Friday, January 20, 2012

Crack pottery and

I was somewhat startled recently to see that is promoting Immanuel Velikovsky. For those of you who are unfamiliar with crackpot astronomy, Immanual Velikovsky wrote books in the middle of the 20th century in which planets moved to different orbits and the events in the ancient world were supposed to be driven by these astrophysical events.

I do remember vaguely in commentary that Velikovsky was unfairly treated in his time. However, his ideas are just lunacy. I am not going to waste time refuting them by giving a lengthy explanation.

I think it is interesting is how this article and others on show what type of person the reader is.

Any regular reader of will also notice the various health articles of dubious merit. Such as this one.

In this article the reader is told that there is this miracle box that can cure arthritis, cancer, etc. but was suppressed by the FDA.

What these articles, Velikovsky and the medical articles, have in common is an anti-authoritarianism unhinged from reason. The elites, experts, those in charge are supposed to be covering up the truth or somehow wrong headed for fun and profit. It is an appeal to vanity since it supposes that the reader and the author are members of the select few who know the truth and are smarter than the elites, experts, and those in charge.

It is true that the scientific community and medical community have made mistakes in the past and I am sure will make mistakes in the future. Theories have been erroneously rejected in the past due to opinion rather than reason. Science is a human enterprise. However, because continental drift as a theory was rejected initially doesn't mean someone elses' theory that the earth is hollow is right. (Yes there is such a theory.)

However, if you believed the earth was hollow and most of your article was about claiming that the government paid astronomers and NASA were persecuting you, I think you would have a fairly good chance of getting published on

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Contributing chapter to a book to be published by Palgrave Macmillan

I contributed a chapter on the new and notorious Texas teaching standards for the Civil War and Reconstruction content in those standards for a book to be published by Palgrave Macmillan. The title is, "Politics and the History Curriculum: The Struggle over Standards in Texas and the Nation."

You can read about the book at this web page:

The book is being released June 19, 2012. It can be ordered in advance at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

My chapter is titled, "Neo-Confederate Ideology in the Texas History Standards."

You can download a flyer at this link:

With this chapter I hope to raise the issue of how the Civil War and Reconstruction is taught in our history classes in the schools and further influence on how these two topics are taught. It will also allow me to reach out to a new audience of the teachers of America.

One of the more interesting suggestions I made in the chapter is to teach the history of Cinco de Mayo as part of the history of the Civil War. As David Bautista-Hayes has shown in his academic articles and in his forthcoming book about Cinco de Mayo, it is an American holiday invented in California and an anti-Confederate holiday. Its history is interwoven as part of the history of the Civil War when the Civil War is viewed from a transnational perspective.

The book is titled, "Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition," and can be pre-ordered at:
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