"A foolish faith in authority is the enemy of the truth” is a quote from physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) that has been popular in the 2000s, especially among political groups (such as libertarians) critical of government power and authority. The source is a July 8, 1901 letter that Einstein wrote to Swiss teacher Jost Winteler, with whom he boarded while attending school in Aarau. Einstein complained about German professors:
“What you have said about German professors is not at all exaggerated....Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.”
The various versions include “blind belief/obedience” or “unthinking respect” or “foolish faith” or “worship” of authorites that is the “greatest enemy” or “worst enemy” of the truth. The Einstein quote was rarely cited before the 1990s.
Wikiquote: Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a physicist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time. He is best-known for his Special and General Theories of Relativity, but contributed in other areas of physics. He won the Nobel Prize in physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
. Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein by Roger Highfield and Paul Carter (1993), p. 79. Einstein had been annoyed that Paul Drude, editor of Annalen der Physik, had dismissed out of hand some criticisms Einstein made of Drude’s electron theory of metals.
Historical and cultural perspectives:
The centennial symposium in Jerusalem
Edited by Gerald James Holton and Yehuda Elkana
Mineola, NY: Dover Publications
The young student and the older man evidently saw political matters in a similar light. Professor Elmar Holenstein of Rurh-Universitat Bochum refers in his cimprehensive paper, “Albert Einsteins Hausvater in Aarau: Der Linguist Jost Winteler,” to an unpublished letter by Einstein to Winteler of 1901, condemning the German “worship of authorities” (Authoritatendusel) as “the greatest enemy of truth.”
Darwinism in a flutter
Did a moth show evolution in action? Peter D Smith searches for answers in Of Moths and Men: Intrigue, Tragedy & the Peppered Moth by Judith Hooper
Peter D Smith
The Guardian, Friday 10 May 2002 19.20 EDT
Before he became famous, Albert Einstein remarked that “the foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth”.
Albert Einstein: A Biography
By Alice Calaprice and Trevor Lipscombe
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
Even as a young man of 22, he had written to “Papa” Winteler, “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:02 pm
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth” Albert Einstein - 1901
Wall Street Journal
OPINION October 18, 2009, 7:19 p.m. ET.
‘Expert Panels’ Won’t Improve Health Care
Government reliance on medical studies will make it harder to discard false prophecies and dogmas.
By NORBERT GLEICHER
Albert Einstein once noted that “a foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
The Invisible Opportunity: Hidden Truths Revealed
Quote of the Day – A foolish faith in authority…
Posted on March 15, 2010 by Boulderdash
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
– Albert Einstein, letter to a friend, 1901
Bloomsbury USA / By Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
Global Warming Deniers Aren’t “Experts” At All: It’s Time for a New View of Science
The “debate” over global warming has never been about productive dialogue. Rather, it’s an indication of our eagerness to doubt issues that threaten our very existence.
August 25, 2010
C. P. Snow once argued that foolish faith in authority is the enemy of truth. But so is a foolish cynicism.
The Ultimate Quotable Einstein
Edited by Alice Calaprice
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
What you have said about German professors is not at all exaggerated....Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of the truth.
To Swiss teacher Jost Winteler, with whom he boarded while attending school in Aarau, complaining about a professor who would accept no criticism, July 8, 1901. CPAE, Vol. 1, Dec. 115
May 22, 2012
Jesse Ventura Never Gives Up
Exposing the government’s 09/11 lies and cover-ups
In a recent interview on NYC TV, Jesse Ventura discusses some of the same questions that remain unanswered since 09/11/01.
Jesse also talks about why he is contemplating Mexican citizenship. He closes with a couple of quotes that put what’s happened to the US in perfect perspective. The first is from Albert Einstein: “A foolish faith in authority is the enemy of the truth.” And second from Ron Paul: “We’re in sad shape when telling the truth means you are a traitor.” (10:04)
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Tuesday, May 22, 2012 • Permalink