According to Wikipedia, that favorite website of mine, the term quote mining happens to originate in the evolution/creation debate:
The term quote mining originated in the creation-evolution controversy and is most common in that context, but there are some examples of it spreading to other fields.Quote mining is a pejorative term, and is not at all equivalent to quoting:
Quote mining is use of the fallacy of quoting out of context, repeatedly employing misquotation in an attempt to skew or contort the meaning and purpose of the original author regarding a controversial topic. The quote miner's purpose can be to make the author or speaker look incompetent or mistaken or to use an author or speaker's own words to undermine their argument.I don't need to quote mine to make my case. It's despicable. I would never think of doing it. So if I have, it's an honest mistake.
Quoting, on the other hand, I admit practicing in abundance. Best practice is to cite the source of the quotation, and I always do this by supplying a link to where I read the quote, even though it may not always be the original source. For example, when I quote Darwin, I will put a link to where I copied the text from, as in this quote by Charles Darwin:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.In this case I would like to add that this quote is originally from
Darwin, Charles (1859), On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1st ed.), London: John Murray, page 492.
For a real stinker of a quote mining example, watch the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. In that movie Ben Stein quotes Darwin as having said this.
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. Hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.The point he wants to make is that evolutionary theory inspired Nazism, and reading these words does admittedly make one think that Darwin would be its advocate. However, as can be readily seen if one follows the link to the Wikipedia page, words from the original quote have been omitted to distort what Darwin meant to say, but here they are in bold:
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.Ben Stein has omitted words and thereby twisted the meaning of Darwin's words to suggest quite the oposite of what he really meant to say, namely that taking care of our fellow humans is the pinnacle of human evolution, or something to that effect. The classic quote mining example.
Darwin follows with a paragraph where he explains that humans have the instinct to show great care toward the weak and helpless, and that it is an evil not to do so. Not exactly the stuff of Nazis, as Ben Stein would have you think.