By those who consider a balanced repose the end of culture, the imagination must necessarily be regarded as the one faculty before all others to be suppressed. "Are there not facts?" say they. "Why forsake them for fancies? Is there not that which may be known? Why forsake it for inventions? What God hath made, into that let man inquire."
We answer: To inquire into what God has made is the main function of the imagination. It is aroused by facts, is nourished by facts, seeks for higher and yet higher laws in those facts; but refuses to regard science as the sole interpreter of nature, or the laws of science as the only region of discovery.
[George MacDonald, The Imagination: Its Function and its Culture.]
The funny thing -- if you find it funny -- is that today, as in MacDonald's time, there are people who would be utterly shocked by a statement like this, seeing it as an attack on science. But as MacDonald points out later in the essay, if scientists spent all their time focus on the ascertained, if they spent all their time looking backwards at what science has established, they would never make any discoveries, because to make discoveries you have to look forward at what might (or might not) be the case. As MacDonald says, "It is the far-seeing imagination which beholds what might be a form of things, and says to the intellect: 'Try whether that may not be the form of these things.'"