GDG- Killing Lincoln

Bob Velke bob at
Sun Jan 15 21:30:28 CST 2012

On 1/15/2012 8:58 PM, CWMHTours at wrote:
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> Is there a difference between evidence and facts?

ROFL.  Only in the sense that they are completely different things.

> Two people can witness the same traffic accident and give  different
> stories of it.  The different stories in no way alters the events  of the
> accident.

And 147 years later, how could you presume to know what are "the events 
of the accident" or whether some book that is written about it is 
accurate?  What could possible be your foundation - other than what you 
are told by those witnesses or other people?  That is evidence.  Those 
are not facts.

Looking at things in black and white as you do, you must admit that at 
least one of the witnesses is wrong since their stories are different. 
But since one can be wrong, can't both be wrong?  And if so, would you 
know that?  And now there's grey.

The facts are lost to time and the best that you can hope to do is to 
approximate them by the careful evaluation of available evidence.  Other 
people will do the same and they may or may not agree with your 
conclusions -- maybe because they have access to different evidence or 
because their standards of interpreting and evaluating the evidence are 
different than yours.

I've said that "Killing Lincoln" doesn't meet my personal standards of 
evidence.  I don't claim to know what happened but I do know that the 
book didn't change my mind about anything.  Recognizing that _every_ 
book is a collection of somebody else's conclusions, I am relieved of 
the burden of being offended when I don't agree with the author.  When 
that happens, I shrug my shoulders, smile, and move on, still able to be 
entertained by a good story -- and appreciating it for whatever degree 
to which it attracts new people to the subject matter.  I have faith in 
their ability to evaluate the evidence too.

Assuming you've read it, you're entitled to your conclusions about the 
book too.  But to defend your criticisms on the grounds that you are 
blessed with access to the _facts_ is ridiculous.


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