This post originally focused primarily on Fitz-Claridge, but I found a bunch of scholarship errors, like misquotes, from Deutsch too. For details, see the two updates at the bottom of this post and the comments below the post which share a bunch more research about misquotes. Deutsch's lack of integrity and rationality when it comes to getting quotes right and making his books accurate also provides background context for our current conflict, which has involved Deutsch lying about me regarding a documented, factual matter. His repeated errors in his books help explain how he could make an error like that, and help clarify what kind of person he actually is. (I added this note at the top, and edited the post title, on 2021-06-23 and 2021-06-25. The original title was "Sarah Fitz-Claridge is a Terrible Intellectual".)
Sarah Fitz-Claridge (SFC) co-founded Taking Children Seriously (TCS) with David Deutsch (DD). I found an egregious misquote of Popper on the TCS website. There's no name on the specific page, but I'm familiar enough with TCS to guess that SFC wrote it. In this article, I assume SFC is the author. Regardless, it's on the official TCS website so SFC and DD are both responsible for this error, since they are the founders and they put their names on TCS.
The inductivist or Lamarkian approach operates with the idea of instruction from without, or from the environment. But the critical or Darwinian approach only allows instruction from within - from within the structure itself.
...I contend that there is no such thing as instruction from without the structure. We do not discover new facts or new effects by copying them, or by inferring them inductively from observation, or by any other method of instruction by the environment. We use, rather, the method of trial and the elimination of error. As Ernst Gombrich says, "making comes before matching": the active production of a new trial structure comes before its exposure to eliminating tests."
- pages 7-9, The Myth of the Framework
This quote is bizarrely falsified. I noticed the issue because it says it's from pages 7-9, but it's too short to span three pages. So I checked what Popper actually wrote.
The first paragraph is OK. For the second paragraph, here's the first sentence Popper actually wrote:
In fact, I contend that there is no such thing as instruction from without the structure, or the passive reception of a flow of information that impresses itself on our sense organs.
SFC's ellipsis removed the two words at the start, which is OK. Then where Popper had a comma, SFC changed it to a period with no indication of an edit, which is completely unacceptable. Worse, she then put additional text in the same paragraph which is not in that paragraph in the book. She took some sentences from page 9, from a different section of the book (V not IV), from partway through a completely different paragraph, and stuck them here after half a sentence from from an earlier paragraph which she quoted as being a full sentence.
This isn't even close to how quotes work. You can't just grab quotes from different places in the book and put them together to make a paragraph.
And it's even worse because she presents it as two paragraphs, so it's not like she was leaving out all paragraph breaks. Including a paragraph break makes it even more unexpected that a different paragraph break would be left out. Similarly, she used an ellipsis, which makes it much more surprising and misleading that one is missing somewhere else.
Misquoting seems to be some sort of pattern with SFC and DD. I'm currently working on a video about a misquote in The Beginning of Infinity that I found. SFC and DD are close associates with lots of similarities, e.g. they are both liars.
Immediately after the misquote, SFC writes something else really problematic:
While Popper almost always made such remarks in the context of original discovery rather than learning, the implications for education are inescapable. I should stress that applying Popper's philosophy of science to the growth of knowledge in children applies only when the children are learning science. Our position is much broader, namely that Popper's general idea of how a human being acquires knowledge – by creating it afresh through criticism and the elimination of error – applies equally to non-scientific types of knowledge such as moral knowledge, and to unconscious and inexplicit forms of knowledge. Thus we see ourselves as trying to extend Popperian epistemology into areas where, by its inner logic, it applies, but where Popper himself resolutely refused to apply it.
Popper didn't resolutely refuse to apply his ideas outside of science, nor did he think his theory of knowledge only applied to science. He made this clear repeatedly in many books. He talked about knowledge in contexts like poetry or courts, not just science. Here's an example in Conjectures and Refutations (my italics) where Popper directly says that his theory works for knowledge in general, not just science:
Although I shall confine my discussion to the growth of knowledge in science, my remarks are applicable without much change, I believe, to the growth of pre-scientific knowledge also—that is to say, to the general way in which men, and even animals, acquire new factual knowledge about the world. The method of learning by trial and error—of learning from our mistakes—seems to be fundamentally the same whether it is practised by lower or by higher animals, by chimpanzees or by men of science. My interest is not merely in the theory of scientific knowledge, but rather in the theory of knowledge in general.
Is SFC a liar who wants to praise DD and give him credit for discovering what Popper already published, or did she never actually read much Popper, or did she read it without understanding it? And what's going on with DD putting his name on egregious errors like these?
Also, in the misquote above, SFC showed Popper talking about "instruction" (education), so claiming he didn't know his ideas applied to education is bizarre. Popper also wrote in Unended Quest a quote that SFC and DD both knew about:
I dreamt of one day founding a school in which young people could learn without boredom, and would be stimulated to pose problems and discuss them; a school in which no unwanted answers to unasked questions would have to be listened to; in which one did not study for the sake of passing examinations.
Conjectures and Refutations also says:
Since there were logical reasons behind this procedure [Popper's theory that we learn by conjectures and refutations], I thought that it would apply in the field of science also
In other words, Popper had a general theory of learning first, and then applied it to science. He thought it should apply to everything including science.
And in the preface of The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Popper wrote (italics in original):
The central problem of epistemology has always been and still is the problem of the growth of knowledge. And the growth of knowledge can be studied best by studying the growth of scientific knowledge.
And later in that preface:
Although I agree that scientific knowledge is merely a development of ordinary knowledge or common-sense knowledge, I contend that the most important and most exciting problems of epistemology must remain completely invisible to those who confine themselves to analysing ordinary or common-sense knowledge or its formulation in ordinary language.
Popper wanted to study scientific knowledge in addition to ordinary knowledge, not instead of ordinary knowledge. He thought science made a great example that shouldn't be ignored. But he wasn't trying to figure out how scientists learn things as a special case. He wanted to understand the general issue of the growth of knowledge, and that's what he was trying to explain, and that's what his epistemology does explain. He didn't accidentally create a general-purpose evolutionary epistemology that says we learn by conjectures and refutations or, equivalently, by trial and error. He knew that you can come up with guesses and criticism whether you're doing science or not.
David Deutsch put his name on these errors. And the bizarre claims about Popper inflated his reputation and gave him undeserved credit. It wasn't a random or neutral error; it was heavily biased in his favor.
Update 2021-06-23: "Dec" pointed out that the same misquote is in BoI too (it's slightly different but has the same main error and is also badly wrong). So DD is even more directly responsible for making this error himself.
While I'm updating, DD wrote in BoI:
As the physicist Richard Feynman said, ‘Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves.’
That's a misquote. And I just found another issue. DD wrote in BoI:
As Popper put it, ‘We can let our theories die in our place.’
That's not a full sentence in the original, so that's bad. DD is making it look like a full sentence. The "we" is lowercase in the original.
"Dec" also suggested that I screwed up by not catching the error when I edited BoI. I agree that I could have done better. I was less suspicious then and BoI didn't have the pages 7-9 clue. But I was not a co-author or co-founder of the book, and it was never my job to check for that kind of issue. I helped with the book but I was not paid, I had no official duties or requirements, and the contents of the book are not my responsibility.
In general, I sent DD suggestions and then he decided what to do. The majority of my suggestions were not discussed, so in most cases I don't even know if DD made a change or not. I never went back and compared versions to see which changes he made. The only changes I know he made due to my suggestions are the ones we actually talked about. So you can imagine that I do not feel responsible for the text of the book. I made lots of suggestions that DD didn't take, and most of my suggestions were either small or non-specific (like making a conceptual point but not suggesting exact wording). I didn't write any substantial sections of text in the book. I'm not sure if even one whole sentence of mine is in the book as I wrote it. I did not choose or control what was done with the book.
And I was not tasked with checking sources or doing this sort of research. And I never edited a copy of the book containing both the misquote and the bibliography. DD sent me draft chapters, and then full book drafts, without a bibliography included. He then sent me a bibliography draft after I was done editing, when the book was almost done. He finalized the bibliography at the last minute. Two days after showing me a draft bibliography, he sent me a version that had already been copy-edited, which I did not edit.
The first bibliography draft I saw did not contain In Search of a Better World, which is where Popper wrote "Now we can let our theories die in our place." DD only added that book to the bibliography after I said it had two great chapters and suggested that he read the table of contents and consider it. I'm confident that he didn't know he needed it as a quote source.
And DD misquoted in an article he wrote: https://nautil.us/issue/7/waste/not-merely-the-finest-tv-documentary-series-ever-made
As Karl Popper put it, we humans can “let our ideas die in our place.”
No, Popper wrote "theories" not "ideas". Does DD try to quote Popper from memory!? Why does he use different wordings at different times for the same quote? Why doesn't he copy/paste it out of a book? Something's really wrong here. I'd suggest that, going forward, DD should give a source when presenting a quote. I think he should stop writing books and articles containing quotes without sources. I suggest that no one should trust any quote DD gives, anywhere, unless he gives a source and you check the source yourself. (Be careful with anyone giving an unsourced quote, but especially with people who have a track record of getting quotes wrong like DD does.)
On a related note, in 2011 DD got upset with me for questioning a Godwin quote he sent me in a private email which I couldn't find when searching the book. It turned out that he was quoting the first edition and I was searching the third edition. He hadn't given a specific source. I was right to question it and DD should have praised my scholarship instead of getting upset about being questioned. I guess it makes sense that the kind of person who gets upset about being challenged about quoting would also be the kind of person to make quoting errors. Negative emotional reactions to critical questioning are really bad for error correction.
Update 2, 2021-06-23:
I found another quoting error. The TCS website quoted Popper as writing "Lamarkian" when he actually wrote "Lamarckian". ("ck" not just "k").
I also found the misspelling posted by SFC, and still up today, on her personal website.
That page quotes differently than the TCS page, but also wrong. SFC quotes Popper as writing "flow of information which impresses itself" but in the book he wrote "that" not "which". She just wrote a different word and called it a quote.
And SFC attributes the quote to "The Myth of the Framework, pp. 8-9", but the quote starts on page 7 just like the TCS website said.
Also, DD's associate, Chiara Marletto, misquoted Popper:
As Karl Popper put it, we can "let our ideas die in our place."
No, he wrote "theories" not "ideas".
These people need to learn how quote exactly instead of changing words and other details. If you don't know how to give an exact quote, don't give a quote. Stick to paraphrases until you learn what a quote is and how to do it. There's something really wrong with these people – DD and his associates – who keep making different quoting errors in different places. They aren't just copy/pasting the same error over and over. They keep separately creating different errors.