Subject: scholars and the propagandists From: "Yuri Kuchinsky"Click here to go one level up in the directory.
Date: 1997/10/11 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology The scholars and the propagandists. There's a big difference between a scholar and a propagandist. The scholar cares about the historical truth. The scholar wants to know how people lived in ancient past, and what they did, about their ancient cultures. S/he knows that in the area of ancient history, the hard truths are usually hard to locate. Usually the scholar has to work with probabilities and possibilities. Certainties are few. When trying to reconstruct distant events, mistakes can occur. So the scholar should know when to admit s/he may be wrong. The propagandist, OTOH, has an Agenda. For the propagandist, his/her cherished Agenda is more important that the historical truth. Often, the propagandist is trying to prove that something _did not happen_. What actually _did happen_ in the past is no big deal for the propagandist. Part of the job of the propagandist is to try to find mistakes in other people's work. It is very important for the propagandist to determine that some researcher is wrong about some things. It is part of the agenda to discredit researchers who threaten the all important Agenda, the preconceived ideas of the propagandist. So the propagandist will read a book in need of blacklisting and will focus on marginal issues, on the peripherals. When some mistake is found in the target research that needs to be discredited, these mistakes will be blown up out of proportion and beyond all recognition. The propagandist, the apologist of the received dogmas, never allows any doubt to emerge about his/her apologies. Building a balanced case? Forget it. "Everything I say is the only way it can be". "OTOH, my opponent can never be trusted about anything at all!" "Those *big mistakes* I found in there disqualify my opponent totally from serious consideration!" "Beware, everyone!" The propagandist positively revels in the footnotes and in obscure terminology. S/he can drag any kind of an exciting historical problem into the drudgery of classifications, labels, and nomenclature. This is the happy hunting ground for an apologist who needs to do the job s/he's supposed to do. The propagandist leaves intellectual poverty in his/her wake. Intellectual poverty is the true product of the propagandist. The propagandist will read a book full of magnificent insights and historical revelations, and will come up with 1% in it that may be wrong. This is a good day's work for the propagandist. The 99% valid material will completely escape the attention of this determined critic. How can such poverty emerge out of such wealth? Only the propagandist would know how... Of course the propagandist can also be a scholar, well-trained in how to conduct research. This is not so unusual. Even among the "Creationists" and other such apologists of various tired dogmas there are some adequately qualified scholars sporting all kinds of learned degrees. But a true scholar can never be a propagandist. Yuri. Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- http://www.io.org/~yuku Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away -=O=- Philip K. Dick _________________________________________________________________