab rat, leading to bad science and worse religion.
Remember always that we are pattern-seeking primates who are especially adept at finding patterns with emotional meaning.
One, I am skeptical of the effectiveness of nutritional supplements.
We know evolution happened not because of transitional fossils such as A.
natans but because of the convergence of evidence from such diverse fields as geology, paleontology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, molecular biology, genetics, and many more.
Dualists hold that body and soul are separate entities and that the soul will continue beyond the existence of the physical body.
Flawed as they may be, science and the secular Enlightenment values expressed in Western democracies are our best hope for survival.
But because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths.