Credulity Quotes

Quotes tagged as "credulity" Showing 1-30 of 37
George Carlin
“Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”
George Carlin

Michel de Montaigne
Combien de choses nous servoyent hier d’articles de foy, qui nous sont fables aujourd’huy?

How many things served us yesterday for articles of faith, which today are fables for us?”
Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

Sam Harris
“Are you really surprised by the endurance of religion? What ideology is likely to be more durable than one that conforms, at every turn, to our powers of wishful thinking? Hope is easy; knowledge is hard. Science is the one domain in which we human beings make a truly heroic effort to counter our innate biases and wishful thinking. Science is the one endeavor in which we have developed a refined methodology for separating what a person hopes is true from what he has good reason to believe. The methodology isn't perfect, and the history of science is riddled with abject failures of scientific objectivity. But that is just the point-these have been failures of science, discovered and corrected by-what, religion? No, by good science.”
Sam Harris

Christopher Hitchens
“So this is where all the vapid talk about the 'soul' of the universe is actually headed. Once the hard-won principles of reason and science have been discredited, the world will not pass into the hands of credulous herbivores who keep crystals by their sides and swoon over the poems of Khalil Gibran. The 'vacuum' will be invaded instead by determined fundamentalists of every stripe who already know the truth by means of revelation and who actually seek real and serious power in the here and now. One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labor of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it casually slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover. An awful embarrassment awaits the British if they do not declare for a republic based on verifiable laws and principles, both political and scientific.”
Christopher Hitchens

Carl Sagan
“deluded or not, supporters of superstition and pseudoscience are human beings with real feelings, who, like the skeptics, are trying to figure out how the world works and what our role in it might be. Their motives are in many cases consonant with science. If their culture has not given them all the tools they need to pursue this great quest, let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

William Kingdon Clifford
“In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.”
William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays

Thomas Paine
“That many good men have believed this strange fable [Christianity], and lived very good lives under that belief (for credulity is not a crime) is what I have no doubt of. In the first place, they were educated to believe it, and they would have believed anything else in the same manner. There are also many who have been so enthusiastically enraptured by what they conceived to be the infinite love of God to man, in making a sacrifice of himself, that the vehemence of the idea has forbidden and deterred them from examining into the absurdity and profaneness of the story.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine
“When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Christopher Hitchens
“We have known for a long time that Prince Charles' empty sails are so rigged as to be swelled by any passing waft or breeze of crankiness and cant. He fell for the fake anthropologist Laurens van der Post. He was bowled over by the charms of homeopathic medicine. He has been believably reported as saying that plants do better if you talk to them in a soothing and encouraging way.”
Christopher Hitchens

John Arbuthnot
Mathematical Knowledge adds a manly Vigour to the Mind, frees it from Prejudice, Credulity, and Superstition.”
John Arbuthnot

Jean Meslier
“How I suffered when I had to preach to you those pious lies that I detest in my heart. What remorse your credulity caused me! A thousand times I was on the point of breaking out publicly and opening your eyes, but a fear stronger than myself held me back, and forced me to keep silence until my death.”
Jean Meslier, Testament: Memoir of the Thoughts and Sentiments of Jean Meslier

Christopher Hitchens
“In the controversy that followed the prince's remarks, his most staunch defender was professor John Taylor, a scholar whose work I had last noticed when he gave good reviews to the psychokinetic (or whatever) capacities of the Israeli conjuror and fraud Uri Geller. The heir to the throne seems to possess the ability to surround himself—perhaps by some mysterious ultramagnetic force?—with every moon-faced spoon-bender, shrub-flatterer, and water-diviner within range.”
Christopher Hitchens

Ben Aaronovitch
“I've already told the police what happened, they didn't believe me. Why should you,' he said.

'Because we're the people that believe people that other people don't believe,' I said.

'How can I know that?' he asked.

'You're just going to have to believe me,' I said.”
Ben Aaronovitch, Midnight Riot

Frederick Marryat
“credulity and superstition are close friends”
Frederick Marryat

Frithjof Schuon
“In our day everyone wants to appear intelligent, one would prefer to be accused of crime than of naiveté if the accompanying risks could be avoided. But since intelligence cannot be drawn from the void, subterfuge are resorted to, one of the most prevalent being the mania for "demystification", which allows an air of intelligence to be conveyed at small cost, for all one need do is assert that the normal response to a particular phenomenon is "prejudiced" and that it is high time it was cleared of the "legends" surrounding it; if the ocean could be made out to be a pond or the Himalayas a hill, it would be done. Certain writers find it impossible to be content with taking note of the fact that a particular thing or person has a particular character or destiny, as everyone had done before them; they must always begin by remarking that "it has too often been said", and go on to declare that the reality is something quite different and has at last been discovered, and that up till now all the world has been "living a lie". This strategy is applied above all to things that are evident and universally known, it would doubtless be too naive to acknowledge in so many words that a lion is a carnivore and that he is not quite safe to meet.”
Frithjof Schuon, Light on the Ancient Worlds: A New Translation with Selected Letters

Thomas Paine
“I have spoken of Jonah, and of the story of him and the whale. — A fit story for ridicule, if it was written to be believed; or of laughter, if it was intended to try what credulity could swallow; for, if it could swallow Jonah and the whale it could swallow anything.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

“Credulity is always ridiculous.”
Frances Wright

Carl Sagan
“The theologian Meric Casaubon argued—in his 1668 book, Of Credulity and Incredulity—that witches must exist because, after all, everyone believes in them. Anything that a large number of people believe must be true.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

H.G. Wells
“{Wells discussing his experiences with Christianity}

I realised as if for the first time, the menace of these queer shaven men in lace and petticoats who had been intoning, responding, and going through ritual gestures at me. I realised something dreadful about them. They were thrusting an incredible and ugly lie upon the world and the world was making no such resistance as I was disposed to make to this enthronement of cruelty. Either I had to come into this immense luminous coop and submit, or I had to declare the Catholic Church, the core and substance of Christendom with all its divines, sages, saints, and martyrs, with successive thousands of believers, age after age, wrong.

...I found my doubt of his essential integrity, and the shadow of contempt it cast, spreading out from him to the whole Church and religion of which he with his wild spoutings about the agonies of Hell, had become the symbol. I felt ashamed to be sitting there in such a bath of credulity.”
H.G. Wells

George Bernard Shaw
“The seriousness of throwing over hell whilst still clinging to the Atonement is obvious. If there is no punishment for sin there can be no self-forgiveness for it. If Christ paid our score, and if there is no hell and therefore no chance of our getting into trouble by forgetting the obligation, then we can be as wicked as we like with impunity inside the secular law, even from self-reproach, which becomes mere ingratitude to the Savior. On the other hand, if Christ did not pay our score, it still stands against us; and such debts make us extremely uncomfortable. The drive of evolution, which we call conscience and honor, seizes on such slips, and shames us to the dust for being so low in the scale as to be capable of them. The 'saved' thief experiences an ecstatic happiness which can never come to the honest atheist: he is tempted to steal again to repeat the glorious sensation. But if the atheist steals he has no such happiness. He is a thief and knows that he is a thief. Nothing can rub that off him. He may try to sooth his shame by some sort of restitution or equivalent act of benevolence; but that does not alter the fact that he did steal; and his conscience will not be easy until he has conquered his will to steal and changed himself into an honest man...

Now though the state of the believers in the atonement may thus be the happier, it is most certainly not more desirable from the point of view of the community. The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life. Whether Socrates got as much happiness out of life as Wesley is an unanswerable question; but a nation of Socrateses would be much safer and happier than a nation of Wesleys; and its individuals would be higher in the evolutionary scale. At all events it is in the Socratic man and not in the Wesleyan that our hope lies now.

Consequently, even if it were mentally possible for all of us to believe in the Atonement, we should have to cry off it, as we evidently have a right to do. Every man to whom salvation is offered has an inalienable natural right to say 'No, thank you: I prefer to retain my full moral responsibility: it is not good for me to be able to load a scapegoat with my sins: I should be less careful how I committed them if I knew they would cost me nothing.'
George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion

Edward Clodd
“. . . the mysteries, on belief in which theology would hang the destinies of mankind, are cunningly devised fables whose origin and growth are traceable to the age of Ignorance, the mother of credulity.”
Edward Clodd

Thomas Paine
“The story of the angel announcing what the church calls the immaculate conception, is not so much as mentioned in the books ascribed to Mark, and John; and is differently related in Matthew and Luke. The former says the angel, appeared to Joseph; the latter says, it was to Mary; but either Joseph or Mary was the worst evidence that could have been thought of; for it was others that should have testified for them, and not they for themselves. Were any girl that is now with child to say, and even to swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and that an angel told her so, would she be believed? Certainly she would not. Why then are we to believe the same thing of another girl whom we never saw, told by nobody knows who, nor when, nor where? How strange and inconsistent is it, that the same circumstance that would weaken the belief even of a probable story, should be given as a motive for believing this one, that has upon the face of it every token of absolute impossibility and imposture.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

Charles Lamb
“Credulity is the man's weakness, but the child's strength.”
Charles Lamb

Jeffrey Tayler
“Aging and the prospect of dying by no means enhance the attractiveness of fictitious comforts to come in paradise, or the veracity of malicious myths about hellfire and damnation. Fear and feeblemindedness cannot be credibly pressed into service to support fantastic claims about the cosmos and our ultimate destiny.

Whether one would even consider turning to religion in advanced years has much to do with upbringing, which makes all the more important standing up to the presumptions of the religious in front of children. One would regard the Biblical events – a spontaneously igniting bush, a sea’s parting, human parthenogenesis, a resurrected prophet and so on – that supposedly heralded God’s intervention in our affairs as the stuff of fairy tales were it not for the credibility we unwittingly lend them by keeping quiet out of mistaken notions of propriety.”
Jeffrey Tayler

Carl Sagan
“Our politics, economics, advertising, and religions (New Age and Old) are awash in credulity. Those who have something to sell, those who wish to influence public opinion, those in power, a skeptic might suggest, have a vested interest in discouraging skepticism,”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

“Where there is the will to believe it is incredible what people will believe.”
Marty Rubin

Anthony Powell
“Her expression was oafish, but it was on the whole this quality that gave her face a certain retentive efficacy. She had the look of a gnome or prematurely vicious child. But underneath the suggestion of peculiar knowingness an apparent and immense credulity lurked.”
Anthony Powell, Afternoon Men

“Politics unfortunately abounds in shams that must be treated reverentially for every politician who would succeed. If you are the sort of man whose stomach revolts against treating shams reverentially, you will be well advised to stay out of politics altogether and set up as a prophet; your prophecies may perhaps sow good seed for some future harvest. But as a politician you would be impotent. For at any given time the bulk of your countrymen believe firmly and devoutly, not only in various things that are worthy of belief, but also in illusions of one kind and another; and they will never submit to have their affairs managed for them by one who appears not to share in their credulity.”
F. S. Oliver

Robert Louis Stevenson
“In short, if youth is not quite right in its opinions, there is a strong probability that age is not much more so. Undying hope is co-ruler of the human bosom with infallible credulity. A man finds he has been wrong at every preceding stage of his career, only to deduce the astonishing conclusion that he is at last entirely right.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque

Thomas Paine
“Credulity is not a crime, but it becomes criminal by resisting conviction. It is strangling in the womb of the conscience the efforts it makes to ascertain the truth. We should never force belief upon ourselves in anything.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

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