Thursday, April 29, 2021

A New Model of Deception

  I tell my history students to consult multiple sources about a topic.  

Not every source you find is necessarily reliable.  There are books and articles that make claims that are so tendentious (“expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one.”), and sometimes intentionally dishonest, that they should not be regarded as trustworthy sources. 

 At one time, “African-Americans invented the lightbulb” and “Whites were the result of genetic experiments by a black scientist that escaped the lab” were widely distributed.  Some public schools have taught these in the past to promote Black Pride, rather than teach about African-American scientists who actually did important science. 

 Today, the modern equivalent are books and articles that claim that Islamic contributions to Western Civilization are ignored by textbooks.  No Western Civ textbook that I have read or used fits that description.  (Islamic contributions to math and chemistry have long been recognized.)  Sometimes the claims are more extreme, claiming that much of Western science is Islamic in origin.

 Use at least five sources.  If a claim seems extraordinary search for articles or books about that claim, such as “Ibn al-Naf” “heliocentrism” and see if you find disagreeing articles.  Then try to figure out which is more likely true.

No comments:

Post a Comment