Home » Library » Historical Library » Robert Ingersoll Vivisection

Historical Library Disclaimer

The Historical Library contains writings written before 1970, only. For material written during or after 1970, please refer to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

This Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. Those looking for modern critiques of theism should go to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

All of the Historical Library authors are dead--and in many cases have been so for several decades. We will not reply to email addressed to dead authors, and therefore any email addressed to these authors will be ignored. Similarly, we do not reply to feedback regarding faulty scholarship on the part of dead authors, nor do we correct spelling errors and/or typographical errors (most of which result from the scanning and OCR process) in their articles.
This document has been made available by the Bank of Wisdom.

Robert Ingersoll Vivisection

Order books by and about Robert Ingersoll now.


Robert Green Ingersoll


VIVISECTION is the Inquisition -- the Hell -- of Science, All
the cruelty which the human -- or rather the inhuman -- heart is
capable of inflicting, is in this one word. Below this there is no
depth. This word lies like a coiled serpent at the bottom of the

We can excuse, in part, the crimes of passion. We take into
consideration the fact that man is liable to be caught by the
whirlwind, and that from a brain on fire the soul rushes to a
crime. But what excuse can ingenuity form for a man who
deliberately -- with an un-accelerated pulse -- with the calmness
of John Calvin at the murder of Serviettes -- seeks, with curious
and cunning knives, in the living, quivering flesh of a dog, for
all the throbbing nerves of pain? The wretches who commit these
infamous crimes pretend that they are working for the good of man;
that they are actuated by philanthropy; and that their pity for the
sufferings of the human race drives out all pity for the animals
they slowly torture to death. But those who are incapable of
pitying animals are, as a matter of fact, incapable of pitying men.
A physician who would cut a living rabbit in pieces -- laying bare
the nerves, denuding them with knives, pulling them out with
forceps -- would not hesitate to try experiments with men and women
for the gratification of his curiosity.

To settle some theory, he would trifle with the life of any
patient in his power. By the same reasoning he will justify the
vivisection of animals and patients. He will say that it is better
that a few animals should suffer than that one human being should
die; and that it is far better that one patient should die, if
through the sacrifice of that one, several may be saved.

Brain without heart is far more dangerous than heart without

Have these scientific assassins discovered anything of value?
They may have settled some disputes as to the action of some organ,
but have they added to the useful knowledge of the race?

It is not necessary for a man to be a specialist in order to
have and express his opinion as to the right or wrong of
vivisection. It is not necessary to be a scientist or a naturalist
to detest cruelty and to love mercy. Above all the discoveries of
the thinkers, above all the inventions of the ingenious, above all
the victories won on fields of intellectual conflict, rise human
sympathy and a sense of justice.

I know that good for the human race can never be accomplished
by torture. I also know that all that has been ascertained by
vivisection could have been done by the dissection of the dead. I
know that all the torture has been useless. All the agony inflicted
has simply hardened the hearts of the criminals, without
enlightening their minds.

It may be that the human race might be physically improved if
all the sickly and deformed babes were killed, and if all the
paupers, liars, drunkards, thieves, villains, and vivisectionists
were murdered. All this might, in a few ages, result in the

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


production of a generation of physically perfect men and women; but
what would such beings be worth, -- men and women healthy and
heartless, muscular and cruel -- that is to say, intelligent wild

Never can I be the friend of one who vivisects his fellow --
creatures. I do not wish to touch his hand.

When the angel of pity is driven from the heart; when the
fountain of tears is dry, -- the soul becomes a serpent trawling in
the dust of a desert.

A letter written to Philip G. Peabody. May 27, 1890.

all rights reserved

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201