When something seems too good to be true, it probably is. For example, I was writing a response to some nasty rumor-mongering by one of evil Microsoft’s holy and benevolent competitors, and I came across this great quote on an internal mailing list:
Jude O’Reilly: Why Sophistry is Great for Civilization
People learn from mistakes, therefore we are advised to make as many as possible. How does one learn the truth without becoming resistant to lies and sophistry? How does one develop antibodies without first having the disease? Therefore, those who publish books promoting slightly-plausible but inane theories are societies greatest benefactors. Far from poisoning the wells, these authors strengthen and inoculate society.
This thought would fit what I was writing so well … I just had to use it. So I asked the person who made the quote what the source was, since I couldn’t find that book or that author anywhere online. His response: “I made it up. :-)”
Damn. It would have been perfect.