Increase Mather - Quotations
Increase Mather
Rev. Increase Mather
(21 Jun 1639 - 23 Aug 1723)

American Puritan minister who was involved with the government of the Massachusetts and the Salem witch trials. He took an interest in astronomy after a comet sighting. He was the father of Cotton Mather.

“But notwithstanding these Arguments are so convictive and demonstrative, its marvellous to see how some Popish Authors (Jesuites especially) strain their wits to defend their Pagan  Master Aristotle his Principles. Bullialdus speaks of a Florentine Physitian, that all the Friends he had could ever perswade him once to view the Heavens through a Telescope, and he gave that reason for his refusal, because he was afraid that then his Eyes would make him stagger concerning the truth of Aristotle's Principles, which he was resolved he would not call into question. It were well, if these Men had as great veneration for the Scripture as they have, for Aristotles (if indeed they be his) absurd Books de cælo Sed de his satis.
— Increase Mather
indicating a belief that the Roman Catholic church
impeded the development of modern science,
from his Kometographia, Or a Discourse Concerning Comets (Boston 1684),
as quoted in The Last American Puritan: The Life of Increase Mather, 1639-1723 by Michael Garibaldi Hall, pub. Wesleyan University Press (1988), p.166

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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