Quotes by Isaac Asimov

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A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value. more...

It takes more than capital to swing business. You've got to have the A. I. D. degree to get by - Advertising, Initiative, and Dynamics. more...

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. more...

When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself. more...

Dalton's records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war. more...

From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review. more...

He had read much, if one considers his long life; but his contemplation was much more than his reading. He was wont to say that if he had read as much as other men he should have known no more than other men. more...

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety. more...

No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. more...

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not. more...

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die. more...

I don't believe in personal immortality; the only way I expect to have some version of such a thing is through my books. more...

Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all time low over the world. more...

It is not only the living who are killed in war. more...

Scientific apparatus offers a window to knowledge, but as they grow more elaborate, scientists spend ever more time washing the windows. more...

Democracy cannot survive overpopulation. more...

When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together. more...

When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion - the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right. more...

It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong. more...

Man's greatest asset is the unsettled mind. more...

All of a sudden, space isn't friendly. All of a sudden, it's a place where people can die. . . . Many more people are going to die. But we can't explore space if the requirement is that there be no casualties; we can't do anything if the requirement is that there be no casualties. more...

Science does not promise absolute truth, nor does it consider that such a thing necessarily exists. Science does not even promise that everything in the Universe is amenable to the scientific process. more...

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.. more...

It is change continuing change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today. more...

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking. more...

Early in my school career, I turned out to be an incorrigible disciplinary problem. I could understand what the teacher was saying as fast as she could say it, I found time hanging heavy, so I would occasionally talk to my neighbor. That was my great crime, I talked in school. more...

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition. more...

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil-but there is no way around them. more...

Life originated in the sea, and about eighty percent of it is still there. more...

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time. more...

Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism. more...

I do not use airplanes. They strike me as unsporting. You can have an automobile accident-and survive. You can be on a sinking ship-and survive. You can be in an earthquake, fire, volcanic eruption, tornado, what you will-and survive. But if your plane crashes, you do not survive. And I say the heck with it. more...

I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it. more...

Intelligence is a valuable thing, but it is not usually the key to survival. Sheer fecundity ... usually counts. The intelligent gorilla doesn't do as well as the less intelligent but more-fecund rat, which doesn't do as well as the still-less-intelligent but still-more-fecund cockroach, which doesn't do as well as the minimally-intelligent but maximally-fecund bacterium. more...

Intelligence is an extremely subtle concept. It's a kind of understanding that flourishes if it's combined with a good memory, but exists anyway even in the absence of good memory. It's the ability to draw consequences from causes, to make correct inferences, to foresee what might be the result, to work out logical problems, to be reasonable, rational, to have the ability to understand the solution from perhaps insufficient information. You know when a person is intelligent, but you can be easily fooled if you are not yourself intelligent. more...

It's humbling to think that all animals, including human beings, are parasites of the plant world. more...

There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity. more...

The human brain, then, is the most complicated organization of matter that we know. more...

I figure that if God actually does exist, he is big enough to understand an honest difference of opinion. more...

So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe. more...

The first law of dietetics seems to be: if it tastes good, it's bad for you. more...

Science is a mechanism, a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It's a system for testing your thoughts against the universe, and seeing whether they match. more...

Science is complex and chilling. The mathematical language of science is understood by very few. The vistas it presents are scary-an enormous universe ruled by chance and impersonal rules, empty and uncaring, ungraspable and vertiginous. How comfortable to turn instead to a small world, only a few thousand years old, and under God's personal; and immediate care; a world in which you are His peculiar concern. more...

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know-and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. It is better to know-even if the knowledge endures only for the moment that comes before destruction-than to gain eternal life at the price of a dull and swinish lack of comprehension of a universe that swirls unseen before us in all its wonder. That was the choice of Achilles, and it is mine, too. more...

I'm gradually managing to cram my mind more and more full of things. I've got this beautiful mind and it's going to die, and it'll all be gone. And then I say, not in my case. Every idea I've ever had I've written down, and it's all there on paper. And I won't be gone; it'll be there. more...

Boasts are wind and deeds are hard. more...

Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world. more...

During the century after Newton, it was still possible for a man of unusual attainments to master all fields of scientific knowledge. But by 1800, this had become entirely impracticable. more...

Experimentation is the least arrogant method of gaining knowledge. The experimenter humbly asks a question of nature. more...

Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise-even in their own field. more...

To test a perfect theory with imperfect instruments did not impress the Greek philosophers as a valid way to gain knowledge. more...

Unfortunately, in many cases, people who write science fiction violate the laws of nature, not because they want to make a point, but because they don't know what the laws of nature are. more...

A scientist is as weak and human as any man, but the pursuit of science may ennoble him even against his will. more...

Science is dangerous. There is no question but that poison gas, genetic engineering, and nuclear weapons and power stations are terrifying. It may be that civilization is falling apart and the world we know is coming to an end. In that case, why no turn to religion and look forward to the Day of Judgment, ... [being] lifted into eternal bliss ... [and] watching the scoffers and disbelievers writhe forever in torment. more...

Science is uncertain. Theories are subject to revision; observations are open to a variety of interpretations, and scientists quarrel amongst themselves. This is disillusioning for those untrained in the scientific method, who thus turn to the rigid certainty of the Bible instead. There is something comfortable about a view that allows for no deviation and that spares you the painful necessity of having to think. more...

The dangers that face the world can, every one of them, be traced back to science. The salvations that may save the world will, every one of them, be traced back to science. more...

The significant chemicals of living tissue are rickety and unstable, which is exactly what is needed for life. more...

The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. more...

I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism. more...

When I die I won't go to heaven or hell; there will just be nothingness. more...

I am not responsible for what other people think. I am responsible only for what I myself think, and I know what that is. No idea I've ever come up with has ever struck me as a divine revelation. Nothing I have ever observed leads me to think there is a God watching over me. more...

Naturally, since [the Sumerians] didn't know what caused the flood anymore than we do, they blamed the gods. (That's the advantage of religion. You're never short an explanation for anything.) more...

Every religion seems like a fantasy to outsiders, but as holy truth to those of the faith. more...

The fundamentalists deny that evolution has taken place; they deny that the earth and the universe as a whole are more than a few thousand years old, and so on. There is ample scientific evidence that the fundamentalists are wrong in these matters, and that their notions of cosmogony have about as much basis in fact as the Tooth Fairy has. more...

And in man is a three-pound brain which, as far as we know, is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe. more...

The vast majority, who believe in astrology and think that the planets have nothing better to do than form a code that will tell them whether tomorrow is a good day to close a business deal or not, become all the more excited and enthusiastic. more...

Things do change. The only question is that since things are deteriorating so quickly, will society and man's habits change quickly enough? more...

To me it seems to be important to believe people to be good even if they tend to be bad, because your own joy and happiness in life is increased that way, and the pleasures of the belief outweigh the occasional disappointments. To be a cynic about people works just the other way around and makes you incapable about enjoying the good things. more...

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. [The Second Law of Robotics] more...

No one can possibly have lived through the Great Depression without being scarred by it. No amount of experience since the depression can convince someone who has lived through it that the world is safe economically. more...

It seems to me that God is a convenient invention of the human mind more...

Although we will hate and fight the machines, we will be supplanted anyway, and rightly so, for the intelligent machines to which we will give birth may, better than we, carry on the striving toward the goal of understanding and using the Universe, climbing to heights we ourselves could never aspire to. more...

I'm not a speed reader. I'm a speed understander. more...

There is an art to science, and a science in art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole. more...

The greatest inventors are unknown to us. Someone invented the wheel - but who? more...

[O]ur statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking. more...

We are reaching the stage where the problems we must solve are going to become insoluble without computers. I do not fear computers, I fear the lack of them. more...

How then to enforce peace? Not by reason, certainly, nor by education. If a man could not look at the fact of peace and the fact of war and choose the former in preference to the latter, what additional argument could persuade him? What could be more eloquent as a condemnation of war than war itself? What tremendous feat of dialectic could carry with it a tenth the power of a single gutted ship with its ghastly cargo? more...

I have never written a book that didn't teach me far more than it taught my reader. more...

All roads lead to Trantor, and that is where all stars end. more...

Human beings sometimes find a kind of pleasure in nursing painful emotions, in blaming themselves without reason or even against reason. more...

I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. more...

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. more...

Any book worth banning is a book worth reading. more...

The essential building block is...the true love that is impossible to define for those who have never experienced it and unnecessary to define for those who have. more...

If you're born in a cubicle and grow up in a corridor, and work in a cell, and vacation in a crowded sun-room, then coming up into the open with nothing but sky over you might just give you a nervous breakdown. more...

I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less. ... I don't suppose we can ever stop hating each other, but why encourage that by keeping the old labels with their ready-made history of millennial hate? more...

I wanted to be a psychological engineer, but we lacked the facilities, so I did the next best thing - I went into politics. It's practically the same thing. more...

It's the writing that teaches you. more...

To make discoveries, you have to be curious about why the universe is the way it is. more...

I, on the other hand, am a finished product. I absorb electrical energy directly and utilize it with an almost one hundred percent efficiency. I am composed of strong metal, am continuously conscious, and can stand extremes of environment easily. These are facts which, with the self-evident proposition that no being can create another being superior to itself, smashes your silly hypothesis to nothing. more...

... you just can't differentiate between a robot and the very best of humans. more...

Life is glorious when it is happy; days are carefree when they are happy; the interplay of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew. more...

Grip the nettle firmly and it will become a stick with which to beat your enemy. more...

Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests. more...

It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly. more...

The final end of Eternity, and the beginning of Infinity more...

The most hopelessly stupid man is he who is not aware he is wise. more...

What lasts in the reader's mind is not the phrase but the effect the phrase created: laughter, tears, pain, joy. If the phrase is not affecting the reader, what's it doing there? Make it do its job or cut it without mercy or remorse. more...

When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent. more...

However, I continue to try and I continue, indefatigably, to reach out. There's no way I can single-handedly save the world or, perhaps, even make a perceptible difference - but how ashamed I would be to let a day pass without making one more effort. more...

When life is so harsh that a man loses all hope in himself, then he raises his eyes to a shining rock, worshipping it, just to find hope again, rather than looking to his own acts for hope and salvation. Yes, atheism IS a redemptive belief. It is theism that denies man's own redemptive nature. more...

How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection...That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers. more...

In all the known history of Mankind, advances have been made primarily in physical technology; in the capacity of handling the inanimate world about Man. Control of self and society has been left to to chance or to the vague gropings of intuitive ethical systems based on inspiration and emotion. As a result no culture of greater stability than about fifty-five percent has ever existed, and these only as the result of great human misery. more...

Night will always be a time of fear and insecurity, and the heart will sink with the sun. more...

On Earth, we are unmanned by our longing for a pastoral past that never really existed; and that, if it had existed, could never exist again...on the Moon, there is no past to long for or dream about. There is no direction but forward. more...

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. more...

The great secret of the successful fool is that he's no fool at all more...

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. more...

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." more...

To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature, "human" might be the greater insult. more...

After years of finding mathematics easy, I finally reached integral calculus and came up against a barrier. I realized that this was as far as I could go, and to this day I have never successfully gone beyond it in any but the most superficial way. more...

University President: Why is it that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the Department of Mathematics requires nothing but money for paper, pencils, and erasers . . . and the Department of Philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers. more...

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means "I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve". It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help. more...

To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well. more...

Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer should be replaced by a computer. more...

A chipped pebble is almost part of the hand it never leaves. A thrown spear declares a sort of independence the moment it is released... The whole trend in technology has been to devise machines that are less and less under direct control and more and more seem to have the beginning of a will of their own. more...

In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate. more...

Before another century is done it will be hard for people to imagine a time when humanity was confined to one world, and it will seem to them incredible that there was ever anybody who doubted the value of space and wanted to turn his or her back on the Universe. more...

What would you consider a good job?" Answered as follows: "A good job is one in which I don't have to work, and get paid a lot of money." When I heard that I cheered and yelled and felt that he should be given an A+, for he had perfectly articulated the American dream of those who despise knowledge. What a politician that kid would have made. more...

Isn't it sad that you can tell people that the ozone layer is being depleted, the forests are being cut down, the deserts are advancing steadily, that the greenhouse effect will raise the sea level 200 feet, that overpopulation is choking us, that pollution is killing us, that nuclear war may destroy us - and they yawn and settle back for a comfortable nap. But tell them that the Martians are landing, and they scream and run. more...

It was childish to feel disappointed, but childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child. more...

Having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be. more...

The Master created humans first as the lowest type, most easily formed. Gradually, he replaced them by robots, the next higher step, and finally he created me, to take the place of the last humans. more...

There is no Master but the Master," he said, "and QT-1 is his prophet. more...

I have never, in all my life, not for one moment, been tempted toward religion of any kind. The fact is that I feel no spiritual void. I have my philosophy of life, which does not include any aspect of the supernatural and which I find totally satisfying. I am, in short, a rationalist and believe only that which reason tells me is so. more...

If I had felt then as I feel now, or as I felt a few years after I had married her, nothing could possibly have persuaded me to marry a woman who smoked. Dates, yes. Sexual adventures, yes. But to pin myself permanently inside closed quarters with a smoker? Never. Never. Never. Beauty wouldn't count, sweetness wouldn't count, suitability in every other respect wouldn't count. more...

Feminine intuition? Is that what you wanted the robot for? You men. Faced with a woman reaching a correct conclusion and unable to accept the fact that she is your equal or superior in intelligence, you invent something called feminine intuition. more...

Having reached 451 books as of now doesn't help the situation. If I were to be dying now, I would be murmuring, "Too bad! Only four hundred fifty-one." (Those would be my next-to-last words. The last ones will be: "I love you, Janet.") [They were. -Janet.] more...

What would I do if I knew I only had six months to live? Type faster. more...

One might suppose that reality must be held to at all costs. However, though that may be the moral thing to do, it is not necessarily the most useful thing to do. The Greeks themselves chose the ideal over the real in their geometry and demonstrated very well that far more could be achieved by consideration of abstract line and form than by a study of the real lines and forms of the world; the greater understanding achieved through abstraction could be applied most usefully to the very reality that was ignored in the process of gaining knowledge. more...

Considering what human beings do and have done to human beings (and to other living things as well) ... I can never imagine what the devil people think computers can add to the horrors. more...

With both people and computers on the job, computer error can be more quickly tracked down and corrected by people and, conversely, human error can be more quickly corrected by computers. What it amounts to is that nothing serious can happen unless human error and computer error take place simultaneously. And that hardly ever happens. more...

Now any dogma, based primarily on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user. more...

Any system which allows men to choose their own future will end by choosing safety and mediocrity, and in such a Reality the stars are out of reach. more...

Increasingly, our leaders must deal with dangers that threaten the entire world, where an understanding of those dangers and the possible solutions depends on a good grasp of science. The ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, questions of diet and heredity. All require scientific literacy. Can Americans choose the proper leaders and support the proper programs if they themselves are scientifically illiterate? The whole premise of democracy is that it is safe to leave important questions to the court of public opinion-but is it safe to leave them to the court of public ignorance? more...

True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the nation [United States] is steadily dumbing down. more...

The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists. more...

Humanity is cutting down its forests, apparently oblivious to the fact that we may not be able to live without them. more...

If a conclusion is not poetically balanced, it cannot be scientifically true. more...

Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. more...

It is in meeting the great tests that mankind can most successfully rise to great heights. Out of danger and restless insecurity comes the force that pushes mankind to newer and loftier conquests. more...

The intelligent man is never bored. more...

There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. more...

It is precisely because it is fashionable for Americans to know no science, even though they may be well educated otherwise, that they so easily fall prey to nonsense. more...

The young specialist in English Lit, ...lectured me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong. more...

We are all victimized by the natural perversity of inanimate objects...and the assorted human beings who perpetuate and maintain this perversity. more...

People think of education as something they can finish. more...

Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty. more...

It seems to me, Golan, that the advance of civilization is nothing but an exercise in the limiting of privacy. more...

Ninety-eight - ninety-nine - one hundred. Gloria withdrew her chubby little forearm from before her eyes and stood for a moment, wrinkling her nose and blinking in the sunlight. more...

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. more...

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. more...

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. more...

The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing. more...

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' more...

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. more...

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. more...

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right. more...

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome. more...

And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning. more...

I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse. more...

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. more...

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. more...

There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere. more...

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest. more...

I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander. more...

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all. more...

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. more...

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. more...

All sorts of computer errors are now turning up. You'd be surprised to know the number of doctors who claim they are treating pregnant men. more...

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. more...

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. more...

John Dalton's records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war. more...

To insult someone we call him 'bestial. For deliberate cruelty and nature, 'human' might be the greater insult. more...

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. more...

In a properly automated and educated world, then, machines may prove to be the true humanizing influence. It may be that machines will do the work that makes life possible and that human beings will do all the other things that make life pleasant and worthwhile more...

Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter. more...

The age of the pulp magazine was the last in which youngsters, to get their primitive material, were forced to be literate. more...

My feeling is, quite simply, that if there is a God, He has done such a bad job that he isn't worth discussing. more...

Naturally, there's got to be a limit for I don't expect to live forever, but I do intend to hang on as long as possible. more...

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. more...

Saying something is 'too bad' is easy. You say you disapprove, which makes you a nice person, and then you can go about your business and not be interested anymore. It's a lot worse than 'too bad.' It's against everything decent and natural. more...

I can't bear to hear a human being spoken of with contempt just because of his group identification...It's these respectable people here who create those hooligans out there. more...

I stand four-square for reason, and object to what seems to me to be irrationality, whatever the source. If you are on my side in this, I must warn you that the army of the night has the advantage of overwhelming numbers, and, by its very nature, is immune to reason, so that it is entirely unlikely that you and I can win out. We will always remain a tiny and probably hopeless minority, but let us never tire of presenting our view, and of fighting the good fight for the right. more...

Fifty years," I hackneyed, "is a long time." "Not when you're looking back at them," she said. "You wonder how they vanished so quickly. more...

You can prove anything you want by coldly logical reason-if you pick the proper postulates. more...

Postulates are based on assumption and adhered to by faith. Nothing in the Universe can shake them. more...

It's your fiction that interests me. Your studies of the interplay of human motives and emotion. more...

All normal life, Peter, consciously or otherwise, resent domination. If the domination is by an inferior, or by a supposed inferior, the resentment becomes stronger. more...

It is always useful, you see, to subject the past life of reform politicians to rather inquisitive research. more...

Every period of human development has had its own particular type of human conflict-its own variety of problem that, apparently, could be settled only by force. And each time, frustratingly enough, force never really settled the problem. Instead, it persisted through a series of conflicts, then vanished of itself-what's the expression-ah, yes, 'not with a bang, but a whimper,' as the economic and social environment changed. And then, new problems, and a new series of wars. more...

It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time. People say 'It's as plain as the nose on your face.' But how much of the nose on your face can you see, unless someone holds a mirror up to you? more...

There is nothing so eternally adhesive as the memory of power. more...

You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself. more...

Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket. more...

Flattery is useful when dealing with youngsters. more...

The temptation was great to muster what force we could and put up a fight. It's the easiest way out, and the most satisfactory to self-respect-but, nearly invariably, the stupidest. more...

It is remarkable, Hardin, how the religion of science has grabbed hold. more...

It is the chief characteristic of the religion of science that it works. more...

However much the creationist leaders might hammer away at their scientific and philosophical points, they would be helpless and a laughing-stock if that were all they had. It is religion that recruits their squadrons. Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand the actual arguments for - of even against - evolution, march in the army of the night, their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason. more...

Goodbye, Hari, my love. Remember always-all you did for me." -I did nothing for you." -You loved me and your love made me-human. more...

Despite all that education and experience can do, I retain a certain level of unsophistication that I cannot eradicate and that my friends find amusing. In fact, I think I sometimes detect conspiratorial plottings among my friends to protect me against my own lack of sophistication. I don't mind. I suspect that I am never quite as unsophisticated as they think I am, but I don't mind. more...

One would suppose that the battle for religious liberty was won in the United States two hundred years ago. However, in the time since, and right now, powerful voices are always raised in favor of bigotry and thought control. It is useful, then, to have a compendium of the thoughts of great men and women of all faiths (and of none) on the subject, to convince us that we men and woman of freedom are not and never have been alone. more...

The Three Theorems of Psychohistorical Quantitivity: The population under scrutiny is oblivious to the existence of the science of Psychohistory. The time periods dealt with are in the region of 3 generations. The population must be in the billions (75 billions) for a statistical probability to have a psychohistorical validity. more...

Life would be impossible on such a planet. It wouldn't get enough heat and light, and if it rotated there would be total darkness half of every day. There wouldn't be any native inhabitants. You couldn't expect life-which is fundamentally dependent on light-to develop under such extreme conditions of light deprivation. Half of every axial rotation spent in Darkness! No, nothing could exist under conditions like that. more...

Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely. more...

All evil is good become cancerous. more...

The first step in making rabbit stew is catching the rabbit. more...

Author's Notes: This story starts with section 6. This is not a mistake. I have my own subtle reasoning. So, just read, and enjoy. more...

If I am right, then (religious fundamentalists) will not go to Heaven, because there is no Heaven. If they are right, then they will not go to Heaven, because they are hypocrites. more...

I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don't have to waste your time in either attacking or defending. more...

All the hundreds of millions of people who, in their time, believed the Earth was flat never succeeded in unrounding it by an inch. more...

[A]ll knowledge is one. When a light brightens and illuminates a corner of a room, it adds to the general illumination of the entire room. Over and over again, scientific discoveries have provided answers to problems that had no apparent connection with the phenomena that gave rise to the discovery. more...

Tell me why the stars do shine, Tell me why the ivy twines, Tell me what makes skies so blue, And I'll tell you why I love you. Nuclear fusion makes stars to shine, Tropisms make the ivy twine, Raleigh scattering make skies so blue, Testicular hormones are why I love you. more...

You see, proteins, as I probably needn't tell you, are immensely complicated groupings of amino acids and certain other specialized compounds, arranged in intricate three-dimensional patterns that are as unstable as sunbeams on a cloudy day. It is this instability that is life, since it is forever changing its position in an effort to maintain its identity-in the manner of a long rod balanced on an acrobat's nose. more...

There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save. more...

It was obvious that bigotry was never a one-way operation, that hatred bred hatred! more...

Do not forget that a traitor within our ranks, known to us, can do more harm to the enemy than a loyal man can do good to us. more...

Old men tend to forget what thought was like in their youth; they forget the quickness of the mental jump, the daring of the youthful intuition, the agility of the fresh insight. They become accustomed to the more plodding varieties of reason, and because this is more than made up by the accumulation of experience, old men think themselves wiser than the young. more...

Any planet is 'Earth' to those that live on it. more...

Of course there are worlds. Millions of them! Every star you see has worlds, and most of those you don't see. more...

One might accept death reasoningly, with every aspect of the conscious mind, but the body was a brute beast that knew nothing of reason. more...

They won't listen. Do you know why? Because they have certain fixed notions about the past. Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes, even if it were the truth. They don't want the truth; they want their traditions. more...

They don't want equal time - they want all the time there is. more...

This game the Persian Magi did invent, The force of Eastern wisdom to express: From thence to busy Europeans sent, And styled by modern Lombards pensive chess. more...

Custom is second nature. Be accustomed to a bald head, sufficiently accustomed, and hair on it would seem monstrous. more...

There is no more desire to live past one's time than to die before it. more...

There is no one so insufferable as a person who gives no other excuse for a peculiar action than saying he had been directed to it in a dream. more...

Dreams may be impossible, yet still be dreamed. more...

The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress. more...

Past glories are poor feeding. more...

Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases. more...

If you ask for too much, you lose even that which you have. more...

No matter how carefully records are kept and filed and computerized, they grow fuzzy with time. Stories grow by accretion. Tales accumulate-like dust. The longer the time lapse, the dustier the history-until it degenerates into fables. more...

If all human beings understood history, they might cease making the same stupid mistakes over and over. more...

All humanity could share a common insanity and be immersed in a common illusion while living in a common chaos. That can't be disproved, but we have no choice but to follow our senses. more...

Courtiers don't take wagers against the king's skill. There is the deadly danger of winning. more...

There's so much knowledge to be had that specialists cling to their specialties as a shield against having to know anything about anything else. They avoid being drowned. more...

Speech, originally, was the device whereby Man learned, imperfectly, to transmit the thoughts and emotions of his mind. By setting up arbitrary sounds and combinations of sounds to represent certain mental nuances, he developed a method of communication-but one which in its clumsiness and thick-thumbed inadequacy degenerated all the delicacy of the mind into gross and guttural signaling. more...

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. The only function of a school is to make self-education easier; failing that, it does nothing. more...

All the suffering that humanity ever knew can be traced to the one fact that no man in the history of the Galaxy ... could really understand one another. Every human being lived behind an impenetrable wall of choking mist within which no other but he existed. more...

Love life seems to be that factor which requires the largest quantity of magical tinkering. more...

Only a lie that wasn't ashamed of itself could possibly succeed. more...

The closer to the truth, the better the lie, and the truth itself, when it can be used, is the best lie. more...

A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is-or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted that might be. more...

The spell of power never quite releases its hold. more...

Why ... did so many people spend their lives not trying to find answers to questions - not even thinking of questions to begin with? Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers? more...

The downtrodden are more religious than the satisfied. more...

It is almost impossible to think of something no one has thought of before, but it is always possible to add different frills. more...

The tyranny that now exists is actual. That which may exist in the future is potential. If we are always to draw back from change with the thought that the change may be for the worse, then there is no hope at all of ever escaping injustice. more...

I consider violence an uneconomical way of attaining an end. There are always better substitutes, though they may sometimes be a little less direct. more...

Words are a pretty fuzzy substitute for mathematical equations. more...

I wish that I could say I was optimistic about the human race. I love us all, but we are so stupid and shortsighted that I wonder if we can lift our eyes to the world about us long enough not to commit suicide. more...

All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. more...

You don't need to predict the future. Just choose a future - a good future, a useful future - and make the kind of prediction that will alter human emotions and reactions in such a way that the future you predicted will be brought about. Better to make a good future than predict a bad one. more...

I discovered, to my amazement, that all through history there had been resistance ... and bitter, exaggerated, last-stitch resistance ... to every significant technological change that had taken place on earth. Usually the resistance came from those groups who stood to lose influence, status, money...as a result of the change. Although they never advanced this as their reason for resisting it. It was always the good of humanity that rested upon their hearts. more...

Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women's breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times? more...

The Tyranni rule fifty worlds; they are outnumbered hundreds to one. In such a position, simple force is insufficient. Devious methods, intrigue, assassination are their specialties. The net they weave across space is a wide one, and close-meshed. I can well believe that it extends across five hundred light-years to Earth. more...

What is really amazing, and frustrating, is mankind's habit of refusing to see the obvious and inevitable until it is there, and then muttering about unforeseen catastrophes. more...

The cure for advanced gullibility is to go to sleep and consider matters again the next day. more...

Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo. more...

It is the invariable lesson to humanity that distance in time, and in space as well, lends focus. It is not recorded, incidentally, that the lesson has ever been permanently learned. more...

Where is the world whose people don't prefer a comfortable, warm, and well-worn belief, however illogical, to the chilly winds of uncertainty. more...

Speech as known to us was unnecessary. A fragment of a sentence amounted almost to a long-winded redundancy. A gesture, a grunt, the curve of a facial line-even a significantly timed pause yielded informational juice. more...

If we only obey those rules that we think are just and reasonable, then no rule will stand, for there is no rule that some will not think is unjust and unreasonable. more...

Human beings thought with their hands. It was their hands that were the answer of curiosity, that felt and pinched and turned and lifted and hefted. There were animals that had brains of respectable size, but they had no hands and that made all the difference. more...

There was this superstitious fear on the part of the pygmies of the present for the relics of the giants of the past. more...

Finished products are for decadent minds. more...

To any who know the star field well from one certain reference point, stars are as individual as people. Jump ten parsecs, however, and not even your own sun is recognizable. more...

The history of science is full of revolutionary advances that required small insights that anyone might have had, but that, in fact, only one person did. more...

Suppose we were to teach creationism. What would be the content of the teaching? Merely that a creator formed the universe and all species of life ready-made? Nothing more? No details? more...

You wait for the war to happen like vultures. If you want to help, prevent the war. Don't save the remnants. Save them all. more...

There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance only implies ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today. more...

Economics is on the side of humanity now. more...

How many people is the earth able to sustain? more...

All life is nucleic acid; the rest is commentary more...

I was once being interviewed by Barbara Walters...In between two of the segments she asked me..."But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?" I said, "Type faster." This was widely quoted, but the "six months" was changed to "six minutes," which bothered me. It's "six months. more...

The whole business is the crudest sort of stratagem, since we have no way of foreseeing it to the end. It is a mere paying out of rope on the chance that somewhere along the length of it will be a noose. more...

At odd and unpredictable times, we cling in fright to the past . more...

If you were to insist I was a robot, you might not consider me capable of love in some mystic human sense, but you would not be able to distinguish my reactions from that which you would call love so what difference would it make? more...

It is well-known that the friend of a conqueror is but the last victim. more...

Once you get it into your head that somebody is controlling events, you can interpret everything in that light and find no reasonable certainty anywhere. more...

If there is a category of human being for whom his work ought to speak for itself, it is the writer. more...

If you suspect that my interest in the Bible is going to inspire me with sudden enthusiasm for Judaism and make me a convert of mountain?moving fervor and that I shall suddenly grow long earlocks and learn Hebrew and go about denouncing the heathen you little know the effect of the Bible on me. Properly read, it is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. more...

A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. more...

Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history : the republic whose ruler has every attribute of the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal "honor" and court etiquette. more...

Every human being lived behind an impenetrable wall of choking mist within which no other but he existed. Occasionally there were the dim signals from deep within the cavern in which another man was located so that each might grope toward the other. Yet because they did not know one another, and could not understand one another, and dared not trust one another, and felt from infancy the terrors and insecurity of that ultimate isolation there was the hunted fear of man for man, the savage rapacity of man toward man. more...

It was easy to cover up ignorance by the mystical word "intuition. more...

It is the nature of the mind that makes individuals kin, and the differences in the shape, form or manner of the material atoms out of whose intricate relationships that mind is built are altogether trivial. more...

We're forever teetering on the brink of the unknowable, and trying to understand what can't be understood. more...

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly. more...

But life is glorious when it is happy; days are carefree when they are happy; the interplay of thought and imagination is far and superior to that of muscle and sinew. Let me tell you, if you don't know it from your own experience, that reading a good book, losing yourself in the interest of words and thoughts, is for some people (me, for instance) an incredible intensity of happiness. more...

When asked for advice by beginners. Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea. more...

There is no merit to discipline under ideal circumstances. I must have it in the face of death or it is worthless. more...

Intelligence is an accident of evolution, and not necessarily an advantage. more...

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. more...

Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time. more...

You don't have to be able to lay eggs to know when one of them is rotten. more...

Why is it, I wonder, that anyone who displays superior athletic ability is an object of admiration to his classmates, while one who displays superior mental ability is an object of hatred? more...

The laws of history are as absolute as the laws of physics, and if the probabilities of error are greater, it is only because history does not deal with as many humans as physics does atoms, so that individual variations count for more. more...

Society is much more easily soothed than one's own conscience. more...

Married life had taught him the futility of arguing with a female in a dark-brown mood. more...

The human mind works at low efficiency. Twenty percent is the figure usually given. When, momentarily, there is a flash of greater power, it is termed a hunch, or insight, or intuition. more...

Modern science fiction is the only form of literature that consistently considers the nature of the changes that face us. more...

I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be. more...

Aimless extension of knowledge, however, which is what I think you really mean by the term curiosity, is merely inefficiency. I am designed to avoid inefficiency." -R. Daneel Olivaw more...

I don't subscribe to the thesis, 'Let the buyer beware,' I prefer the disregarded one that goes, 'Let the seller be honest.' more...

Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task - such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping - I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something. more...

I am the beneficiary of a lucky break in the genetic sweepstakes. more...

It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to UNlearn. more...

I have been told that a young would-be composer wrote to Mozart asking advice about how to compose a symphony. Mozart responded that a symphony was a complex and demanding form and it would be better to start with something simpler. The young man protested, 'But, Herr Mozart, you wrote symphonies when you were younger than I am now.' Mozart replied, 'I never asked how. more...

You can't assert an answer just because it's not something else. more...

In my life there have been several individuals whose presence made it easier for me to think, pleasanter to make my responses. more...

The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. more...

If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist. more...

There's nothing to it. All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. We're in no way different ourselves... You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself. more...

I don't believe in extraordinary concatenations of coincidence. more...

The bible must be seen in a cultural context. It didn't just happen. These stories are retreads. But, tell a Christian that - No, No! What makes it doubly sad is that they hardly know the book, much less its origins. more...

Happiness is doing it rotten your own way. more...

There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. more...

One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. more...

The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. more...

Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. more...

The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine. more...

It is quite clear that as long as the nations of the world spend most of their energy, money, and emotional strength in quarreling with words and weapons, a true offensive against the common problems that threaten human survival is not very likely. A world government that can channel human efforts in the direction of the great solutions seems desirable, even essential. Naturally, such a world government should be a federal one, with regional and local autonomy safeguarded and with cultural diversity promoted. more...

There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven. more...

Inertia! Our ruling class knows one law; no change. Despotism! They know one rule; force. Maldistribution! They know one desire; to hold what is theirs. more...

There seems to be a feeling that anything that is natural is good. Strychnine is natural. more...

We all know we fall. Newton's discovery was that the moon falls, too-and by the same rule that we do. more...

Science can be introduced to children well or poorly. If poorly, children can be turned away from science; they can develop a lifelong antipathy; they will be in a far worse condition than if they had never been introduced to science at all. more...

At two-tenths the speed of light, dust and atoms might not do significant damage even in a voyage of 40 years, but the faster you go, the worse it is-space begins to become abrasive. When you begin to approach the speed of light, hydrogen atoms become cosmic-ray particles, and they will fry the crew. ...So 60,000 kilometers per second may be the practical speed limit for space travel. more...

I have written 240 books on a wide variety of topics. . . . Some of it I based on education I received in my school, but most of it was backed by other ways of learning - chiefly in the books I obtained in the public library. more...

Why this reluctance to make the change? We fear the process of reeducation. more...

The energy requirements for interstellar travel are so great that it is inconceivable to me that any creatures piloting their ships across the vast depths of space would do so only in order to play games with us over a period of decades. If they want to make contact, they would make contact; if not, they would save their energy and go elsewhere. more...

Old people think young people haven't learned about love. Young people think old people have forgotten about love. more...

We mythologists know very well that myths and legends contain borrowings, moral lessons, nature cycles, and a hundred other distorting influences, and we labor to cut them away and get to what might be a kernel of truth. In fact, these same techniques must be applied to the most sober histories, for no one writes the clear and apparent truth-if such a thing can even be said to exist. more...

Since emotions are few and reasons are many (said the robot Giscard) the behavior of a crowd can be more easily predicted than the behavior of one person. more...

The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity - a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop. more...

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. more...

I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing - to be clear. more...

It's a poor atom blaster that won't point both ways. more...

I don't like anything that's got to be. I want to know why. more...

Politically popular speech has always been protected: even the Jews were free to say 'Heil Hitler.' more...

One of Walt Whitman's best-known poems is this one: When I heard the learn'd astronomer,.... The trouble is, Whitman is talking through his hat, but the poor soul didn't know any better more...

Self-education is a continuing source of pleasure to me, for the more I know, the fuller my life is and the better I appreciate my own existence more...

It took me thirty-six years; and, in some fifty stories, ranging in length from short-shorts to novels, I think I must have touched, in one way or another, on every aspect of computers and computerization. And (mark this!) I did it without ever knowing anything at all about computers in any real sense. To this day, I don't. I am totally inept with machinery... on my typewriter I turn out books at the contemptible rate of one a month more...

Computerization eliminates the middleman more...

Theories are not so much wrong as incomplete more...

In theory, there is nothing the computer can do that the human mind can not do. The computer merely takes a finite amount of data and performs a finite number of operations upon them. The human mind can duplicate the process more...

I even got a letter from a young woman in British Columbia that began as follows: 'Today I am eighteen. I am sitting at the window, looking out at the rain, and thinking how much I love you.' more...

The important prediction is not the automobile, but the parking problem; not radio, but the soap opera; not the income tax, but the expense account; not the Bomb, but the nuclear stalemate more...

The Iranians are Moslems and the Iraqi are Moslems. Both are certain that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet and believe it with all their hearts. And yet, at the moment, Iraq doesn't trust Iran worth a damn, and Iran trusts Iraq even less than that. In fact, Iran is convinced that Iraq is in the pay of the Great Satan (that's God-fearing America, in case you've forgotten) and Iraq counters with the accusation that it is Iran who is in the pay of the Great Satan. Neither side is accusing the Godless Soviets of anything, which is a puzzle more...

I don't expect to live forever, nor do I repine over that, but I am weak enough to want to be remembered forever. - Yet how few of those who have lived, even of those who have accomplished far more than I have, linger on in world memory for even a single century after death more...

Tens of millions of Americans who neither know or understand the actual arguments for, or even against, evolution, march in the Army of the Night with their Bibles held high more...

Plate glass... has no beauty of its own. Ideally, you ought not to be able to see it at all, but through it you can see all that is happening outside. That is the equivalent of writing that is plain and unadorned. Ideally, in reading such writing, you are not even aware that you are reading. Ideas and events seem merely to flow from the mind of the writer into that of the reader without any barrier between. I hope that is what is happening when you read this book more...

What do you call that nice, shiny white metal they use to make sidings and airplanes out of? Aluminum, right? Aluminum, pronounced 'uh-LOO-mih-num', right? Anybody knows that! But do you know how the British spell it? 'Aluminium', pronounced 'Al-yoo-MIH-nee-um'. Ever hear anything so ridiculous? The French and Germans spell it 'aluminium', too, but they're foreigners who don't speak Earth-standard. You'd think the British, however, using our language, would be more careful more...

Many adults, whether consciously or unconsciously, find it beneath their adult dignity to do anything as childish as read a book, think a thought, or get an idea. Adults are rarely embarrased at having forgotten what little algebra or geography they once learned more...

Scientists expect to be improved on and corrected; they hope to be more...

Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, "I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all the pains and tortures the sadistic ingenuity of your deity can devise and that this torture will continue forever. Isn't that enough for you? Do you have to call me bad names in addition?" more...

Oh, for a pin that would puncture pretension! more...

To introduce something altogether new would mean to begin all over, to become ignorant again, and to run the old, old risk of failing to learn. more...

Until I became a published writer, I remained completely ignorant of books on how to write and courses on the subject ... they would have spoiled my natural style; made me observe caution; would have hedged me with rules. more...

Pierre Curie, a brilliant scientist, happened to marry a still more brilliant one-Marie, the famous Madame Curie-and is the only great scientist in history who is consistently identified as the husband of someone else. more...

No one suggests that writing about science will turn the entire world into a model of judgment and creative thought. It will be enough if they spread the knowledge as widely as possible. more...

I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing-to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics-Well, they can do whatever they wish. more...

Congratulations on the new library, because it isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you-and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life. more...

When I feel difficulty coming on, I switch to another book I'm writing. When I get back to the problem, my unconscious has solved it. more...

The false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. more...

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be. more...

The law of conservation of energy tells us we can't get something for nothing, but we refuse to believe it. more...

To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values, there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally, and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing more...

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast. more...

It is no defense of superstition and pseudoscience to say that it brings solace and comfort to people. . . . If solace and comfort are how we judge the worth of something, then consider that tobacco brings solace and comfort to smokers; alcohol brings it to drinkers; drugs of all kinds bring it to addicts; the fall of cards and the run of horses bring it to gamblers; cruelty and violence bring it to sociopaths. Judge by solace and comfort only and there is no behavior we ought to interfere with. more...

I never considered myself a patriot. I like to think I recognize only humanity as my nation. more...

The peace and joy of the Christmas season was marred by a proclamation of a general strike of all the military forces of the world. Panic reigns in the hearts of all the patriots of every persuasion. Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all-time low over the world. more...

Uncertainty that comes from knowledge (knowing what you don't know) is different from uncertainty coming from ignorance. more...

No vision of God and heaven ever experienced by the most exalted prophet can, in my opinion, match the vision of the universe as seen by Newton or Einstein more...

A good question is, of course, the key by which infinite answers can be educed. more...

A neat and orderly laboratory is unlikely. It is, after all, so much a place of false starts and multiple attempts. more...

Radiation, unlike smoking, drinking, and overeating, gives no pleasure, so the possible victims object. more...

Where any answer is possible, all answers are meaningless. more...

Working ten hour days allows you to fall behind twice as fast as you could working five hour days. more...

Life is a journey, but don't worry, you'll find a parking spot at the end. more...

Was there anything more exciting in life than seeking answers? more...

The greatest weapons in the conquest of knowledge are an understanding mind and the inexorable curiosity that drives it on. more...

Thinking is the activity I love best, and writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers. I can write up to 18 hours a day. Typing 90 words a minute, I've done better than 50 pages a day. Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up-well, maybe once. more...

The world is being Americanized and technologized to its limits, and that makes it dull for some people. Reaching the Moon restores the frontier and gives us the lands beyond. more...

There are so many benefits to be derived from space exploration and exploitation; why not take what seems to me the only chance of escaping what is otherwise the sure destruction of all that humanity has struggled to achieve for 50,000 years? more...

Until now in world's history, whenever we've had a dark age, its been temporary and local. And other parts of the world have been doing fine. And eventually, they help you get out of the dark age. We are now facing a possible dark age which is going to be world-wide and permanent! That's not fun. That's a different thing. But once we have established many worlds, we can do whatever we want as long as we do it one world at a time. more...

Surely no child, and few adults, have ever watched a bird in flight without envy. more...

The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. more...

The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death. They hold through time so that yesterday's love is part of today's and the confidence in tomorrow's love is also part of today's. And when one dies, the memory lives in the other, and is warm and breathing. And when both die - I almost believe, rationalist though I am - that somewhere it remains, indestructible and eternal, enriching all of the universe by the mere fact that once it existed. more...

I don't think I've ever held a racket in my hand ... There's got to be somebody in the US who isn't trying to play tennis and stinking up the court. more...

...democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters. more...

The Three Laws of Robotics: 1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; 2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; 3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law; The Zeroth Law: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. more...

There is no right to deny freedom to any object with a mind advanced enough to grasp the concept and desire the state. -(from "The Bicentennial Man) story) more...

Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny... more...

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's science fact. more...

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. more...

In life, people will take you at your own reckoning. more...

Intuition is the art, peculiar to the human mind, of working out the correct answer from data that is, in itself, incomplete or even, perhaps, misleading. more...

Nothing has to be true, but everything has to sound true. more...

Mathematicians deal with large numbers sometimes, but never in their income. more...

A fire-eater must eat fire even if he has to kindle it himself. more...

In the presence of total Darkness, the mind finds it absolutely necessary to create light. more...

There are no happy endings in history, only crisis points that pass. more...

I would argue that a truly developed country would be beyond Presidents and Kings. In a world with some semblance of equality, each liberal-minded woman, each gay person, and indeed almost every person could be their own President. In a world of equals, what real service does a ruler provide? more...

Writing is my only interest. Even speaking is an interruption. more...

They absorb carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. What could be more desirable? And they look good in the bargain. Stop chopping down the rain forests and plant more saplings, and we're on our way. more...

The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death. They hold through time so that yesterday's love is part of today's and the confidence in tomorrow's love is also part of today's. And when one dies, the memory lives in the other, and is warm and breathing. And when both die - I almost believe, rationalist though I am - that somewhere it remains, indestructible and eternal, enriching all of the universe by the mere fact that once it existed. more...

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist. more...

What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for. more...

While he lives, he must think; while he thinks, he must dream. more...

And [Asimov]'ll sign anything, hardbacks, softbacks, other people's books, scraps of paper. Inevitably someone handed him a blank check on the occasion when I was there, and he signed that without as much as a waver to his smile - except that he signed: 'Harlan Ellison. more...

Education isn't something you can finish more...

Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else. more...

An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways. more...

The whole world might know you and acclaim you, but someone in the past, forever unreachable, forever unknowing, spoils it all. more...

Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments. more...

And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy. But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer-by demonstration-would take care of that, too. For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program. The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done. And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" And there was light- more...

Arthur Clarke says that I am first in science and second in science fiction in accordance with an agreement we have made. I say he is first in science fiction and second in science. more...

I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway". more...

I type 90 words per minute on the typewriter; I type 100 words per minute on the word processor. But, of course, I don't keep that up indefinitely - every once in a while I do have to think a few seconds. more...

It has always been my ambition to die in harness with my head face down on a keyboard and my nose caught between two of the keys. more...

Never judge your own writing. You're not fit to do so. more...

Surely, if we take on thinking partners - or, at the least, thinking servants - in the form of machines, we will be more comfortable with them, and will relate to them more easily, if they are shaped like humans. It will be easier to be friends with human-shaped robots than with specialized machines of unrecognizable shape. And I sometimes think that, in the desperate straits of humanity today, we would be grateful to have nonhuman friends, even if they are only the friends we build ourselves. more...

The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying. more...

The Earth faces environmental problems right now that threaten the imminent destruction of civilization and the end of the planet as a livable world. Humanity cannot afford to waste its financial and emotional resources on endless, meaningless quarrels between each group and all others. there must be a sense of globalism in which the world unites to solve the real problems that face all groups alike. more...

The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own "national security" to be paramount above all other consideration. more...

To all my gentle readers who have treated me with love for over 30 years, I must say farewell. It has always been my ambition to die in harness with my head face down on a keyboard and my nose caught between two of the keys, but that's not the way it worked out. I have had a long and happy life and I have no complaints about the ending, thereof, and so farewell - farewell. more...

When I sit down at the typewriter, I write. Someone once asked me if I had a fixed routine before I start, like setting up exercises, sharpening pencils, or having a drink of orange juice. I said, "No, the only thing I do before I start writing is to make sure that I'm close enough to the typewriter to reach the keys." more...

Goodbye, Hari, my love. Remember always-all you did for me." -I did nothing for you." -You loved me and your love made me-human. more...

Science is a set of rules to keep us from telling lies to each other. All scientists really have is a reputation for telling the truth. more...

As artists and traders in medieval cities began to form organizations, they instituted tough initiation ceremonies. Journeymen in Bergen, Norway, were shoved down a chimney, thrown three times into the sea, and soundly whipped. Such rites made belonging to the guild or corporation more precious to those who were accepted, and survived. more...

Science doesn't purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism... for testing your thoughts against the universe. more...

Scientists derive satisfaction from figuring out the puzzle. It's about the quest, not the grail. more...

There's nothing to it. All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. We"re in no way different ourselves... You show me someone who ca' understand people and I"ll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself. more...

I do' believe in extraordinary concatenations of coincidence. more...

The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death. They hold through time so that yesterday's love is part of today's and the confidence in tomorrow's love is also part of today"s. And when one dies, the memory lives in the other, and is warm and breathing. And when both die - I almost believe, rationalist though I am - that somewhere it remains, indestructible and eternal, enriching all of the universe by the mere fact that once it existed. more...

Many a prophecy, by the mere force of its being believed, is transmuted to fact. more...

It's a poor atom blaster that wo' point both ways. more...

I do' like anything that's got to be. I want to know why. more...

Politically popular speech has always been protected: even the Jews were free to say "Heil Hitler." more...

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. Creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones. more...

To those who are trained in science, creationism seems a bad dream, a sudden coming back to life of a nightmare, a renewed march of an Army of the Night risen to challenge free thought and enlightenment. more...

So, then, what is style? There are two chief aspects of any piece of writing: 1) what you say and 2) how you say it. The former is "content" and the latter is "style." more...

Fertility is hereditary. If your parents didn't have any children, neither will you. I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. more...

I'm an indoors person. I'm not afraid of the outdoors and I penetrate it easily and cheerfully. However, I must admit I like Central Park better than the wilderness, and I like the canyons of Manhattan better than Central Park, and I like the interior of my apartment better than the canyons of Manhattan, and I like my two rooms better with the shades down at all times than with the shades up. I'm not an agoraphobe at all, but I am a claustrophile, if you see the distinction. more...

This idea [standardized time zones] was first advanced and fought for by Sandford Fleming of Canada and Charles F. Dowd of the United States. I mention them chiefly because like so many benefactors of mankind they have been rewarded by total obscurity. more...

The appearance of strength is all about you. It would seem to last forever. However... the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had. The storm-blast whistles through the branches of the Empire even now. Listen... and you will hear the creaking. more...

[Social] science fiction is that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance on human beings. more...

Goodbye, Hari, my love. Remember always-all you did for me." -I did nothing for you." -You loved me and your love made me-human. more...

There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer. more...

God, how that stings! I've spent a lifetime loving science fiction and now I find that you must expect nothing of something that's just science fiction. more...

It's just science fiction so it's allowed to be silly, and childish, and stupid. It's just science fiction, so it doesn't have to make sense. It's just science fiction, so you must ask nothing more of it than loud noises and flashing lights. more...

That's the harm of Close Encounters: that it convinces tens of millions that that's what just science fiction is. more...

One, a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; Two, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; Three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. more...

The vast majority, who believe in astrology and think that the planets have nothing better to do than form a code that will tell them whether tomorrow is a good day to close a business deal or not, become all the more excited and enthusiastic about the bilge when a group of astronomers denounces it. more...

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once. more...

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. more...

The fundamental law impressed upon the positronic brains of all robots.... On no conditions is a human being to be injured in any way, even when such injury is directly ordered by another human. more...

The three fundamental Rules of Robotics.... One, a robot may not injure a human being under any conditions-and, as a corollary, must not permit a human being to be injured because of inaction on his part.... Two... a robot must follow all orders given by qualified human beings as long as they do not conflict with Rule 1.... Three: a robot must protect its own existence as long as that does not conflict with Rules 1 and 2. more...

Our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking. more...

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, 'hmm.... that's funny... more...

Though science can cause problems, it is not by ignorance that we will solve them. more...

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is completely programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest. I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. more...

Outside intelligences, exploring the Solar System with true impartiality, would be quite likely to enter the Sun in their records thus: Star X, spectral class G0, 4 planets plus debris. more...

make it sound as though a theory is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. more...

But suppose we were to teach creationism. What would be the content of the teaching? Merely that a creator formed the universe and all species of life ready-made? Nothing more? No details? more...

There are limits beyond which your folly will not carry you. I am glad of that. In fact, I am relieved. more...

Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. more...

A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. more...

A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. more...

Q. You do not consider your statement a disloyal one? A. No, sir. Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty. Q. You are sure that your statement represents scientific truth? A. I am. more...

That insufferable, dull-witted donkey! That- Hardin broke in: Not at all. He's merely the product of his environment. He doesn't understand much except that 'I got a gun and you ain't. more...

Violence, came the retort, is the last refuge of the incompetent. more...

Well, then, arrest him. You can accuse him of something or other afterward. more...

That was the time to begin all-out preparations for war. On the contrary. That was the time to begin all-out prevention of war. more...

He believes in that mummery a good deal less than I do, and I don't believe in it at all. more...

For it is the chief characteristic of the religion of science, that it works, and that such curses as that of Aporat's are really deadly. more...

A fire eater must eat fire even if he has to kindle it himself. more...

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. more...

Ponyets! They sent you? Pure chance, said Ponyets, bitterly, or the work of my own personal malevolent demon. more...

There's something about a pious man such as he. He will cheerfully cut your throat if it suits him, but he will hesitate to endanger the welfare of your immaterial and problematical soul. more...

He is energetic only in evading responsibility. more...

Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history: the republic whose ruler has every attribute of the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal honor and court etiquette. more...

An atom blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways. more...

He is a dreamer of ancient times, or rather, of the myths of what ancient times used to be. Such men are harmless in themselves, but their queer lack of realism makes them fools for others. more...

You are a valuable subject, Brodrig. You always suspect far more than is necessary, and I have but to take half your suggested precautions to be utterly safe. more...

To him, a stilted geometric love of arrangement was system, an indefatigable and feverish interest in the pettiest facets of day-to-day bureaucracy was industry, indecision when right was caution, and blind stubbornness when wrong, determination. more...

Were I to use the wits the good Spirits gave me, he said, then I would say this lady can not exist-for what sane man would hold a dream to be reality. Yet rather would I not be sane and lend belief to charmed, enchanted eyes. more...

Secrecy as deep as this is past possibility without nonexistence as well. more...

The most hopelessly stupid man is he who is not aware that he is wise. more...

The house was somehow very lonely at night and Dr. Darell found that the fate of the Galaxy made remarkably little difference while his daughter's mad little life was in danger. more...

Remarkable what a fragile flower romance is. A gun with a nervous operator behind it can spoil the whole thing. more...

At odd and unpredictable times, we cling in fright to the past. more...

If there is a misuse of power, it is on her part. My crime is that I have never labored to make myself popular-I admit that much-and I have paid too little attention to fools who are old enough to be senile but young enough to have power. more...

Is not all this an extraordinary concatenation of coincidence? Pelorat said, If you list it like that- List it any way you please, said Trevize. I don't believe in extraordinary concatenations of coincidence. more...

It's one thing to have guts; it's another to be crazy. more...

Societies create their own history and tend to wipe out lowly beginnings, either by forgetting them or inventing totally fictitious heroic rescues. more...

It was easy to cover up ignorance by the mystical word intuition. more...

It is better to go to defeat with free will than to live in a meaningless security as a cog in a machine. more...

We abandoned the appearance of power to preserve the essence of it. more...

If you were to insist I was a robot, you might not consider me capable of love in some mystic human sense, but you would not be able to distinguish my reactions from that which you would call love-so what difference would it make? more...

To Mankind And the hope that the war against folly may someday be won, after all more...

I'd say his mind stops functioning, but I lack the proof of any other state from which it might stop. more...

Tritt listened placidly, clearly understanding nothing, but content to be listening; while Odeen, transmitting nothing, was as clearly content to be lecturing. more...

I know nothing of that directly; I only know what I have been told by other young ones who couldn't have known directly either. I want to find out the truth about them and the wanting has grown until there is more of curiosity in me than fear. more...

I fear my ignorance. more...

You know that prudery is only the other side of prurience. The words are even on the same page in the dictionary. more...

I've lived most of my life already and I suppose I can argue myself into believing that I have no great cause to love humanity. However, only a few people have hurt me, and if I hurt everyone in return that is unconscionable usury. more...

If an interaction is too weak to be detectable or to exert influence in any way, then by any operational definition, it doesn't exist. more...

The Bible contains legendary, historical, and ethical contents. It is quite possible to consider them separately, and one doesn't have to accept the legends in order to get the ethics. Fundamentalists make a grave mistake to insist on the letter of the writings, because they drive away many who can't swallow the Adam-and-Eve bit. more...

Goodbye, Hari, my love. Remember always-all you did for me." -I did nothing for you." -You loved me and your love made me-human. more...

The Three Theorems of Psychohistorical Quantitivity: The population under scrutiny is oblivious to the existence of the science of Psychohistory. The time periods dealt with are in the region of 3 generations. The population must be in the billions (&177;75 billions) for a statistical probability to have a psychohistorical validity. more...

If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster. more...

We can make inspired guesses, but we don't know for certain what physical and chemical properties of the planet's crust its ocean and its atmosphere made it so conducive to such a sudden appearance of life. more...

When asked what he would do if he only had six months to live: Type faster. more...

The first law of dietetics seems to be if it tastes good, its bad for you. more...

At two-tenths the speed of light, dust and atoms might not do significant damage even in a voyage of 40 years, but the faster you go, the worse it is-space begins to become abrasive. When you begin to approach the speed of light, hydrogen atoms become cosmic-ray particles, and they will fry the crew... So 60,000 kilometers per second may be the practical speed limit for space travel. more...


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