Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Celestial Teapot

Came across this at Hillbilly, please! blog. I've read a good bit of Russell, but this was new to me.

Bertrand Russell’s parable of the celestial teapot:

“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than the dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the Sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would be a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attention of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very interesting and very true.
Long live the celestial teapot!

I found this by goggling for celestial teapot