It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
This sense of power is the highest and best of pleasures when the belief on which it is founded is a true belief, and has been fairly earned by investigation.
The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.
A little reflection will show us that every belief, even the simplest and most fundamental, goes beyond experience when regarded as a guide to our actions.
The harm which is done by credulity in a man is not confined to the fostering of a credulous character in others, and consequent support of false beliefs.
He who truly believes that which prompts him to an action has looked upon the action to lust after it, he has committed it already in his heart.
When an action is once done, it is right or wrong for ever; no accidental failure of its good or evil fruits can possibly alter that.
If a belief is not realized immediately in open deeds, it is stored up for the guidance of the future.
We may always depend on it that algebra, which cannot be translated into good English and sound common sense, is bad algebra.
We feel much happier and more secure when we think we know precisely what to do, no matter what happens, then when we have lost our way and do not know where to turn.
No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe.
To know all about anything is to know how to deal with it under all circumstances.
If I steal money from any person, there may be no harm done from the mere transfer of possession; he may not feel the loss, or it may prevent him from using the money badly. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself dishonest.
In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts.
There is no scientific discoverer, no poet, no painter, no musician, who will not tell you that he found ready made his discovery or poem or picture - that it came to him from outside, and that he did not consciously create it from within.
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