Posted Oct 19, 2016 at 19:09. Revised Aug 14, 2019 at 08:17.
J.D. Nobody recalls a history professor from his college years who delighted in giving his students an examination question challenging them to “compare and contrast” a certain leader or event to another leader or event. It was a good way to get his students to think about both the similarities and the differences in the ways situations interconnected and subsequently affected later developments. The professor’s approach to attaching meanings to events started with asking each student to determine what the facts were and then to form opinions about how the events interrelated with each other and sometimes produced unexpected consequences.
In and of itself, starting with facts and forming conclusions and opinions based on them contrasts with the approach used in the current politically correct methodology, wherein feelings trump thinking, and facts and opinions are essentially the same things. This muddying of the water between facts and opinions is important to understanding how things are unfolding today. Today, comparing and contrasting two different events challenges a person’s ability to think clearly. The more complex the world becomes, the more people are inclined to deal with it by embracing an oversimplified simplicity that either dismisses or equates facts and logic.
According to the Bible, Joshua was the appointed successor to Moses and the commander of the Israeli army. He was ordered by God to capture the fortified city of Jericho using some rather strange tactics. Joshua sent spies into the city, who made contact with the town prostitute and recruited her help for the upcoming battle. She agreed to help if the Israelis agreed to spare her life when the battle was over.
Each day for a week the Israeli army marched around the walls of Jericho three times, sounding a trumpet and making no threatening actions toward the city. At the end of this period of crazy behavior, Joshua ordered the attack on the city. The attack succeeded and Joshua ordered everyone in the city killed, except for the city prostitute.
Now is the time for the “compare and contrast” test mentioned earlier. J.D. Nobody proposes that the reader compare and contrast Donald Trump’s presidential campaign craziness to the craziness of Joshua at the battle of Jericho. There is no “correct answer” to this “compare and contrast” test question. Be aware that in looking for similarities and differences there is a great opportunity for the reader to conflate fact and opinion.
Now you can honestly say Nobody told me.
Copyright © 2016-2019 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.
Posted Oct 19, 2016 at 19:09. Revised Aug 14, 2019 at 08:17. –> Retrieved Aug 25, 2019 at 00:30.
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