Talk:Ferdinand Magellan

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I should mention that I am new to Wikiquote although I have been a steady contributor to Wikipedia for a while now (under the same name). Please excuse my lack of experience with Wikiquote. However the long description Magellan's provides of experience does not really seem to be a quote in the normal sense of the word. I propose it be either wittled down or deleted altogether. Nothing personal. Martin-C 19:54, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Extensive quotations are permitted, but as the translated quote of Antonio Pigafetta went into much preliminary detail about the final military excursion in which Magellan died, and this was already in Wikipedia, I removed some material and retained only the final passages that deal with Magellan's death; I used this more extensively though, and the length of quote is about the same. ~ Kalki 22:08, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Note stating that the misattributed quote here was actually from Galileo removed - Galileo did not say this either. Reference to White's Inventing the Flat Earth added for anyone wanting to know why supposed quotes about the Church teaching the earth was flat are false, considering historians now knowledge that the Church never maintained any such teaching. This error seems to be based on something the Church did teach - geocentrism - which is something else entirely. Thiudareiks 23:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Attributing authorship squarely on Robert Green Ingersoll[edit]

As pointed out elsewhere, the real author of the Magellan quote was Robert Green Ingersoll. The words are found in the fourth paragraph of Ingersoll's essay entitled "Individuality" which was published in 1873. Here is the precise wording, "It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions, -- some one who had the grandeur to say his say. I believe it was Magellan who said, 'The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church.' On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and success."

As far as I can determine Dr. Tim Gorski is the first to make this discovery as may be seen in his website “Knowing What Ain’t So” at [1]. Dr. Gorski is one of four founders of the The North Texas Church of Freethought.

The improbability of Magellan saying those words will be seen as obvious when one realizes the Catholic Church never insisted on the flatness of earth. What the Church pronounced as dogma was the notion the earth was center of the Universe. The sphericity of earth was long known for thousands of years even before Christ. In the 15th century Michael of Rhodes wrote a treatise on this as shown at this site [ ] There are surely over fifty sites on the Net where this quote is attributed to Magellan. Correcting this error is a herculean task but not impossible. There are site owners who're aware of the mistaken attribution but haven't quite resolved the issue of what to do or can't quite muster the nerve to accept error. One need not be a saint to know the moral obligation of correcting the error. I have called the attention of over a dozen site owners, and most have accepted with grace the necessity of attributing to Ingersoll squarely the authorship. Vicente Calibo de Jesus 12:20, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I can agree that it is very unlikely that Magellan said this, but I also must assert that the case of it originating with Ingersoll is far from proven, when the cited passage is not an exact match of the more commonly used phrase, and Ingersoll himself says he believed it to be Magellan who said such a thing. I am quite willing to admit Ingersoll could be in error on any number of things, but I believe him to be generally honest, and his expression indicates he had heard such an statement elsewhere. He might well have popularized it, but I doubt it originated with him. As to the accuracy of the page you cite "Knowing What Ain’t So" (the link to which I did retain on the page), though it points out a number of errors which are common on the internet, it also contains a number of errors or false presumptions itself, and simply for an example of it's deficiency, though not actual error, it indicates that Mark Twain attributed the statement "Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics" to Disraeli, but fails to realize Twain's attribution is almost certainly an error. Accounts of such statements do not go back to Disraeli's time; one of the earliest known incidents of it thus far located is by Leonard H. Courtney. In an essay in The National Review [London] (1895), he himself attributes it to the Wise Statesman but it is not clear whether he had a specific individual, or perhaps some unknown pamphlet, or a general type of statesman in mind. The earliest published incident of the statement yet found is now one from 1892, though similar but not identical comments have been dated to at least 1885, regarding "liars, damned liars, and experts." ~ Kalki 14:58, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

See "Borrowed Words: Using the Words of Others to Express What We Want to Say" by Elizabeth Knowles, Editor, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. [2] "However, investigation reveals that its origins are rather more recent. It seems to go back the nineteenth-century American lawyer, orator and atheist Robert Green Ingersoll, in his The Gods and Other Lectures (1879)." --mikeu (talk) 16:34, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Herculean task correcting Ingersoll's error[edit]

This quote which Ingersoll attributed to Magellan without citing his source or authority is all over the Web. Its constant repetition has acquired the patina of veracity but not one among those who quote the alleged Magellan words have bothered to trace its origin. You cannot trace it beyond Ingersoll. To have a sense of the herculean task of correcting this error, let me just enumerate a few of the over 211 sites where this quote appears:

1. [3] 2. [4] 3. [5] 4. [6] 5. [7] Selling T-shirt with Magellan quote 6. [8] 7. [9] 8. [10] 9. [11] 10.[12] 11.[13]

Many of the owners or webmasters of these sites are now aware of the true provenance of the quote. A number have gracefully accepted Ingersoll's authorship and have consequently removed Magellan's name and replaced it with Ingersoll's. Others insist on Magellan's authorship leaving the issue at that.

The onus of proving the authenticity of the quote being Magellan's is squarely on those who assert its truthfulness. This can be easily proven or disproven by going to primary sources published at the time Ingersoll surmised Magellan said those words.

At the time Ingersoll wrote his essay "Individuality" the ff. primary sources were already published:

1. Antonio Pigafetta, Primo viaggio intorno al globo terracquio, ossia ragguaglio della navigazione...fatta dal cavaliere Antonio Pigafetta...orapublicato per la prima volta, tratto da un codice MS. Della biblioteca Ambrosiana di Milano e corredato di note da Carlo Amoretti . 1800. The French translation also by Amoretti was published the ff. year.

2. The Genoese Pilot. Navegacam e vyagem que fez Fernando de Magalhaes de Seuilha pera Maluco no anno de 1519 annos. 1826.

3. Francisco Albo, Diario o derrotero del viage de Magallanes desde el cabo de San Agustin en el Brasil, hasta el regreso a Espana de la nao Victoria. 1837.

The Last Will and Testament of Magellan came out only in its English translation in the biography by F.H.H. Guillemard in 1890. So this could not have been the authority of Ingersoll. And in any case there is nothing there that would suggest the quote Ingersoll conjures. In fact, the Will invokes all manners of divine intervention and other forms of religious ejaculations.

The other primary accounts came later than 1873, e.g., Gines de Mafra's account Libro que trata del descubrimiento y principio del Estrecho que se llama de Magallanes was published 1920. Martin de Ayamonte's brief account based on an interrogation by Portuguese authorities at Malacca came out only in 1933 in a book edited by Antonio Baiao in Arquivo Historico de Portugal, vol. I, fasc. 5, 6. The accounts by Pigafetta, Albo and the Genoese Pilot may be accessed in the book by Lord Stanley of Alderley, editor and translator, The First Voyage Around the World by Magellan, Hakluyt Society, 1874. This has been reprinted lately, I think only this year, 2007, and is readily available at .

I have read the primary sources, incldg. those published after 1873, there is nothing that's in some way, form, substance, shape, manner akin to Ingersoll's quote.

Is it possible there is a source somewhere in the ether that somehow will validate Ingersoll? In logic, that's called the fallacy of the possible proof. --Vicente Calibo de Jesus 03:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I will restate my own position that I agree it is extremely unlikely Magellan said this, but I also believe it unlikely to have originated with Ingersoll, though his remarks might well be the earliest published source we will ever find. The "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" quote mentioned above provides a similar situation, and could conceivably have originated in a meeting of the Royal Society of London on 5 December 1855 with a remark recorded by T. H. Huxley concerning "liars, damned liars, and experts" — though this remark in itself might have existed before that time, and who actually said it is not specified. I much prefer to be truthfully indefinite than untruthfully definite on the matter. ~ Kalki 14:57, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, if no earlier instances can actually be found prior to Ingersoll, I would recommend changing the section heading which contains it from "Disputed" to "Misattributed" with comments as to why this is considered to be the case. ~ Kalki 15:05, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Belief, possibility, probability, speculation, proof[edit]

In a world of infinite possibilities, it's even possible you can speculate Ingersoll's words to have been said by an infinite number of speakers out there in the infinite void. But historical truth deals with probability. And you ought to cite your evidence to an specific event. Until that time you're really embarked in endless speculation while the fact of Ingersoll's authorship is staring you in the face. Res ipsa loquitor. --Vicente Calibo de Jesus 07:36, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

The "fact" of Ingersoll's authorship is hardly "staring me in the face" when he himself introduces it with "I believe it was Magellan who said..." You are making an assumption that he must be lying on the matter. I am not leaping to any such conclusion, and am simply assuming he was being honest, that he actually believed the statement was made by Magellan, and agree that he almost certainly was in error. I have sufficient time or interest in seeking any possible occurrences of such a remark prior to him, and simply accepting the plausibility of his essay being the first published account that can currently be found will change the section heading to "Misattributed." ~ Kalki 09:25, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Was Ingersoll lying?[edit]

That's not my point nor did I say he lied. All I'm saying is it's not Magellan who said those words. The quote comes from Ingersoll, not partly but in whole. And he made it up. Whether his intention was to lie, I don't know nor is it important. To me. --Vicente Calibo de Jesus 03:22, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

You are assuming he made it up. I do not believe the evidence is strong on that issue, though I personally have no doubt the claim he made about Magellan was erroneous. ~ Kalki 03:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

To assert is not to prove. Asserting he didn't make it up requires proof he didn't. What is your proof? To say it's somewhere there in the infinite void is to commit the fallacy of the possible proof. --Vicente Calibo de Jesus 03:53, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I had to break off earlier with some other business, and am just back on the internet... but am more than a little perplexed that you keep insisting that you have proof for something ultimately unprovable by the evidence available — that Ingersoll made it up and was lying — and that I must provide some "proof" for even disputing such claims as are no more solidly based on fact than Ingersoll's are. Everyone can have their opinions about the matter, but based on the evidence available no one can make any claim of "proof" and you are extremely exaggerating the strength of the case you have made against Ingersoll's honesty, even more than his words may have possibly exaggerated his confidence that such words were spoken by Magellan. This discussion is truly going nowhere — you seem to keep on insisting that Ingersoll should be labeled as certainly dishonest without actual proof of the matter, unless proof is provided that he wasn't. I long ago conceded that the quote was almost certainly erroneous without insisting that there be any proof of a matter which is ultimately unprovable. You declare "To assert is not to prove. Asserting he didn't make it up requires proof he didn't." This is absurd. I am well aware that mere assertion is not proof, and I have not asserted he didn't make it up, I have simply asserted it is not proven that he did. In regard to Ingersoll's guilt, asserting he did make it up is what requires proof — not my insistence that it is not proven that he made it up. Once again: I do not, and never have argued that the Magellan quote is genuine; I have labeled it "Misattributed" because the evidence is overwhelmingly strong that it is misattributed. There is no similar overwhelming evidence that Ingersoll made it up or was lying, rather than being simply being in error, and mistaken. ~ Kalki 08:53, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

then he got really fat and stuff

Did Ingersoll err? Was he dishonest?[edit]

My contention is that the quote is not genuine. I showed it was a fabrication of Ingersoll. Was his error a product of dishonesty? It could have been a product of failed memory. Or idle thought. Or whatever ad infinitum. That's not essential to my argument. And it's not my point. All that I'm saying, and I have proven it, is it's not Magellan who said those words but Ingersoll.----Vicente Calibo de Jesus 03:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I have repeatedly agreed that I too believe that it is extremely unlikely Magellan said them, and accepted that it should be classified as misattributed, and I already have placed it in a section labeled that, but I am a person who tends to use the terms "prove" and "proof" in a very rigorous way — ultimately one cannot "prove" a someone didn't say something, only present strong evidence that they did or did not. I accept that the evidence is overwhelmingly strong enough that I don't believe dispute about its misattributed status is valid, but I think the comments below the quote are adequate about the available sources and don't know why the subject is being brought up again. ~ Kalki 03:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Here is the background of the quote with moon, but without church timed 1864: [14] John William Draper’s History of the Intellectual Development of Europe (1864): But though the church hath evermore from Holy Writ affirmed that the earth should be a wide-spread plain bordered by the waters, yet he [Magellan] comforted himself when he considered that in the eclipses of the moon the shadow cast of the earth is round. should be from Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. --Fg68at (talk) 21:34, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

This is kind of comical. You are saying Ingersol made a quote that was not sourced while you are making the point that you cannot find a source yourself - You are doing original research. You have no idea if Magellan said this or not, all you do know is that Ingersol did not source it. I wouldn't say you are biased, but you are biased and so is this article.