“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
–Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World
“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”
–Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain
“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
“It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.”
–Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Rev. James Madison (cousin of President James Madison)*
“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then why is there evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
–Unknown origin (though often — and possibly falsely — attributed to Epicurus)
Google Books shows the exact quote in an issue of the The Glacialists’ Magazine from 1895
From, “Paul Broca and the French School of Anthropology” by Dr. Robert Fletcher:
The crowning public honor of Broca’s life remains to be told. In 1879, the Senate nominated him as permanent Senator representing Science. He was proposed of course by the left. The right, or monarchical, side made fierce opposition. He was an unyielding Republican, the founder of the Anthropological Institute which, meant free-thinking and atheism. They searched his writings for doctrines to convict him and, with great joy, published this quotation, “I would rather be an ape brought to perfection than a degenerate Adam.” But this proved to have been a saying of Claparède’s and not of Broca’s. A sentence was taken from his Programme of Anthropology, “There is no faith, however respectable, no interest, however legitimate, which must not accommodate itself to the progress of human knowledge and bend before truth, if the truth be demonstrated. Even this scarcely orthodox doctrine, it seemed, was qualified by the preceding sentence which said that “science must keep aloof from anything not within its province.”
From “Discours sur l’homme et les animaux”:
C’est alors que, transportant l’homme, non pas dans une autre planète, mais dans un autre règne, Isid. Geoffroy-St- Hilaire s’est laborieusement efforcé d’élever un rempart infranchissable entre l’homme et les animaux. Il.ne pouv ait consentir à être le cousin d’un singe, et beaucoup de savants ont partagé cette répugnance. Quant à moi, s’il pouvait me convenir de faire intervenir le sentiment dans une question scientifique, je serais loin d’être humilié d’une semblable généalogie. Je serais fier au contraire de penser que ma postérité pourrait me dépasser autant que je dépasse le singe, et je ne puis m’empêcher de rappeler à ce propos le mot de M. Claparède « qu’après tout, il vaut mieux être un singe perfectionné qu’un Adam dégénéré. » Mais, entre les deux catégories extrêmes de penseurs dont les uns rejettent absolument et les autres admettent plus ou moins cette parenté, il existe aujourd’hui une classe considérable de savants qui proclament leur ignorance sur ce point, et j’oserai même dire qu’en ce qui me concerne, la question me paraît insoluble.
Lecture delivered in the National Museum, Washington, D.C., April 15, 1882, appearing in The Saturday Lectures, Delivered in the Lecture-room of the U. S. National Museum
As it appears in Bulletins de la Société d’anthropologie de Paris, II° Série, tome 1, 1866. pp. 53-79.
The fall of 1956 temporarily separated Lynn and Carl. Sagan began work at the University of Chicago’s astronomy school in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. This is the home of the Yerkes Observatory. Completed in 1897, the forty-inch Yerkes refractor was housed in a brick-and-terra-cotta domed building. It was by then a storied relic.
Williams Bay had a population of barely 1,000. For city-bred Sagan, it presented a culture shock. For the first time in his life, Sagan encountered anti-Semitism. He also ran into trouble with the law. He attempted to raise funds for the Democratic party, asking householders for a dollar each. As Sagan told it,
I spent all morning going door to door. And I got the most amazing responses: “The what party?” or “Shh! the master will hear!” or “Wait right here, young fellow, and I’ll get my shotgun.” Finally I was arrested by the sheriff, who had had innumerable complaints, on the grounds of peddling without a license. They figured I was peddling receipts at a dollar each. And I was remanded to the custody of the observatory director, who I don’t think understood anything about it, but just said to me, “Be a good boy.”
—Carl Sagan, 1999, by William Poundstone, p.33
The following is a quote as it appears in Steven Pinker’s 1994 book The Language Instinct and in his 2002 book The Blank Slate:
“I should like to go one step further now and say, ‘Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.”
Here is the original quote, as it appears in Watson’s 1924 book Behaviorism:
“I should like to go one step further now and say, ‘Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years. Please note that when this experiment is made I am to be allowed to specify the way the children are to be brought up and the type of world they have to live in.”
“As the patient searchers discern more and more about early man and his predecessors, they also may gain an ever-widening insight about modern man, his nature, his failings and his future. Most major anthropologists reject the notion popularized by Robert Ardrey (The Territorial Imperative) and others that man is inherently aggressive and that his murderous instincts derive from his apelike origins. Indeed, they have found no evidence in their digs that man was anything but a peaceable hunter-gatherer before the invention of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. It was farming, they believe, that created settlers with property to protect and fostered cultural differences that led to antagonisms between races and communities.
Richard Leakey…notes that racial differences, as they are commonly perceived, are a superficial and recent development, having arisen only about 15,000 years ago.”
—Time Magazine article “Puzzling Out Man’s Ascent,” Monday, Nov. 07, 1977
“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.”
I found a reference to the quote in a work by Dr. Kevorkian called Medical Research and the Death Penalty: A Dialogue, first published in 1960 and revised in 1983.
Mar. 31, 2010
“When police arrived, two children were found dead, Pubins said. One child was 5 and the other 15 months old….
The father, 39-year-old Andre Leteve, had a self-inflicted gunshot wound that police said was not life-threatening…. Police said he was distraught over a pending divorce from his estranged wife.”
Mar. 31, 2010
“An 18-year-old man died after being shot at a Phoenix apartment complex Wednesday afternoon.
… The men apparently met to engage in some sort of transaction.”
Mar. 28, 2010
“A Phoenix woman and her boyfriend were arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, after the woman’s husband was found with a gunshot wound Saturday night, Phoenix police said.
‘Moreno and the victim are husband and wife, and Qhihuis is her boyfriend. Moreno and her husband are going through a problematic divorce/custody battle,’ Thompson said in the press release.”
Mar. 21, 2010
“He was clearing the weapon inside the home to pack it into luggage for a trip,” Crump said in an e-mail. “When the weapon discharged, the round struck his wife who was in the backyard at the time. The shooting appears to have been unintentional.”
Mar. 18, 2010
“Man shot to death in driveway of Phoenix home”
Mar. 6, 2010
“A 19-year-old Chandler man was shot dead Saturday after a gun he was looking at fired as it was being put away, police said.”
[source] Continue reading “…only outlaws will have guns.”
Below is a poem/military chant that is a composite of one that appears in an issue of a comic book called Slow Death (#4, 1972) and one I found at the Digital Tradition Folk Music Database.
The poem/chant is preceded in Slow Death by the following:
Thanks very much for all the letters, no room for a do loop letter page or a Slow Death Quiz this time. The cartoon was sent to us by Eric Kimball. The poem was the work of a group of AF and Army GIs assigned to the First Air Cav who sat down one night in a hootch in Nam and wrote a poem. It expressed their bitterness about the things they had done and toward the military that had made them murderers. The poem was first published in the June 71 issue of helping hand; POB 729, Mountain Home, Idaho 83647. Each verse depicts an actual event that at least one of the men participated in. Continue reading Napalm Sticks to Kids