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date: 21 February 2020

Science and Religion 

  1. The atoms of Democritus
    And Newton's particles of light
    Are sands upon the Red sea shore,
    Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
    William Blake 1757–1827 English poet: MS Note-Book
  2. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.
    Omar Bradley 1893–1981 American general: speech on Armistice Day, 1948
  3. Though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, always been my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science.
    refusing permission for Edward B. Aveling to dedicate The Students' Darwin to him; following Aveling's own publication of the letter in 1897, it is sometimes incorrectly reported as a response to a request from Karl Marx to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin
    Charles Darwin 1809–82 English natural historian: letter to Edward B. Aveling, 13 October 1880; in L. Feuer ‘Is the Darwin–Marx Correspondence Authentic?’ in Annals of Science vol. 32, 1975
  4. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
    Albert Einstein 1879–1955 German-born theoretical physicist: Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941) ch. 13
  5. In disputes about natural phenomena one must begin not with the authority of Scriptural passage but with sensory experience and necessary demonstrations. For the Holy Scripture and nature derive equally from the Godhead, the former as the dictation of the Holy Spirit and the latter as the most obedient executrix of God's orders.
    Galileo Galilei 1564–1642 Italian astronomer and physicist: letter to Christina Lotharinga, Archduchess of Tuscany
  6. If ignorance of nature gave birth to the Gods, knowledge of nature is destined to destroy them.
    Paul Henri, Baron d'Holbach 1723–89 French philosopher: Système de la Nature (1770) pt. 2, ch. 1
  7. I asserted—and I repeat—that a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man—a man of restless and versatile intellect—who, not content with an equivocal success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious prejudice.
    replying to Bishop Samuel Wilberforce in the debate on Darwin's theory of evolution
    T. H. Huxley 1825–95 English biologist: at a meeting of the British Association in Oxford, 30 June 1860; see Wilberforce
  8. I believe it was Magellan who said, ‘The Church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than the Church’.
    Robert G. Ingersoll 1833–99 American agnostic: ‘Individuality’ (lecture, 1873); see Magellan
  9. The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
    Martin Luther King 1929–68 American civil rights leader: Strength to Love (1963) ch. 7
  10. The scientist who yields anything to theology, however slight, is yielding to ignorance and false pretences, and as certainly as if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake.
    H. L. Mencken 1880–1956 American journalist and literary critic: Notebooks (1956) ‘Minority Report’
  11. The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.
    Robert M. Pirsig 1928–  American writer: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
  12. Science is for the cultivation of religion, not for worldly enjoyment.
    Sadi c.1213–c.91 Persian poet: The Rose Garden (1258)
  13. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant’?
    Carl Sagan 1934–96 American scientist and writer: Pale Blue Dot (1995)
  14. There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls.
    Adlai Stevenson 1900–65 American Democratic politician: speech at Hartford, Connecticut, 18 September 1952