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Quality of Academic research

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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Mar 2010 at 05:09
Hello to you all
 
A while ago I went to a book fair searching for books about history and particularly the history of Egypt. I found a book authored by a uni history professor about the French campaign of 1798. I said to myself "great!" but as I began to read the book's intro and brows its content I found that it was filled with Islamist BS on how this was a crusade and how Napoleon was doing the Pope's bidding with help of Freemasons etc. I wasn't shocked by the crap I read, I was actually saddened by it. When I read books written about the crusades or specific periods of Islamic history that were written by academicians in the 1920s up through the 1950s I find little if nothing of this crap.
 
I mean those authors really do their homeworks and at the end of the book usually there are tens of references in 4 or even 5 languages and writing crap like the above will end a guys career. But the woman who wrote the book above didn't even mention a single real history book in her references other than crap written by ideologues like her.
 
This phenomenon of writing ideological crap inseated of sound Academic research by Academicians isn't new. It existed before and still exist but what really worries me is its spread across the world. People who have academic credentials, are members of Academic institutions and are supposed to produce sound Academic research are doing the exact opposite, they produce nothing but crap filled with pathalogical hate and little truth.
 
Now Academia has its own solution for such a problem in the form of Academic journals. But these are hard to get for the general public who prefer to buy a book that comprehensively deals with a certain subject.
 
So do you think this is a problem worth worrying about?
 
Al-Jassas
 
 
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Parnell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Mar 2010 at 12:54
Nope. Hucksters are easily found out.
 
As for these books written in the 1920s etc., I can't say I agree entirely. I remember reading an introduction to William Of Tyre's history of the Latin kingdom of Jersusalem last year which was written in the 1930s or 40s. The level of scholarship was outstanding and displayed a pedantic mastery over details. Considering nothing was known about William of Tyre until the 60s (When I think they discovered a long letter from him in the papal archives) the scholars worked entirely by conjecture and guesswork. And they were almost completely right. If one example is needed to advance the argument that historical scholarship can be considered a science, that introduction is it.


Edited by Parnell - 08 Mar 2010 at 12:55
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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Mar 2010 at 15:36

Hello Parnell

 
The 20s-50s situation is relating to the Arab world specifically. Back then the Arab states were semi-democratic with quite substantial freedoms. Universities were quite elitist in their admission process yet many people of the lower classes managed to reached the highest level of Academia.
 
Al-Jassas
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Zagros View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Mar 2010 at 16:08
Well for an individual any less discerning than yourself, Al Jassas, that book is the truth of the matter and adds fuel to the fire of hostility and intolerance.  Neo-Con aligned publications in recent years here in the West are just as lacking in substance.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gruvawn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2010 at 01:53
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Neo-Con aligned publications in recent years here in the West are just as lacking in substance.


 yes i believe they are, just like progressive/socialist publications.

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Well for an individual any less discerning than yourself, Al Jassas, that book is the truth of the matter and adds fuel to the fire of hostility and intolerance.


 as an autodidact and not a classically educated man (which i'm sure you've all figured out by now considering the strange mixture of profound and wacky things i post), i fall back on the time honored practice of not really believing anything i read. but the "average" person isn't educated and isn't really interested in it. they are perfectly content to toe the party line.

 take american history for instance. how can i find a book that isn't biased in some way? there's no such thing anymore if there ever was one. i end up getting one book that leans left and one that leans to the right, because neither side is going to tell me the things that make them look bad and both are going to point out anything that does make the other side look bad in some way. so i read them both and try to work out the middle which is where the truth is most likely to be found.

 the disagreements aren't just political. look at physiology and medicine. the "scientific" side of the argument says herbs are bunk (obviously forgetting where aspirin and penicillin came from, and also failing to read their own research i.e the german commission e monographs), and homeopaths that say that chemicals are poison (forgetting that the constituents of an herb are basically "chemicals").

 those of us regular people who actually try to learn are constantly bombarded with bs. look at the global warming issue. the public is divided over this and everyone holds strong opinions about something they may never understand because the scientific community not only disagrees within it's own sphere, but one side may claim there isn't any global warming and the other overstates it's case to get funding and grants then gets caught and it all gets clouded in rhetoric. the average person doesn't even know who the ICC is yet both sides hold to their beliefs almost as an article of faith!
 
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Nope. Hucksters are easily found out.


 what i'm getting at, is that the "average person doesn't even think to question half of what they hear as long as it comes from "their own side". sure the academicians have the where with all to find out where the information is coming from and how well research was done, but the man on the street doesn't and you can't put the genie back in the bottle. after public opinion on a given issue has been swayed it almost takes an act of God to turn it around. look at the way physicists have to guard discoveries from the media to a certain extent because if they don't some reporter is gonna come along and write an article based on his/her misunderstanding of the subject and lead the general public to false conclusions.


Edited by gruvawn - 09 Mar 2010 at 01:54
don't believe everything you think. : )
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Parnell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2010 at 14:37
Not to sound elitist, but the man on the street doesn't tend to read. I wouldn't worry so much about that.
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2010 at 15:21
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Not to sound elitist, but the man on the street doesn't tend to read. I wouldn't worry so much about that.


Yes, they go by word of mouth, primarily.  Hence soundbites and rhetoric whether based on reality or otherwise can go a long way, again the case of the Neo-Cons and cronies was built largely from the pedestool by the likes of Bush, Blair and Dumsfeld.


Edited by Zagros - 09 Mar 2010 at 15:24
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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