1. Ray Von Geezer

    Ray Von Geezer Senior Member

    "Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance" - Albert Einstein

    I've seen this quote variously around the Interwebs, and more recently in a member's signature here, and wondered where it actually came from. It really doesn't sound like the kind of thing a scientist would say, at least not in the context it's commonly finding itself used nowadays.

    Initial investigation (Googl'ing) soon showed that there's no evidence of Einstein (amongst several others) having said it. Looking a little further I found the source is much, much older, and it's had a pretty fascinating journey; from the original author, an 18th century clergyman, to its contemporary (mis)quoting - visiting with homeopathy, Alcoholics Anonymous, Freemasonry and the Jehovah's Witnesses along the way.

    "The Survival of a Fitting Quotation" By Michael StGeorge, 2005



    Ray Von
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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  2. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    neat. The book "Paley's Evidences of Christianity" 1839?1854 . not sure i would agree it is only a skeletal resemblance, sounds pretty much the same to me except for maybe "height of".
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    https://books.google.com/books?id=BjQ3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA455&dq="evidences+of+christianity"+"contempt+prior+to+examination"&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil8ve2lqfJAhUE2R4KHVsBBT4Q6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q="evidences of christianity" "contempt prior to examination"&f=false

    edit add: well wait, i have to read the dang thign to see if that is from Paley himself as it seems our "editor" Charles Murray Narnes, added notes from himself and others. :) either way its in this book before Einstein was born.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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  3. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Attached Files:

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  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

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  5. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    i love this thread topic @Ray Von Geezer . Not only is the original context of this "quote" completely different then what i assumed it was about based on the "einstein" tag.

    But its a great example of something i often ponder. Does a "quote" belong to the person who said it exactly (or very close to exactly), or does a quote belong to the person who came up with the original idea behind the quote.
     
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  6. Ray Von Geezer

    Ray Von Geezer Senior Member

    It's interesting to see how it's been taken from its original meaning and evolved in over two centuries, particularly how it seems to have regularly been appropriated to justify belief in "woo".

    I think for me some quotes are so good they can stand up on their own, so it barely matters who really said it. Like the old "The definition of insanity....", another "Einstein" truism... (or not...).

    This one though.... I can see how it makes sense in the original context, but "If you don't take any old tosh that I care to throw at you seriously, then you're a fool. Einstein sez." is pretty ridiculous, even if he had said the original quote. I guess it's a fictional response to something like Brian Cox saying "The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it....."

    Ray Von
     
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  7. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    oh yea, i didnt mean einstein of course in regards to attribution of that quote. i meant more do we attribute it to Paley or maybe "Narnes" whose paraphrase is alot closer. Attributing it to einstein at all, without a reference that he ever actually said it anywhere, is dirty pool because people think Einstein was super smart so must be right.

    from above pdf.. more 'smart' people who supposedly said it. Googlable for verification says the PDF author.
    all.PNG
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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