Imagine a chain letter or a written urban legend that has been going around the world for over four decades and is still doing the rounds. It has transferred from paper to the electronic era and has now landed in my mailbox. It involves two US presidents and was created way back in those swinging sixties. What am I referring to? Yep, that infamous Lincoln/Kennedy comparison. (If you're not familiar with the claims, direct your webwatching activities to the snopes site; click on the blog title). The latter was shot dead and within a couple of weeks the comp sprouted from someones imagination and has been plaguing mankind ever since. I received it in the form of a word document. According to the file property it was created about two years ago. I managed to track the author down via the web because he left his digital fingerprints all over it. I imagine this is someone who is nearing the end of his professional career (born in 1944) or is already enjoying his pension. He probably has way too much time on his hands and thought it would be a barrel of laughs to translate the comparison, create this file and send it to all his friends and relatives and then pretend he was the one who had stumbled across these 'hard facts'.
Bleh. Poo with nobs on to you!
My heart bleeds for sceptics tackling all kinds of scientific and religious woo. But this is far worse. Don't get me started on history factuality! Getting rid of historic factual mistakes engrained in people's minds and education is far more tedious than 'fighting' new gobbledygook. To give just a few simple examples: I bet a lot of schools are still teaching that the pyramids in Egypt were built by slaves, emperor Nero burnt Rome, Van Eyck invented the oil painting technique, people in the Middle Ages thought the earth was flat, windmills were introduced to Europe upon the return of the first crusaders,...
Need I go on? The list is endless. Misinformation, misconception and misrepresentation just out of sheer sloppiness or without trying to enhance some hidden agenda are deplorable (not that I encourage that sort of thing, of course). Getting the historical facts right is important. Checking facts that are being handed down to you as being correct even more so.