Samuel Langhorne Clemens, commonly known as Mark Twain, (1835-1910) was an American author and satirist. Through his writings, he appears to be variously a Presbyterian, a deist, and an atheist, as his views changed over time.
Mark Twain was well known as a staunch opponent of Christian Science. He wrote a skeptical essay called Christian Science, which criticizes Christian Science, explaining its "miracles" as the results of the placebo effect, and showing the way in which Mary Baker Eddy tried to keep total control over the religion. (Many of the essay's points are also relevant to much of modern alternative medicine.)
Twain's Extracts from Adam's and Eve's Diaries humorously recounts the adventures of the first people in the Garden of Eden/Niagara Falls Park. Adam notes of Eve, "Nothing ever satisfies her but demonstration; untested theories are not in her line, and she won't have them." Adam mentions that Eve thinks the buzzard "was intended to live on decayed flesh" and that she vows "to study out why the animals called lions and tigers live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other."
In a 1903 article titled "Was the World Made for Man?" Twain argues that it was not.
 Creation quotes
“”Where was the use, originally, in rushing this whole globe through in six days? It is likely that if more time had been taken in the first place, the world would have been made right, and this ceaseless improving and repairing would not be necessary now. But if you hurry a world or a house, you are nearly sure to find out by and by that you have left out a towhead, or a broom-closet, or some other little convenience, here and there, which has got to be supplied, no matter how much expense or vexation it may cost.
|—Life on the Mississippi|
“”Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
|—Mark Twain's Notebook|
Some Homeopathists dishonestly claim Twain was a supporter of homeopathy, and cite the quote: "The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business. You may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of allopaths to destroy it."
This is the quote in context:
|Aqua Limacum. Take a great Peck of Garden-snails, and wash them in a great deal of Beer, and make your Chimney very clean, and set a Bushel of Charcoal on Fire; and when they are thoroughly kindled, make a Hole in the Middle of the Fire, and put the Snails in, and scatter more Fire amongst them, and let them roast till they make a Noise; then take them out, and, with a Knife and coarse Cloth, pick and wipe away all the green froth: Then break them, Shells and all, in a Stone Mortar. Take also a Quart of Earth-worms, and scour them with Salt, divers times over. Then take two Handfuls of Angelica and lay them in the Bottom of the Still; next lay two Handfuls of Celandine; next a Quart of Rosemary-flowers; then two Handfuls of Bearsfoot and Agrimony; then Fenugreek; then Turmerick; of each one Ounce: Red Dock-root, Bark of Barberry-trees, Wood-sorrel, Betony, of each two Handfuls.—Then lay the Snails and Worms on the top of the Herbs; and then two Handfuls of Goose Dung, and two Handfuls of Sheep Dung. Then put in three Gallons of Strong Ale, and place the pot where you mean to set Fire under it: Let it stand all Night, or longer; in the Morning put in three Ounces of Cloves well beaten, and a small Quantity of Saffron, dry'd to Powder; then six Ounces of Shavings of Hartshorn, which must be uppermost. Fix on the Head and Refrigeratory, and distil according to Art.
There. The book does not say whether this is all one dose, or whether you have a right to split it and take a second chance at it, in case you live. Also, the book does not seem to specify what ailment it was for; but it is of no consequence, for of course that would come out on the inquest.
Upon looking further, I find that this formidable nostrum is "good for raising Flatulencies in the Stomach"—meaning from the stomach, no doubt. So it would appear that when our progenitors chanced to swallow a sigh, they emptied a sewer down their throats to expel it. It is like dislodging skippers from cheese with artillery.
When you reflect that your own father had to take such medicines as the above, and that you would be taking them to-day yourself but for the introduction of homeopathy, which forced the old-school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business, you may honestly feel grateful that homeopathy survived the attempts of the allopathists to destroy it, even though you may never employ any physician but an allopathist while you live.
In other words, he says that, thankfully, homeopathy pushed medicine to evolve beyond the remedies of traditional medicine.
- Full texts of works by Mark Twain in the public domain at Project Gutenberg
- Positive Atheism's Big List of Mark Twain Quotations, Positive Atheism
- ↑ "Eve's Diary." World Wide School.
- ↑ "Adam's Diary." World Wide School.
- ↑ Babinski, Edward T. "Mark Twain Questions the Intelligent Design (I.D.) Hypothesis."
- ↑ "Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions: Creation." twainquotes.com.
- ↑ Just for the record, Mark Twain was NOT into homeopathy, Michigan Skeptics Association forum