"Condemnation before investigation is the height of ignorance"- Did Einstein said this?
This short sentence has a powerful message, with a straight reasoning. I do not know, since when parts of our movement started to use it, but it is commonly used right now. The last time I read it was by Joshua Blakeny here http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/campus-quotes/2011/02/has-national-post-declared-fatwa-911-studies (sorry "student" ;-), no offense)
Other researchers did use it as well.
But: Did Einstein said this? In wanted to know when and where he made it. I searched Wikiqoutes for it, but found nothing.
Only a similar statement, under missattributed:
Contempt prior to investigation is what enslaves a mind to Ignorance.
This or similiar statements are more often misattributed to Herbert Spencer, but the source of the phrase "contempt prior to investigation" seems to have been William Paley, in A View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794): The infidelity of the gentile world, and that more especially of men of rank and learning in it, is resolved into a principle which, in my judgement, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz. contempt prior to examination.
Under Herbert Spencer we can read:
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
Attributed to Spencer in the pamphlet Alcoholics Anonymous (1939) and all subsequent editions, but there are no records of him ever saying or writing this, with the first attribution to him occurring in 1931. It seems to be derived from a remark attributed to William Paley, in Anglo-Israel or, The British Nation: The Lost Tribes of Israel (1879) by Rev. William H. Poole:
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.
This in turn seems to be a paraphrase derived from a slightly different statement of Paley in A View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794):
The infidelity of the Gentile world, and that more especially of men of rank and learning in it, is resolved into a principle which, in my judgment, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz. contempt prior to investigation.
For further research on the misattribution of this quote see "The Survival of a Fitting Quotation" (2005) by Michael St. George
So without a confirmation that Einstein did indeed used this phrase, we shoud be carefully avoid using it, attributing it to Einstein. You may know about disinformation tactics, delivering false quotes is a very subtile but strong one, I point to the "I'm a most unhappy men. I have unwittingly ruined my country" lie, a sentence that was put in front of a otherwhile right quotation by Pred. Woodrow Wilson. Such things were done with a reason. We should examine quotes before using them, as we do with all infos we stand behind.