Nagging Question--was: Hot new Einstein quote

Hunter, Lynne R CIV SPAWARSYSCEN-PACIFIC, 71700 lynne.hunter at NAVY.MIL
Wed Oct 31 19:30:15 UTC 2012

I've tried to keep quiet about this, but it just keeps nagging me: How
do we know that Albert Einstein was "even smarter than Mark Twain"? Do
we just accept that as a given? Is it because Einstein was a genius in
math and science and Mark Twain was _only_ a genius in literature? Would
we automatically say that Sir Isaac Newton was smarter than Shakespeare,
or that any person highly accomplished in the sciences is _smarter_ than
a person accomplished in other disciplines? Does math and science trump
other fields even among this company (as it does among the general
population, evidently contributing to the reverence for technology and
its consequences)? Does anybody else feel uneasy about making these

Lynne Hunter

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:04 PM
Subject: Hot new Einstein quote

---------------------- Information from the mail header
American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Hot new Einstein quote

This has been cybercirculating for a couple of weeks, attributed Albert
Einstein, who was even smarter than Mark Twain:

=93I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The
will only have a generation of idiots.=94

I find no confirmation that Einstein ever said anything like this, and
citations before almost this minute. Note the sloppy placement of
the peculiarly inarticulate use of "overlap with," the off-center use of
"the technology."

It also has the same two-declarative-sentence structure of many popular
bogus quotes.


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the

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