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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Rostand, Jean (1894-1977)
"The divine is perhaps that quality in man which permits him to endure the lack of God."

Jean Rostand


Jean Rostand was a French biologist and philosopher. Active as an experimental biologist, Rostand became famous for his work as a science writer, as well as philosopher and activist. His scientific work covered a variety of biological fields such as amphibian embryology, parthenogenesis and teratogeny, while his literary output extended into popular science, history of science and philosophy.

He was the son of playwright Edmond Rostand and poetess Rosemonde Gérard. Following the footsteps of his father, Rostand was elected to the prestigious Académie française in 1959.

Rostand was a dynamic activist in several causes, in particular against nuclear proliferation and the death penalty. An agnostic, he demonstrated deep humanist convictions. He wrote several books on the question of eugenism and the responsibilities of mankind regarding its own fate and its place in nature.

He married Andrée Mante in 1920. His son François was born the next year.

Quotations

"What makes our opponents useful is that they allow us to believe that without them we would be able to realize our goals."

"God, that checkroom (dépotoir) of our dreams."

"Hatred, for the man who is not engaged in it, is a little like the odor of garlic for one who hasn't eaten any."

"Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood -- we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we."

"Kill a man one is a murderer; kill a million, a conqueror; kill them all, a God."

 
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