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IT HAS BEEN SAID and collected by PETR SKRABANEK* "Whatever is funny is subversive."—George Orwell "If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia ."—Thomas Szasz "Truth has a genuine power to please ifit manages not to give offence, but this is something the gods have granted only to fools."—Erasmus of Rotterdam "You may force men, by interest or punishment, to say or swear they believe, and to act as if they believed: you can go no further."—Jonathan Swift "He that believes a thing only because it may be so, may as well doubt it because it may be otherwise."—Thomas Hobbes "The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing which is no longer doubtful is a cause of half their errors."—John Stuart Mill "In experimental science it's always a mistake not to doubt when facts do not compel you to affirm."—Louis Pasteur "When we find ourselves entertaining an opinion about which there is a feeling that even to enquire into it would be absurd, unnecessary, undesirable, or wicked—we may know that that opinion is a non-rational one."—Wilfred Trotter "The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny, however, is alleviated by their lack of consistency."— Albert Einstein * Department of Community Health, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Material appearing under this title is collected with the aim of making the serious a bit less serious, the ponderous a bit less heavy, and the reading hours a bit more fun. Toward this goal we invite a guest editor of this feature for each issue. Will readers volunteer to share their senses of humor by collecting or recollecting items that have brought smiles to their faces? We invite your participation. Originals are also welcomed. 124 I It Has Been Said "This theory seems to me to correspond exactly, in the field of psychology, to the one we are familiar with in physics, which explains the Northern Lights as a result of the phosphorescence of herrings."—Georg Lichtenberg "What would have become of our world if the cunning hand ofchance had not worked its way into our educational system?"—Georg Lichtenberg "He who teaches that not reason but love should rule opens the way for those who rule by hate."—Karl Popper "The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues."—Bertrand Russell "Whenever you find yourselfon the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."—Mark Twain "It is the shallow, unimprov'd intellects that are the confident pretenders to certainty; as if contrary to the adage, science has no friend but ignorance."— Joseph Glanville "It is often said that to make discoveries one must be ignorant. This opinion, mistaken in itself, nevertheless conceals a truth. It means that it is better to know nothing than to keep in mind false ideas based on theories whose confirmation we constantly seek, neglecting meanwhile everything that fails to agree with them."—Claude Bernard "Too many heretics are simply witch-hunters off on an unaccustomed tangent ."—H. L. Mencken "Exceptions are pernicious because they conceal laws."—Henri Poincaré "The Devil must not be believed even when he tells the truth."—St. Thomas Aquinas "The Saint must be believed even when he tells the lie."—The Devil "Skepticism is dangerous. That's exactly its function. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that's why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools."—Carl Sagan "A normally intelligent man seeking medical advice must be prepared to be treated as a rather tiresome type of imbecile, if he betrays an intelligent interest —that is, a critical interest—in his physical condition."—Karl Popper "Sloth is a somatic skepticism, the way the flesh doubts."—E. M. Cioran "The wages of sin is birth."—Samuel Butler Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 34, 1 · Autumn 1990 \ 125 "I am convinced that if I had been a smoker I would never...


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