Richard G. Petty, MD

A Genuine Quote?


I’ve been collecting insights and quotations since I was a child, and I’ve always felt that it was a good idea to try and make sure that they are genuine. I recently heard someone recommend a piece of software that contains thousands of quotes for every occasion. Trouble is that hundreds of them are wrong. For example, I’m pretty sure that the psychologist Marty Seligman isn’t a Serbian tennis player born in 1973…

Here’s one that I’ve seen published and re-published:

“Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”

It is quoted in The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World By Bjørn Lomborg, and is said to be from an Assyrian Tablet, c.2,800 BC   

It’s a nice quote, but I’m thinking that it’s probably apocryphal – how many people could write back then?   

“The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World” (Bjørn Lomborg)

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