Question what you read

Having a questioning mind is a good quality to have.

You sometimes need to question every link in the chain to work out the authentic from the false.

You sometimes need to question every link in the chain to work out the authentic from the false.

The Reddit news feeds allows me to see at a glance what is going on in the world, yesterday there was a report about the discovery of pyramids in the Antarctic. It would be history-changing if this discovery was true, though I questioned and dug deeper.  Every source with the pyramid story dealt with UFOs and lost civilisations, a red flag that the story was fictional.  The reports lacked substance, failing to mention names or organisations connected to the so-called scientific expedition.  No mainstream media reported the discovery.  My questioning revealed a potential fraud.

As a historian I will question everything I read, plus all my sources, as I delve deep to the authentic reality.  Getting to the truth when it comes to learning about my ancestors is important to me.  Edward Williams was an important expert on Welsh literature in his time, but he created forgeries, so I dismiss everything related to him as a useless source. Geoffrey of Monmouth, used in his work real sources which he added to with fictional narrative, I use him as a source of context against other sources.  Julius Caesar is a useful source of first-hand experience, as he directly dealt with the Celts and Druids; I take into account Caesar’s bias to impress the Roman citizens.

Even a credible academic source makes mistakes, but you need to know your subject to see it.  The Colchester archaeologists concluded that a series of spectacular Celtic graves they found in Colchester was once a farmstead converted to grave site based upon a cooking area they found; I rejected the conclusion, as many ancient Celtic funerary sites contain cooking areas for feasts to commemorate the deceased.

Question everything.  Sources often are false, error or prejudiced.

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10 responses to “Question what you read

  1. And the ease with which we can trawl the (virtual) world now makes authentication of a source doubly important.

  2. I always found that in the newspaper, the two column inch articles on the inner pages tend to verify or disprove the large headline stories which are usually one part fact, one part opinion, and one part spin.

    I don’t yet know how to trust the TV media — all emotion, little substance.

  3. The first time I was pointed in the direction of questioning what I read was in high school. My history teacher asked us one day if there was anything wrong with a picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware in our textbook. None of us had any idea what he meant. The picture showed Washington standing at the front of a boat with a crew of men, all white. My teacher pointed out women, children and even black persons helped and fought along side him but that it was politically incorrect to show this side of history to students. He taught me the most important thing I ever learned in school, as you can tell I’ve remembered this in detail more than 30 years later.

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