“…you have gone forth into the world…”

“…you have gone forth into the world and gathered to yourself learning sufficient to permit you to look upon all things with an inquiring mind ridden neither by the superstition of ignorance nor the superstition of science.”
–Luther S. Whateley
The Shuttered Room
written by H.P. Lovecraft

This is one in a series of quotations.

I’ve been working, from time to time, on a book of quotations for many years.  I call it, “The Mind Boggles”, from one of my favorite quotations.  I do source quotations a bit differently from a lot of people.  In the case of a work of a fiction, I consider that the character said the line…not the author.  As a bit of an author myself (in a minor way), I can tell you…my characters definitely say things that I would never say.  These are all quotations that I’ve collected myself: I’ve read the book, seen the TV episode, and so on.

Hope you enjoy them!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle


2 Responses to ““…you have gone forth into the world…””

  1. alanchurch Says:

    I have just read your comments on Charles Fort at your amazon collections, the wikipedia page on Fort, and best of all this excellent book review of a book on Fort by noted researcher Joe Nickell at the Center for Inquiry.The review:
    This review makes it very clear that Fort was a crackpot. I know from years of reading Nickells’ and others articles of their investigations of claims of the paranormal that there seems to be NO evidence of the paranormal,etc. At least so far. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which I don’t believe exists. Nor will it. That someone of your intelligence would take Fort
    seriously would be surprising to me if I had not been reading Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic Magazine for years. My training as a scientist helps also. Really Bufo. You make so much sense when you write about other things. What happens to your critical thinking in this area?
    “I want to believe”
    Fox Mulder

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alan!

      My critical thinking, intriguingly, becomes even more front and center in this area than in some others…I think because there can be so much emotion on multiple sides.

      It’s interesting to me that your comment seems to suggest that my A Fortean Education would indicate a belief in the paranormal on my part, or that I would be trying to inculcate one in other people. I would assume that’s the reason for juxtaposing your comments on Fort with the Fox Mulder (a fictional character from the X-Files) quotation.

      Fox is, as I see it, the opposite of a Fortean. Forteans would be more likely to have a poster that says, “I don’t want to believe”, which, in my opinion, is far harder for humans to do. For example, many people uncritically accept UFOs or the law of gravity. In either case, it can be a matter of “belief”: they simply believe it’s true, and if you presented evidence that it wasn’t, they would emotionally reject it…which, in turn, is the opposite of scientific inquiry. It is no accident that, in my above construction, Forteans and true scientists have the same attitude towards the world.

      You mention your training as a scientist. Let’s talk a bit about the scientific method (and there are, of course, multiple ways to define that). We’ll say that observation leads to a question which then generates a hypothesis which is predictive and is then tested (often through experimentation).

      Here’s the first question for you:

      Is your hypothesis that Fort is an advocate of the paranormal and a “crackpot” based on your observations of Fort (in other words, have you read the original books?) or on your observation of others’ observations? 🙂

      I will be including some Skeptical books in that collection eventually, although I would suggest that they have tended to be less influential. If one is looking to become educated on the Fortean literature, certainly, reading Skeptical books would be part of it, and I appreciate you linking that review of a biography of Fort for my readers.

      People of intelligence take everything seriously, as I see it. 🙂 To take something not seriously is to start from the premise that “there is no there there”, rather than evaluating it in a scientific manner. When someone uses superlative negatives (like “never”, “impossible”, “NO”, and so on), that is as much a matter of belief as “always”, “inevitable”, and “YES”, and as such, doesn’t follow the scientific principle of embracing testing.

      In science, we use the linguistic ability of humans to construct a falsifiable statement. A scientist then sets out to disprove the statement, and is happy when other scientists do the same.

      It would be interesting to have a live discussion about this with you at some point, although that may be unlikely. Let me end this comment by saying that I strongly recommend that people who are interested read advocatory works, Skeptical works, and Fortean works (three separate categories, in my mind…although, in true Fortean fashion, I see blendings together)…and that they then don’t come to any conclusions. 😉 Conclusions are neither scientific nor Fortean. I would say that there is no such thing as a scientific fact, but that, in itself, would be a statement of belief…which is something I try to avoid. 🙂

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