Easiest blog meme ever

How can I be tagged with the Random Quotes meme? I’ve had this set of random quotes set up to appear on my site for years—it seems redundant to ask me to go through someone else’s quote file and pull out five that I like. Since Janet did it, though, I’ll go along…only I’m going to insist on using my own file, and just giving you the first five that pop up.

Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day.

Stephen Jay Gould

Your sweet little book is a bizarre collection of out-of-context quotations, misquotations, misleading quotations, non sequiturs, errors of fact and just about every other dirty intellectual trick known to man.

Tim O’Neill, on the JW’s anti-evolution book

The cosmos is a gigantic fly wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.

H.L. Mencken

From now on in America, any man lucky enough to get a BJ knows to pull the shade; for there is probably a Republican outside peeking in the window.

Rack Jite

…anyone who writes about “Darwin’s theory of evolution” in the singular, without segregating the theories of gradual evolution, common descent, speciation, and the mechanism of natural selection, will be quite unable to discuss the subject competently.

Ernst Mayr

Here, I’ll make it easy for you. Click here to get 5 random quotes from my file. Now you can do it, too.


  1. says

    Too bad none of your Terry Pratchett quotes come up in that batch. Hmmm. Clicking the random link a few times we get:

    “But of course there were the rules. Everyone knew there were rules. They just had to hope like Hell that the gods knew the rules, too.”

    (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)

    “Consider the situation. There you are, forehead like a set of balconies, worrying about the long-term effects of all this new ‘fire’ stuff on the environment, you’re being chased and eaten by most of the planet’s large animals, and suddenly tiny versions of one of the worst of them wanders into the cave and starts to purr.”

    (Terry Pratchett, The Unadulterated Cat)

    — by the way, does anyone know any easy way to add random quotes to a blogspot blog?

  2. davis says

    The correspondence between the Unitarian John Adams and the Deist Thomas Jefferson are especially interesting, since modern day fundamentalists like to claim that our Founding Fathers were a bunch of Holy Rollers.

  3. bernarda says

    Mencken, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

  4. whomever1 says

    Sorry-this quote isn’t as literary as the above, but this statement in Aug 17 Nature threw me a little:
    (Editorial–Revival in Iran) “One practical advantage for science in Muslim countries is the lack of direct interference of religious doctrine, such as exists in many Christian countries. There has never, for example, been a debate about darwinian evolution, and human embryonic stem-cell research is constrained by humanistic rather than religious ethics.”

  5. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Random, but selected:

    “The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”
    George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

    “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
    Henry C. Link

    “Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.”
    Edward Abbey (1927 – 1989)

    “I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.”
    Mark Twain (1835 – 1910), “Is Shakespeare Dead?”

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”
    Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988), Caltech commencement address, 1974

  6. Mike Huben says

    I’ve kept a file of Favorite Quotations for well over 20 years now. It’s VERY similar in intent, and there’s some overlap. Not quite as long, but you’ll find some good ones. Feel free to copy.

  7. Caledonian says

    “Rome was far better when Pagan than when Catholic. It was better to allow gladiators and criminals to fight than to burn honest men. The greatest of the Romans denounced the cruelties of the arena. Seneca condemned the combats even of wild beasts. He was tender enough to say that “we should have a bond of sympathy for all sentient beings, knowing that only the depraved and base take pleasure in the sight of blood and suffering.” Aurelius compelled the gladiators to fight with blunted swords. Roman lawyers declared that all men are by nature free and equal. Woman, under Pagan rule in Rome, became as free as man. Zeno, long before the birth of Christ, taught that virtue alone establishes a difference between men. We know that the Civil Law is the foundation of our codes. We know that fragments of Greek and Roman art — a few manuscripts saved from Christian destruction, some inventions and discoveries of the Moors — were the seeds of modern civilization. Christianity, for a thousand years, taught memory to forget and reason to believe. Not one step was taken in advance. Over the manuscripts of philosophers and poets, priests with their ignorant tongues thrust out, devoutly scrawled the forgeries of faith. For a thousand years the torch of progress was extinguished in the blood of Christ, and his disciples, moved by ignorant zeal, by insane, cruel creeds, destroyed with flame and sword a hundred million of their fellow-men. They made this world a hell. But if cathedrals had been universities — if dungeons of the Inquisition had been laboratories — if Christians had believed in character instead of creed — if they had taken from the Bible all the good and thrown away the wicked and absurd — if domes of temples had been observatories — if priests had been philosophers — if missionaries had taught the useful arts — if astrology had been astronomy — if the black art had been chemistry — if superstition had been science — if religion had been humanity — it would have been a heaven filled with love, with liberty and joy.” [Robert G. Ingersoll, “The Christian Religion” Part III, The Ingersoll – Black Debate, 1881]

  8. Caledonian says

    “What’s this? Trix? Aunt! Trix? You? You’re after the prize! What is it?” He picked up the box and studied the back. “A glow-in-the-dark squid! Have you got it out of there yet?” He tilted the box, angling the little colored balls of cereal so as to see the bottom, and nearly spilling them onto the table top. “Here it is!” He hauled out a little cream-colored, glitter-sprinkled squid, three-inches long and made out of rubbery plastic. — James P. Blaylock, “The Last Coin”

  9. Ian H Spedding says

    “You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

    Marcus Cole to Dr. Franklin,Babylon 5: A Late Delivery from Avalon