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Re: [Phys-L] einstein --> misattribution in general --> appeal to authority in general

On 07/21/2014 08:27 AM, Bill Norwood wrote:

I would suspect that misrepresentation of Albert Einstein's actual beliefs
was very much out of hand long before this video came to be.

That's for sure.

The practice of hyping some random idea by putting it into
the mouth of some "authority" is seriously out of hand, and
has been for a long time.

I consider appeal to authority to be highly unscientific
... but /bogus/ appeal to authority is even worse.

As one small additional example: Here is a "quote" that I
saw mis-attributed on one of the other physics lists recently.

The idea that
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
is routinely attributed to Einstein. but there is not the
slightest credible evidence that he ever said any such
thing. There is no credible evidence that /anybody/ said
such a thing before 1982 or 1983 ... some 30 years too
late for Einstein.

Even closer to the topic of this list, note that I'm pretty
sure that Isaac Newton never wrote down the vector equation
F=ma. Vectors weren't invented until a couple hundred years
after Newton's day. If you want to give Newton credit for
the /idea/ of the second law, then we have problems with the
first law, which isn't Newton's at all, but rather Galileo's.

Similarly, the celebrated Wheatstone bridge wasn't invented
by Wheatstone. And the Cavendish balance wasn't invented by
Cavendish. Et cetera...........


It must be emphasized that even if the quote were accurate,
appeal to authority is highly unscientific!

If an idea is good, it is good no matter who said it.
If an idea is bad, it is bad no matter who said it.

This is central to any notion of critical thinking, and is
therefore on-topic for this list, IMHO.