Posted: Feb 27, 2010 10:59 am
by TimONeill
Monkey's Nephew wrote:Ok, one last try, then I'm (really) out for the night.

What you have is a handful of old documents that all seem to talk about the same character, but no other evidence.

Pretty much what we have for most figures in ancient history.

So say "what we have here is a handful of documents that seem to point to the existence of this character. We're going to run with the hypothesis that they're correct for now, and see where that takes us."

That's an eminently sensible thing to say. It's what we say about most such figures. So far so good ...

That would be a perfectly legitimate, and intellectually honest, way to carry out the job of a historian.

Quite. There's no good reason to doubt the indications he existed. That makes sense.

"This guy existed, and I'm going to go on believing that until you show me solid evidence to the contrary" is not so much.


Do you really not see that?

No, I don't. If we have references that indicate he existed, and there's no good reason to doubt them, then it's reasonable to accept he existed. You just said that. So where is this unwarranted scepticism coming from? What is its rational basis?

If nothing else, it ignores the established fact that an enormous proportion of all published work is fiction.

What? This is nonsense. You've suddenly decided that "an enormous proportion" of our evidence is "fiction"?! What the fuck? And "published work"? What?

Your whole argument has become bizarre. What the hell are you trying to say?