American author & professor of biochemistry (1920-1992)

Isaac Asimov quote

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

ISAAC ASIMOV, "A Cult of Ignorance", Newsweek, Jan. 21, 1980


Tags: ignorance

I wish that I could say I was optimistic about the human race. I love us all, but we are so stupid and shortsighted that I wonder if we can lift our eyes to the world about us long enough not to commit suicide.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Yours, Isaac Asimov


Tags: humanity

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 centures 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.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Canadian Atheists Newsletter, 1994


Tags: religion

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.

ISAAC ASIMOV, attributed, The Quotable Intellectual


Tags: science

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Astounding Science Fiction, May 1942


Tags: violence

You don't need to predict the future. Just choose a future -- a good future, a useful future -- and make the kind of prediction that will alter human emotions and reactions in such a way that the future you predicted will be brought about. Better to make a good future than predict a bad one.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Prelude to Foundation


Tags: future

I discovered, to my amazement, that all through history there had been resistance ... and bitter, exaggerated, last-stitch resistance ... to every significant technological change that had taken place on earth. Usually the resistance came from those groups who stood to lose influence, status, a result of the change. Although they never advanced this as their reason for resisting it. It was always the good of humanity that rested upon their hearts.

ISAAC ASIMOV, lecture at Newark College of Engineering, Nov. 8, 1974


Tags: technology

Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, "I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all the pains and tortures the sadistic ingenuity of your deity can devise and that this torture will continue forever. Isn't that enough for you? Do you have to call me bad names in addition?"

ISAAC ASIMOV, I, Asimov: A Memoir


Isn't it sad that you can tell people that the ozone layer is being depleted, the forests are being cut down, the deserts are advancing steadily, that the greenhouse effect will raise the sea level 200 feet, that overpopulation is choking us, that pollution is killing us, that nuclear war may destroy us -- and they yawn and settle back for a comfortable nap. But tell them that the Martians are landing, and they scream and run.

ISAAC ASIMOV, The Secret of the Universe


Tags: global warming

All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation's Edge


If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Life, Jan. 1984


Tags: writing

There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Pebble in the Sky


Tags: mind

There are no happy endings in history, only crisis points that pass.

ISAAC ASIMOV, The Gods Themselves


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.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Free Inquiry, spring 1982


Tags: atheism

The human mind works at low efficiency. Twenty percent is the figure usually given. When, momentarily, there is a flash of greater power it is termed a hunch, or insight, or intuition.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation and Empire


If all human beings understood history, they might cease making the same stupid mistakes over and over.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Prelude to Foundation


Gratitude is best and most effective when it does not evaporate itself in empty phrases.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation and Empire


Tags: gratitude

I never considered myself a patriot. I like to think I recognize only humanity as my nation.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation's Edge


Tags: patriotism

Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women's breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times?

ISAAC ASIMOV, Prelude to Foundation


A good question is, of course, the key by which infinite answers can be educed.

ISAAC ASIMOV, Foundation's Edge