The Screwfly Solution is a short story by Raccoona Sheldon, in which men all over the world start killing women because they feel a religious voice is telling them it is the right thing to do.

Somewhere in the story, the main character finds a note from a friend reading

Man’s religion and metaphysics are the voices of his glands (Schönweiser, 1878)

This has always intrigued me and I wonder if this is a fictional quote or not. I have never been able to find anything about a scientist named Schönweiser. Has he really existed and is this a true quote from a scientific piece of work?

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    I believe it to be fictional unless it's truly obscure. There's no other reference to that quote (in English or in German) other than from that story, nor are there any references to a philosopher of that name, other than from that story. – Valorum Mar 2 '17 at 17:56
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    What is the translation of Schönweiser? Beautifully wise? – Integration Mar 2 '17 at 18:04
  • Just in case you didn't know (though I guess you do), Raccoona Sheldon's actual name was Alice Sheldon, who also went by the more widely known pen-name of James Tiptree Jr., possibly one of the best Sci-Fi writers of the "New Wave" era. – Andres F. Mar 2 '17 at 23:39
  • BTW, you forgot to mention that the religious voice is actually the consequence of a physical effect. – dirkt Mar 3 '17 at 6:52
  • If we spell it "Schoenwieser' ( And ANALOG has been known to misspell such ), there was a Mennonite by that name, involved with the pro-German movement in America before the Second World War ( in here - mennonitehistorian.ca/19.3.MHSep93.pdf ). The dates don't quite match so it's not the same person. Nevertheless, a German name and a quote on metaphysics from that time are likely, so maybe we need to look in philosophy rather than science. – Covertwalrus Mar 23 '17 at 1:37

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