Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who can we trust?

I had a look at well-known web pages, and most have propagated the Isaac Newton urban legend. My question to you and to them is: How can we trust you on other information if you just copy information like parrots?

Judy Kuster's well-known and respected website lists Newton. And took over a picture from Darrell Dodge at Veils of Stuttering that includes Newton, and Dodge writes:
Isaac Newton asked that the windows of Parliament be closed so the public wouldn't hear his stuttering.

Disabled world writes:
Sir Isaac Newton - (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727) A very important scientist who is responsibe for founding the three laws of motion along with studies concerning Universal Gravitation. He studied many scientific disciplines but mainly stayed inside the field of mechanics. It is said that Newton had mainly discovered gravity by examining a falling apple, that would have been one of the major reasons for him to start his researches in the subject. Was thought by many a product of psychosis but he may just have been in his right mind. Isaac Newton once asked that the windows of Parliament be closed so the public wouldn't hear his stuttering
This description is just so wrong, also in the physics. He actually also co-developed calculus, a key area of
mathematics, and surely did not discover gravity by the apple fall but got inspired  to discover the real nature of gravity  after years of thinking. And is surely not the product of psychosis, because his work is exceptionally well done with the mathematical tools of his times and you need to have a clear mind over years.

Laur Doty published an article on famous stutterers:
Isaac Newton, the English scientist who developed the law of gravity, asked that the windows of Parliament be closed so the public would not hear his stuttering
Mark Irwin, ex-president of ISA, and author of the website StutteredSpeechSyndrome lists Newton and shows his picture.

Even Dr Jerry Maguire at Medical Stuttering spreads the urban legend by listing Newton.

To summarize, an excellent lesson on how the stuttering community works and why progress is slow. Uncritical thinking!


Chad @ Tech201 said...

Stuff like this really irritates me. All of the famous people who supposedly stuttered are hailed as heroes for overcoming it or being a success in spite of it. Sure, the vast majority of them are legit, but there are plenty of people who get named with nothing more than anecdotal evidence that they ever stuttered.
Winston Churchill springs to mind.

What is that knowledge supposed to do for us? How about telling us how these people overcame it, instead of telling us "hey, look, you're not alone".

We know we're not alone. What we don't know is how those who have overcome stuttering accomplished it.

Harvey Keitel supposedly stuttered, as did Bruce Willis, and overcame it. You would think if that was really true, they would want to share their stories to maybe help the rest of us.


Nice Post.

Anonymous said...


Churchill was a PWS



Anonymous said...

The falling apple was an inspiration for his studies into gravity:

And, contrary to popular belief, it didn't hit him in the head.