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    Re: Bauer's book, was Re: Newton and Halley
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Dec 02, 22:48 -0500

    Michael Daly writes:
    "This is entirely true, unfortunately.  Many writers (not necessarily
    "serious" historians) simply repeat the same old saws and "facts" that
    everyone "knows".  Hence the influence that Sobel has on everyone
    assuming that the chronometer is more important than lunars, or that the
    legends about Shovell (hanging a man for disputing the navigators'
    positions, having his ring stolen) etc, are true."
    Well, you seem aware, at least, that Sobel did not invent any of this story,
    but like many armchair revisionists, you also appear to assume that the
    whole Shovell story must be false. If detail A is really Z, then black must
    be white, heads must be tails, up must be down, and everything said to be
    true must be false. That's the risk of knee-jerk revisionism. And it's not
    what "serious historians" do either (actually, serious historians do this
    all the time, too, since the category is completely undefined  --one
    person's 'serious historian' is frequently another's 'hack historian'). The
    real question is how do we KNOW that one detail is true and another false?
    How do we deal with a legend?
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