"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge."
— Daniel J. Boorstin, often attributed to Stephen Hawking
open/close all folders
"He is himself his own World, his own Universe; of any other than himself he can form no conception; he knows not Length, nor Breadth, nor Height, for he has had no experience of them; he has no cognizance even of the number Two; nor has he a thought of Plurality; for he is himself his One and All, being really Nothing. Yet mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn his lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy."
— The Sphere in Flatland, preaching against the King of Pointland.
Dogbert: (selling cars) I can let you have this one for five thousand.
Customer: Three thousand.
Dogbert: No, but I can sell you that car for four thousand.
Customer: Thirty-five hundred.
Customer: (driving off) I guess you don't get a lot of negotiators like me.
"There seems to be a notion abroad among women, rather akin to the superstition that the speech and actions of idiots are inspired, and that the human being most entirely exhausted of common sense is the fittest vehicle of revelation. To judge from their writings, there are certain ladies who think that an amazing ignorance, both of science and of life, is the best possible qualification for forming an opinion on the knottiest moral and speculative questions."
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.”
"This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: 'Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the Earth.'"
—Benito Mussolini, 1937
"I am the object of criticism around the world. But I think that since I am being discussed, then I am on the right track."
—Kim Jong-il, Supreme Leader of the People's Republic of North Korea
"He's a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like."
—Paul Krugman on Newt Gingrich
"Fuck you and fuck your mother! I'm a text book guy. I've been a text book guy my whole life. I use facts!"
—High school dropout Anthony Cumia
"Ever since I attended college, I have been convinced that either 'studies' confirm what common sense suggests or that they are mistaken."
—Dennis Prager, conspiracy theorist
"It's scientifically impossible for the bumblebee to fly; but the bumblebee, being unaware of these scientific facts, flies anyways."
—Mike Huckabee, 2008 U.S. Presidential nominee
Jay: It feels like talking about George Lucas at this point is like beating a dead horse, but he's just endlessly fascinating. To see him on The Daily Show and talking about the film as if it's some socially-important thing, and saying that 'This is the first all-black action movie.' He comes across as incredibly out of touch; you're like, 'There's been fuckin' decades of black action movies! There was an entire subgenre of it in the seventies!' Just a man completely out of touch and trying to inflate his own sense of self-importance about the movie he's making.
Mike: Well, the history of it is that he pitched it around to studios to get them to pay for it, and he screened it around a lot, and nobody wanted the movie. And so he immediately attributed to the fact that it was an all-black cast.... I dunno. I wanted to see it. Glory did just fine!
"Bill O'Reilly , it should be noted, is a man whose mind is entirely undarkened by doubt. I have seen him refuse even to consider the arguments of a Notre Dame theology professor who took exception to his interpretation of the life and message of Jesus...Doubt, as well as its cousins ambiguity, complexity, subtlety and nuance, are simply not welcome on O’Reilly’s show. Voltaire said, 'To be uncertain is to be uncomfortable, but to be certain is to be ridiculous.' Bill O’Reilly, I imagine, would think that Voltaire was a pinhead."
"Jackson launched her political career in 2000 by learning how to vote...She claims to be able to play the ukulele and has released a not-so-great hit called 'There's a Communist in the White House'. She is also very annoyed by the TV show Glee for its anti-Christian agenda and 'shoving the gay thing down our throats.' Her behavior has led to suspicions that she is a deep cover liberal or aping Andy Kaufman."
—Rational Wiki on Victoria Jackson
"You know you're in trouble when an article begins by citing a 'fascinating Ross Douthat blog' and it doesn't mean fascinating in the sense of someone looking at a catalog of medical deformities might say 'that was a fascinating scrotum face oozing pus.' The rest of the article is a big 'no shit, Sherlock' about Republicans liking Ronald Reagan."
"The Terror Conspiracy. 'Jim Marrs presents the official government pronouncement on 9/11 as an obvious conspiracy.' You hear that? OBVIOUS. So fucking obvious, you guys. I mean, it couldn't be any more black and white and also Arab-colored. 'The only question is whose conspiracy it was.' See? OBVIOUS CONSPIRACY. We just need to figure out all of the other details of this obvious conspiracy before the rest of the world acknowledges its obviousness."
"Those who dismiss Chester 'Chet Haze' Hanks as a lightweight merely because he is the hilariously un-self-aware rapping son of Hollywood legend Tom Hanks risk making fools of themselves. Chet Haze is a theological thinker of uncommon zeal...We mourn the death of Christopher Hitchens for many reasons—the strongest of which is that he escaped being eviscerated by the rhetorical razor of Chet Haze, a fate he most richly deserved."
—Gawker, "Chet Haze, Theologian"
"I once saw him set up a joke about natural selection by mocking the audience for not knowing what natural selection was. That was what, fifth grade for most of us? It helped me understand Carlos better as a comic. He assumes we're all stupid because for some reason, he thinks we only went to school until age 10... Does it really count as social criticism when the society you're criticizing only exists in your Meximagination? 'People are stupid! All these people are confusing cereal commercials for the news! That's Boo Berry, not Peter Jennings, you dee duhDEE! What next, do they elect Honey Comb President!!??!? I'm out!'"
"To try to stem the rising tide of kids coming down with measles because their parents are scared of the autism boogeyman, science has been forced to pump money into researching this issue again and again and again, coming out with study after study that shows no link. That's money that could have been used to research cancer cures of for developing better vaccines or even a serum to inject directly into Jenny McCarthy's brain to kill the stupid directly. But instead it's funding studies to debunk that same old autism/vaccine trope that's already been debunked. And it's all pointless, because to conspiracy theorists all of that new 'evidence' is just further proof that The Man is working against them. 'If there's nothing to it, why are scientists studying it so much?'
Meanwhile, as reports on climate change and the increasingly terrifying effects keep piling up, we're still trying (and failing) to convince people that it's a real thing that humans caused. Hell, even the president had to actually take time out of running the country to show his birth certificate. All because of this weird flaw in the human mind that makes us gravitate toward the most improbable version of events, and then congratulate ourselves for having the 'courage' to stand up against those damned 'experts' telling us we're wrong."
"A major newspaper has kicked George Will to the curb over a recent column wherein the venerable conservative opinionator claimed that being a rape victim is a 'coveted status' that comes with 'privileges'... On one hand: 'Hooray!' On the other, it's pretty telling that a newspaper in St. Louis is more tuned in and with-it than the opinion pages of the most prominent newspaper in our nation's ostensibly cosmopolitan capitol."
"The Matrix, of course, is his favorite movie. The stark realities that film presented, the way in which it perfectly illuminated the 'illusion of ignorance' that most people inhabit—Ayn Rand herself couldn’t have written it better. Ayn Rand was a woman, sure, but she also hated women, and boy could she write, so he still loves her. It sucks that she wasn’t also hot, but you can’t win ‘em all...He will go on to say that women have no reason to be scared when they walk alone at night. If they are, they’re being irrational. And anyway, if they do end up getting raped, there’s nothing they can do about it. Rape happens all the time in the animal kingdom, and we’re animals. It’s natural. When men rape, which is something they do far less than you think they do, they do it solely because of their animalistic urges, which makes rape inevitable, inescapable. It is a necessary fact of life, like childbirth.
He has something to say about what he’s reading right now. And, by God, he’s going to fucking say it, because I don't have the right to tell him otherwise."
—Megan Koester, "The Anatomy of a Men's Rights Activist"