Evolutionary Biologist, Writer, Atheism Activist
Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others.
Artificial Intelligence Researcher
When you're doubting one of your most cherished beliefs, close your eyes, empty your mind, grit your teeth, and deliberately think about whatever hurts the most. Don't rehearse standard objections whose standard counters would make you feel better. Ask yourself what smart people who disagree would say to your first reply, and your second reply. Whenever you catch yourself flinching away from an objection you fleetingly thought of, drag it out into the forefront of your mind.
Evolution judged that [having] misleading beliefs would tend to help us fool our colleagues, and so better survive and reproduce. It created subconscious mental processes to manage this process of deciding when our beliefs should be accurate or misleading. ... Many folks figure that if evolution planned for them to believe a lie, they might as well believe a lie; that probably helps them achieve their goals. But I want, first and foremost, to believe the truth.