Recent Acrimony

Jesse S. Cook III (jcook@AWOD.COM)
Mon, 1 Jul 1996 12:00:55 -0400

owner-ane using -f
>Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 09:20:48 -0400
>From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amr@CS.Wayne.EDU>
>Subject: Recent Acrimony
>Precedence: bulk
>I have been staying off this, and other, lists and am
>only posting this because it does seem to me that there
>is a serious problem that I think I have the solution to.
>Many of us obviously are concerned with the flood of
>postings on this and other lists dealing with language,
>(pre>history, culture, and the like, which in our view
>do nothing but purvey blatant misinformation. At the
>same time, it is an enormous burden on one's time
>and energy to try to refute such things...But on the other hand
>it is not entirely satisfactory to do what I have done
><although I have an excuse, since I have been trying to
>recover from a long illness> and ignore the misinformation.
>For misinformation that is repeated often enough tends
>to become accepted as information, esp. in areas that
>are rather abstruse or poorly known...
>So, here is my suggestion: that those of us who consider
>ourselves to...know the literature on the subjects we
>speak about and to be competent to offer opinions on
>the subjects on which we do make it a habit to accompany
>our statements, whenever we make any, by very specific
>references to the standard sources. And if we propose
>something that is NOT standard...that we (a) make
>it very clear that this [is] a new idea, <b) cite the standard
>position and literature, and <c) give our reasons for
>the new proposal.
>If we all do this in our own postings, then I hope the
>difference between such postings and those of the
>many purveyors of misinformation, dogma, fantasy, and
>sci-fi will hopefully be apparent to all who read,
>and hopefully over time good information (embodied in
>good postings> will drive out bad <embodied in bad ones>.
>Or at least most participants in this and other lists
>will quickly learn to recognize the difference between
>the two kinds of postings--whatever the subject may be.
>And then we will no longer have to post long refutations
>of the bad stuff, because it will reveal itself as bad
>by its very form.
>I myself do not expect to be doing a lot of posting in
>any case, but when I do it will be on something I am
>working on or am curious about--and not about why a lot
>of the misinformation we have been reading IS misinformation.
>I do not presume to tell others what to do, but I would
>just say that for me it is a pity to see some very good
>people (you know who you are> spending their time refuting
>things which should not need refuting. I think that
>my proposed cure would involve a much smaller expenditure
>of time and effort, since all of us have the references
>etc. that I am suggesting we put into out own postings
>at our fingertips anyway.

Jesse S. Cook III E-Mail:
Post Office Box 40984 or
Charleston, SC 29485 USA

"Our attitude toward others is not determined by who *they* are;
it is determined by who *we* are."