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Most people believe that the Creator of the universe wrote (or dictated) one of their books. Unfortunately, there are many books that pretend to divine authorship, and each makes incompatible claims about how we all must live.
We're right to say that a culture that can't tolerate free speech is... there are a wide range of positive human experiences that are not available in that culture. And we're right to want those experiences.
There is no reason whatsoever to think that Buddhism can compete successfully with the relentless evangelizing of Christianity and Islam. Nor should it try to.
One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting, and for what purpose, and which are not.
The treatment of women in Muslim communities throughout the world is unconscionable. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth.
It's simply untrue that religion provides the only framework for a universal morality.
Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am extremely critical of all religious faiths.
We are now in the 21st century: all books, including the Koran, should be fair game for flushing down the toilet without fear of violent reprisal.
Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world.
It is still fashionable to believe that how you organize yourself religiously in this life may matter for eternity. Unless we can erode the prestige of that kind of thinking, we're not going to be able to undermine these divisions in our world.
Muslim moderates, wherever they are, must be given every tool necessary to win a war of ideas with their co-religionists. Otherwise, we will have to win some very terrible wars in the future.
Morality and values depend on the existence of conscious minds - and specifically on the fact that such minds can experience various forms of well-being and suffering in this universe.
The moment we realize that the only things we can intelligibly value are actual and potential changes in the experience of conscious beings, we can think about a landscape of such changes - where the peaks correspond to the greatest possible well-being and the valleys correspond to the lowest depths of suffering.
The wealthiest Americans often live as though they and their children had nothing to gain from investments in education, infrastructure, clean-energy, and scientific research.
We should reserve the notion of 'morality' for the ways in which we can affect one another's experience for better or worse. Some people use the term 'morality' differently, of course, but I think we have a scientific responsibility to focus the conversation so as to make it most useful.
I was actually already doing my Ph.D. in neuroscience when September 11 happened. 'The End Of Faith' is essentially what September 11 did to my intellectual career at that moment.
While the religious divisions in our world are self-evident, many people still imagine that religious conflict is always caused by a lack of education, by poverty, or by politics.
Most seem to think that while a person may not be responsible for the opportunities he gets in life, each is entirely responsible for what he makes of these opportunities.
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The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Henry David Thoreau
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