Randolf Richardson (Zhang Wen Dao)

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 Profile|Contact|Canada
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As an advocate for freedom and critical thinking, many of my quotations are a reflection of this.  If you would like to quote me, you do not need my permission (so consider it granted if you think it's required), and I take an impartial view to context (although I'd love to know where I've been quoted, so please feel free to contact me with those details after the fact at randolf+quotes@richardson.tw).

The following quotations were either spoken by me, or I wrote them or typed them electronically (e.g., in an online forum, IRC, etc.).  Most of these quotations are listed in chronological order.  Dates and additional context information is included with each quotation as per availability and need.

"Feelings are there to be hurt sometimes, otherwise what's the point of having them?"
-- Randolf Richardson (May 6, 2016)

"The future of life on Earth depends on the well-being of our environment and an education for our children that includes critical thinking skills as a core subject."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 19, 2015)

"The notion that everyone is equal is a defective one.  Each individual has strong and weak points, with the strong points being what they can use when helping others, and the weak points being what others can use when helping them.  Kidding ourselves by ignoring our differences, instead of celebrating diversity, is not an optimal approach because it doesn't encourage each individual to refine their specialties.  Together, as a society, we can all contribute with our own strengths while relying on the strengths of others, with the ultimate result being that everyone wins."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 15, 2015)

"The greatest gift that we can give to future generations is progress."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 7, 2012)

"The younger the child, the greater the imagination."
-- Randolf Richardson (December 8, 2011)

"I feel honoured when people trust me.  I feel respected when people try to understand me.  I feel "treated with regard" when people express appreciation for my efforts."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 20, 2013; in response to a question about feeling honoured and respected, and being treated with regard)

"Oppression anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 8, 2015)

"Freedom does not depend on reciprocation -- society does. And a society that values freedom and aims to protect it as an inalienable right is a society that is ultimately facilitating openness and honesty, and therefore indirectly nurturing progress as an important byproduct.
      "Freedom is not something that should be constrained, rather it is something that should be cherished, protected, and encouraged."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 17, 2015)

"Stand-up comedians are among the world's most effective communicators."
-- Randolf Richardson (January 3, 2012)

"What other people think of us is part of life, but what's most important is our own attitude toward it."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 13, 2016)

"Hypothetically, if there were, let's assume, less than 1,000 atheists throughout the entire world, that wouldn't effect my choice to be one -- my reasons are based in fact and logic, not peer pressure.  (If atheists were in the majority, such as 98% around the world, that also wouldn't effect my choice to be one.)"
-- Randolf Richardson (November 20, 2010, regarding peer-pressure)

"Atheism.  There's nothing to it.  Literally."
-- Randolf Richardson (February 27, 2012)

"If your brain explodes, please consult a scientist."
-- Randolf Richardson (December 9, 2011)

"The problem with anarchists is that they refuse to agree on a standard definition of anarchy."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 18, 2012)

"The internet is just a newer version of the Gutenberg Press -- now it's easy for anyone to read anything published by anyone."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 24, 2013)

"I am an advocate for freedom (of thought, expression, etc.) and critical thinking, and so from my perspective you are free to imagine, to believe, to have opinions, and to share your ideas, and so is everyone else.  One common practice among free thinkers is critical thinking (the mental application of skepticism), and the reason I advocate for it is that it's a very helpful tool in gaining a better understanding of how things work and of what others hold as important perspectives.
      "I want to believe what's real, and dismiss what isn't.  The fun part is differentiating what is real from what isn't, and it's freedom of expression practiced by others that offer these sorts of opportunities, sometimes in abundance."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 28, 2013)

"One person's criticism may be another person's opportunity."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 1, 2013; regarding critical thinking)

"The objection I have to theism is when it is being imposed on me -- my preference is freedom, and I advocate for freedom for everyone ... to believe (or not believe) anything, to hold opinions of their choosing, to express themselves freely, to change their minds, etc."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 8, 2013)

"It [Asperger's Syndrome] should be renamed to 'The Force.'"
-- Randolf Richardson (June 8, 2013)

"The use of labels by people outside of the [psychiatric] profession is where the problems come into play ... labels are, overall, more helpful in developing a clearer understanding of others.  In the absence of labels for use as derogatory instruments: children, etc., will just find something else to use -- it's a part of growing up, and I think it's better for children to learn how to deal with confrontation than to avoid it as it's [also] an important part of coping with reality."
-- Randolf Richardson (mid-June 2013)

"A peculiarity of racism is that its source is not exclusive to just one race."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 21, 2016)

"Television is mostly the continuous celebration of stupidity."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 25, 2013)

"The assumption that there exists one or more deities has yet to be proven, and any additional assumptions that people were made in a deity's image are extraneous at best."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 27, 2013)

"As soon as we, as a society, can throw off the highly restrictive and deeply oppressive chains of political correctness and toss them into the trash where they belong, I expect that social progress will improve most profoundly because people will no longer be prevented from openly and honestly understanding one another."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 10, 2013)

"Anyone can be a freethinker.  Conformity, such as by way of willful enslavement to something that is not compatible with skepticism (e.g., accepting popular opinion without questioning its veracity), would likely interfere with being a freethinker."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 12, 2013)

"The internet has more 'type' than 'talk.'"
-- Randolf Richardson (July 15, 2013)

"Can the Flying Spaghetti Monster be your Phở?"
-- Randolf Richardson (August 18, 2013)

"To assert that there was "nothing" before the universe came to be is a flawed premise because it's an assumption.  One of the challenges is that "nothing" hasn't been available for scientific examination.  Without having "nothing" to examine, it's not possible to test whether "nothing" can manifest into, or generate, something else, for its properties and characteristics are unknown."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 31, 2013; refuting an assumption that the universe came from nothing)

"The cure for fear of the unknown is curiosity and free inquiry."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 13, 2013)

"The "atheism vilification community" condemns the enlightened for their skepticism, and rewards the ignorant for their faith."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 9, 2013)

"Mocking is a style of communication. Some styles are more useful than others, some are more insightful, some are more entertaining, etc. The style of communication doesn't necessarily make the message any more or less valid regardless of how comforting or discomforting it may be."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 12, 2013)

"You know, every time I see the news on television, I keep hoping that it will be interrupted by an Anonymous message."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 30, 2016)

"If money is to be seriously regarded as a god, then that means we are living in a polytheistic world because multiple gods will be represented by multiple currencies."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 25, 2014)

"When any ideas are exempted from scrutiny, opportunities for developing wisdom diminish."
-- Randolf Richardson (March 27, 2015)

"Ideas should be challenged, even from within the ranks of their supporters."
-- Randolf Richardson (July 20, 2016)

"An authority that cannot be questioned is an authority that lacks accountability and transparency."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 15, 2016)

"I prefer to doubt the facts than to have faith in a fantasy."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 19, 2016)

"If God is omnipotent, then he can create matter. If matter cannot be created, then God is not omnipotent."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 19, 2016)

"Should censorship be censored?"
-- Randolf Richardson (August 19, 2016)

"To me, marriage is about more than a promise between people to remain true to each other -- it's also about love, and care, and [usually] the start of a family.  I've never thought that marriage should be limited based on sex or a quantity of 2 people, and I find such limits to be in contravention to the love that people have for each other."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 23, 2016)

"George Carlin was a philosopher, cleverly disguised as a comedian."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 27, 2016)

"As long as there's money and power and religion, there won't be peace."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 1, 2016)

"A serious problem with any Democracy that lacks a Constitution protecting freedom and liberty as inalienable fundamentals is that 100 people can arbitrarily tell 1 person what to do."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 4, 2016)

"Superstition is a waste of tax revenues."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 4, 2016)

"The internet can be dangerous, for it's full of ideas."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 15, 2016)

"The freedom of every individual to decide for themselves who they are, and what personal characteristics to aspire to, is a fundamental freedom.  Those who are forbidden from free thinking are [being] oppressed."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 21, 2016)

"High quality leaders don't seek out scapegoats -- they seek out solutions to problems and keep the focus on improving the future."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 27, 2016)

"I don't accept Political Correctness.  I welcome conflict in these discussions because it ultimately encourages more progress."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 28, 2016)

"If you're telling everyone that you're a spy, then you're probably just a decoy at best."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 7, 2016)

"While I agree that one's sexual orientation can be a choice, I believe that for the overwhelmingly vast majority of people it's merely a natural character trait.  What I think is most important is that people have meaningful, high quality relationships that enrich their lives in a manner that's honestly consistent with their various personal preferences."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 10, 2016)

"The concept of 'tolerance' is wicked.  How would you feel about being 'tolerated' (which may ultimately breed intolerance)?  Wouldn't you prefer that people be truthful with you so that you can at least have a reasonable opportunity to try to find a solution instead?"
-- Randolf Richardson (October 14, 2016)

"My children know that there is a lot about life, the universe, and everything that I don't know -- this contributes greatly to their senses of self-confidence and personal intellectual security, especially when they teach me what they've learned from school, from the library books they borrow, from the science magazines my Dad gives to them, and from elsewhere."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 21, 2016; in a discussion about a deity as an all-knowing parent)

"Love is pretty easy to find, but long-lasting love generally requires reciprocity and clear intentions from the get-go."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 26, 2016)

"Whatever peace one finds through delusion is always under stress because its cognitive dissonance attracts exposure."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 4, 2016)

"'Infinite Regress' is an infintely burdensome hobby."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 4, 2016)

"Government needs to be run like a government that works for its citizens. Run a government like a business and its citizens will be exploited, one service fee at a time."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 10, 2016)

"When the free exchange of ideas is escalated to acts of violence, everyone loses."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 11, 2016)

"If you have to ask for help to access the dark web, then it's probably not for you."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 11, 2016)

"Anonymous works in methodical ways."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 14, 2016)

"The media are desperate to identify a single leader or a governing body for Anonymous because it's good for their ratings and it's easier for them to understand.  In essence, they've become so complacent with the hierarchial structure of organizations and governments that they've forgotten about the true meaning of freedom."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 18, 2016)

"Doubt is my ally, for I am a skeptic."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 23, 2016)

"Life isn't just one big backfire, but a series of smaller backfires."
-- Randolf Richardson (January 16, 2017)

"Prevention is for the lazy."
-- Randolf Richardson (February 17, 2017; concerning vaccines)

"Struggle is a normal part of life, for life itself is a struggle in a universe that is overwhelmingly hostile to life in its various forms.  Surviving and overcoming a struggle enhances life experience, and given what I've managed to achieve with two types of Dyslexia and Asperger Syndrome I would not want to re-live my life again without these as I consider them to be invaluable personal character traits.  By recognizing only the disadvantages inherent in Dyslexia, you are likely failing to objectively consider Dyslexia in its entirety."
-- Randolf Richardson (March 31, 2017; in response to a mischaracterization that Dyslexia is a horrible cruelty that should not be perpetuated)

"Fame is overrated."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 4, 2017)

"Skepticism is a shortcut to wisdom."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 28, 2017)

"Those who oppress women out of fear lack confidence in themselves.  There is so much to be gained by embracing everyone without discriminating based on sex, race, creed, belief, handicap, education level, family background, etc."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 5, 2017)

"I feel dumber already, although I'm hoping that's just a side-effect of the medication."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 19, 2017; after all four wisdom teeth were removed)

"Now that my wisdom teeth have been removed, I can finally brush them properly."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 20, 2017)

"The highest quality morality often comes from those who choose it freely."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 28, 2017)

"Asperger's Syndrome is not something you have, but rather it's a characteristic of who you are."
-- Randolf Richardson (June 1, 2017)

"Where would the internet be today without cats?"
-- Randolf Richardson (July 7, 2017)

"If Donald Trump knew how to use Regular Expressions, he'd be using IRC instead of Twitter."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 24, 2017)

"Spammers are less credible than black market merchants in dark alleys."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 25, 2017)

"Bitcoin checksums help to prevent BADBEEF from 'hexing' our transactions."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 22, 2017)

"I don't trust the internet.  That's why I run my own servers."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 25, 2017; as part of an internet privacy conversation in irc.freenode.net#bitcoin)

"The ones who claim to be the hackers are usually ... remote controlled."
-- Randolf Richardson (December 16, 2017; in response to someone claiming to be a hacker)

"Objective assessments can be made when one or more subjective points upon which they are based are agreed on."
-- Randolf Richardson (January 2, 2018)

"There are many things I don't know.  The problem is that I'm fairly certain that I have no idea how to put most of them into a list."
-- Randolf Richardson (February 10, 2018)

"I never seek forgiveness for my mistakes -- those belong to me; without them, my life experience would not be what it is today."
-- Randolf Richardson (February 12, 2018)

"If 4chan doesn't know what's going on, then all of the internet's cats have failed."
-- Randolf Richardson (March 7, 2018; in response to an observation that "4chan apparently knows what's going on")

"I wish comedians would tell more jokes about dyslexia ... in any order of their choosing."
-- Randolf Richardson (March 24, 2018)

"Familiarity breeds contempt for non-conformists."
-- Randolf Richardson (March 25, 2018)

"A common problem with history is that many of its victors have been known to re-write it."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 2, 2018)

"Luck is an illusion."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 4, 2018)

"... some people change after gaining power, and do so in ways that they never thought they could, or originally intended to.  Once someone has a lot of power, other ways of getting work done often become available which can require new ways of thinking, and with high demands to satisfy a larger audience it can be easy to lose sight of the needed risk assessments and other aspects of philosophical consideration that are normally important in decision-making."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 14, 2018)

"Give children a high quality education and the future will be better for everyone."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 19, 2018)

"Any attempt to oppress freedom is an attack on society's potential to affect progress."
-- Randolf Richardson (April 28, 2018)

"The stupid actions of others can often bring us insight."
-- Randolf Richardson (May 16, 2018)

"If someone in your dream tells you that you're not dreaming, be skeptical.  (Feel free to quote me on that when you wake up.)"
-- Randolf Richardson (June 20, 2018)

"It's concerning how 'survival in war' is so often used as justification to usurp freedoms, rights, and civil liberties.  I posit that it is during such pressing times that we must be particularly vigilant about protecting everyone's freedoms, rights, and civil liberties, because if we fail to do so under pressure then what does that truly say about the quality of our society's shared character and our ability to be reliable both ethically and philosophically?"
-- Randolf Richardson (July 10, 2018)

"Human rights abuses anywhere are a threat to human rights everywhere."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 10, 2018; paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr.)

"People are more important than ideas.  Religions are collections of ideas, and whether those ideas are good or bad (or otherwise), people are more important, and freedom is necessary for the best 'people' experiences that life can offer."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 14, 2018; on a petition to free activists in Saudi Arabia)

"I think it would be horrible and probably very scary at times to live in a society ruled by a government that violently kills its citizens in public for minor transgressions."
-- Randolf Richardson (August 14, 2018)

"While I appreciate the intent behind such sentiments, I don't regard diversity as a strength -- it can, however, be advantageous and disadvantageous, and with charter-protected rights and freedoms, every nation sets itself up to enjoy many more advantages with greater diversity."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 15, 2018; in response to diversity being a strength)

"Perhaps shifting blame is easier in the short-term, but taking responsibility is invariably easier for everyone in the long-run because responsibility, similar to the Grim Reaper, seems to catch up with most people eventually."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 16, 2018; in response to responsibility vs. shifing blame)

"Those who rule with fear are operating from a source of insecurity."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 20, 2018; in response to believing out of fear)

"Bigotry toward any group is disappointing because it's a destructive attitude that divides people instead of encouraging everyone to focus more on diversity in positive ways."
-- Randolf Richardson (September 29, 2018; in response to concerns about bigotry)

"Chicken bones probably cost more than a divining rod."
-- Randolf Richardson (October 1, 2018; in a discussion about superstition)

"Real optimists use Kevlins."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 8, 2018; in a discussion about temperature)

"As it is with life, in general, there are many pros and cons.  Freedom is an essential right, and I'd much rather take the chance of listening to or reading something that offends me than to be robbed by censorship of the opportunity to decide for myself whether to feel offended."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 12, 2018; in a discussion about temperature)

"I advocate for the freedom of every person to be an atheist.  This means that I'm necessarily also in effect advocating for the freedom of every person to be a theist.  The important thing is that everyone have the freedom to choose without any pressure from anyone."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 21, 2018; in a discussion about advocacy for atheism)

"I wouldn't eradicate religion even if I had the power to do so.  My reason is that doing so would eliminate a free choice for people, which is contrary to my advocacy for freedom.  I think it's better to challenge ideas and progress by engaging in meaningful conversations."
-- Randolf Richardson (November 21, 2018; in a discussion about advocacy and eradication)
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