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Thread: Bad History?

  1. #1
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    Bad History?

    I went through the list of links to 'bad this and that' sites and did not see one for Bad History. Is there such a website?

    If not, I may have to do something about that... starting with a refutation of the assertion that Columbus was the first person to propose that the world was round...

  2. #2
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    That mysterious quote from the Bible (I think it's Job), about the Earth "suspended in nothingness", seems to me ample proof that our ancient ancestors knew our planet was a sphere...(if nothing much else!).

    I have read that the "flat earth conspiracy" was perpetuated by the Roman Church, but that most people laughed at the idea AT THE TIME.

    There's an awful lot of Bad History around... Take your pick!

  3. #3
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    Here's a few more to add to your 'Bad History' website:
    - Columbus 'discovered America'
    - People who lived in the Paleo/Meso/Neolithic were stupid savages
    - and they fought with dinosaurs
    (and their womenfolk looked like Raquel Welch)

    Tim Lambert explodes a few more on his website here.
    http://www.localhistories.org/histmyth.html

  4. #4
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by irony
    I went through the list of links to 'bad this and that' sites and did not see one for Bad History. Is there such a website?
    Irony, where have you been? It's nice to see you back!

    Quote Originally Posted by irony
    If not, I may have to do something about that... starting with a refutation of the assertion that Columbus was the first person to propose that the world was round...
    For a 'Bad History' forum, I suggest The Hall of Ma'at's message board. However, you may get a quicker answer to you question at the Ethical Atheist's e-book about the myth of the flat Earth.
    Last edited by Disinfo Agent; 2005-Sep-26 at 03:18 PM. Reason: to post better link.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshireman
    - Columbus 'discovered America'
    He did - he just wasn't the first to do so!

    People who lived in the Paleo/Meso/Neolithic were stupid savages
    I'm sure some of them were!

    and they fought with dinosaurs
    Well, they did hunt birds ...

    (and their womenfolk looked like Raquel Welch)
    Why not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar
    I have read that the "flat earth conspiracy" was perpetuated by the Roman Church, but that most people laughed at the idea AT THE TIME.

    There's an awful lot of Bad History around... Take your pick!
    I would start with that one. I'm not sure it was ever a doctrine. Where did you read it? Was it a book, or a webpage?

    I have a question related to Bad History: approx. how many face-to-face fast-draw duels were there in the American West? Or for that matter, anywhere. I mean, potentially mortal ones, not the ones that are replayed every summer night in the town square.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    I have a question related to Bad History: approx. how many face-to-face fast-draw duels were there in the American West? Or for that matter, anywhere. I mean, potentially mortal ones, not the ones that are replayed every summer night in the town square.
    Considering how much the American West was already being romanticized and dime noveled to death even at the time I wonder if it would be possible to ever accurately answer that one.

    My favorite is all these movies where you see Vikings with the traditional two horns sticking out of their helmet. Apparently the Norse never wore such a thing.

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    At the time of the discovery of the 'New World' the Catholic Church supported a position based on the world view of Aristotle which featured a spherical earth at the center of the universe.

    The idea that Columbus sought to prove the Earth was round was presented in a poem by Washington Irving 130 years later!!!

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    Re: Bad History?

    Quote Originally Posted by Selenite
    Considering how much the American West was already being romanticized and dime noveled to death even at the time I wonder if it would be possible to ever accurately answer that one.

    My favorite is all these movies where you see Vikings with the traditional two horns sticking out of their helmet. Apparently the Norse never wore such a thing.
    You're right. The Vikings (Norsemen) didn't have two horns sticking out of their helmets.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maksutov
    You're right. The Vikings (Norsemen) didn't have two horns sticking out of their helmets.
    Wikipedia agrees. Apparantly connecting Vikings with horned helmets started around the 19th century.

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    A problem with talking about which types of helmet where used by the vikings is that there are no helmets found from the viking age, so people have to extrapolate from earlier examples and descriptions which may be highly unreliable.
    The most realistic opinion is that there is not enough evidence either way to say anything definite.
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  12. #12
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    Here's a interesting site which tries to get to the bottom of how the pronged-horn Viking image got started. Apparently Wagner gets some of the blame. :-)

    http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mhornedhelmet.html

    Another fun piece of bad history is the popular belief that the Romans always used slaves in their rowing galleys. That one we can probably blame on Ben-Hur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uranut
    At the time of the discovery of the 'New World' the Catholic Church supported a position based on the world view of Aristotle which featured a spherical earth at the center of the universe.

    The idea that Columbus sought to prove the Earth was round was presented in a poem by Washington Irving 130 years later!!!
    A poem? 130 years later? 130 years later than 1492? Washington Irving wasn't born until 1783.

  14. #14
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    Ha ha.

    Bad History, it is everywhere!


    Seriously, IMO there is evidence for spherical geometry found in the mesopotamian astronomical texts. Afterall, this is where not only the greeks gained much knowledge of the heavens, but also the hebrews (hence the reference in the OT).

    Oh, and the "horned helmet" thing can likewise be traced to mesopotamia; the "gods" were ofted depicted with horned helmets.
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    A poem? 130 years later? 130 years later than 1492? Washington Irving wasn't born until 1783.
    You are quite correct. I misread a footnote from 'Coming of Age in the Milky Way' by Timothy Ferris:

    "The myth that Columbus was out to prove the world was round was invented 130 years after the fact, and subsequently was popularized by Washington Irving."

    Ooops!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    I have a question related to Bad History: approx. how many face-to-face fast-draw duels were there in the American West? Or for that matter, anywhere. I mean, potentially mortal ones, not the ones that are replayed every summer night in the town square.
    according to Wyatt Earp, hardly any. he said that being a fast draw wasn't important, either, and that a man who didn't take time to aim was generally dead pretty fast.
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    Article from The Straight Dope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Article from The Straight Dope.
    Thanks Wolverine, that pretty much answers my question. I wonder how I missed that column?

    One comment from there seems odd though: "Scoffers then and since attacked the story's credibility, in part due to the seeming unlikelihood of hitting a man-sized target with a pistol at 50 yards in 1865" That doesn't seem at all impossible to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    Thanks Wolverine, that pretty much answers my question. I wonder how I missed that column?

    One comment from there seems odd though: "Scoffers then and since attacked the story's credibility, in part due to the seeming unlikelihood of hitting a man-sized target with a pistol at 50 yards in 1865" That doesn't seem at all impossible to me.
    Next time you're in 1865 you'll have to try it.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  20. #20
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    Hmm...right. Last time I had a 2017 Colt with me, so maybe that's biasing my perception.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    One comment from there seems odd though: "Scoffers then and since attacked the story's credibility, in part due to the seeming unlikelihood of hitting a man-sized target with a pistol at 50 yards in 1865" That doesn't seem at all impossible to me.
    Given the nature of handguns commonly used at that time (e.g. cap-and-ball), that seems a very resonable statement. I enjoy shooting single-action revolvers and own a modern replica myself, which is modeled after the Colt SAA (likely what most folks envision as "the" old west sidearm, which wasn't introduced until 1873). Lots of practice is required to regularly post that sort of accuracy at 150' firing one-handed under ordinary target-shooting conditions with modern handguns, let alone the equipment of the day during an armed confrontation.

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    The "Conquest of Mexico" by Cortez was a misunderstanding in history books for hundreds of years.

    All he did was conquer the Aztec island in the lake, about 5 square miles. The Spanish called the Aztecs the "Mexica" Indians and their Island was called "Mexico". All he did was conquer the island, not the whole land mass of what we know as modern Mexico.

    Also, he didn't do it with just a few hundred Spanish mercenaries. He had the help of 30,000 or so other Indians who hated the fascistic Aztecs. These Indians and millions of others saw Cortez as a hero, not a villain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5
    The Spanish called the Aztecs the "Mexica" Indians and their Island was called "Mexico".
    Niptick: I believe the word "Mexico" is from a Native American language (I don't know whether it's the language of the Aztecs or not).

    Edit: In fact the Wikipedia has the following:

    In Nahuatl, the native language of the Aztec, "Azteca" means "someone who comes from Aztlán", a mythical place in northern Mexico. However, the Aztec referred to themselves as Mexica [...] or Tenochca and Tlatelolca according their city of origin. Their use of the word azteca was like the modern use of Latin American, or Anglo-saxon: a broad term that does not refer to a specific culture.
    I agree with most of what you said in your post, Sam. However, if the belligerance and the human sacrifices of the Aztecs were brutal, the system with which the Spaniards replaced the Aztec Empire, with its Inquisition burnings and its racism, was also brutal.
    Last edited by Disinfo Agent; 2005-Sep-29 at 02:20 PM. Reason: to add Wikipedia quote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine
    Given the nature of handguns commonly used at that time (e.g. cap-and-ball), that seems a very resonable statement. I enjoy shooting single-action revolvers and own a modern replica myself, which is modeled after the Colt SAA (likely what most folks envision as "the" old west sidearm, which wasn't introduced until 1873). Lots of practice is required to regularly post that sort of accuracy at 150' firing one-handed under ordinary target-shooting conditions with modern handguns, let alone the equipment of the day during an armed confrontation.
    O sure, I understand that, I was just saying it wouldn't be impossible. The story doesn't say that they did it over and over, right?

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    I think the story of "racism" in Latin America is not accurate in modern history books. The Spanish freely inter-married with the Indians and formed the totally new "race" that today we call "Hispanics" or "Latinos", and there are a few hundred million of them in Latin America and the US today. Only a few of the Spanish families refused to mix with the Indians.

    When Cortez landed on the coast of Yucatan in 1519, he found Spanish sailors who had already inter-married with the local Indians. These were guys from shipwrecks and maybe some deserters from earlier voyages.

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    Intermarriage does not imply equality, though. Wherever European colonists arrived, they eventually imposed some sort of social hierarchy based on colour and/or race, with them predictably at the top, and usually with 'pure' African slaves at the bottom of the scale.

    And one more comment:
    The Spanish freely inter-married with the Indians and formed the totally new "race" that today we call "Hispanics" or "Latinos", and there are a few hundred million of them in Latin America and the US today.
    To the North, there was no intermarriage between 'races' because intermarriage was usually outlawed by the British, who used a different colonial strategy than the Iberians. However, banning marriage is not the same as banning racial mixing. There was racial mixing all across the Americas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Intermarriage does not imply equality, though. Wherever European colonists arrived, they eventually imposed some sort of social hierarchy based on colour and/or race, with them predictably at the top, and usually with 'pure' African slaves at the bottom of the scale.

    And one more comment:
    To the North, there was no intermarriage between 'races' because intermarriage was usually outlawed by the British, who used a different colonial strategy than the Iberians. However, banning marriage is not the same as banning racial mixing. There was racial mixing all across the Americas.
    "To the North"?? Lol, I live in the Del Norté area. The Spanish North was the largest territory that later became part of the US, and it was Spanish/Indian from the beginning. The "British" controlled only 13 small dinky little colonies along the East Coast. They didn’t tell us what to do out here in Del Norté, nor do they today. Lol. The governor of my state was born in Mexico City. Most of his relatives live there today.

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    Indeed, a large portion of the U.S. was initially colonised by Spain -- which really reinforces my point, doesn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Indeed, a large portion of the U.S. was initially colonised by Spain -- which really reinforces my point, doesn't it?
    No, not at all.

    It took the English some time to get out to the West. My ancestors married Indians in Kentucky in the middle of the 19th Century, during the Westward migration.

    As the English moved West, they intermarried with Indians and French, and then with Spanish. The French and Spanish intermarried with the Indians. There are "Cajun Indian" tribes down in South Louisiana right now.

    A little known fact of history is that the big far-West migration from the East didn't get started until the invention of the steamboat, around the 1830s-'40s, and then covered wagons from the East could be easily transported across the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Before then, it was difficult to move a covered wagon across the big rivers.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1
    O sure, I understand that, I was just saying it wouldn't be impossible. The story doesn't say that they did it over and over, right?
    Right. I'm not saying it's impossible, either.

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