Tag Archives: Progress

Marginalia, no.289

In the coming century phrenology will assuredly attain general acceptance. It will prove itself to be the true science of mind. Its practical uses in education, in self-discipline, in the reform treatment of criminals and in the medical treatment of the insane will give it one of the highest places in the hierarchy of the sciences; and its persistent neglect and obloquy during the last sixty years will be referred to as an example of the most inconceivable narrowness and prejudice…

~ Alfred Russel Wallace

If it didn’t require us for its survival, science would do just fine. Instead, it’s like a telescope mounted on top of a swaying tree. There’s something almost endearing in how easily we admit the errors of former times while insisting on our own enlightened certainties. We like to mistake the advancement of science and technology for moral progress. The first inventor of the wheel probably thought he could never be wrong about anything ever again.

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