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Wait, what? Yes, that was the original phrase Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence. But it was his editor, Benjamin Franklin, who changed the last three words to read: “self-evident.”
From Walter Isaacson’s biography on Franklin:
The idea of “self-evident” truths was one that drew less on John Locke, who was Jefferson’s favorite philosopher, than on the scientific determinism espoused by Isaac Newton and on the analytic empiricism of Franklin’s close friend David Hume. In what became known as “Hume’s fork,” the great Scottish philosopher, along with Leibniz and others, had developed a theory that distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact (such as “London is bigger than Philadelphia”) and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition (“The angles of a triangle equal 180 degrees”; “All bachelors are unmarried”). By using the word “sacred,” Jefferson had asserted, intentionally or not, that the principle in question — the equality of men and their endowment by their creator with inalienable rights — was an assertion of religion. Franklin’s edit turned it instead into an assertion of rationality. (Issacson, page 312.)
Imagine having Ben Franklin as your editor, changing your philosophical approach in what would become one of the most important documents the world has seen.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
Waterboarding jokes during CIA confirmation hearings, good times.
Me: Do you know when the new DSM-V is coming out? I have been considering getting it for future reference.
Psychiatrist: Well, at your stage, that is probably not a worthwhile investment.
Me: More useful for the resident or the specialist?
Psychiatrist: Not even them.
Psychiatrist: Do you know who the largest consumers of DSM manuals are in the United States?
Psychiatrist: They put it to good use.