"There are in fact four very significant stumblingblocks in the way
of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned,
and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely,
the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom,
the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance
while making a display of our apparent knowledge."
by:
Roger Bacon
(1220-1292)
Source:
Opus Majus, 1266-67
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Reader comments about this quote:
Currently in the U.S. the weak and unworthy authority is Congress. They thrive on the frenzied emotion of the ignorant crowd. They ignore longstanding custom, and hide behind their own ignorance. Take the 2nd Amendment ... custom dictates people be armed to protect themselves. The emotion of a few stir Congress to create laws, like the Brady bill, that infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. Truth - Criminals are motivated by opportunity, and don't care about laws. Wisdom - I carry a concealed weapon to de-motivate any criminal who thinks I am his opportunity. Am I ignorant? Yes, but not on my 2nd Amendment rights.
 -- Joel, Rochester, MI     
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    Three cheers for Joel and the 2nd Amendment - which is one thing which helps to protect us from the political idiots which keep tripping over the first three stumblingblocks - firmly and resolutely embracing the fourth stumblingblock (as do far too many bureaucrats).
     -- JDoN, West Bloomfield, MI     
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    Wow, 740 years later, Ignorance still has a mighty hold on humankind. I suppose in another 740 years things will be the same.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    And Joel nicely illustrates the fourth point with his posting and actions...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Dictates from governments will never be a subtitute for wisdom
     -- Dave, Jacksonville, FL     
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    Wise observations.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
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    Bacon left out an important fifth reason: the foolish hobgoblin of consistency Emerson so well described. Once most people make a decision their minds become closed to new thoughts or new evidence.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    "the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom"--The ivory tower of academia embodies these most of all. It's the next idol that needs to be toppled. I've observed many professors who, believing themselves unerring, have been out and out wrong about everything from the pronunciation of words, to the meaning of "liberal", to how to write C programs. We must all strive to think for ourselves, and to constantly question how we arrived at our opinions.
     -- Byron, Fort Collins, CO     
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    I'm reminded of another great quote: "It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.~ Krishnamurti". Having let the liberal / communist agenda go way too far, in fact so far as to put a foreigner in the White House, we're in dire need of some real and profound "change". Turf the Kenyan, Restore the Republic.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    There are at least 4
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Dick from Fort Worth, you speak of cognitive dissonance. It takes the virtue of being honest with yourself to overcome it.
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
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    Pretty smart man, Bacon. Siding with Aristotle's philosophy and scientific method, wanting to creating a new theology for the Pope. Many discoveries being made during his time. Source of all science, he considered the Holy scriptures the source. Why ? Natural law and its unquestionable presence within the written word. " Scarcely allow anyone " but is knowable. Truth is profitable for all, if not for the liars, cheats and thieves. But the market of discovery by way of absolute truth, makes merchandise of Liberty and Freedom. There is an element whose multiple is seven, or so nearly so, that all others discovered, originate from that one stone.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    Right on target , Joel, Rochester. Reminds me of a quote, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers". Recent elections prove this.
     -- Jim K, Austin     
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    Indeed! Indeed!
     -- Robert Edwards, Somewhere in Europe     
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    I like this one.
     -- warren, olathe     
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