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Simon Greenleaf

We are indebted to Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853), professor of Law at Harvard University, for one of...

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Charles Leslie: How unreasonable to reject these facts

How unreasonable then is it to reject these facts, so sifted, so examined, and so attested, as no other facts in the world ever were; and yet to think it the most highly unreasonable, even to madness, to deny other facts, which have not the thousandth part of their evidence, and are of no consequence to us, whether true or false!

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A Pilgrim’s Regress: George John Romanes and the Search for Rational Faith

In the summer and fall of 1873, George John Romanes lost his belief in God. Of itself, this was nothing unusual. For a young Englishman of the time—particularly one embarking on a career in the sciences—to abandon the faith of his fathers was, if not a universal rite of passage, at least a common trajectory, a well-beaten path traveled by distinguished Victorian intellectuals like Matthew Arnold, W. K. Clifford, Thomas Huxley, John Tyndall, and above all Charles Darwin. And yet Romanes’s case is distinctive both for the care he took to explain the reasons for his loss of faith and for his candid admission of what it cost him to follow, to the best of his ability, wherever the argument seemed to lead.

In the end, it led him where he never expected to arrive.

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