How did the soothsayers manage to agree among themselves what part of the entrails was unfavourable, and what part favourable; or what cleft in the liver indicated danger and what promised some advantage?
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932. The dangers of superstition
2:45Speaking frankly, superstition, which is widespread among the nations, has taken advantage of human weakness to cast its spell over the mind of almost every man.
931. Methodological naturalism
3:02Which is more consonant with philosophy: to explain these apparitions by the superstitious theories of fortune-telling hags, or by an explanation based on natural causes?
930. Never underestimate the power of chance
2:48We sleep every night and there is scarcely ever a night when we do not dream; then do we wonder that our dreams come true sometimes?
929. On the vagueness of prophecy
2:28It was clever in the author to take care that whatever happened should appear foretold because all reference to persons or time had been omitted.
928. Heredity, not stars and planets
2:55Surely, no one fails to see that the appearance and habits, and generally, the carriage and gestures of children are derived from their parents, not by the phases of the moon and by the condition of the sky.
927. On astrology
3:12Is it not evident that these astrologers, these would-be interpreters of the sky are of a class who are utterly ignorant of the nature of the sky?
926. The nature of philosophy
2:37Myths would have no place in philosophy. It would have been more in keeping with your role as a philosopher to consider, first, the nature of divination generally, second, its origin, and third, its consistency.
925. On cherry picking
2:39‘Flaminius,’ you say, ‘did not obey the auspices, therefore he perished with his army.’ But a year later Paulus did obey them; and did he not lose his army and his life in the battle of Cannae?
924. Two common explanations of “extraordinary” events
2:53The incidents may have been fictitious; if not, then the fulfillment of the prophecy may have been accidental.
923. On epistemic humility
2:46Explore the cause, if you can, of every strange thing that excites your astonishment. If you do not find the cause be assured, nevertheless, that nothing could have happened without a cause.