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Haughty Quotes (3 quotes)

Evolutionists sometimes take as haughty an attitude toward the next level up the conventional ladder of disciplines: the human sciences. They decry the supposed atheoretical particularism of their anthropological colleagues and argue that all would be well if only the students of humanity regarded their subject as yet another animal and therefore yielded explanatory control to evolutionary biologists.
From book review, 'The Ghost of Protagoras', The New York Review of Books (22 Jan 1981), 27, No. 21 & 22. Collected in An Urchin in the Storm: Essays about Books and Ideas (1987, 2010), 64. The article reviewed two books: John Tyler Bonner, The Evolution of Culture and Peter J. Wilson, The Promising Primate.
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In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of ‘world history’—yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die. ... There have been eternities when [human intellect] did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened.
…...
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Scientists have been only too willing to show their haughty disregard for philosophy. It is also true that in going against the practices of one’s own time and in ignoring the fashion prevailing in the schools and in books, one runs the risk of being very poorly received. But, after all, each philosopher works in his own way, and each brings to his philosophical speculations the imprint of his other studies and the turn of mind which they have given him. The theologian, the jurist, the mathematician, the physicist, and the philologist can each be recognised at a glance by the way in which he wears the mantle of philosophy.
From Essai sur les Fondements de nos Connaissances et sur les Caractères de la Critique Philosophique (1851), Preface, ii, as translated by Merritt H Moore in An Essay on the Foundations of Our Knowledge (1956), 3. From the original French: “Les savants à montrer volontiers leur peu d’estime pour la philosophie. Il est vrai qu’en allant ainsi contre les habitudes de son temps, et en s’écartant de la manière qui prévaut dans les écoles et dans les livres, on court grand risque d’être fort peu goûté: mais enfin, chacun philosophe à sa mode, et porte dans la spéculation philosophique l’empreinte de ses autres études, le pli d’esprit que lui ont donné d’autres travaux. Le théologien, le légiste, le géomètre, le médecin, le philologue se laissent encore reconnaître à leur manière de draper le manteau du philosophe.” [Notice from the original French, “médecin”, was given by Moore as “physicist”, but a true translation would be “doctor” or “physician.” —Webmaster]
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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