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A collection of my sayings

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The Explanation

This is a short list of concise sayings distilled from my writings, both from articles on this site and from my many Usenet posts. If this were the 19th century, these would be called "quotations", but I think "bumperstickers" is a reasonable translation into modern language.

Some may think listing one's own quotations is rather egotistical. I think this view has a certain amount of merit ... but I decided to do it anyway. It's just that I've noticed people have begun using my quotations as signature lines in blogs and Usenet postings, so I decided to make a collection of them, conveniently grouped in one place.

The List
  • Windows 10 is closed-source, which means it's a crime to access the source and make changes. This means only criminals have access to the source code.
  • If Winston Churchill were alive today, he would say, "Linux is the worst operating system ... except all the others."
  • As an adult you have the choice to learn mathematics, or be perpetually lied to by people who know more mathematics than you do.
  • Evolution requires random mutations. If children were meant to turn out like their parents, childbearing wouldn't exist — nature wouldn't waste the energy.
  • When every birth is the free choice of a free woman, we will have earned the right to call ourselves civilized.
  • The young are happy because they think life goes on forever. The old are happy because they know it doesn't.
  • To create perfectly idiot-proof code, expose it to a pack of perfect idiots.
  • Joan, a pseudoperson with no defining core values, found herself attracted to psychology, a pseudoscience with no defining core theories.
  • When two scientists disagree, one of them is wrong. When two psychiatrists disagree, both of them are wrong.
  • What is therapy? Therapy is when you have to pay someone to be on your side.
  • We write poetry to win the approval of people, equations to win the approval of nature.
  • The only thing more tragic than a child who blindly rejects authority is an adult who blindly accepts it.
  • Like a wheelchair that helps those who can't walk, science helps those who can't think. Some people can't walk, but none of us can think.
  • Imagine if real scientists behaved like psychologists: "Is there life on Mars? Rockets are expensive — let's vote!"
  • That idea is empty philosophy — but I repeat myself.
  • In a nutshell, science is the careful building of theories on a scaffolding of evidence.
  • When reality-testing proves a theory false, a scientist abandons the theory, but a pseudoscientist abandons reality.
  • Psychological science is to science what military music is to music.
  • The true test of intelligence is, not that Mensa accepts you as a member, but that you don't care what they think.
  • The day I began my first solo sail across the Pacific, I was so scared that my inner child ran away.
  • True science relies on natural selection — competing theories play the part of competing species. Only the fittest theories survive.
  • In science, evidence means everything, reputation means nothing. The greatest amount of scientific eminence is trumped by the smallest amount of scientific evidence.
  • A Postmodernist first denies the existence of shared, objective truths, then tries to start a dialogue requiring what's just been denied.
  • When people call at midnight and threaten you with death, you realize you're making a difference.
  • For those who think ideas are less important than children, I have to ask — does anyone remember the names of Einstein's children?
  • While programming, you can write fast programs, and you can write programs fast, but you can't write fast programs fast.
  • Poetry builds a great truth out of many small lies. Politics builds a great lie out of many small truths.
  • In my opinion, the greatest single failure of American education is that students come away unable to distinguish between a symbol and the thing the symbol stands for.
  • With each passing year, because of advances in computer technology, there are more things, each more sophisticated, that we aren't allowed to do any more.
  • Windows isn't supposed to make sense, it's supposed to make money.
  • A person who won't think has no advantage over one who can't think.
  • When you read the history of the human family, it slowly comes to you that all the world's oceans once fell as tears.
  • I am opposed to the present system of capital punishment, not because I like murderers, but because I don't want to become one.
  • Religion is designed for stupid people. Science is designed for stupid people who are embarrassed by their stupidity, who want to do something about it.
  • It is only a small simplification to say that clinical psychology is meant for people who are too smart for religion but not smart enough for science.
  • The fundamental political idea of modern times is the presumed moral superiority of centralized control.
  • The secret strategy of modern government is to find out what people are going to do anyway, order them to do it, then take credit for the result.
  • A revolutionary without an education is simply revolting.
  • Her imagination began writing checks that her intellect couldn't cash.
  • Did you know you can't steer a boat that isn't moving? Just like a life.
  • Nature is a cacophony of voices, singing in harmony but not in unison. Narcissism is a single voice that tries to speak for everyone.
  • Those who argue for religion's benevolence need to explain how its most sincere followers can murder doctors, burn down medical clinics and fly hijacked airplanes into buildings.
  • If you won't take responsibility when things go badly, you give up the right to take credit when things go well.
  • If religious fundamentalists actually understood evolution, they would try to give God credit for it.
  • Astrologers describe, astronomers explain. Explanation is the frontier of science.
  • Psychology studies the mind. Neuroscience studies the brain and nervous system. This gives neuroscience an overwhelming advantage because there really is a brain and a nervous system.
  • Without theory, evidence is not science, and without evidence, theory is not science. Both are required.
  • The secret to effective online research isn't locating someone with the answer, but filtering out the masses of people who think they have the answer.

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