In the movie Oh God Book II God, played by George Burns, says
Math was a mistake, I made it too hardOr at least I thought he said it. I have repeated this quote both in the blog and as a comment on Scott's blog. As I noted on my blog, if you Google
"Math was a mistake, I made it too hard"all of the hits that you get lead back to me. This is still true. (Though it won't be after this post goes up.)
I thought it was a great quote so I am surprised it is not better known. FINALLY Oh God Part II came TV so I watched it just to see if what I've been quoting all these years is really in the movie. (Also, its a pretty good movie, for what it is.)
Alas, that is NOT the quote! What God really said was
"Mathematics, that was a mistake. I should have made the whole thing a little easier"I think my version is better.
There are other misquoted quotes. My favorite: Stalin never said
The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.He did say:
The capitalists will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our supplier. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparations of their own suicide. (The Yale Book of Quotations (2006))Both for George Burns and Stalin I am troubled- are we better off using the pithy version of the quotes, which DOES capture what they meant, or the original?
We have a similar issue when we teach- do we teach math the way it was invented or discovered (messy but motivated) or the way it is understood now (clean but unmotivated). Hopefully its not an either-or question and we can do some of both.