Phrenology has made a comeback: a scientist can now make almost any assertion at all about the human condition, notice that events occur in the brain under certain conditions, and thus claim that his assertion has been proven. Whether the claim is ridiculous on its face, or conceivably true but in competition with many other equally plausible hypotheses, the common person is intimidated by the authority of the claim, accompanied as it is by an imposing technology of observation. But even an astrologer can use a telescope.


It may be true that there are no interesting timeless facts about human nature. But that doesn’t mean that the story of how we became what we are is interesting. For all practical purposes, certain aspects of the human condition are sufficiently stable that one might as well treat them as eternal.


To say that a certain people is primitive is to complain that they are not buying what you are selling, though they have no need for it. People who do not buy what they do not need may be wiser than they seem, however aggravating to the seller that may be.


One should not attack the religious notions of unsophisticated people, for this shows poor taste. One should not attack the religious notions of sophisticated people, for this betrays misunderstanding. Does this mean one should never attack religion at all?