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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thought for the Day: On Respect for Authority

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.  
                                                             Albert Einstein


How many unthinking persons are there who will pull an "expert" out of the hat and insist what they say is true? Look at the popularity of the global warming scare. (People love the tingle they get from horror scenarios.) The so-called scientists embracing global warming have been exposed as liars who will falsify data, ignore anything that doesn't support their theory (like the medieval warming trend), and destroy the careers of those who dare to disagree with them. Those who blindly accept the "authority" of these so-called experts are a big part of the problem. One could say the same thing about macro-evolution. The "proof" for it is full of holes, but any scientists who posit another theory for the origin of life are treated like Neanderthals.


God gave us a mind to use to pursue the truth. One of the reasons I love being a Catholic is that it's so reasonable. Everything we believe is based on rock-solid doctrine that makes absolute sense. That's not to say we can understand everything. A story about St. Augustine illustrates that we can't. He was walking on the beach reflecting on the mystery of the Trinity when he met a small boy trying to empty the ocean into a bucket with a spoon. "That's impossible," St. Augustine said to the little boy. "So is it for you to understand the Trinity," the child responded and disappeared. 


St. Augustine wasn't being told not to study the truths of the faith, but to avoid the pride that says we can fully understand God. If we could, He wouldn't be God. But he made us in His image and we are called to use our minds to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him. We should not blindly accept what some "authority" tells us. 


Since I started with a quote from Einstein, I'll end with one that charmingly, I think, illustrates that he had a wonderful sense of humor.  "To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself." 

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