Random Quote #24 topic: voltaire-dict, Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire, 1694-1778


Wretched human beings, whether you wear green robes, turbans, black
robes or surplices, cloaks and neckbands, never seek to use authority
where there is question only of reason, or consent to be scoffed at
throughout the centuries as the most impertinent of all men, and to
suffer public hatred as the most unjust.

A hundred times has one spoken to you of the insolent absurdity with
which you condemned Galileo, and I speak to you for the hundred and
first, and I hope you will keep the anniversary of it for ever; I desire
that there be graved on the door of your Holy Office:

"Here seven cardinals, assisted by minor brethren, had the master of
thought in Italy thrown into prison at the age of seventy; made him fast
on bread and water because he instructed the human race, and because
they were ignorant."

There was pronounced a sentence in favour of Aristotle's categories, and
there was decreed learnedly and equitably the penalty of the galleys for
whoever should be sufficiently daring as to have an opinion different
from that of the Stagyrite, whose books were formerly burned by two

Further on a faculty, which had not great faculties, issued a decree
against innate ideas, and later a decree for innate ideas, without the
said faculty being informed by its beadles what an idea is.

In the neighbouring schools judicial proceedings were instituted against
the circulation of the blood.

An action was started against inoculation, and parties have been

At the Customs of thought twenty-one folio volumes were seized, in which
it was stated treacherously and wickedly that triangles always have
three angles; that a father is older than his son; that Rhea Silvia lost
her virginity before giving birth to her child, and that flour is not an
oak leaf.

In another year was judged the action: _Utrum chimera bombinans in vacuo
possit comedere secundas intentiones_, and was decided in the

In consequence, everyone thought themselves far superior to Archimedes,
Euclid, Cicero, Pliny, and strutted proudly about the University


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