A Reply to a Troll

Rook_Hawkins's picture

 

What I am not, apparently, is a historian.  There is no truth behind this jocularity, but there is a serious accusation that needs to be addressed.  In a recent thread, posted by somebody who exhibits a severe naivety to logical discourse, I have been called out, as it were.  In any case, this is a response, although concise as it may be, to the presupposition of this little nimrod (used in the Biblical sense, of course) for everything abrasive.
 

Three headers, or points, are situated throughout the post.  They are so called “What is Research?”, “What is a Historian?”, and “What is peer review?”.  In all three of these categories, the author has listed examples of the criteria that need to be met in order to be sufficiently considered an expert.  In my examination of the three topics, I have not found a single criterion that would somehow invalidate my position as a Historian.    

Under his “Research” category, he lists the need to be proficient at “several semitic languages, Koine Greek, and Latin. (sic!)”  I don’t know many scholars who hold so many proficiency certificates in all of those languages.  With the exception of Bart Ehrman, who is a textual critic (so his job is to specifically deal with all these languages), I can not think of many scholars who would fit this criteria.  Perhaps he meant that the historian needs to be proficient in some of these languages?  In any case, I am proficient in translating Koine Greek and Coptic.  I defer to other experts, as do many historians, in languages outside of their focus.  I would also agree with his conclusion that a broad understanding of archaeological methodologies is required, and anybody who has taken my online course can verify that I have always made sure they understood its importance.  Any cursory reading of the articles I write will validate this further. 

This person, who continues to show his ignorance, asks “What is a Historian?” By which he quotes from wikipedia (there are other, more valid sources for information and definitions; an Oxford Dictionary would hold more weight here), that an expert historian should have a “thorough and broad understanding” of a period some 1200 years, spanning the composition of Homer’s epics to fall of the Roman Empire.  I would agree, and again I do not see how this would invalidate my position.  Not only do I have a library of information throughout the course of these generations, but I also am more than knowledgeable about new scholarship on about 600 years of this span.  Specifically, my focus starts from the conquest of the ancient Near East by Alexander the Great and ends at the Council of Nicea in 325.  

Finally, he gets the definition of peer review right, and then says that I cannot be in the process of this.  This is a claim, like the others he makes, that he does not back up but rather he presupposes they are incorrect.  A scan of the forum topics on the RRS message boards will reveal the thread in which Thomas L. Thompson, a leading scholar of the Old Testament and editor of a peer reviewed journal, admits that he is indeed peer reviewing my book in light of similar criticisms I have received from others with the same amount of ignorance displayed by the author of this new thread. 

Since no real criticism has been brought up against me, I see no reason to disagree with at least a majority of what this original poster defines as an expert.  I also see no reason why this author feels that these criteria do not reflect me in any accurate fashion—that is, unless he is so completely ignorant of any work I have posted or any research I have done.  But this original poster has shown ignorance to a multitude of other positions concerning the RRS and topics that the RRS deals with.  Being it is slowly becoming apparent that these tactics are the original posters modus operandi, I don’t expect many people to take him seriously.  At least, the people who matter will not take him seriously.
 

A post on the message boards alerted me to this topic, and some friends had informed me through private messaging that they thought I should reply.  Under the circumstances, I really didn’t have to as no claim was supported for me to have to defend myself against.  In any event, I decided to reply out of concern that my e-mail and private message boxes would be flooded with supporters who would be asking me to just that.    

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

ME GOD ??? EDUCATION ???

Submitted by Rathpig

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote: "School teaches how to be a parrot for the most part , fuck that ..... "

Rathpig "And which university would this be directed toward?

Reality is the direct opposite of this anti-education mantra. (Which, again ironically, I have heard verbatim from evangelicals.) "

____________________________________________________

Hey Rathpig , you seem a good nice smart guy? , so some thoughts from an old fuck dumb ass ..... ( I hope George Carlin doesn't offend you !? )

Geezz dude , did the "I AM GOD" confuse ya ? I am a hard core atheist. (giggles) and a Jesus/Buddha fan too boot ??? yeah WTF ??? History?

"Education" is half an illusion and mostly a conspiracy.

Main stream education sucks real bad. It needs fixing. Ever watch Jay Leno asking college students simple questions !? When it comes to being wise, most of those "credentials" mean jack.

If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library." (a sober guy) Frank Zappa ////

BTW , librarys don't hand out degrees. Then again librarys may not make you wise.

"People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned." Saul Bellow

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity. Saul Bellow //////

I had a long reply , but will that do. BTW again, Yeah, I AM GOD, just like you ..... (?)

Is there a 'GED' history credential of high status ? Well there oughta be.

The wise are often long dead before given due credit ..... you all know what I mean. Sheezzzz .... we suck. Fix the freaking TV. Good luck. I AM almost dead. Who's next for this madness.... yeah the poor kids ..... what have we done ??? GO ROOK ..... go RRS ...... REVOLT wisely.

Was George Bush College Educated ?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was George Carlin ? ( No ) Who is the wiser ? .....

Just had to add my favoite George from above, http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=George+Carlin+Education&btnG=Search

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMqJvhmD5Yg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Carlin#Early_life_and_career

It appears that Mr. Hawkins

It appears that Mr. Hawkins hold differing standards for himself that he does for others.

http://rookthehistorian.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

This is a conversation with Rene Salm concerning his book on the first century CE evidence for Nazareth.

 

Rook writes, "I'll make a deal with you - you submit your work for peer review and I'll read it when it's published in an academic journal."

He is simply refusing to read a book because it is not sufficiently credentialed in his eyes. Now Rook does state that this isn't about Salm lacking a PhD, but anyone who works in these related fields is aware that "peer review" and publishing in academic journals is mainly the purview of post graduates and mainly those with terminal degrees. Lay-persons, however talented, are not the generally part of this process. Rook himself is not part of this process but has tried to change the meaning of "peer review" so that his claimed editorial process falls into this category.

This appears to smack of hypocrisy because Rook is refusing to even read a book based solely on that book lacking, and by extension it's author, the proper credentials to even be considered.

I am not saying he is necessarily wrong in his analysis of Salm. I haven't read the book, but then again from what I can tell on his blog, neither has Hawkins.

 

 

 

I was going to let this lay, but it once again a "superfan" member of RRS had to insert a disjointed negative opinion on higher education. It seems that the subject of this thread has a very strict view of higher education credentials and accolades of peer review when it suits his purpose to dismiss the work of other, possibly just as talented, amateurs. I wonder why such a vast difference of standards is present for those outside the clubhouse?

AmericanIdle wrote:I

AmericanIdle wrote:

I appreciate your civility toward posters in this thread.  That you would be called upon to explain your lack of civility and disparaging comments elsewhere isn't exactly unreasonable is it ? 

I'd just like to comment that, as far as I know, the terms of conduct at Rational Responders don't include being civil at RnR.  There are appropriate places for everything (mostly), and RnR has chosen to be an appropriate place for all sorts of behavior that would be considered rude elsewhere.  The fact that Rathpig keeps his uncivil comments to an uncivil forum seems like the most reasonable thing to do.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

I think all this comes down

I think all this comes down to misunderstanding.  Rathpig, to be clear I'm not redefining terms.  I'm giving you the terms as have been relayed to me.  My work is being reviewed by Peers, specifically in the language of Thomas L. Thompson, he is peer reviewing my manuscript for possible publication in his monograph.  I don't know what that may mean to you, but these are the words he expressed to me.  Thompson is my no means incompetent and I do not believe he expressed this incorrectly to me.  If you wish, you can write him and ask him what he means.

I do wish to participate in as much Peer Review as I can, and as I have expressed elsewhere you are consistently misrepresenting my intent.  I do not know if you are doing this with your own agenda in mind.  At any rate, I feel that you are ignorant of what goes on within the confines of this message board, and within this community.  You express things that, if were true, we would not be the number 1 atheist site on the net.  You have made many false accusations throughout this thread, which damages your credibility, in my opinion, even with degrees.

You claim that there are other false titles around RRS.  Where are they?  You stated that atheism would benefit if we went away, or something to that effect, but since when is there a "unified" atheism?  The only thing one atheist has in common with another is lack of believe in God.  I do not presume to speak for atheists everywhere, and nobody on the RRS has stated this.  Anybody making that claim would be looked at as a poor thinker, which is why I called you a poor thinker.  Because you have made really bizarre claims that resemble this sort of ideology which doesn't exist. 

Yes, I have called Rene Salem on his position.  I am, at the very least, being reviewed by somebody who is well credentialed, and it will be published (if accepted) by Sheffield Academic Publishers - which is better than publishing tracks.  You would agree with me, I would hope.  I am making an effort, without degrees, to publish in a manner that reflects, the best way I can do, the scientific method.  I do not feel that Rene Salem has done so.  That does not mean he is wrong.  And as I stated, there is nothing in that blog entry that I would not suggest of myself.  Your incompetence here is your inability to understand intent and the evidence that I do my best to keep things within a scientific standpoint. 

At the end of the day, you will not like us for your own uneducated reasons.  I will not try to change you on that, because frankly, I do not think you have the intellectual fortitude to post outside this thread on our message boards.  I like the fact you have been civil.  Civility, though, can only go so far.  If you don't like this, prove me wrong.

[Edit=Added more content]  I understand your intentions may be good, and as I've expressed earlier, I appreciate your concern.  I am not taking what you are saying lightly, despite what you may otherwise think.  I have not expressed any emotional output towards your threads in regards to my title, but only when it involves this website and those things on this site that I feel you are making blanket claims about.  I have nothing against taking on the title "public historian" which would take on a form purely outside academia.  I have no problems with being looked at as a nonexpert.  Especially by the 15 year olds on RnR, and I have no problems with you assuming this either.  I can wait a few years before those who don't matter to me feel like calling me one.  Those who do know me, including academics, will probably still feel I'm credible and an expert, whether you or your friends do not. 

In any event, I have tried to stand back and read what you and others have written, and in the end I consider the judgment to be about half and half.  I will lighten up on how I use the term "expert", but I feel your nit-pickery on the title "historian" is unfounded and unjustified.  Especially since there are more than a few public historians who have no credentials who write books and study their historical interests all over the place, some even work at historic sites.

The best to you

 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

15 year olds?  Child,

15 year olds?  Child, unlike you, I am currently involved in significant contributions to my field in peer-reviewed publications, I receive grant funding, and am routinely contacted by colleagues who have an interest in collaborating with me on projects.

Permit me an example.

When I'm not conducting evolutionary biology research, climbing, reading, or posting on the internet, I like to cook.  Now, I have been known to make a mean quattro formaggi pizza.  I've even had friends taste my quattro formaggi pizza and tell me that it's quite good.  This includes a friend of mine who used too work at a bakery.

This does not make me an expert chef, and does not make me qualified to cook at the four-star restaurant downtown.  In order for a restaurant to hire me as a chef, I have to go to chef school, I have to demonstrate excellence, and I have to work my way up through several lower-quality restaurants before I can work at the very best.

The same goes for academia.  There are certain prerequisites for being considered an expert academic.  One is widespread recognition that you know your material, and one is widespread recognition that you are adding new material in a meaningful way.  The former is accomplished when you defend your thesis and acquire a graduate degree, specifically a PhD.  The latter is accomplished when you publish papers in refereed periodicals.  Another way that superior contributions to a given field are recognized is via acquisition of funding from professional societies and grant agencies, the receiving of awards for excellence from professional societies, and membership in prestigious professional societies with invitation-only membership.  Experts are often solicited to collaborate on large projects because they have a great range of expertise and can significantly contribute to the outcome of a study.

As it stands, you currently demonstrate no evidence whatsoever that you are an expert.

This isn't to say that your essays are poorly written, are uneducated, or are otherwise wrong, but it is to say that you have an understanding of the material that stands on a purely popular level.  I can easily discuss my research on a popular level, but I can also discuss the meat of my research, be it comparative anatomy, phylogentic systematics, or temporal patterns in evolutionary events.  I can discuss my methodology, assess the strong and weak points of said methodology, and discuss the raw data of my results.  I can discuss my work in context of the work of other researchers and explain discrepancies between results and note where explanations do not exist.  I can recognize the importance of my results, and I can note larger-scale applications of my methodology.  THIS is what it means to be a scientist, not the ability to cite a few conclusions discussed in the popular literature in order to counteract a silly claim by a creationist.

All we're asking is that you hold off on the "expert" and "historian" title and start acquiring the necessary skills and milestones to mark yourself as a qualified individual.  I really have nothing against you, and I really do hope that you go forth and get your PhD, publish a bunch of papers, and truly become a major source of original thought in your chosen field.  I just want you to recognize that claiming greatness before acquiring the necessary skills and recognition not only makes you look like a fool, but it hurts public perception of actual credentials held by the academic community.

Please take this into consideration.

Rook,Do you seriously

Rook,

Do you seriously contend that I don't have the "intellectual fortitude" to post outside this thread? That is perhaps the strangest thing you have said so far. It is interesting that you have met my rather seriously stated concerns with name calling and otherwise immature responses such as this "intellectual fortitude" comment. Why do you feel the need to turn this into a junior high pissing match? I haven't approached you in this manner. It may be wise on your part to alter your style in future exchanges with your critics. And you will have future critics. This isn't a one time deal. I won't respond in kind and will simply let my words speak for themselves rather than act in a similar manner.

1). Having a potential editor read your work is not "peer review". Having this editor show your work around is not "peer review". Peer review is a very specific academic process with very specific parameters. You can not change that fact because it suits you in a different form. The world does not work on your personal definition of the term.

2). As was pointed out above, RRS labels people with the "Scientist" badge even though these are not actually working "scientists" or even degreed in a scientific field. Much like your misuse of a professional label, this is a widespread misuse of a professional label. One is not a "scientist" simply because they have read a book. Even a degree in a scientific field does not make one a "scientist". This is a specific term with specific requirements. This is one area where again lofty labels are misapplied. It is both a matter of honesty and intent much like my specific criticism of your inappropriate professional title.

3). You may one day deserve the title of "historian". I am aware that persons without specific history degrees have contributed to the discipline. These people were not labeled "historians" prior to their contributions. This is what you are refusing to acknowledge. I have never stated that you will never deserve this title. You have simply jumped ahead of yourself and claimed the title prior to any merit in the field. You do not have a portfolio of previously peer-reviewed and academically published work. In fact you only have future claims. In actuality this puts you in a worse state than Rene Salm.  You  are banking solely on your potentiality. Salm has published his work.  I wouldn't complain if you used the term "historian" with some type of meaningful qualifier such as "amateur", but where we stand on March 12, 2008, Rook Hawkins is not qualified in any manner to assume a professional title without some form of explanation. That is pretentious on your part. You should review exactly what you wrote to Salm and take your own advice.

4). "Public Historian" is also a very specific term which you are using incorrectly. A public historian creates historic content specifically for public consumption. This is a professional title and not somehow a synonym for "amateur historian". The term you are seeking is indeed "amateur historian". There is nothing wrong with this term. In fact it is the only honest term you can use in the current point of your career.

 

 

You seem to have a great amount of ego invested in both this organization and the titles you have assumed. It would help you to concentrate less on building imprecise public perceptions of you as a person and actually wait until you earn the titles you so seem to enjoy. History is no different from any other professional field where specific terms are used to denote the practitioners. You cannot somehow short-circuit the process because it provides emotional comfort. You have called my "nit-pickery" over this term "unfounded and unjustified", yet the evidence clearly shows that you have no right to claim a professional title. If you were just a random inhabitant of the internet this wouldn't mean much. You have placed yourself into a very exposed position by embracing atheist activism. Whether you like it or not, the Rational Response Squad does seek to speak for atheism as an ideology and due to the nature of the U.S. news media, this activism will be construed as speaking for atheists. I wish this was not the case; however it is a reality which individual atheists must address so that the RRS does not tarnish the general reputation of non-theistic philosophy. Atheists are in a minority position in the U.S. and this creates a need for protecting perceptions. Would that it had been possible to reign in O'Hair in her heyday. U.S. atheist philosophy still suffers from her megalomania decades later. Many people, who happen to be atheists, are now concerned that it is necessary to speak out about how the RRS conduct themselves. My posting here is part of that process because it addresses my specific academic field. I have been and will continue to address other problems with the RRS in the appropriate time and context.

You and your friends sought the position you are now occupying. When criticism is warranted, please realize that is part of the responsibility you assumed when you became an "activist". If anything the criticism is more important to the issue than accolades. Responding with maturity to your critics is a necessary part of not only your chosen field of activism but any career you seek as a historian. It is long past time that you realized you cannot respond to these critics with name calling and obviously hurt feelings. If anything I say resonates, I hope you examine this aspect of your persona.

 

 

 

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Distalless wrote:15 year

Distalless wrote:

15 year olds?  Child, unlike you, I am currently involved in significant contributions to my field in peer-reviewed publications, I receive grant funding, and am routinely contacted by colleagues who have an interest in collaborating with me on projects.

First, please consider my words more carefully when responding.  I did not say everyone on RnR was 15, nor was that implied or explicit.  I was referring to specifically those comments which are so immature and ignorant that they could only have been written by somebody who has not reached adulthood, or if they have, has the mindset of a child.  I obviously cannot claim that everyone on RnR is 15, that would be a blanket statement, and I try not to ever make them.

Second, I wish to congratulate you on your successes in this field.  What is your specific focus and area of study?  What publications have you published in and where can I find your research?  I have access to more than a few journals I'm sure I can find yours.  I would be interested in the read.

Quote:
Permit me an example.

When I'm not conducting evolutionary biology research, climbing, reading, or posting on the internet, I like to cook.  Now, I have been known to make a mean quattro formaggi pizza.  I've even had friends taste my quattro formaggi pizza and tell me that it's quite good.  This includes a friend of mine who used too work at a bakery.

This does not make me an expert chef, and does not make me qualified to cook at the four-star restaurant downtown.  In order for a restaurant to hire me as a chef, I have to go to chef school, I have to demonstrate excellence, and I have to work my way up through several lower-quality restaurants before I can work at the very best.

This is not a very good example.  (1) Baking is a skill where studying is not. (2) Most journals and monographs are available to the general public where as specific recipes are not. (3)  Even in the event that they were, and one could learn them, there is no reason that if one could learn them, even without a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, they could get a job at a five star restaurant. (4) In the same way, a person who learns how to be proficient in languages, studies the original documents in those languages (from a large amount of written material such as Loeb texts as just one example), reads the monographs to understand consensus, and can recite information pertinent to the subject can be called a 'historian' on that particular area. (5) I personally know chefs who work at high quality restaurants and who have never attended universities such as the CIA; their reputation as a great chef and their experience are what matters. 

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Experts are often solicited to collaborate on large projects because they have a great range of expertise and can significantly contribute to the outcome of a study.

This very reason is why Thomas Thompson has agreed to review my work for possible publication. 

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As it stands, you currently demonstrate no evidence whatsoever that you are an expert.

That is unfounded.  Simply because I do not meet the requirements you have laid out does not mean I do not exhibit these qualities. 

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This isn't to say that your essays are poorly written, are uneducated, or are otherwise wrong, but it is to say that you have an understanding of the material that stands on a purely popular level.

Probably because I'm writing to an audience who would be lost if I write on the level of academia.  Perhaps you should hold your judgment until my book is published, written purely for academia, and you can decide if my level of understanding is "popular" or not. K, thanks. 

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I can easily discuss my research on a popular level, but I can also discuss the meat of my research, be it comparative anatomy, phylogentic systematics, or temporal patterns in evolutionary events.

Excellent, I'm very happy to hear that.  Now what makes you think I cannot describe my knowledge of the particulars of the Hellenistic age in a manner beneficial to academia as opposed to popular internet blogs?  I find you are ignoring the fact that I am looking to be published by an academic press.

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I can discuss my methodology, assess the strong and weak points of said methodology, and discuss the raw data of my results.  I can discuss my work in context of the work of other researchers and explain discrepancies between results and note where explanations do not exist.

As can I.  So far I meet your qualifications of what is meant by "expert."

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I can recognize the importance of my results, and I can note larger-scale applications of my methodology.  THIS is what it means to be a scientist, not the ability to cite a few conclusions discussed in the popular literature in order to counteract a silly claim by a creationist.

Again, I can as well.  So we are in agreement then, I fit your own standards of what it means to be a historian.  Thank you.  We can move on from this subject...unless you want to shift goal posts again?

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All we're asking is that you hold off on the "expert" and "historian" title and start acquiring the necessary skills and milestones to mark yourself as a qualified individual.  I really have nothing against you, and I really do hope that you go forth and get your PhD, publish a bunch of papers, and truly become a major source of original thought in your chosen field.  I just want you to recognize that claiming greatness before acquiring the necessary skills and recognition not only makes you look like a fool, but it hurts public perception of actual credentials held by the academic community.

I will tell you what I have told Rathpig.  I really, sincerely appreciate your desire for me to attain greatness.  I can assure you, I am planning on taking courses very soon.  In light of that, by every qualification you and your colleagues have laid out I meet or excel at.  I only fail in that I do not have a paper signifying this.  I feel that you want to hold more love for a paper than merit, and I personally find that to be ridiculous.  If we went back through time and eliminated all those without college education as "experts" we would not have many books on the shelves.  In fact, we would probably have more books by fundamentalists and creationists who go out, get degrees (just so they can call themselves experts because they have credentials) and write books full of nonsense and irrationality. 

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Please take this into consideration.

That is just it.  I have, I appreciate it.  But now perhaps you should consider my side as well.  If you are really interested in my work, and want to know more about my project, wait for my book and reserve judgment.  If you don't want to wait for my book, and want to continue to make assumptions about my character and level of knowledge, then by all means go ahead.  It only makes you look trollish to people on this board who are aware of my quality.

Please, stay around a while and hang around the boards.  We could always use another well-intentioned mind around.  The science threads will probably appeal to you more, given your background.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)

shelley's picture

Distalless wrote:In order

Distalless wrote:

In order for a restaurant to hire me as a chef, I have to go to chef school,

You mean culinary school?  If you can only 'earn' a title through a degree who the hell taught the original historians. 

Distalless wrote: 15 year

Distalless wrote:

15 year olds?

He's obviously alluding to the fact that RnR people tend to act 15 on their site.

 

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Child, unlike you, I am currently involved in significant contributions to my field in peer-reviewed publications, I receive grant funding, and am routinely contacted by colleagues who have an interest in collaborating with me on projects.

Would you be willing to prove it to the skeptic community?  Or do you think your assertion holds some weight here?

 

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Permit me an example.

 

No.  Prove yourself first, then example will be permitted.

 

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The same goes for academia.  There are certain prerequisites for being considered an expert academic.

Rook never called himself an expert academic.

He's been called an expert on ancient texts and a historian.  Both of those words apply to Rook when reading the definitions from dictionary.com.

 

Dictionary.com Unabridged  

his·to·ri·an      

–noun

1. an expert in history; authority on history. 

2. a writer of history; chronicler. 

 

American Heritage Dictionary

his·to·ri·an         

A writer, student, or scholar of history.

One who writes or compiles a chronological record of events; a chronicler.

 

OH NO!  Even a "student of history" can be labeled "historian."

 

 

ex·pert      noun

1. a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert. 

–adjective

3. possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled (often fol. by in or at): an expert driver; to be expert at driving a car. 

4. pertaining to, coming from, or characteristic of an expert: expert work; expert advice. 

–verb (used with object) 5. to act as an expert for. 

 

Anyone find it ironic that the "reply to a troll" thread designed to squash an argument has brought a few trolls out of the woodwork to repeat what they were already beat up on in the first post?

 

 

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As it stands, you currently demonstrate no evidence whatsoever that you are an expert.

 

Hey scientist guy, how many hours exactly have you listened to the show?  Do you think saying he demonstrates "no" evidence when it's highly likely you are not familiar with "all" the evidence in his favor is a wise approach as a scientist?  I won't argue with you, because I don't think honesty is at the top of your list of intentions.  But I will point out that Rook has shown a great many people why he can be considered an expert on his subject matter.

ex·pert      noun

1. a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.

Many people would agree he knows more of the bible and history than 99%+ of the population.  Does that mean he's always right?  No.  But he certainly is an expert.

 

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This isn't to say that your essays are poorly written, are uneducated, or are otherwise wrong, but it is to say that you have an understanding of the material that stands on a purely popular level.

It's this sentence that was the catalyst for me to register as it made it blatantly obvious what you were all about.  Most of Rooks work tends to stand anywhere but a popular level.  Popular opinion is Jesus existed, Rooks work focuses highly on the notion that he never walked the Earth.  You clearly don't know Rook and therefore your opinion on the matter of whether he is a historian or an expert really doesn't mean squat.

 

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I can easily discuss my research on a popular level, but I can also discuss the meat of my research, be it comparative anatomy, phylogentic systematics, or temporal patterns in evolutionary events.  I can discuss my methodology, assess the strong and weak points of said methodology, and discuss the raw data of my results.  I can discuss my work in context of the work of other researchers and explain discrepancies between results and note where explanations do not exist.  I can recognize the importance of my results, and I can note larger-scale applications of my methodology.  THIS is what it means to be a scientist, not the ability to cite a few conclusions discussed in the popular literature in order to counteract a silly claim by a creationist.

Rook works similarly.  As for what it means to be a scientist, you probably should know your subject a little better before attacking them... it's more scientific than the troll and shoot with a blindfold on method.

 

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All we're asking is that you hold off on the "expert" and "historian" title and start acquiring the necessary skills and milestones to mark yourself as a qualified individual.

"we're" being a group of people spawning from a hate thread about RRS in which a few people who don't really know Rook but want to argue that these words can only be held by a college graduate? 

 

Rook... just remember, that these folks are still going to be saying you're not an expert or a historian, no matter how many doctorates you earn.

 

Quote:
I really have nothing against you, and I really do hope that you go forth and get your PhD, publish a bunch of papers, and truly become a major source of original thought in your chosen field.  I just want you to recognize that claiming greatness before acquiring the necessary skills and recognition not only makes you look like a fool, but it hurts public perception of actual credentials held by the academic community.

If it's the academic community that is bitching in this thread, I think we should be pointing our fingers at them.  Could there be a more arrogant bunch to assert that you're not worthy because you haven't spent the hundred thousand bucks they spent, but instead spent all that time learning on your own?  Talk about ivory tower elitists... god damn.

 

kellym78's picture

Well, I'm a "real Biblical

Well, I'm a "real Biblical scholar" according to a quiz I just took, so I don't know what that makes Rook since he kicks my ass at biblical knowledge.

 

You know the Bible 100%!  

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

 

So little time; please use it wisely

I'm going to try and take my own advice here and keep this short. I came here after coming upon the thread about Rook on the Dawkins site. I generally only post/read in the Evolution Forum there, and came upon this thread following the posts of a new writer who seemed interesting.

Curious as to why so much effort was being made in debunking the credibility of one person, I made a reply asking about it. Rathpig gave a reasonable answer to my query, which I accepted. I also said I would check out this site.

Quote:
Were he just another common forum user then this would not matter. However, he is a founding member of the U.S. atheist activist group the Rational Response Squad which conducts televised debates and claims to speak to "atheist issues" which is often translated into being "atheist spokespeople". He has put himself into a higher profile position. This warrants higher levels of criticism.

What is happening here is merely the exact same scrutiny which has been cast upon various religious "experts". We are simply holding ourselves as atheists to the same standard we hold others.

Ironically, I have long wished that the religious adherents would do for their own self-appointed "spokespeople" exactly what is being done in this thread.

A rational response, I thought. Now, after browsing this site a bit, I think it is becoming a waste of time that could be better used in refuting the myths of religion. I disagree with the position that formal education equates with credibility or expertise. The same applies to peer review. There are many instances where this procees has failed to catch false arguments, while valid ideas were ignored. Rook doesn't claim to represent all atheists, and from what I've seen his efforts will only help the cause, Rathpig. I think it's a mistake to spend much time arguing amongst ourselves when we are such a small minority. Too much effort has gone into this debate already. Time to remember we have real ignorance to confront, which can engender dire consequences.  Only by being united in our common cause can we change the delusional mindset that has done so much damage.

 

shelleymtjoy wrote:  If you

shelleymtjoy wrote:

  If you can only 'earn' a title through a degree who the hell taught the original historians. 

 

I don't think anyone is making the argument that university degrees are the exclusive measure. That has become somewhat of a red herring in the resent responses. Several times I have clearly written that one can become an expert and a historian the independent study and subsequent publication. A university degree simply shows that you are somewhat experienced in a field prior to having specific achievements to point to as evidence. Of course much stronger evidence of actual achievement would be required for someone without any credentials.

We recognize the "original historians" by their actual work. And these historians, as well as work perhaps wrongly accredited to them, is highly debate and often strongly criticized. The rather good natured questioning of Rook's credentials is nothing compared to the continuous scrutiny of both past and present "historians". Let us not forget that he is choosing to label himself with a professional title. The least he deserves is the same process that is common within that profession.  People with degrees with commonly have their credentials questioned. It is only befitting that someone with no advanced formal education. and a body of work that consist of blog posts and an internet show, will be questioned as to his qualifications. To not expect this would be ludicrous.

Simply stated, you get the title after you do the work. You don't just call yourself something that is a recognized academic claim because you and a few buddies think you resemble a vague dictionary definition. Oh, and it sounds cool for your no-god club to have a staff "historian". It roleplaying.

 

I have a cum laude undergraduate degree in History, I'm doin graduate work in history, and I've studied history independently my entire life. I know a good bit about several historical topics and honestly a bunch of other crap. I do not have the credentials to call my self a "historian", nor do I consider myself an "expert" in anything. I would expect serious questions if I were to make these claims. That is the way the world works.

 

 

At some point in the future I hope Rook Hawkins will deserve to call himself a "historian". That day isn't today. Ironically for the exact same reason the Rook refused to read Salm's book. Rook is not above the exact same criticism he has used for others. That is the way the world works.

 

Quote:If you can only 'earn'

Quote:
If you can only 'earn' a title through a degree who the hell taught the original historians.

Madam, Herodotus would not be considered a credible source in today's academia.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:First,

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
First, please consider my words more carefully when responding.  I did not say everyone on RnR was 15, nor was that implied or explicit.  I was referring to specifically those comments which are so immature and ignorant that they could only have been written by somebody who has not reached adulthood, or if they have, has the mindset of a child.  I obviously cannot claim that everyone on RnR is 15, that would be a blanket statement, and I try not to ever make them.

You attacked Rathpig, myself, Pavlov's Dog, and Nialler for our comments at RDnet.  None of us are undereducated  15 year olds.  All of us either hold or are actively pursuing advanced degrees.

Quote:
Second, I wish to congratulate you on your successes in this field.  What is your specific focus and area of study?  What publications have you published in and where can I find your research?  I have access to more than a few journals I'm sure I can find yours.  I would be interested in the read.

I've posted a more or less complete list of publications I'm an author on at RnR in one or two of the threads there.  However, I do not attempt to be a major name in the atheist community, and I certainly have not appeared as such in the mainstream media.  Even in my field, I am a small fish; I just completed a bachelor's degree and will be entering a graduate program this fall.

Quote:
This is not a very good example.  (1) Baking is a skill where studying is not. (2) Most journals and monographs are available to the general public where as specific recipes are not. (3)  Even in the event that they were, and one could learn them, there is no reason that if one could learn them, even without a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, they could get a job at a five star restaurant. (4) In the same way, a person who learns how to be proficient in languages, studies the original documents in those languages (from a large amount of written material such as Loeb texts as just one example), reads the monographs to understand consensus, and can recite information pertinent to the subject can be called a 'historian' on that particular area. (5) I personally know chefs who work at high quality restaurants and who have never attended universities such as the CIA; their reputation as a great chef and their experience are what matters.

First of all, studying is a skill one must learn.  To sit through a technical paper and determine which pieces of information are relevant, what aspects of the analysis is robust and which aspects cannot be trusted, and to recognize the applicability of one study to one's own research does indeed take a great deal of acquired skill.  Additionally, many methods require learned skills; I conducted work in a developmental lab for several years (hence Dlx2/Distalless) and had to learn a variety of experimental methods.  In my chosen area of  interest (phylogenetic methodology and deep-time evolutionary signal) I have had to learn a vast number of skills.  This is different from rote memorization, but also requires vast formal training.

From the little I know about historical research, determining manuscript authenticity, identifying manuscript age, identifying alterations to manuscript text, and so on all requires significant acquired skill.  This doesn't even begin to address the issue of learning the languages involved, learning about era-specific dialects and textual references, etc. 

Quote:
This very reason is why Thomas Thompson has agreed to review my work for possible publication.

I have friends who offer to read over manuscripts all the time.  At the same time, this is not peer review, nor is it collaboration.  Collaboration is when someone works on the analysis itself with you and places their name next to yours in the author line of the paper.  Peer review occurs only in the strict structure of a refereed editorial process.

Quote:
That is unfounded.  Simply because I do not meet the requirements you have laid out does not mean I do not exhibit these qualities.

I am currently applying for grant funding for a project I am working on with several colleagues.  In these applications, I do not explain that I exhibit all the qualities they are looking.  I send them a copy of my curriculum vitae, a proposal discussing my specific goals, a budget discussing and explaining the costs of such a project, and a discussion of the methods I wish to employ and why.  I ask several of my research supervisors to submit letters of reference that discuss their experience with me in a formal research setting.  I then leave the decision as to my competence up to them.  A panel of experts is more competent to judge my abilities than I am.  Do you see the difference?

Quote:
Probably because I'm writing to an audience who would be lost if I write on the level of academia.  Perhaps you should hold your judgment until my book is published, written purely for academia, and you can decide if my level of understanding is "popular" or not. K, thanks.

When I write on RnR, I primarily write at a popular level.  I only elevate discussion to a technical level if the discussion requires it.  I have, however, demonstrated my abilities to work at a technical level in peer reviewed publications in technical journals.  As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  Until you publish your work in a technical periodical that conducts anonymous peer review, your academic work has not been judged.

Quote:
Excellent, I'm very happy to hear that.  Now what makes you think I cannot describe my knowledge of the particulars of the Hellenistic age in a manner beneficial to academia as opposed to popular internet blogs?  I find you are ignoring the fact that I am looking to be published by an academic press.

"Looking to be published" is different from "have been published."  I was "looking to be published" in scientific journals about 3 years ago.  It wasn't until November 2006 that a paper of mine was accepted for publication.  I still do not refer to myself as a scientist; I simply say that I study evolutionary biology.  If I need to discuss my qualifications, I do so by citing papers, not dropping names.

Quote:
As can I.  So far I meet your qualifications of what is meant by "expert."

Never seen you do so.

Quote:
Again, I can as well.  So we are in agreement then, I fit your own standards of what it means to be a historian.  Thank you.  We can move on from this subject...unless you want to shift goal posts again?

Once again, there is no peer-reviewed, printed evidence that you can do so.  All that can be accessed is a set of essays written for a popular audience which spend more time being self-congratulatory than discussing the actual meat of the research.

Quote:
I will tell you what I have told Rathpig.  I really, sincerely appreciate your desire for me to attain greatness.  I can assure you, I am planning on taking courses very soon.  In light of that, by every qualification you and your colleagues have laid out I meet or excel at.  I only fail in that I do not have a paper signifying this.  I feel that you want to hold more love for a paper than merit, and I personally find that to be ridiculous.  If we went back through time and eliminated all those without college education as "experts" we would not have many books on the shelves.  In fact, we would probably have more books by fundamentalists and creationists who go out, get degrees (just so they can call themselves experts because they have credentials) and write books full of nonsense and irrationality.

The question is not whether Herodotus was an expert.  The question is whether you, Rook Hawkins, have a responsibility to acquire a formal education before painting yourself to be a significant intellectual within a specific field.  Within my field, I know who I would cite as an expert.  I am not on that very short list of people.  If someone asked a random biblical historian who they would consider an "expert," I don't think you would be on that list.  Perhaps in 10 years, with a BA, an advanced degree, and half a dozen noteworthy publications under your belt, but not today.  This is my point.  You are jumping the gun.

Quote:
That is just it.  I have, I appreciate it.  But now perhaps you should consider my side as well.  If you are really interested in my work, and want to know more about my project, wait for my book and reserve judgment.  If you don't want to wait for my book, and want to continue to make assumptions about my character and level of knowledge, then by all means go ahead.  It only makes you look trollish to people on this board who are aware of my quality.

As Rathpig said previously, publishing a book without having significantly contributed to the technical literature is generally frowned upon in academic circles, and tends to come across as hubris.  I agree wholeheartedly with him on this matter.  There are certainly ideas floating around in my head right now for books that I want to write in 20 years, but I would not sit down and write them today.  Books (with the exception of edited volumes stemming from symposia) are typically not considered nearly as academically worthwhile as even a handful of technical papers, even if they incorporate more information.

   I AM a team player

   I AM a team player untill the "rules" suck .... Labels ??? .... How 'bout "Historian Basher" .... history hasn't much integrity, the way I read it ..... it seems more the propaganda of the controllers ....   

Hey Rook, kill "god of abe" anyway ya can ..... I AM with ya ..... fuck, fucked up history       Let's get history right, we suck , let's not do that again ! 

I think of Rook as a teacher first, who gets us thinking  ..... that is a highest honor ..... go Rook ..... just as you are ..... relaxe, stay strong, stay the course , kill god of abe .....

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:   I

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

   I AM a team player untill the "rules" suck .... Labels ??? .... How 'bout "Historian Basher" .... history hasn't much integrity, the way I read it ..... it seems more the propaganda of the controllers ....   

Hey Rook, kill "god of abe" anyway ya can ..... I AM with ya ..... fuck, fucked up history       Let's get history right, we suck , let's not do that again ! 

I think of Rook as a teacher first, who gets us thinking  ..... that is a highest honor ..... go Rook ..... just as you are ..... relaxe, stay strong, stay the course , kill god of abe .....

The Christian perception of atheists is that we're a bunch of angry teens who simply hate God.  Some of us are actively trying to change this perception.  Every time you post one of these "self-educated" literary horrors, all you do is hurt the efforts of the rest of us.

Think about this for a second, and the next time you decide to post one of these "self-educated" torrents of verbal diarrhea on the internet where angry theists can read them, do us all a favor and don't.

  NO Distalless ,I want

  NO Distalless ,

I want what I want , me GOD ..... lol , The theists are my main target, cause I care .....

I AM not here for any other reason than to heal them ..... Do you know me ?

Back up a bit Distalless , help me see the error in my message ..... ???     I CARE .... AS YOU ......

PKU?

PKU?

LOVE BOMBS ?

PKU? Yes I've heard of it. A special diet can help. Stay strong.

 Hey GOD AS YOU , Sir Distalless ;

I am glad you are really passionate about promoting Atheism, and putting the god (devil) of abe in proper perspective. Do you have any kind words for this god of abe before we finally blast him to smithereens?

Two of my fav most effective atheists are prophets George Carlin and Pat Condell. Got any thoughts about them ?

To infer that I AM retarded and indignant, well, I agree, and say U2. An important question is why? Think maybe god of abe stunted everyones higher potential ?

Keep up the good fight Distalless , spread the "good news" in any style you deem effective, and thanks everyone for all your sincere caring thoughts etc.

I have re-thought my tactics and I AM sticking to them ..... God of Abe must be slayed .... I have no kind words left for that monster ..... call me the god history Basher, I like that .... I AM tired of a retarded goddamned fucked up world. How many Iraqes did god of abe kill just these past 5 yrs ? ....

"Love Bombs" designed for saving all life is the only correct way, and must sometimes also be LOUD ..... as so many are hard of hearing . "Awake" said Buddha in a kind voice, then "atheist Jesus character" came and did some yellin' , but hardly no one could hear .... so LOUDER yet I say, and whisper too, but the message is the same, kindly "Kill god of abe".

 ....."and Jesus wept" .... Matthew 23:37

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:PKU?

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

PKU? Yes I've heard of it. A special diet can help. Stay strong.

 Hey GOD AS YOU , Sir Distalless ;

I am glad you are really passionate about promoting Atheism, and putting the god (devil) of abe in proper perspective. Do you have any kind words for this god of abe before we finally blast him to smithereens?

Two of my fav most effective atheists are prophets George Carlin and Pat Condell. Got any thoughts about them ?

To infer that I AM retarded and indignant, well, I agree, and say U2. An important question is why? Think maybe god of abe stunted everyones higher potential ?

Keep up the good fight Distalless , spread the "good news" in any style you deem effective, and thanks everyone for all your sincere caring thoughts etc.

I have re-thought my tactics and I AM sticking to them ..... God of Abe must be slayed .... I have no kind words left for that monster ..... call me the god history Basher, I like that .... I AM tired of a retarded goddamned fucked up world. How many Iraqes did god of abe kill just these past 5 yrs ? ....

"Love Bombs" designed for saving all life is the only correct way, and must sometimes also be LOUD ..... as so many are hard of hearing . "Awake" said Buddha in a kind voice, then "atheist Jesus character" came and did some yellin' , but hardly no one could hear .... so LOUDER yet I say, and whisper too, but the message is the same, kindly "Kill god of abe".

 ....."and Jesus wept" .... Matthew 23:37

Yep.  This character definitely is suffering from phenoketonurea.

Distalless wrote:Yep.  This

Distalless wrote:

Yep.  This character definitely is suffering from phenoketonurea.

We all are likely suffering from conditions that affect us in a negative way.  Some of us even suffer from an obsession with weak argumentation and ad hominem attack repetition. 

Please donate to one of these highly rated charities to help impede the GOP attack on America 2017-2019.

Support our activism efforts by making your Amazon purchases via this link.

Geezz Distalless , seems you

Geezz Distalless , seems you are as sick and mad as me! So Sorry bro. This is indeed a sick scary world ....

Back to the subject. It's the readers job to clarify authority etc of any lable.

Here's one , I AM the "Best" because I say I AM ? (giggles)

Truthfully I say, I AM a "historian, a scientist, an inventor, a prophet, a buddha, a jesus, a speaker, a preacher, a writer, a poet, a musician, an artist, an angel, a lover, a retarded sicko, a jerk, a friend, and GOD AS YOU. etc etc ..... Notice I didn't put professional or degreed in front of any of those. But I have been called these lables many times.

Here's some words / lables that actually "can" rattle my little sick mind: holy, saved, christ, trinity, savior, infidel, etc .... shezzz now I AM getting angry again ! Some xains teach to even lie for their god of abe .....

I don't think folks need much worry about a Rook lable.

Be nice to yourself Distalless, and don't unkindly tease the sick dogs, they will bite. lol ..... glad you are an atheist too, yeah, let's save them poor xains etc.

"Good cop, Bad cop", which best fits you ??? I can do either pretty well. Team work man ..... Imagine, .... wow, the splendid possibilities of life ..... yeah, I AM excited ! I AM indeed so terribly SICK as well. What force is hindering us .... ?

I will be making a speech later , you are invited. Stay tuned.    

HisWillness's picture

Distalless wrote:Yep.  This

Distalless wrote:

Yep.  This character definitely is suffering from phenoketonurea.

Weren't you just making the case against people working outside their area of expertise? Are you qualified to make such a diagnosis?

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

Rev_Devilin's picture

Distalless wrote:When I'm

Distalless wrote:

When I'm not conducting evolutionary biology research, climbing, reading, or posting on the internet, I like to cook.  Now, I have been known to make a mean quattro formaggi pizza.  I've even had friends taste my quattro formaggi pizza and tell me that it's quite good.  This includes a friend of mine who used too work at a bakery.

This does not make me an expert chef, and does not make me qualified to cook at the four-star restaurant downtown.  In order for a restaurant to hire me as a chef, I have to go to chef school, I have to demonstrate excellence, and I have to work my way up through several lower-quality restaurants before I can work at the very best.

Aaaahhh finally

I'm a qualified chef, and I am disappointed with all of your amateurish and unqualified  opinions about catering. what makes you feel you can hold an opinion on this subject not just you Distalless, all of you whom have forward unqualified amateurish and incorrect theories, I'm loving this moment

1 do you need qualifications to become a chef, although I'm not sure about American standards in England everybody need's a basic food hygiene certificate to work in a kitchen, kitchen assistance (pot washes) to the head chef

2 the certificate takes about 2 to 3 hours of mindnumbing lecturing, plus 10 to 15 minutes filling out a multiple choice questionnaire

Although a head chef to my knowledge is always qualified, lesser chef's are employed upon their ability, and or the desperate need to fill vacant posts

Sorry couldn't resist


Historian ? doesn't one notice the difference between a amateur historian and a professional historian via letters at the end of one's name, or lack there of ?

http://www.rookhawkins.com/1.html

"Rrook hawkins, ancient text expert and historian"

historian

Unless Rrook is using letters after his name, or the word historian I don't think you could confuse him with a qualified person in this field

Ancient text expert. oh dear, you may wish to listen to Distalless on this one

I agree that credentials are

I agree that credentials are necessary in practice, but not in theory. A degree is a badge; it proves your membership in an exclusive club, but it doesn't necessarily prove that you've acquired a quantity or quality of knowledge that would be unattainable by an uncredentialed person. You need that badge to be taken seriously, because that's how society works (unfortunately); you must prove that you've put in the same time (and often money) as your peers, or else they will feel like you "cut in line" without "paying your dues." But if I run a race and stop short of the finish line, opting not to collect my ribbon, I've still finished -- it's just that nobody will believe me. Likewise, if I drop out of school right before graduation I'm just as educated as my classmates who didn't. So the theory that credentials are necessary simply doesn't hold; but in practice we need some way to know who to trust -- hence, badges.

Also, peer review basically amounts to gate-keeping; an extension of the badge system. It's valuable, but also exclusionary, just like a degree.

P.S. Distalless wins the thread for jumping in (descending unto?) with the express purpose of lingham-waving. I am absolutely convinced that he had one hand down his pants as he wrote that post.

P.P.S. Periods and commas go inside quotes in the U.S., Professor Rathpig.