Presumption

Faith without evidence is, properly, not faith, but prejudice or presumption; faith beyond evidence is superstition, and faith contrary to evidence is either insanity or willful perversity of mind.

Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance, are the true sources of superstition. Hope, pride, presumption, a warm indignation, together with ignorance, are the true sources of enthusiasm.

Guilt is a poor, helpless, dependent being. Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add, fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, it forms a deadly presumption against him; if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defense often furnishes the materials for his conviction.

When pride and presumption walk before, shame and loss follow very closely.

It is not wisdom but ignorance that teaches men presumption. Genius may sometimes be arrogant, but nothing is so diffident as knowledge.

During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is: not to take the risk. When once the risk has really been taken, then the greatest danger is to risk too much. By not risking at first one turns aside and serves trivialities; in the second case, by risking too much, one turns aside to the fantastic, and perhaps to presumption.

It takes a lot of self-love and presumption to have such esteem for one’s own opinions that to establish them one must overthrow the public peace and introduce so many inevitable evils, and such a horrible corruption of morals, as civil wars and political changes bring with them in a matter of such weight - and introduce them into one’s own country.

Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.

In human hearts what bolder thoughts can rise than man’s presumption on to-morrow’s dawn? Where is to-morrow?

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.

Conversation is the music of the mind, an intellectual orchestra, where all the instruments should bear a part, but where none should play together. Each of the performers should have a just appreciation of his own powers, otherwise an unskillful novice who might usurp the first fiddle, would infallibly get into a scrape. To prevent these mistakes, a good master of the band will be very particular in the assortment of the performers; if too dissimilar, there will be no harmony, if too few, there will be no variety; and, if too numerous, there will be no order, for the presumption of one prater, might silence the eloquence of a Burke, or the wit of a Sheridan, as a single kettle-drum would drown the finest solo of a Gionowich or a Jordini.

Life imposes selfish interests and subjective views on every inhabitant of earth: and in hugging these interests and these views the man hugs what he initially assumes to be the truth, a sort of antecedent hatred of it as contrary to presumption, is interwoven into the very fabric of thought.

That which is the result of habit affords no presumption of being intrinsically good.

Guilt is a poor, helpless, dependent being. Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add, fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, it forms a deadly presumption against him; if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defense often furnishes the materials for his conviction.

The presumption of innocence is not just a legal concept. In commonplace terms, it rests on that generosity of spirit which assumes the best, not the worst, of the stranger.

Set imagined it was to please, but it was to astonish God that he painted. His presumption and arrogance were pronounced and dangerous, for they would certainly lead to the Sin of Despair, thence to death and nothingness. Bent said so, half in jest, only half. Rather, as Set himself said on occasion, he painted in vain, in order to relieve the terrible boredom of God. He expounded: God's boredom is infinite. Surely we humans, even with our etiquette and our institutions and our mothers-in-law, ceased to amuse Him many ages ago. What sustains Him is the satisfaction, far deeper than we can know, of having created a few incomparables - landscapes, waters, birds and beasts. He takes particular pride in the stars, and it pleases Him to breathe havoc upon the oceans. He sighs to the music of the desert at dawn. The eagle and the whale give Him still to ponder and admire. And so must he grieve for the mastodon and the archaeopteryx. And the bear - ah! He used both hands when he made the bear. Imagine a bear proceeding from the hands of God!

Ability doth hit the mark where presumption over-shooteth and diffidence falleth short.

A careless man who will soon die but there is no presumption of has suddenly starts to set things in order. His life changes. He arranges his papers. He rises early, goes to bed early. With his sinful life is the past. His environment is happy. And it seems his cruel death all the more unjust.

Explaining is a difficult art. You can explain something so that your reader understands the words; and you can explain something so that the reader feels it in the marrow of his bones. To do the latter, it sometimes isn't enough to lay the evidence before the reader in a dispassionate way. You have to become an advocate and use the tricks of the advocate's trade. This book is not a dispassionate scientific treatise. Other books on Darwinism are, and many of them are excellent and informative and should be read in conjunction with this one. Far from being dispassionate, it has to be confessed that in parts this book is written with a passion which, in a professional scientific journal, might excite comment. Certainly it seeks to inform, but it also seeks to persuade and even - one can specify aims without presumption - to inspire. I want to inspire the reader with a vision of our own existence as, on the face of it, a spine-chilling mystery; and simultaneously to convey the full excitement of the fact that it is a mystery with an elegant solution which is within our grasp. More, I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence. This makes it a doubly satisfying theory. A good case can be made that Darwinism is true, not just on this planet but all over the universe, wherever life may be found.

There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point