Quotations about   dogmatism

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I am often inclined to be envious of other people’s religion. They are so cocksure dogmatically that they act as though they are omniscient. Life has no doubts, its direction is determined, all evil is by hypothesis overruled by an all-wise God for good. I do not share this view of life, any more than I share the Christian Science views of disease, but I can see that it makes people enthusiastic, effective, self-forgetful and often fanatical and great bores.

Henry Joel Cadbury (1883-1974) American biblical scholar, Quaker historian, writer, activist
“My Personal Religion,” lecture, Harvard School of Divinity (1936)
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Added on 24-May-16 | Last updated 24-May-16
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The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
The Decider (21 Jul 2007)
Added on 11-May-16 | Last updated 11-May-16
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It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull.

Mencken - dull man who is sure - wist_info quote

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The National Letters,” Prejudices: Second Series (1920)
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Added on 2-May-16 | Last updated 2-May-16
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The world is made up for the most part of morons and natural tyrants, sure of themselves, strong in their own opinions, never doubting anything.

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) American lawyer
Personal Liberty (1928)
Added on 25-Apr-16 | Last updated 25-Apr-16
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The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Novum Organum, Book 1, Aphorism 46 (1620)
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Added on 20-Sep-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.

Sir Laurens Jan van der Post (1906-1996) Afrikaner author, conservationist, statesman, humanitarian [a.k.a. Laurens van der Post]
The Lost World of the Kalahari, ch. 3 (1958)
Added on 6-May-09 | Last updated 9-May-16
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Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized a man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.”

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report : H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks (1956)
Added on 28-Oct-08 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
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Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one.

[Le doute n’est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde.]

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
Letter to Frederick II of Prussia (6 Apr 1767)

Alt trans.
  • "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."
  • "Doubt is not a very agreeable state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-May-16
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The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.

Sir William Osler (1849-1919) Canadian physician
Montreal Medical Journal (1902)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-May-16
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Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-May-16
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