Russell and Duenes

G.K. Chesterton On Whether We Can Know that the Supernatural Doesn’t Happen

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Surely we cannot take an open question like the supernatural and shut it with a bang, turning the key of the madhouse on all the mystics of history. To call a man mad because he has seen ghosts is in a literal sense religious persecution. It is denying him his full dignity as a citizen because he cannot be fitted into your theory of the cosmos. It is disenfranchising him because of his religion. It is just as intolerant to tell an old woman that she cannot be a witch as to tell her that she must be a witch. In both cases you are setting your own theory of things inexorably against the sincerity or sanity of human testimony. Such dogmatism at least must be quite as impossible to anyone calling himself an agnostic as to anyone calling himself a spiritualist. You cannot take the region called the unknown and calmly say that though you know nothing about it, you know that all its gates are locked…That was the whole fallacy of Herbert Spencer and Huxley when they talked about the unknowable instead of the unknown. An agnostic like Huxley must concede the possibility of a gnostic like Blake. We do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable. (William Blake, pgs. 73-74; emphasis mine)

Wonderful!

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

February 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections, Science

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