Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who
The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
I believe in using words, not fists.. I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex.
It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.
I wish to propose for the reader's favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.
Against my will, in the course of my travels, the belief that everything worth knowing was known at Cambridge gradually wore off. In this respect my travels were very useful to me.
William James used to preach the will-to-believe. For my part, I should wish to preach the will-to-doubt. None of our beliefs are quite true; all at least have a penumbra of vagueness and error.
I resolved from the beginning of my quest that I would not be misled by sentiment and desire into beliefs for which there was no good evidence.