The telescope is the moral cannon that has lain in ruins all those superstitions and phantoms that tormented the human race. It seems as if our reason has been enlarged in proportion to the immeasurable space that has been discovered and traversed by the sight. (A note by W. Hooper, M.D., from his translation of Memoirs of the Year Two Thousand Five Hundred, by Louis-Sébastien Mercier. Vol. I., p. 126. Printed in Dublin in 1772.)
Is it not delightful to know that the last of our tormenting superstitions and phantoms had been set aside by the year of our Lord 1772? Dr. Boli is happy to have lived his whole life in a world governed only by our immeasurably enlarged reason. The religious prejudice, the fanatical ignorance, and the tribal nastiness of the world must have been well nigh unbearable in those gloomy pre-telescopic days.
Of course, once again (he really should see somebody about this problem), Dr. Boli is caught up in a fit of sarcasm. The simple fact is that, whenever Reason arms herself with a moral cannon, she will find that Fanaticism has been lying in wait for her with a moral hydrogen bomb.