Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Quote mining: Darwin said What?




- Charles Darwin

Wait... what? Darwin thought that evolution was absurd? Well, according to Answers in Genesis (and billions of other websites), that's all that he said. Wait, there's a whole other paragraph that follows it...

Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.

...Which is why quote mining is awful. Yeah, it's not the only thing Darwin said that was taken out of context.

Why would someone use Darwin's own words against his idea? Quote mining specifically uses the author's words to make a statement that they never intended. The use of their credibility is far more persuasive than if someone else said the same thing.

Quote mining is a double edged sword. Without research, the out of context quote can be a valuable weapon by not only those who use it to support their contrary views, but it can also convince those who support the author that his views were actually incorrect. In fact, it was the other side that misjudged him. It's a gambit we see often in difficult to understand fields of science, like climatology and physics. In fact, it's a common gambit that is used in many scenarios.

The other edge is that, with the internet, it is easier to find the original quote, and sometimes the context. Using a part of what someone said without context is akin to taking someone's voice away.

So, yeah... quote mining sucks.



Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...