The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before.
I believe that in every person is a kind of circuit which resonates to intellectual discovery-and the idea is to make that resonance work.
We are the custodians of life's meaning.
Organic as a dandelion seed, the ship of our imagination will carry us to worlds of dreams and worlds of facts.
The fact that so little of the findings of modern science is prefigured in Scripture to my mind casts further doubt on it divine inspiration.
The dumbing down of America is evident in the slow decay of substantive content, a kind of celebration of ignorance.
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence.
An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.
Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.
Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.
Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.
There may be such intelligences and such starships, but pulsars are not their signature. Instead, they are the doleful reminders that nothing lasts forever; that stars also die.
Once intelligent beings achieve technology and the capacity for self-destruction of their species, the selective advantage of intelligence becomes more uncertain.
Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe.
Each of us is a tiny being, permitted to ride on the outermost skin of one of the smaller planets for a few dozen trips around the local star.
It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.
History is full of people who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power has destroyed knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all. We must not let it happen again.
It would be wryly interesting if in human history the cultivation of marijuana led generally to the invention of agriculture, and thereby to civilization.
Writing a novel is like trying to solve a very long mathematical equation. Changing anything can change everything else.
I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this cosmos in which we float, like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
This oak tree and me, we're made of the same stuff.
Is mankind alone in the universe? Or are there somewhere other intelligent beings looking up into their night sky from very different worlds and asking the same kind of question?
Be grateful everyday for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
There is perhaps no better a demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
Our perceptions are fallible. We sometimes see what isn't there. We are prey to optical illusions. Occasionally we hallucinate. We are error-prone.
On the day that we do discover that we are not alone, our society may begin to evolve and transform in some incredible and wondrous new ways.
The prediction of nuclear winter is drawn not, of course, from any direct experience with the consequences of global nuclear war, but rather from an investigation of the governing physics.
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term. One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism.
If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone?
If stones could philosophize, I imagine Lithic Principles would be at the intellectual frontiers.
At the extremes it is difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from rigid, doctrinaire religion.
Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves.
The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
The method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.
The words question and quest are cognates. Only through inquiry can we discover truth.
One of the greatest gifts adults can give -- to their offspring and to their society -- is to read to children.
If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.
All science asks is to employ the same levels of skepticism we use in buying a used car or in judging the quality of analgesics or beer from their television commercials.
If you want to make a rhubarb pie from scratch, first you have to create the universe.
Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition.
Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
When we look up at night and view the stars, everything we see is shinning because of distant nuclear fusion.
Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.
Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.
And after we returned to the savannahs and abandoned the trees, did we long for those great graceful leaps and ecstatic moments of weightlessness in the shafts of sunlight of the forest roof?
I think if we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we will have failed.
Any sufficiently crisp question can be answered by a single binary digit-0 or 1, yes or no.
Evolution is adventitious and not foresighted. Only through the deaths of an immense number of slightly maladapted organisms are we, brains and all, here today.