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February 18, 1928

The Standardization of Error.

Author Affiliations

By Vilhjalmur Stefansson, M.A., LL.D. Cloth. Price, $1. Pp. 83. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1927.

JAMA. 1928;90(7):567. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690340069045

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One of our most noted arctic explorers here indulges in some philosophical comments on knowledge, and makes his consideration fascinating. He is concerned largely with the tendency of human beings to accept superstitions as fact. For instance, he says "What's the good of an Englishman's learning, first, that all Americans speak through their noses and, secondly, why they do so, when he has to find out eventually that they do not?" Mr. Stefansson feels that we must have knowledge that cannot be contradicted. His analysis of the kindly frauds of that movie of Eskimo land, Nanook, is one of the most uproarious farces that has marked modern literature. His conclusion is that truth is good in every field of science, that it is as good as it is bad in subjects standing between science and religion, and that it is generally to be avoided when it conflicts with religion.

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