Jefferson and a Day of Reason May 7, 2009

Jefferson and a Day of Reason

This post is by Jesse Galef, who works for the American Humanist Association

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone an excellent National Day of Reason!

In those elusive two weeks of spring in the Washington, DC area between freezing and baking, my girlfriend and I went to visit the National Monuments.  When we were at the Jefferson Memorial we saw an elevator which took us underground to a section I’d never known about.  Along the walls were quotes, this being one of my favorites:

Jefferson Quote

“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1820

I invite you all to offer your own submissions – famous quotes, thoughts, or links – to celebrate this day of reason.

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  • We should be celebrating the Day of Prayer, too:

  • Abner Cadaver II

    I think the inimitable Carl Sagan’s Cosmos deserves a plug (today or any day).

    And since last I heard Hulu’s stupidly not available outside the US, there’s clips on YouTube.

  • “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” – Voltaire

  • Carl Sagan is a gold mine of quotes. This is one of my favorites:

    “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

  • TXatheist

    Hawaii lawmakers back the creation of ‘Islam Day’

    By MARK NIESSE – 16 hours ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s state Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill to celebrate “Islam Day” — over the objections of a few lawmakers who said they didn’t want to honor a religion connected to Sept. 11, 2001.

    The resolution to proclaim Sept. 24, 2009, as Islam Day passed the Senate on a 22-3 vote Wednesday. It previously passed the House.

    The measure now goes to the governor.

    The bill seeks to recognize “the rich religious, scientific, cultural and artistic contributions” that Islam and the Islamic world have made.

    But the Senate’s two Republicans argued that radical Islamists cheered the 9/11 attacks. They also noted that other religions didn’t have a special day honored.

    The lone Democrat voting in dissent opposed it on church-state separation fears.

  • “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” – Thomas Jefferson

    I’m a huge Thomas Paine fan…

    “I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.” – Thomas Pain, The Age of Reason

    “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry” – Thomas Paine

    Most comforting, for me, in these times of religious resurgance in the U.S. and extremism abroad is this:

    “Time makes more converts than reason.” Thomas Paine

  • Zered

    SeanG that was the exact quote that I had in mind!
    But I’ll add another Sagan quote to the thread:

    Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.

  • Magnifico Giganticus

    We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

    You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense. -Shakespeare

  • Another Jefferson quotation:

    In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.
    -Thomas Jefferson

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