Saturday, July 22, 2006

Erasing History One Man at a Time

The good people at PBS (emphasis on the BS) have put up a web page for the kids about an Australian documentary called ‘Einstein’s Wife’. Apparently they want the youngins to decide for themselves that it was Mileva Maric who did the intellectual heavy lifting behind his 1905 papers on special relativity, the photoelectric effect and Brownian motion. Some outside the public broadcasting continuum disagree.

The PBS web site itself is a parody of scientific research. It asks, ‘Why was she erased from Einstein’s life history’, you’re required to accept the premise before moving on; no proof backing the assertion that she was ‘erased’ is offered.

Mrs. Eraserhead. Posted by Picasa

Students are also asked to consider ‘the possibility’ that his wife was involved and then ‘consider the probabilities’. With one paragraph PBS has entered the realm reserved for on-line gambling sites.

The absurdity continues with ‘Did Mileva Maric collaborate with Einstein? You Decide! Take our online poll’.

An opinion poll is no way to determine what is true and what is false. But I guess if you’re rewriting history to suit your agenda, reaching a consensus amoung misinformed and disiformed students is as good a method as any for establishing a new order. I think the results of an opinion poll which gives Einstein’s first wife credit for his work could be scientifically considered as false positive.

Behind every great man there is a ‘public intellectual’ ready to accord his accomplishments to someone else. I first came across this ‘wife’ meme about ten years ago and didn’t know what to make of it. Now I think I do.

Go to Butterflies and Wheels for a comprehensive examination.


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