Saturday, April 20, 2019



Walter W. Skeat (1835-1912), A Student's Pastime (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896), p. lxxvii:
And few things have surprised me more, in the course of my experience, than the eager recklessness with which such puerilities are vented, the extraordinary readiness with which they are accepted and applauded, and the tenacity with which they are defended against the clearest exhibition of evidence. Paradox and grotesqueness are powerful in their favour, whilst the simple truth is but plain and prosaic. Are we therefore to give way, to let fancy have its free fling, and allow ignorance to revel in its recklessness? I have always maintained that, if truth be simple, it is also instructive, and that only docility promotes progress. Of course I have found mistakes in ideas of my own, but have always thought it wisest to drop such notions like a red-hot coal; which is the teaching of common sense.

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