[Ads-l] Request for Modern Examples of Misquotation

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 20 22:40:46 UTC 2015


What about Moore's Law, which is usually quoted in a simplified form that
is not what Moore ever wrote, changed over time, and actually was based at
times on the predictions of others?

DanG

On Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 7:06 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Request for Modern Examples of Misquotation
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Thanks for the interesting responses. Jim: The HathiTrust database
> contains a few copies of the book by Alfred North Whitehead mentioned
> in your note about eponymy. Here's a link to "The Organisation of
> Thought, Educational and Scientific" and to the page containing the
> expression of Whitehead=E2=80=99s Law.
>
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015001996902
>
> http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015001996902?urlappend=3D%3Bseq=3D139
>
> Strangely, Google Books contains copies of the Whitehead's book which
> appeared in 1917, but access is blocked because all the books are in
> "No Preview" mode.
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 6:25 PM, James A. Landau
> <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> wrote:
> > On Fri, 18 Dec 2015 15:31:34 Zone-0500 Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GM
> =
> AIL.COM>
> > wrote:
> >
> > <begin quote>
> >
> > The book I am currently composing will include a discussion of the
> > genesis of misquotations, and a variety of conjectural mechanisms will
> > be presented.
> >
> > Do you, dear reader, know of any examples of misquotation that were in
> > some distinctive way facilitated by modern communication networks,
> > social networks, and/or the manipulation of electronic text?
> > <snip>
> > <end quote>
> >
> > You may be interested in the following, from
> http://jeff560.tripod.com/e.=
> html article on "eponymy".
> >
> > <quote> <snip>
> >
> > The general practice of eponymy has attracted attention, especially the
> w=
> idespread phenomenon of misattribution. Stigler (see below) quotes a
> cynica=
> l remark from an unnamed historian of science, "Every scientific discovery
> =
> is named after the last individual too ungenerous to give due credit to
> his=
>  predecessors." Misattribution has also inspired laws of
> eponymy--eponymous=
>  laws of eponymy, naturally.
> >
> > Boyer=E2=80=99s law, that "mathematical formulas and theorems are
> usually=
>  not named after their original discoverers," was proposed by H. C.
> Kennedy=
>  ("Who Discovered Boyer's Law?" Amer. Math. Monthly, 79:1 (1972), 66-67)
> on=
>  the basis of the many instances described in Carl B. Boyer=E2=80=99s
> Histo=
> ry of Mathematics (1968). Boyer gave his opinion of eponymy in the
> exclamat=
> ion, "Clio, the muse of history, often is fickle in attaching names to
> theo=
> rems!"
> >
> > Stigler=E2=80=99s law of eponymy, that "no scientific discovery is ever
> n=
> amed after its original discoverer," was formulated by Stephen Stigler
> ("St=
> igler=E2=80=99s Law of Eponymy" (1980), reprinted in Stigler (1999)).
> Unlik=
> e Boyer, Stigler saw patterns in naming and attempted to explain them
> using=
>  the ideas of the sociologist Robert K. Merton. Stigler tried out his
> hypot=
> heses in a case study of the GAUSSIAN (NORMAL) distribution.
> >
> > Another law complicating eponymy is Whitehead=E2=80=99s law: "Everything
> =
> of importance has been said before by someone who did not discover it."
> (Th=
> e remark was popularised by Merton but Michael Berry calls it a law.) See
> t=
> he entry RAO-BLACKWELL for an illustration of the difficulty of applying
> th=
> is law, especially to the work of a living discoverer who argues back.
> Whit=
> ehead=E2=80=99s remark is from the essay Organisation of Thought published
> =
> in a collection with the same title (1917). He was discussing the relation
> =
> between traditional logic and modern logic and the sentence before read,
> "T=
> o come near to a true theory and to grasp its precise application are two
> v=
> ery different things, as the history of science teaches." Berry,
> incidental=
> ly, calls the Boyer-Stigler law Arnold=E2=80=99s law after V. I. Arnol=E2=
> =80=99d who complains of Western neglect of Russian contributions: see the
> =
> entry CAUCHY-SCHWARZ for an instance.
> > <end quote>
> >
> > "eponymy" is defined in MWCD11 as "the explanation of a proper name (as
> o=
> f a town or tribe) by supposing a fictitious eponym".
> >
> > the entry for RAO-BLACKWELL reads
> >
> > <quote>
> > RAO-BLACKWELL THEOREM and RAO-BLACKWELLIZATION in the theory of
> statistic=
> al estimation. The "Rao-Blackwell theorem" recognises independent work by
> C=
> . R. Rao (1945 Bull. Calcutta Math. Soc. 37, 81-91) and David Blackwell
> (19=
> 47 Ann. Math. Stat., 18, 105-110). The name dates from the 1960s for
> previo=
> usly the theorem had been referred to as "Blackwell's theorem" or the
> "Blac=
> kwell-Rao theorem." The term "Rao-Blackwellization" appears in Berkson (J.
> =
> Amer. Stat Assoc. 1955) ((From David (1995).)
> >
> > In an ET Interview (p. 346) Rao shares some reminiscences about getting
> h=
> is name attached to the result, which may reflect more generally on the
> pra=
> ctice of EPONYMY. When Rao objected to Berkson=E2=80=99s use of
> Blackwelliz=
> ation Berkson replied that Raoization by itself "does not sound nice." The
> =
> other memory was of an exchange with D. V. Lindley who had attributed the
> r=
> esult to Blackwell. When Rao wrote to Lindley pointing out his priority,
> Li=
> ndley replied, "Yes, I read your paper. Although the result was in your
> pap=
> er, you did not realize its importance because you did not mention it in
> th=
> e introduction to your paper." Rao replied, saying that it was his first
> fu=
> ll-length paper and that he did not know that the introduction is written
> f=
> or the benefit of those who read only the introduction and do not go
> throug=
> h the paper!
> >
> > In Russia the name Rao-Blackwell-Kolmogorov theorem is used in deference
> =
> to a 1950 article by Kolmogorov.
> > <end quote>
> >
> > The entry for Cauchy-Schwarz reads
> >
> > <quote>
> > CAUCHY-SCHWARZ INEQUALITY. This name seems to have become standard only
> s=
> ince the 1930s. The first JSTOR match is in 1930--an article by A. E.
> Ingha=
> m--and the term appears in the widely-used Differential and Integral
> Calcul=
> us, 2nd. ed. by R. Courant (1937). The history of the contributing
> inequali=
> ties is given in Inequalities by G. H. Hardy, J. E. Littlewood and G.
> Polya=
>  (1934): the inequality for sums is due to A. L. Cauchy in 1821 (p. 373 of
> =
> Oeuvres 2, III) and the inequality for integrals to H. A. Schwarz in 1885,
> =
> "although it seems to have been stated first by Buniakovsky" in 1859. In
> Ru=
> ssia the integral version is known as the Buniakovskii inequality. The
> name=
>  "Cauchy-Schwarz" is often misprinted as "Cauchy-Schwartz" suggesting,
> perh=
> aps, a spurious connection to one of the twentieth century mathematicians
> L=
> . and J. T. Schwartz
> > <end quote>
> >
> >
> > _____________________________________________________________
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