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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53

Edison on Scientific Frauds

Edison on Scientific Frauds.

Though in some degree wandering from the subject, we have been led to these remarks with a view of shewing by familiar illustrations how unreliable many of the conceptions from which we are accustomed to draw momentous deductions are, even when relating to matters where error is almost inexcusable. Edison, the great American electrician, asserted in a letter to the "New York Herald," on December 31st, 1879, that "They (scientific text books) are most misleading. I get mad with myself when I think I have believed what was so learnedly set out in them. There are more frauds ín science than anywhere else. I have been thrown off my track often by them, and for months at a time. You see a great name and you believe it. Try the experiment yourself and you find the result altogether different." If in spheres of observation where it is possible to be exact, the way is strewn with errors dressed in the learned garb of science, we must walk still more cautiously when purely speculative theories are offered for our acceptance.