1995) Scientific materialism is regarded by many, even by some of its own prophets, as deeply unsatisfying: scary, bewildering, insulting, demeaning, dispiriting, confining. [...] Science, with is chain-saws and bulldozers of reason, has felled the tropical rain forest of spirituality. It has wreaked ecological destruction on fairyland. It has extinguished the leprechauns, the elves and goblins. It has caused a global change in the weather of the imagination. It has made a dustbowl of our own Eden, and created an inner drought. And all this, not to bring greater peace or happiness, but to satisfy people's hunger for the Big Macs of technology.
Nicholas Humphrey Leaps of Faith (1996)
1996) No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary.
[Note: Named after and attributed to William of Occam, the 14th century English logician and philosopher, although it has not been found specifically in his writings. The principle is sometimes paraphrased as All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.[WP]]
1997) Man must at last wake up out of his millenary dream and discover his total solitude, his fundamental isolation. He must realize that, like a gypsy, he lives on the boundary of an alien world; a world that is deaf to his music, and as indifferent to his hopes as it is to his sufferings and his crimes.
Jacques Monod Chance and Necessity (1972) quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
1998) That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collisions of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system [...] Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be built.
Bertrand Russell quoted by E.A. Burtt in The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science (1924) quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
1999) [S]cience is an extension of a natural faculty that was long ago firmly implanted in human heads because it works in practice to deliver knowledge of the kind the people have always needed in order to survive in daily life. Even if minor natural scientists is not all that people are - they do of course also sometimes employ other less reliable (and less effective) ways to gaining knowledge - it is what they all are.
Nicholas Humphrey Leaps of Faith (1996)
2000) The most important thing to realize about systems of animal communication is that they are not expected to be systems for the dissemination of truth. Instead, they are expected to be systems by which individual organism attempt to maximize their fitness by communicating to others things that may be true or false.
Robert Trivers "Sociobiology and politics" in Sociobiology and Human Politics (1981) Elliott White, ed. quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
2001) An understanding of the psychology of human perception, cognition and behaviour suggests that, even in psi phenomenona were not to exist, the kinds of experiences that people report under the rubric of "psychic" should be expected to occur from time to time.
James E. Alcock "Parapsychology as a "spiritual" science" in A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology (1985) Paul Kurtz, ed. quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
2002) Psychics and other "credulists" are typically engaged seriously (but misguidedly) in that most characteristic of human enterprises: the attempt to capture our chaotic and fragmentary experiences in a network of meanings and to discover the hidden connectedness that (we hope) underlies all the disorderly and recalcitrant happenings in the world.
William Grey "Philosophy and the paranormal" Skeptical Inquirer (March/April 1994) quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
2003) [P]sychic experiences [...] are an inevitable consequence of the way we think [...] like visual illusions, they are the price we pay for a generally very effective relationship with a massively complex world.
Susan Blakemore "Psychic experiences: Psychic illusions" Skeptical Inquirer (Summer 1992) quoted by Nicholas Humphrey in Leaps of Faith (1996)
2004) [B]eliefs in paranormal powers - or echoes of them - remain central to our own cultural institutions at every level. They are there as an elite opinion, there en masses. They continue to run right through our art and entertainment, our music, painting, literature, architecture, theatre and cinema. They are invoked in all our rites of passage - at weddings, births and funerals. They follow us to school, on to the sports field, on to the battle ground, in and out of love and sex. They creep into our beds and keep us wide eyed in the night.
Many, probably the majority, of the public figures who we look up to - the princes, presidents, popes, pop stars, parliamentarians, press barons, prime-time presenters, prima donnas, premiere league players, etc. who act as society's opinions formers - acknowledge by words or actions their own acceptance of the paranormal ethos. ...
What is rare indeed is to find any public figure disavowing paranormality entirely. And if they do privately have doubts about it, they are probably well advised to keep them to themselves and play along: for, as every public relations consultant would tell you, no one ever did his image any good by openly declaring his preference for common sense.
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 388 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.