View Full Version : Need help with a Quote

02-11-2007, 12:24 PM
"Uneducated people believe what they are told. Educated people question what they are told."

I first heard that quote or a variation of it on an episode of 7th Heaven. However, someone (can't remember who) told me that it may be a Helen Keller quote.

I'm thinking about using it in an essay and I tried to verify who said it. The only place I found it was on person's signature on a medical forum which stated that Helen Keller said it. I looked at several websites that has lists of Helen Keller quotes and couldn't find it.

It sounds to me like something Helen Keller would have said but I want to be sure. Can anyone tell me if it was or if not, who said it?

Thanks in advance!

Mac H.
02-11-2007, 12:58 PM
I've seen a few variations of it over the years.

I've seen it quoted as "The religious believe what they are told. Intelligent people question what they are told".

I don't know what the 'original' looked like - although the claim that an educated person is more likely to question a claim than an uneducated one seems a little odd.

At least... I'm questioning it.


02-11-2007, 02:36 PM
It shows up on a Google search as a quote from Helen Keller.

02-11-2007, 08:13 PM
It is from Hellen Keller. "Uneducated people believe what they are told...Educated people question what they are told."

I don't think it's necessarily true. More like ones of those things that sounds really good, but that doesn't hold up in real life.

02-11-2007, 09:16 PM
As a practical matter, verifying certain quotes can be enormously tricky and time consuming. Internet sources, while often helpful, can actually compound the problem, as inaccurate citations get replicated and disseminated, lending the appearance of accuracy through sheer repetition. I'm always wary of quotes that cite only a supposed speaker/writer and not the date and occasion or publication in which it first appeared.

If I'm unable to verify a quote to a degree of certainty upon which I'd stake my reputation, I'll pass on it. That doesn't mean I have to give up the basic premise of that quote. I'll find one that says much the same thing, but has verifiable provenance.

02-12-2007, 10:17 PM
KCH speaks truth. I would hesitate to attribute the quote to Keller without a fully reliable source like Bartlett's or Oxford. I'm a fuddy-duddy and would seek a print source, but that's probably just me.

It's also entirely possible that Keller paraphrased something said by someone else, or repeated it word for word and that her name is attached to the quote because she is far more famous than its creator.

Maryn, epitome of caution

02-13-2007, 04:41 AM
I decided not to use the quote. From your replies, it seems it is more trouble than it is worth, but I appreciate all the help.