"It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone
to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."
William Kingdon Clifford
(1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
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Truer words have rarely been said.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    There is nothing wrong with 'belief' in this world of delusions and outright deceptions as long as we remember beliefs are not necessarily true but merely what is as close as we are currently capable of understanding.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    There's a semantic issue here -- with proper definitions the quote makes no sense, because the matter of belief can't be decided on intellectual grounds. There's a big difference between what one KNOWS (based on evidence and reason) and what one BELIEVES (based on faith). Clifford was an agnostic who argued that one cannot believe in God without evidence of his existence. But people of sufficient faith don't require evidence to believe in a supreme being -- faith is enough to support a belief.
     -- Joe, North Caldwell, NJ     
     -- Phil, So Cal      
    Yes, and the more we become subjects of tyranny the more it shall prevail.... Religion of course being the biggest offender. Joe, if you are correct it makes discussion on any subject pointless, as you can always preface your argument on FAITH "well, that's what I believe". This kind of argument brought about the dark ages..... I thought we had all moved forward from these terrible times - perhaps I am mistaken?
     -- Robert, St. Emilion, France     
    Archer, excellently said. As long as belief continues in the realm of liberty, all is well (how many have a sure knowledge of the absolute - the way it / things were, are or will be). Liberty is: exemption from extraneous control. The power of the will, in its moral freedom, to follow the dictates of its unrestricted choice, and to direct the external acts of the individual without restraint, coercion, or control from other persons. Liberty is the right which nature gives to all mankind of disposing of their persons and property after the manner they judge most consistent with their happiness, on condition of their acting within the limits of the law of nature, and so as not to interfere with an equal exercise of the same rights by other men. (Blacks Law Dictionary 1st ed.)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- privateer, El Cajon      
    Well said, Robert.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
    Indeed, Mike, it is because the grand mystery is a mystery still that we must afford each other wide latitudes to theorize and otherwise ponder the nature of the world and our place in it. We certainly do not need to know how the world was created and what if anything happens after we die to assert that man did not create man, nor the Earth and all that is in it.

    Whatever the 'ruler' of nature may be, we recognize that whatever rules nature, rules all in nature, and we are just that. Nature's God, whatever that may be, we assert has brought all into being and all DO act in accordance with natural laws -- it is not compulsory by statute, it is governed by natural law itself -- there is no negotiating with gravity, there are no appeals, or trials, or law 'enforcement' -- all is a product of natural law and thus its very source and foundation.

    Self-discovery, enlightenment, and divine revelation once regulated and codified become a religion. No longer in harmony with the spirit of the 'awakening' which was its basis. The same is true with classical liberalism choked by centralized control -- the progressive liberalism of the left has replaced the individualism of the center. The pursuit of power over others has been the downfall of religions and governments throughout history, but not until after an epic rise of centralized power. The intent of the Framers was to keep the source of political power in the hands of the individual, with governmental power distributed by county and state. The federal power was also distributed across several branches and kept in check by the state governments themselves.

    Once the idea of personal responsibility is substituted with compulsory dependence upon government care, the free republic becomes but a hypocrisy.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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