Commonplace: Jacob.

December 26th, 2007

Nothing is more dangerous than the certainty that one is right. Nothing is potentially so destructive as the obsession with a truth one considers absolute. All crimes in history have been the result of fanaticism of one type or another. All massacres have been carried out in the name of virtue, of true religion, of legitimate nationalism, of proper policy, of right ideology: in short, in the name of the fight against somebody else’s truth, of the fight against Satan. The coldness and objectivity so often held against scientists are perhaps more suitable than fervor and subjectivity when it comes to dealing with some human matters. For scientific ideas do not generate passion. It is rather passion that exploits science to support its cause. Science does not lead to racism and hatred. It is rather hatred that calls upon science to justify its racism. One can hold against scientists the ardor with which they sometimes champion their ideas. But no genocide has yet been committed for the triumph of a scientific theory.

Francois Jacob, The Logic of Life

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