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(12/15/01 8:29 pm)
The Bellesiles Affair
A brief overview: Emory University history professor Michael Bellesiles recently published a book by the name of _Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture_ which gives a revisionist view of whether gun ownership in early US history was as widespread as previously believed. It was hailed as the most important book in recent times to bludgeon the RKBA crowd and it won the Bancroft Prize for History. He seemingly did methodical research using probate, criminal, military and commercial records to buttress his claim that gun ownership during the period was uncommon, that militias were totally ineffective, and that gun ownership essentially emergerged after the Civil War. Now there seems to be some arguments in academic circles that he left whole phrases out of quoted texts, misinterpreted records, his statistical analysis is impossible, and his metholodgy is faulty. Others are not quite as restrained calling the book intentially fraudulent and Emory Univerisity recently demanded that he respond to his critics.

Has anyone been following this? Is this evidence that there is an actually honest academic debate to be had or is Bellesiles just another Duranty to be occluded from public sight? Here's some of the arguments against him and his response (very few groups are coming to his defense): [List of relevant links] [PDF Format] [PDF Format and more in depth than the previous one] [Bellesiles response per Emory Univesity demand]

(12/16/01 9:11 am)
Re: The Bellesiles Affair
Haven't been following it closely, but it seems he's guilty. The New York Times had an article on the situation recently. They started the article off by saying he liked skeet shooting, owned several guns, and got death threats as a result of publishing the book. They weren't able to suggest any explanation but fraud though.

There have been several instances in recent years of gross mendacity on the part of prestigious academics intervening in public affairs, for example the historians' brief submitted to the Supreme Court on the issue of abortion and Martha Nussbaum's perjury in the Colorado Proposition 2 litigation. (I link to materials on the Nussbaum perjury on my page on sexual morality,

I don't know of a summary of the situation, although Chronicles had something about academic fraud several years ago, prompted among other things I think by Martin Luther King's habitual gross plagarism.

Jim Kalb and

Registered User
(12/20/01 9:26 pm)
Re: The Bellesiles Affair
Another problem is the cult of personality surrounding some low grade intellectuals like Noam Chomsky (bizarre) and Mumia Abu-Jamal (really creepy and bizarre). I'm not really able to explain how they've been able to get traction with the left-wing crowd other than telling people what they want to hear. Whatever they say can't be trusted or taken seriously by anyone with their critical thinking skills intact. Chomsky's arguments range from the outrageous to the implausible. I thought his denial of the Khymer Rouge slaughter and the denial of the denial was a work of evil. Mumia simply latched on to a potential ticket off death row. People who wear "Free Mumia" t-shirts frighten me because they seem emotionally unstable. If you try to reason with them you're likely to be assaulted, spit on, jeered at or worse.

Edited by: JasonEubanks  at: 12/20/01 9:27:10 pm
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