The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #86832   Message #1617462
Posted By: WFDU - Ron Olesko
30-Nov-05 - 03:43 PM
Thread Name: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
I remember a valuable lesson my high school history taught the class. One day he began a lesson on the California Gold Rush.   He told us of a European immigrant named Tondoleo Gunderschmutz who traveled to California to start a new life. He told us that the only items he had were the clothes on his back and a spoon.   Tondeleo could not afford food, so he would dig wild plants to make his supper. One day, while digging up some plants with his spoon, he noticed something shiny in the dirt. It was gold. He kept digging, with his spoon, and struck it rich. Soon others traveled to the area and began digging in the ground with spoons. Soon everyone was rich.

Now, there were actually people who were believing everything and were writing notes and asking questions. Half of us were looking at each other trying to figure out what was going on, the rest were believeing him in earnest.   The name "Tondeoleo Gunderschmutz" should have been a clue.

Of course he stopped the lesson and told the class he was making it up. His point was, don't believe everything you are told or read.   Just because someone writes or says something, it doesn't make it so.   Just because somone is an authority figure, like a teacher, that doesn't mean you shouldn't question. Find backing evidence. Use common sense.

That was an incredibly valuable lesson (to learn from an important authority figure) and it has stuck.    You can find out a lot of useful information on the internet, but you can also find crap. The internet is a tool, but it is not the final product.