Friday, September 21, 2012

When Facts Don't Matter

Romney and his supporters are being done in by facts or more precisely their disdain for facts, truth, justice, and -- dare I say it? -- the American way.  There are however intellectual enterprises of real value in which facts get in the way. For example Charles Babbage to Tenyson on truth and beauty:


In your otherwise beautiful poem "The Vision of Sin" there is a verse which reads – "Every moment dies a man, Every moment one is born." It must be manifest that if this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death.

I would suggest that in the next edition of your poem you have it read – "Every moment dies a man, Every moment 1 1/16 is born."

The actual figure is so long I cannot get it onto a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for poetry.

I am, Sir, yours, etc.,

Charles Babbage
Romney out to give poetry a whirl when is being president of these United States doesn't pan out.

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