t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Thu Feb 3 22:51:54 UTC 2000
"James E. Clapp" wrote:
> For some reason this discussion reminds me of an anecdote from long ago:
> Sign on window of establishment where liquor was served: "You must have
> proof of age. Remembering where you were when you heard that Kennedy
> was assassinated is *not* proof of age."
What if you
A. remember where you were when you heard FDR had died AND
B. remember comparing reactions to FDR's death in office
with JFK's death in office?
In the first few years after the JFK assassination, I could use that
comparison to show the contrast between mere anecdote and producing a
scientific theory. People who lived through JFK's death could tell
anecdotes about where they were when they heard the news. Those who had
experienced both deaths noticed that there was great similarity in
reactions to both: many, many people first reacted by feeling compelled
to tell somebody else -- anybody else. After pointing that out, I'd go
on to talk about how having one datum point can't lead to a theory
because you don't have a pattern. But once you have two pieces of data,
the fun of theory building can begin.
The usefulness of that particular example had a short half life. It
didn't take very long until all my first-year students could remember of
JFK's assassination was that they didn't have any Saturday morning
cartoons that weekend. Before Nixon left office, students in my
first-year intro course didn't even remember that much.
Old codger that I am, I have trouble remembering that most of my
students today can't remember any president before Ronald Reagan. . .
and they don't have any memory at all of his first election.
-- mike salovesh <salovesh at niu.edu>
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