R C, Penryn, pseud. [Richard Cope]
Controversy, Error, Astronomy, Instruments, Ancient Authorities, Unbelief, Progress, Invention, Steam-power, Machinery, Chemistry, Religious Authority
Describes different classes of bigots, including 'philosophical bigots, who condemn the sentiments and opinions of all others, and regard theirs only as right'. Observes: 'What opposition was at first made to the Newtonian system, by those who persisted that the world was not an elliptical ball, but like a plate. A Florentine physician could not be persuaded to look on the heavens through a telescope; being asked the reason, he replied, "Lest it should make me stagger concerning Aristotle's principles, which I am resolved to maintain as long as I live"'. (380) Urges the parallel with those who turn from the Bible or the preached word. Argues that bigotry is 'injurious to the progress of science as well as of religion' (381). Under its dominion the 'power of steam would have been unexplored, and that of mechanism in a great degree unknown. The brilliant light produced by gas would not have enlivened the metropolis. Astronomy, chemistry, and machinery would have remained in their incipient state; for, according to the dictum of bigotry, we must be statisfied with things as they are, and believe only what the church believes, without proving all things and trying the spirits whether they be of God' (382).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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