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    Re: The shipwreck of Admiral Shovell
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Sep 04, 05:29 -0400

    George, you wrote:
    "So what Sobel did, unforgivably, was to relate such an implausible legend
    as a fact."
    
    UNFORGIVABLY. lol. IMPLAUSIBLE lol. You do enjoy hyperbole, George. But
    let's get back to facts
    
    How do you declare it all so implausible? How do you KNOW? Merely because
    Gould said "yeah, right, i don't buy it" albeit, in Latin? The whole point
    that I was getting at last week was how do we KNOW what is fact and what is
    not in the terrible tale of the shipwrecks on the Scillies in 1707. You
    weren't there (were you?). I wasn't there. Dava Sobel wasn't there. Hell,
    Rupert Gould wasn't there...! So what really happened. It's well worth
    exploring considering that the 300th anniversary is coming up so soon...
    
    George, I think your biggest problem with the whole "back story" (what I
    have recently called the social side of the legend) is that you personally
    simply had never encountered it before you read Sobel's book. It was, as I
    have said, very commonly told just the way she described it in the 1970s and
    80s and probably before. Can you, George, cite examples of historians of
    science, or historians of astronomy, or nautical astronomy, or whatever (!)
    who told the story much as Sobel did, or do you confirm my suspicion that
    the entire 'social side' of the thing was new to you before you read
    "Longitude"?
    
    The next step, of course, after we have enumerated the legendary details, is
    to consider how one would actually verify or falsify the components of the
    legend of the shipwreck of Admiral Shovell. There is, in fact, a process for
    dealing with legends and the underlying facts. This process has been applied
    to the Shovell story... a suprisingly long time ago [anyone?? it is (some of
    it) on google books...]
    
     -FER
    
    
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