The dangers of quote mining and the benefits of critical thinking

Quote mining is often used on both sides of an argument to reinforce their position, but there are dangers.

You could be accused of the appeal to authority fallacy or, more commonly, taking a quote out of context.

So bugger me sideways when I wake up this morning to to see @missraissa has blogged a single Hitler quote to prove he was a Christian. Yes, it’s bizarre, but never mind.

I don’t have that book by Larry Azar, so I can’t look it up and there’s no original source given for it either, but never fear, Google will help me.

That’s strange, no link to a speech by Hitler, and all the URL’s so far are all creationist based, and alarm bells go off even more when “Dr” Kent Hovind quotes it. Four pages of results and all from creationists or anti-evolution web sites.

Maybe @missraissa is right after all, but let’s try Googling it without the quotes. Yeah the usual results… ah but what is this “The Ghost of Friedrich Nietzsche | Faith & Reason” Would you believe it eh, it’s a Friedrich Nietzsche quote, but as the author of that page says “I found conflicting information regarding the original work for the quotation above. If someone knows for certain the source, please let me know and I’ll edit this entry with the correction.”

Thanks to Project Gutenburg, we have the full text of his works, and in The Will to Power we find the quote attributed to Hitler. Search for i regard and you find:

I regard Christianity as the most fatal and seductive lie that has ever yet existed as the greatest and most impious lie : I can discern the last sprouts and branches of its ideal beneath every form of disguise, I decline to enter into any compromise or false position in reference to it I urge people to declare open war with it.

So @missraissa, you’re wrong. Again. And so is every fundie christian whose blindly copied that quote without checking out the source.

0 Replies to “The dangers of quote mining and the benefits of critical thinking”

  1. I forgot to mention that this goes both ways, some atheists are equally guilty of doing this and it’s just as annoying.It just so happens that fundamentalist Christians are guilty of it more than most. The Stephen J Gould “fossils are an embarrassment” quote is particularly well manipulated all over the interweb.

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