Agassiz, Louis – Essay on Classification – Anyone can be a metaphysicist
Type of Spiritual Experience
Note that this appears to have been misinterpreted. Agassiz is saying it is valid for anyone to be a philosopher or metaphysicist when studying Nature.
And he is also recognising the problems religious leaders of the time created – that by discussing these issues, without reference to the Bible, you risked severe censure and criticism – to which his guarded reply is:
‘Science, however, can only prosper when confining itself within its legitimate sphere’ - so do not even mention the Bible, stick to the observations.
A description of the experience
ESSAY ON CLASSIFICATION By LOUIS AGASSIZ
To many the inquiry into the primitive cause of their existence seems either beyond the reach of man, or as belonging rather to philosophy than to physics. To these the name of God appears out of place in a scientific work, as if the knowledge of secondary agencies constituted alone a worthy subject for their investigations, and as if nature could teach nothing about its Author.
Many, again, are no doubt prevented from expressing their conviction that the world was called into existence and is regulated by an intelligent God, either by the fear of being supposed to share clerical or sectarian prejudices; or because it may be dangerous for them to discuss freely such questions without acknowledging at the same time the obligation of taking the Old Testament as the standard by which the validity of their results is to be measured. Science, however, can only prosper when confining itself within its legitimate sphere.