Quote of the month: Bertrand Russell on why we shouldn’t believe in fictions that supposedly make us behave better

Why Evolution Is True

Most of you have heard of Russell’s Teapot, the hypothetical but undetectable orbiting object that Bertrand Russell used to show why we shouldn’t believe things for which there is no evidence (i.e., “religion”). But perhaps you don’t know where that simile came from.  While futzing around on the Internet, I came across Russell’s essay “Is there a God?“, which is described as “commissioned by, but never published in, Illustrated Magazine, in 1952.” It’s apparently been published in his collected papers, though, and I give that reference at the bottom. And it’s the first mention of the fabled Teapot.

A lot of the stuff in this essay was taken from Russell’s famous and earlier piece, “Why I am Not a Christian“, first published as a pamphlet in 1927.  If you think that the hallmark of New Atheism is its vociferous, in-your-face anti-theism, think again, for people…

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