isaac asimov Quotes

Isaac Asimov Quotes

Birth Date: 1920-01-02 (Friday, January 2nd, 1920)
Date of Death: 1992-04-06 (Monday, April 6th, 1992)

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Quotes

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.
    • 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 one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. 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.
    • If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.
    • 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.
    • Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.
    • 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.
    • Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    • It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.
    • 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.
    • A fire eater must eat fire even if he has to kindle it himself.
    • Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.
    • It's a poor blaster that doesn't point both ways.
    • The most hopelessly stupid man is he who is not aware that he is wise
    • A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
    • A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
    • Don't you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don't you believe in telepathy? - in ancient astronauts? - in the Bermuda triangle? - in life after death? No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no. One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out 'Don't you believe in anything?' 'Yes', I said. '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.'
    • 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.
    • How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • It seems to me that God is a convenient invention of the human mind.
    • There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.
    • To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
    • Creationists don't want equal time, ... they want all the time there is.
    • Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.
    • Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
    • 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.
    • There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven.
    • Life is a journey, but don't worry, you'll find a parking spot at the end.
    • I am Isaac Asimov.
    • A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.
    • I believe that only scientists can understand the universe. It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong.
    • If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
    • Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!
    • Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
    • 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.
    • The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching.
    • The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny ...'
    • The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
    • The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.
    • There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
    • Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
    • 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.
    • True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the United States is steadily dumbing down.
    • 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.
    • Where any answer is possible, all answers are meaningless.
    • The Law of conservation of energy tells us we can't get something for nothing, but we refuse to believe it. - Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988.
    • 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.
    • I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die.
    • 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.
    • Well, I can type all day without getting tired.
    • Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
    • I type and think at 90 words a minute.
    • 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.
    • I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.
    • If I could trace my origins to Judas Maccabaeus or King David, that would not add one inch to my stature. It may well be that many East European Jews are descended from Khazars, I may be one of them. Who knows? And who cares?
    • In 1936, I first wrote science fiction. It was a long-winded attempt at writing an endless novel ... which died. I remember one sentence: 'Whole forests stood sere and brown in midsummer.' That was the first Asimovian science-fiction sentence.
    • Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.
    • 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.
    • I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them.
    • Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.
    • 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.
    • How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics! (This is a mnemonic phrase: the number of letters in each word of the phrase is a decimal digit of pi)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • United Nations, New York, December 25. 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.
    • Night was a wonderful time in Brooklyn in the 1930s. Air conditioning was unknown except in movie houses, and so was television. There was nothing to keep one in the house. Furthermore, few people owned automobiles, so there was nothing to carry one away. That left the streets and the stoops. The very fullness served as an inhibition to crime.
    • 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.
    • To insult someone we call him 'bestial'. For deliberate cruelty and nature, 'human' might be the greater insult.
    • Start part three!
    • 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.
    • [The dignity of the human species] will be completely destroyed [if the population growth continues at its present rate]. I use what I call the bathroom metaphor: if two people live in an apartment and there are two bathrooms, then both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want to stay as long as you like for whatever you need. But if you have twenty people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person; you have to bang on the door, 'Aren't you done yet?' In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive. Convenience and decency can't survive. As you put more and more people onto 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 person matters. - as guest of Bill Moyers on PBS
    • Isaac Asimov had writer's block once. It was the worst ten minutes of his life.
    • isaac asimov

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