Nous -'knack' in scouse? Nous: Greek 'mind' some use? Nous: we -French- oui? Oooh. Life -don't talk to me about life: me with this pain down the diodes in my left side ... Here's not-nearly-random-enough loggings of what feeds my promiscuous curiosity. Your pay-off is some useful[?] links and provocative thoughts but also more insight than you may care on my thought-processes.

17 January 2013

Sandy Hook 'truthers' and historical truth

What a fascinating article. It's actually about conspiracy theorists claiming that the Sandy Hook shootings were a government staged 'unreal' event -actors were employed and lies are being told. I presume that the plot is to remove guns from the toters.
its here: Sandy Hook 'truthers' and the paranoid quest for meaning where there is none:
point is that when you freeze any moment of history, then analyse it in extreme detail, you'll always find numerous things that "don't add up". Every moment in history is full of them; it's just that most moments in history are mundane, and therefore go un-analysed. And "if you have any fact which you think is really sinister … hey, forget it, man," Tink Thompson, a private detective who investigated the case, tells Morris. "Because you can never, on your own, think up all the non-sinister, perfectly valid explanations for that fact."
I couldn't help thinking of Biblical Studies ... This article might be worth keep handy when discussing issues of historical truth, method and evidence.

That last comment from Tink Thompson is important and shows the place of imagination informed by cultural and general knowledge. It's also why I find Sherlock Holmes really annoying: the unbelievable part of Holmes's 'deductions' is not that he makes shrewd judgements about what is likely (and that is what a lot of is involved in his chains of reasoning as portrayed in the stories) but that he is always right when so many things could be otherwise -it is possible to think up other perfectly valid and probably equally likely explanations or rationales.

Similarly, quite a lot of Biblical criticism relating to the gospels (for example) while seeming to be straightforward applications of knowledge about background, culture etc are just one particular reading based on an inevitably partial understanding of what might have been occurring. That's not to say they aren't valuable or that I find some relatively convincing, but it is to say that we should be ever mindful of the possibility that a further piece of insight or knowledge could make some difference.

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