Thorstein Veblen...on the place of science

In creative art, as well as in critical taste, the faltering talent of Christendom can at best follow the lead of the ancient Greeks and the Chinese. In myth-making, folklore, and occult symbolism many of the lower barbarians have achieved things beyond what the latter-day priests and poets know how to propose. In politcal finesse, as well as in unreasoning, brute loyalty, more than one of the ancient peoples give evidence of a capacity to which no modern civilized nation may aspire.

To modern civilized men, especially in their intervals of sober reflection, all these things that distinguish the barbarian civilizations seem of dubious value...futile in comparison with the achievements of science. They dwindle in men's esteem as time passes. This is the one secure holding-ground of latter-day conviction, that the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men is indefeasibly right and good. When seen in such perspective as will clear it of the trivial perplexities of work day life, this proposition is not questioned within the horizon of western culture, and no other cultural ideal holds a similar unquestioned place in the convictions of civilized mankind.

- The Place of Science in Modern Civilization, 1906