Surely it must be plain that an ingenious man could speculate without end on both sides, and find analogies for all his dreams. Nor does it help me to tell me that the aspirations of mankind — that my own highest aspirations even — lead me towards the doctrine of immortality. I doubt the fact, to begin with, but if it be so even, what is this but in grand words asking me to believe a thing because I like it.

Science has taught to me the opposite lesson. She warns me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile.  My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.

T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist [Thomas Henry Huxley]
Letter to Charles Kingsley (23 Sep 1860)

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Added on 19-Jun-08 | Last updated 20-Jun-11
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