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February 4, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(5):249-250. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450320041005

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One of the most consoling things about the recent advances of science is the surprising way in which they are justifying our prejudices, one after another. It was consoling to have the likings of the natural man for sugar, for white bread and for cold drinks in fevers, for instance, endorsed as rational. But to have our dislikes supported is a positive triumph Our prejudices are the things which we are really proud of.

The unregenerate human being has always had a natural objection to being bitten by gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects, an objection whose intensity and vigor—and corresponding warmth of expression—is out of all rational proportion to the damage or even discomfort inflicted. The piping of a solitary mosquito will banish slumber as effectually as a burglar-alarm, and the persistent attentions of a single fly will rouse us to a frenzy of irritation and revengeful fury. We

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