In every age of the world there has been an established system, which has been opposed from time to time by isolated and dissentient reformers. The established system has sometimes fallen, slowly and gradually: it has either been upset by the rising influence of some one man, or it has been sapped by gradual change of opinion in the many.
and holding conversation with many persons who have written them, and many who might have done so, there is one point on which my mind is fully made up. The manner in which a paradoxer will show himself, as to sense or nonsense, will not depend upon what he maintains, but upon whether he has or has not made a sufficient knowledge of what has been done by others, especially as to the mode of doing it, a preliminary to inventing knowledge for himself. That a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is one of the most fallacious of proverbs. A person of small knowledge is in danger of trying to make his little do the work of more; but a person without any is in more danger of making his no knowledge do the work of some. Take the speculations on the tides as an instance. Persons with nothing but a little geometry have certainly exposed themselves in their modes of objecting to results which require the higher mathematics to be known before an independent opinion can be f