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Francis Bacon – no guarantee that the best wins out

August 21, 2014

“Another error … is the conceit that of former opinions or sects, after variety and examination, the best hath still prevailed and suppressed the rest; so that if a man should begin the labor of a new search, he were but like to light upon something formerly rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivious: as if the multitude, or the wisest for the multitude’s sake, were not ready to give passage rather to that which is superficial, than to that which is substantial and profound; for the truth is, that time seemeth to be of the nature of a river or stream, which carrieth down to us that which is light and blown up, and sinketh and drowneth that which is weighty and solid.”

(from The Advancement of Learning [1605])

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