A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Can I call a distinguished biologist a donkey, when he is quite certain that my classification is incorrect?"

How far am I justified in arguing with a person much more learned than myself? Or if you dislike this egoism, how far are you justified in arguing with a person much more learned that yourself- supposing that such a person could exist? At what point may I come to the conclusion that a man who has certainly read more books than I, has, neverthless, read them wrong? The problem must often cross the path of ordinary men who are sagacious rather than learned; for very few of us are learned, whereas all of us are frightfully sagacious. Can I call an eminent orthinologist an owl, when he assures me that his bodily structure renders this untenable? Can I call a distinguished biologist a donkey, when he is quite certain that my classification is incorrect?

As a first guide in this matter, I should like to offer one suggestion. I think that you and I are quite justified in disagreeing with doctors, however extraordinary in their erudition, if they violate ordinary reason in their line of argument. If they cannot even reason upon their facts, I think we are justified in doubting even their facts. Suppose a man says to me, "I know more than you do about the Tragic Drama of Athens." I reply: "Yes, you do know more than I; you could not well know less." But suppose he goes on to instruct me, and says: "You see Euripides left ten plays, and Sophocles left four plays, and that makes seventeen plays." Then I think I am justified in breaking in and saying: "You are a horribly learned man, no doubt; but, as you obviously can't count, I don't see why I should feel certain that you can do anything else." Suppose a man says: "You know nothing about Danish churches: let me tell you that every Danish church is balanced on the tip of its spire." I then reply: "I know nothing about Danish churches, except that they aren't like that." The intellectual principle is a very simple one; and yet it will, I think, be found to be of interest, and even of utility, in the life of to-day.

-October 31, 1908, Illustrated London News

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