" In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day.
I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."
"If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I'd be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote.... Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy."
"A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable."
"Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term. One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism."
I'm reading The Demon-Haunted World right now, and it's great.