Isaac Asimov and Humanism
In 1984, Isaac Asimov was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association. He was one of the world’s most prolific writers by writing over 500 books and over 9,000 letters. Following are several quotes by him which I gathered from multiple sources.
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but That’s funny …”
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent
Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.
I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or feaing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.
Creationists make it sound as though a “theory” is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.
Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right.
And above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.
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.
To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
Humanity has the starts in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
To insult someone we call him “bestial”. For deliberate cruelty and nature, “human” might be the greater insult.
When I read about the ways in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.
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.
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
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”.
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
From a song: “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.” Response: “Nuclear fusion makes stars to shine,/ Tropisms make the ivy twine,/Raleigh scattering make skies so blue,/Testicular hormones are why I love you.”
Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.
I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don’t have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.
There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.
Gradually, though, I became aware that there was a movement called “humanism,” which used that name because, to put it most simply, Humanists believe that human beings produced the progressive advance of human society and also the ills that plague it. They believe that if the ills are to be alleviated, it is humanity that will have to do the job. They disbelieve in the influence of the supernatural on either the good or the bad of society, on either its ills or the alleviation of those ills.