But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method.
Many religions have attempted to make statues of their gods very large, and the idea, I suppose, is to make us feel small. But if that's their purpose, they can keep their paltry icons. We need only look up if we wish to feel small.
There are huge advertising budgets only when there's no difference between the products. If the products really were different, people would buy the one that's better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment. Advertising teaches people to be stupid.
There is some evidence that dreaming is necessary. When people or other mammals are deprived of REM sleep (by awakening them as soon as the characteristic REM and EEG dream patterns emerge), the number of initiations of the dream state per night goes up, and, in severe cases, daytime hallucinations-that is, waking dreams-occur.
There will be no humans elsewhere. Only here. Only on this small planet. We are a rare as well as an endangered species. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.