Will Editorial - DC Gun Ban - Possible coming fight - Page 2

Will Editorial - DC Gun Ban - Possible coming fight

This is a discussion on Will Editorial - DC Gun Ban - Possible coming fight within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Originally Posted by falcon1 ...history was an attempt to find the truth , not about promoting a cause. Frankly, this is a common misconception. I'm ...

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Thread: Will Editorial - DC Gun Ban - Possible coming fight

  1. #16
    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon1
    ...history was an attempt to find the truth, not about promoting a cause.
    Frankly, this is a common misconception. I'm working on a masters in history right now and one thing I have learned quite unequivocally is that there is no such thing as a "true" history. All histories are written for a reason, and all are influenced by the biases of the historian. It is not possible to write a history that is simply and completely "true," because no one would ever be able to find and report every, single, relevant fact from every, single, applicable perspective about any historical event.

    Take the American Revolution. The "traditional" histories report on the major battles (Bunker Hill, New York, Yorktown, etc.) and the actions and decisions of the major players (Washington, Howe, etc.). Even just a history like this can run to many volumes. But what about the minor battles? What about the experiences of the private on the lines? What about the experiences of the women back home? Add in these details and you're going to have a history that takes decades to read, let alone write, and you STILL haven't got the whole, "true" story. What about the attitudes and experiences of the slaves? What about the British parliament? What about the British citizens? What about how the war affected the citizens of Canada? Now you've got a history that takes several lifetimes to read, and dozens of times longer to write and yet you still haven't dug out the whole "truth!" And still through all of this, whatever is written will ALWAYS be affected by the biases of the writer.

    Of course, in the case of Bellesiles, he is guilty of fabricating data and that is simple fraud. That's a whole different category of lie. The point, though, is that no history is ever just "the truth," plain, complete, and unvarnished. Such a complete and unbiased "true" history has never been written because it cannot be written.


  2. #17
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    denverd0n, I think most of us realize that the idea of complete truth is ephemeral at best, and impossible most of the time. When I use "truth" I mean it to be the best "truth" we can come up with in a manageable form; truth that is based on the most complete evidence available, and covers – as best as can be accomplished – all perspectives. That being said, much of history can be simply true. President Kennedy was shot on November 22nd, 1963. We may never know every single event that surrounded this event, but the event itself is undeniable.

    Bellesiles lied not due to a lack of facts, but due to a lack of facts that supported his position, and that, under any definition, is NOT the truth.

    Good luck with your Masters!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  3. #18
    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR
    denverd0n, I think most of us realize that the idea of complete truth is ephemeral at best...
    I don't know. Obviously you understand that, but I'm not so sure about "most."

    I talk to a lot of people who seem to be really confused by the concept that there are different historiographical schools, with different approaches to researching and writing history. They think writing a history should be easy: you find out what happened and write it down. Simple! You're done!

    Except, of course, it is not anywhere NEAR that simple.

    Again, though, of course, the issue with Bellesiles is that he violated scholarly ethics in a whole variety of ways. This is a completely different issue than the difficulties related to presenting a clear, complete, and "true" picture in the (ethical) writing of a history.
    Last edited by denverd0n; March 22nd, 2007 at 12:18 PM.

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    denver0n...

    Quote Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
    Frankly, this is a common misconception. I'm working on a masters in history right now and one thing I have learned quite unequivocally is that there is no such thing as a "true" history. All histories are written for a reason, and all are influenced by the biases of the historian. It is not possible to write a history that is simply and completely "true," because no one would ever be able to find and report every, single, relevant fact from every, single, applicable perspective about any historical event.
    I understand what you're saying (having worked on a Master's in history myself--don't do what I did and let family obligations sidetrack you, BTW!!), and I agree with you, but I do stand by my statement (which was easily misconstrued, but I would assert not a misconception )...one who writes "history" still must be searching for and attempting to find truth on some level as one understands it. One cannot make up "facts" from whole cloth and then use them to support a cause. I apologize for not stating my point more clearly.

  5. #20
    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon1
    I apologize for not stating my point more clearly.
    No need to apologize. It's just something I'm kind of deep into right now and so I felt the need to clarify. I'm probably just being obsessive.

    A year ago I was one of those who thought history was easy: find out what happened, write it down, you're done!

    My how naive I now realize that I was!

    And yet one more time, just in case anyone missed it, the kind of fraud that Bellesiles committed is a whole different category.

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