Garbage in, garbage out

On two occasions I have been asked “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?“. In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question.

I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864)
Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

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3 thoughts on “Garbage in, garbage out

  1. Alan Rogers says:

    I will memorise that quotation for future use. I may even try to get a copy of “Passages…” .

  2. Dave Donaghy says:

    Curious to see how current members of those houses would react now.

  3. Tom says:

    Comment from David Colquhoun on Twitter, with a link from his 1971 book Lectures on Biostatistics:

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