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Chinese Knew North America More Than 4000 Years Ago!

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Author Topic: Chinese Knew North America More Than 4000 Years Ago!  (Read 2649 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 41646

« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2007, 06:55:31 am »

Indeed, many of the accepted statements in the humanities are inferences (or even beliefs) but are documented well enough that most people do not question them—or they are statements so obvious to common knowledge that they are almost never questioned.

This range of experience makes some facts look nearly relative. This is not a failure of data or verification. Natural scientists are faced with somewhat the same situation. They realize that it is impossible to describe, absolutely and completely, some physical states. The historian knows that a single interpretation of even the best data may be impossible.

But this does not mean chaos for either physics or history. Enough can be known to describe a rational, dependable, predictable world for life as we know it. Definitions are easy. If one remembers the meaning of a red traffic light, one will probably not be flattened by a truck facing the green. Historic facts are not quite like definitions, of course. But if one has a knowledge of past happenings, current consensus, and story varieties; if one has a knowledge of one’s neighbors; and if one has a good view of what is in one’s own head—life will be understandable, not repetitious, less dangerous, and more interesting.

One should be able to make some sort of judgment of evidence and consider how “facts” are supported. History may not repeat itself totally in a useful or predictable way, yet people can get along in the world a lot better if they have a knowledge of facts in the humanities and can judge those facts. Without them, people can never even hope to understand their own age and themselves. Without knowing how to consider evidence, people can easily be fooled by fast talkers. Interpretation and judgment are questions of efficiency, and the importance is direct.

A person must consider and judge evidence—not just swallow statements—in order to live a productive and creative life.

Everyday life is the greatest of the humanities. Interpretation is difficult but important. “Those immigrants are taking our jobs,” “you can’t trust anyone with green skin,” “Hwui Shan walked across Texas,” “anyone can be a success.” Are these facts or interpretations of other data? Are these beliefs? Do they make any difference?

If they do make a difference, how can the evidence be judged?

The structure about the way one thinks of everyday questions is, happily, the same as deciding whether an explorer by the name of Hwui Shan walked through North America fifteen centuries ago. Whether he did or not might make no difference; the ability to examine such a statement can be the most important talent a person can have.

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