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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Contempt Prior to Examination is an Intellectual Vice

William Paley on how intellectuals can be biased against evidence:
Contempt prior to examination is an intellectual vice from which the greatest faculties of mind are not free. I know not indeed whether men of the greatest faculties of mind are not the subject to it. Such men feel themselves seated upon an eminence. Looking down from their height upon the follies of mankind, they behold contending tenets wasting their idle strength upon one another, with the common disdain of the absurdity of them all. This habit of thought, however comfortable to the mind which entertains it, or however natural to great parts, is extremely dangerous; and more apt, than almost any other disposition, to produce hasty and contemptuous, and, by consequence, erroneous judgments both of persons and opinions.
Paley, William. The Works of William Paley: With a Life of the Author, Volume 4
(London: G. and J. Robinson, etc. 1825.) 395.

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