i. “Roughly, religion is a community’s costly and hard-to-fake commitment to a counterfactual and counterintuitive world of supernatural agents who master people’s existential anxieties, such as death and deception.” (Scott Atran)

ii. “The more one accepts what is materially false to be really true, and the more one spends material resources in displays of such acceptance, the more others consider one’s faith deep and one’s commitment sincere.” (-ll-)

iii. “Cultures and religions do not exist apart from the individual minds that constitute them and the environments that constrain them, any more than biological species and varieties exist independently of the individual organisms that compose them and the environments that conform them. They are not well-bounded systems or definite clusters of beliefs, practices, and artifacts, but more or less regular distributions of causally connected thoughts, behaviors, material products, and environmental objects. To naturalistically understand what “cultures” are is to describe and explain the material causes responsible for reliable differences in these distributions.” (-ll-)

iv. “Religions are not adaptations and they have no evolutionary functions as such.” (-ll-)

v. “Mature cognitions of folkpsychology and agency include metarepresentation. This involves the ability to track and build a notion of self over time, to model other minds and worlds, and to represent beliefs about the actual world as being true or false. It also makes lying and deception possible. This threatens any social order. But this same metarepresentational capacity provides the hope and promise of open-ended solutions to problems of moral relativity. It does so by enabling people to conjure up counterintuitive supernatural worlds that cannot be verified or falsified, either logically or empirically. Religious beliefs minimally violate ordinary intuitions about the world, with its inescapable problems, such as death. This frees people to imagine minimally impossible worlds that seem to solve existential dilemmas, including death and deception. […] Religion survives science and secular ideology not because it is prior to or more primitive than science or secular reasoning, but because of what it affectively and collectively secures for people.” (-ll-)

vi. “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” (Howard H. Aiken)

vii. “As long as scientists are free to pursue the truth wherever it may lead, there will be a flow of new scientific knowledge to those who can apply it to practical problems.” (Vannevar Bush)

viii. “Scientific progress on a broad front results from the free play of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the unknown.” (-ll-)

ix. “There are some people who imagine that older adults don’t know how to use the internet. My immediate reaction is, “I’ve got news for you, we invented it.”” (Vinton Cerf)

x. “When we are young we are often puzzled by the fact that each person we admire seems to have a different version of what life ought to be, what a good man is, how to live, and so on. If we are especially sensitive it seems more than puzzling, it is disheartening. What most people usually do is follow one person’s ideas and then another’s depending on who looms largest on one’s horizon at the time. The one with the deepest voice, the strongest appearance, the most authority and success, is usually the one who gets our momentary allegiance; and we try to pattern our ideals after him. […] Each person thinks that he has the formula for triumphing over life’s limitations and knows with authority what it means to be a man, and he usually tries to win a following for his particular patent. Today we know that people try so hard to win converts for their point of view because it is more than merely an outlook on life: it is an immortality formula.” (Ernest Becker)

xi. “A human being cannot survive alone and be entirely human.” (Peter Farb)

xii. “The members of a society do not make conscious choices in arriving at a particular way of life. Rather, they make unconscious adaptations. …they know only that a particular choice works, even though it may appear bizarre to an outsider.” (-ll-)

xiii. “To say that the invention “was in the air” or “the times were ripe for it” are just other ways of stating that the inventors did not do the inventing, but that the cultures did.” (-ll-)

xiv. “Culture is best seen not as complexes of concrete behavior patterns — customs, usages, traditions, habit clusters — as has, by and large, been the case up to now, but as a set of control mechanisms — plans, recipes, rules, instructions (what computer engineers call “programs”) — for the governing of behavior.” (Clifford Geertz)

xv. “In the status game […] the working-class child starts out with a handicap and, to the extent that he cares what the middle-class persons think of him or has internalised the dominant middle-class attitudes toward social class position, he may be expected to feel some ‘shame’.” (Albert Cohen)

xvi. “It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round.” (Ernest Gellner)

xvii. “Doubt is the offspring of knowledge” (William Winwood Reade)

xviii. “Civilization after civilization, it is the same. The world falls to tyranny with a whisper. The frightened are ever keen to bow to a perceived necessity, in the belief that necessity forces conformity, and conformity a certain stability. In a world shaped into conformity, dissidents stand out, are easily branded and dealt with. There is no multitude of perspectives, no dialogue. The victim assumes the face of the tyrant, self-righteous and intransigent, and wars breed like vermin. And people die.” (Steven Erikson)

xix. “Helping myself is even harder than helping others.” (Gerald Weinberg)

xx. “Science is the study of those things that can be reduced to the study of other things. ” (-ll-)

June 15, 2019 - Posted by | Quotes/aphorisms

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