Human freedom is not an illusion; it is an objective phenomenon, distinct from all other biological conditions and found in only one species – us.
The secret of happiness is: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.
Now that mobile phones and the internet have altered the epistemic selective landscape in a revolutionary way, every religious organisation must scramble to evolve defences or become extinct.
Wherever there is a design that is highly successful in a broad range of similar environments, it is apt to emerge again and again, independently – the phenomenon known in biology as convergent evolution. I call these designs ‘good tricks.’
In short, we need to recover the courage we celebrate in our heroes, and in particular, the courage to tolerate, for the sake of a free society, a level of risk we hardly ever imagined in the past.
In 50 years – or 20 years, or 200 years – our current epistemic horizon (the Big Bang, roughly) may look as parochial as the horizon Newton had to settle for in his day, but no doubt there will still be good questions whose answers elude us.
We should get used to the idea that we’ll probably never be able to find – and confirm – a good explanation of the ultimate origin of the universe, though I see no reason to believe that we can’t press much further on this question than we have managed to date.
Darwin’s idea of natural selection makes people uncomfortable because it reverses the direction of tradition.
If the history of resistance to Darwinian thinking is a good measure, we can expect that long into the future, long after every triumph of human thought has been matched or surpassed by ‘mere machines,’ there will still be thinkers who insist that the human mind works in mysterious ways that no science can comprehend.