"To be ignorant and simple now--not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground--would be to throw down our weapons and betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered."
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.
Curiously enough, the volume of interest and public debate is often inversely proportional to the importance of a feature. The reason is that it is much easier to have a firm opinion on a minor feature than on a major one; minor features fit directly into the current state of affairs, whereas major ones - by definition - do not.
[Editor's note: while this was in the context of C++ language featur [...]