In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision.
Accurate and just reasoning is the only Catholic remedy, fitted for all persons and all dispositions; and is alone able to subvert that abstruse philosophy and metaphysical jargon, which, being mixed up with popular superstition, renders it in a manner impenetrable to careless reasoners, and gives it the air of science and wisdom.
There is no harder scientific fact in the world than the fact that belief can be produced in practically unlimited quantity and intensity, without observation or reasoning, and even in defiance of both, by the simple desire to believe founded on a strong interest in believing.
Madmen do not appear to me to have lost the faculty of reasoning, but having joined together some of the ideas very wrongly, they mistake them for truths. . .For, by the violence of their imaginations, having taken their fancies for realities, they make right deductions from them.
– John Locke (1632-1704) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Is this quotation insightful, though-provoking, useful? Click on a star to rate it!
One of the painful signs of years of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other peoples motives, make bold assertions, repeat slogansanything except reason.
In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.