The Titanic and the Mystery Ship


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Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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Hiya folks - just back from holiday and I have to say I'm quite worried about the way things are going on this thread. As many another has said, we've had a refreshingly rancour free discussion thus far on what has oft-times before turned into a heated debate that degenerates into accusations.

Let's be careful not go too far down that road again, eh ?

warmest regards

dave
 
Mar 3, 2001
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Well, I'm off to have emergency sugery on Monday but being diabetic they have to put me in the hospital 24 hours prior to stabalize my blood sugar. So I decided to pick up a new book to take to the hospital and the winner was The Titanic and the Mystery Ship! I'm so excied to read it. I've been wanting to pick it up for awhile now but never have. Now if I only had an autographed copy! Shoot!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Get better fast, Amanda. I think you'll find the book a worthwhile read for a lot of reasons, whether you agree with the author's position or not. If you want to know what kind of a case could have been made for the defense had Captain Lord ever faced charges, this is the book to read.
 
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Timothy Trower

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Inger posted, "Just to revisit my question, Tim - why, specifically, do you believe Senan has set himself up as the 'final arbiter' of the Californian question? And do you disparage all authors who write books - or for that matter, articles - that they believe to be comprehensive treatments of controversial subjects as would-be "gods", or do you reserve this personal judgement for Senan? Did Leslie Reade set himself up as the final arbiter of the issue when he wrote "The Ship that Stood Still"?

"I ask, because I've known him for many years, and if ever a man lacked hubristic aspirations that man is Senan. He will defend his views with tenacity and passion, and will argue to the last for what he believes in (I know - I've been arguing matters relating to the Titanic, including the "mystery ship", with him for years), but he suffers from no delusions of divinity. On the contrary - I've always observed him to be a modest man who deflects personal praise, has a self-depractory sense of humour, and who be acutely embarrassed if anyone suggested he was a God (or even a god)."

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Inger, as I pointed out in an earlier post on the Californian passenger thread, my comment was made tongue in cheek. Why can't you be satisfied with that?

In my printing business, I run letterpress equipment, some of which was made as long ago as 1913 (and before!). In printing, my expertise is letterpress, whether it is old fashioned or a modern letterpress made last month. When I have a question about converting a file into a jpeg, or dealing with Quark or a raster file problem, I call one of my customers -- a shop filled with state of the art equipment and the people with the knowledge of how to use it. I'll ask to talk to "one of the small g computer gods", and they'll laugh and transfer me right through.

Nearly a year ago, a Titanic buff (pro-Lordite) and I were talking in depth about the Californian, and my views on her role in the tragedy of the Titanic. I was challenged, and accepted that challenge, to read back through source material and re-evaluate my position. This I have been doing.

When the opportunity came up to review this book, I took it and read it with an open mind -- if Molony presented a strong case and could back up what he said, then the book might have been enough to help me evaluate the source material I've been reading. Instead, I ran across numerous examples of where testimony that he did not agree with was discarded and discounted. Never mind that those being quoted or the written words of those same people were just as valid of source material as what he did use and accept.

He did a great job of presenting both sides of arguments, giving in depth coverage to all of those testy areas that the anti's and the pro's disagree on. But he came across to me as setting himself up as that final arbiter that Walter Lord warned us about.

I've read through your posts, Inger, and see that you say that Molony has changed you from an anti into a pro.

Inger, you wrote: "Personally I found a good deal of food for thought on matters that I had once - as a committed "Anti-Lordite" - thought quite settled to my own satisfaction." Inger, please give me three or four examples of the matters that Molony has caused you to reverse your opinion on.

For that matter, after rethinking the topics that you mentioned, did you then decide that Molony was correct in claiming that the Californian was a long distance away from the Titanic that night?

I seriously would like to know. I hold no animosity towards you -- I wouldn't know you from Adam -- and am not on this message board to cause problems. But I would truly like to know what about Molony's writings changed your thinking.
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo Tim -

quote:

Inger, as I pointed out in an earlier post on the Californian passenger thread, my comment was made tongue in cheek. Why can't you be satisfied with that?
Because after your statement that your comment was 'tongue in cheek', you suggested that it was inspired by your perception that he was setting himself up as the final arbitrator on the question - a view you restate in your latest post:
quote:

But he came across to me as setting himself up as that final arbiter that Walter Lord warned us about.
You are perfectly entitled to believe he was 'dismissive' of those whose views he disagreed with. I find he argued his position on why he placed more emphasis on some testimony than others, as all who assess witness statements do...I might not agree with his analysis, but I do believe he has argued for his interpretation. How does it follow that he is setting himself up as a 'final arbiter', when he has done what virtually every other author on the subject has done - offered his interpretation of the evidence, and of the reliability of various witnesses?

Again - do you believe that Leslie Reade, for example, likewise set himself up as the 'final arbiter'? He judged some evidence based on how it fit into his arguments - and, in at least one instance I know of, selectively quoted an unpublished source to use only the material that was useful to his argument, excluding material that was not (Senan Molony, by contrast, urged me to publish this same source in its entirety).
quote:

I've read through your posts, Inger, and see that you say that Molony has changed you from an anti into a pro.
You haven't read - or you haven't understood - my posts if you believe I've been changed from an 'anti' to a 'pro'. Indeed, one thing Senan has made me do is re-examine the black and white polarities that these terms tend to force on us - he himself loathes the terms. I used to be a self-professed 'anti-Lordite' - simply because I now reject the term doesn't mean I now describe myself as 'pro'.
quote:

Inger, you wrote: "Personally I found a good deal of food for thought on matters that I had once - as a committed "Anti-Lordite" - thought quite settled to my own satisfaction." Inger, please give me three or four examples of the matters that Molony has caused you to reverse your opinion on.
I said 'gave me a good deal of food for thought' - that doesn't mean I have reversed my opinion. It means I am open to alternative ideas, and concede that he may be correct on some issues, and has a legitimate case to put forward. The number of rockets fired, the idea - proposed by Reade - that Lord consciously and deliberately ignored a vessel in distress, the idea that the mystery ship seen from the Titanic must have been the Californian and no other vessel, the distance of the Californian to the Titanic being in the proximity of about 5 - 7 miles...all these have been held as tenants of faith by the self-described "antis" (although the distance has been pushed back over recent years - it's rare to find, as one did only a few years ago, for the '5 miles').

If you ask me what I found persuasive about his arguments (and I note that you yourself describe him as 'persuasive'), I'd say it was a combination of material amassed, interpretation and his keen analytical mind. I also find him acutely perceptive on the human element (no doubt an observational skill derived from his many years observing witness behaviour in courtroom settings and as a war and political correspondent).
quote:

I seriously would like to know. I hold no animosity towards you -- I wouldn't know you from Adam -- and am not on this message board to cause problems. But I would truly like to know what about Molony's writings changed your thinking.
I hope I've gone some way towards answering your questions - and certainly I accept them in a genuine spirit of inquiry. Hopefully there can be no question of personal animosity on either side
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I usually avoid detailed discussion on the Californian these days, btw - I've received vehement, even abusive emails from people on both ends of the spectrum when I've posted on the subject, as many keyboard warriors seem to take an 'if you're not with us, you're against us' stance. If I seem to be persistant on the matter of why you single Senan out as a purported 'final arbiter', it is because it seems rather out of character for you (particularly in light of the balance you strove for in your Commutator review) and verging on an ad hominem attack on the author, and what I feel to be a great injustice to the spirit in which he writes. Senan and I have differed over the years on elements of the Californian controversy and many other matters of interpretation - far from any desire to lay down the law and set himself up as the final judge, he is a man who relishes debate. As I noted above, he has encouraged me to publish sources that Reade used selectively.

This is the only issue I pursue because I believe it is a mischaracterisation of an author's stance, and does him a tremendous injustice. About your views on the Californian, and whether he is successful in arguing his case (or not!), I stress again that I recognise you are entirely entitled to your opinion - of course - and I am not disputing that. I am challenging your characterisation of his work, and asking if you hold a similar view of other authors on the subject, or if you reserve it exclusively for Senan (and if so, why?).​
 
Mar 22, 2003
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G'day Inger. How are you doing? I read with interest your statement,
quote:

far from any desire to lay down the law and set himself up as the final judge, he is a man who relishes debate.
I wish I could see it that way, but in past debates here on this forum regarding the Californian issue, I and many others felt that if anyone disagreed with his conclusions they became the target of insult and disrespect. It is one thing to relish debate, quite another in the way one conducts themselves during a debate.

When someone resorts to some of the antics that he had used in the past on this forum, and for the most part without intervention by any of the moderators, one can only question some of his underlying motives. I for one have always tried not to steep down to the level that he has on some of these threads here on the ET forum. Whenever someone like myself tried to present some counter arguments and examples, Senan was quite often flippantly dismissive of that person along with some inappropriate characterization of that person. If that doesn't suggest someone who believes they are the final arbitrator of an issue, then I don't know what does.​
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo Sam - I'm doing fine, thanks! Not least because holidays are looming in a couple of weeks. Hope you've had a good start to the New Year.

I'm afraid I cannot agree with your characterisation of debate involving Senan on this board - in fact, I utterly and emphatically disagree.

I doagree that he argues in a rigorous, emphatic manner (he does this with friends, opponents, family too, and not just on the Californian), but I find him as much sinned against as sinning. I have seen his detractors denigrate his work and character, on this board - regardless of whether he was present or not. I have even seen his private correspondence with a Titanic society grossly and inappropriately misrepresented on ET during a period when Senan was not posting and had not posted for some time. Even this current tangent to discussion of his work was triggered by a disparaging remark made about him.

As a former moderator, I disagree that he was allowed to act without moderator intervention. I can recall a complaint being made to this effect when someone had their posts removed, and the suggestion made that Senan's posts had been left untouched. In fact - unbeknownst to the complainant - some of Senan's posts had been part of a sequence of posts that were removed as inappropriate. Posts attacking Senan have often been left untouched, precisely because there is a feeling that he can take care of himself.
quote:

If that doesn't suggest someone who believes they are the final arbitrator of an issue, then I don't know what does.
I would suggest that your interpretation is subjective, based on your view as someone who has been engaged in debate from an opposing point of view. I know of individuals who are scathing about those that they characterise as 'pro-Lordites', and yet it is not suggested that they are setting themselves up as the ultimate judge. Your contact with him has been limited to online forums, and from that you have formed an idea of his character based on how you interpret his demenour. I've not only exchanged extensive correspondence with him, I've met him many times, and have had a good many face-to-face discussions with him on subjects such as the Californian where we have disagreed. He argues passionately, enjoys the cut-and-thrust of debate whether online or face to face. This is partly cultural - Dubliners are particularly noted for a sometimes acerbic sense of humour, and for a take-no-prisoners style of debate.

Would a man who believed he was the final arbitrator on a subject encourage me to publish a source in its entirety, even when he believed that the eyewitness had misinterpreted certain observations? (A source Leslie Reade chose not to publish, only using extracts that were useful to him - that sounds more like someone setting themselves up as a judge of what is and is not valid).

Would a man who believed he was the final aribtrator on an issue tell me when I disagreed with him that my position was an honourable one, as long as I could argue it, even if he disagreed with me?

In all the years I've known him on or off-line, I have never known Senan to set himself up as a final judge. On the contrary, I can think of many instances along the lines of the time when he challenged me on a source for a statement I made and, having produced it, he cheerfully signed himself as 'horsewhipped in Dublin!' and acknowledge the error on his part.

Just this week, Senan achieved a victory in Ireland's High Court for freedom of the press, winning the right for an important interview he conducted twenty years ago to go to air. He fought that battle at what was potentially great personal cost - but he did it because he believes passionately in freedom of speech.

I can't think of anyone I would be less likely to characterise as setting himself up as the final judge of anything - he would be as disparaging of any such idea applied to himself as he would be of it applied to anyone else.​
 

Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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Dear Inger

I'm sorry but I feel I must respond to your remark that

"Even this current tangent to discussion of his work was triggered by a disparaging remark made about him."

With all due respect, no.

The discussions on this thread were triggered by questions I asked regarding the revised publication of Senan's book, since I felt I had found certain regrettable errors of fact and interpretation in the original A Ship Accussed. I simply wished to know if these had either been expanded upon, or corrected. No disparagement is present in the questions, nor was any intended

Several people, including Senan himself no less, were kind enough to respond to my initial query - and you might note that I thanked both him and the others for responding at such length.

Thereafter came several pages of discussion of Senan's points, and the larger issues of the behaviour of Lord and his men. Throughout many posters from both sides of the argument remarked how very pleasant it was to have a discussion of the issues WITHOUT any of the usual rancour and personal attacks that the debate attracts.

Regrettably, as can be seen above, a member whose identity is pretty obvious decided that he would indulge in personal attack, and came near to derailing the thread. Pity.

That, however, stands out as the ONLY personal attack on this thread, I think you'll find.

Now, to change the subject and in the spirit of comradely investigation - given that you have an open mind on Lord's behaviour, and those of his men, on the night in question - where do you stand on the perhaps more interesting question that has long intrigued me about the Californian question

Given that it is perhaps a valid defence of the ship's inaction on the night in question that Lord and his men had no idea what was happening and perhaps no convincing reason to hazard their ship - how do you view Lord's subsequent actions after the Californian left the wreck site, when he must have begun to realise that his officers had witnessed something unusual happening on the very night the Titanic went down ?

Because it seems to me that no matter how convincing a defence one can construct for Lord's ommision of action, once he starts to cover-up what was seen he is committing a criminal act, namely encouraging false witness.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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G'day Inger.

If Mr. Molony, or anyone else for that matter, is willing to stay away from personal attack, I'm sure their opinions and insights would be most welcome on this or any other thread. Since you know Mr. Molony personally I'm sure what you say must be true. However, based on what I've seen in the past on various threads on this site, I must say that my impression is not the same as yours.

Let's agree to leave it at that.
 

Mark Baber

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Let's agree to leave it at that.

Yes, let's.

Any further discussion in this thread should focus on the book itself and not the characteristics of the author.

Thanks.
 

Inger Sheil

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Agreed, Mark - although I just need to clarify one point, in case Dave gets the wrong impression:
quote:

"Even this current tangent to discussion of his work was triggered by a disparaging remark made about him."

With all due respect, no.

The discussions on this thread were triggered by questions I asked regarding the revised publication of Senan's book.
Just to clarify what I was referring to, Dave - my remark that you have quoted was not referring to the discussion that had gone before in this thread, including your comments - it referred specifically to a comment that was made recently in another thread before that discussion was moved to this pre-existing thread.

If anyone would like to continue discussion further, please feel free to email me
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Inger,

Sorry for my delay in answering, but the recent unpleasantness of our ice storm has left little time for the thought that needs to go into this discussion. Just to refresh my memory on this subject, I've just spent the last thirty minutes reading the last archived page of this thread, and, of course, the discussion that was started in the Ships that Stood Still thread. I am anxious not to return to the rancor of that previous page (except to wish Amanda well); and repeat that I am not here trying to antagonize you or anyone else.

You wrote: "Because after your statement that your comment was 'tongue in cheek', you suggested that it was inspired by your perception that he was setting himself up as the final arbitrator on the question - a view you restate in your latest post:"

Inger, that is because I believe it to be the truth even though I made a deliberate point of stating that point in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

You wrote: "I might not agree with his analysis, but I do believe he has argued for his interpretation."

I absolutely agree that he "argued for his interpretation," but that does not mean that he did so convincingly. I read the book cover to cover, and took pages of notes before writing a book review about the book for the Commutator. Argue his points well, yes. But to the point of convincing me -- someone who has accepted the challenge of reviewing my anti-Lordite stance -- nope!

You wrote: "How does it follow that he is setting himself up as a 'final arbiter'..."

Inger, the very last paragraph of Molony's book "A Ship Accused" says "Also in the wider vicinity, was another party; a ship that approached to within five miles of the Titanic, banked and stopped. A ship that both saw and heard the giant White Star liner's distress rockets, yet instead of coming to assist, decided to flee the scene. Her identity remains one of the last secrets of the sea."

Taking his own words, Molony trumpets his book's ultimate conclusion as if it were the absolute truth rather than merely his own opinion. To me, that sure as little green apples looks like the statement of a final arbiter.

You wrote: "Again - do you believe that Leslie Reade, for example, likewise set himself up as the 'final arbiter'?

Well Inger, let us contrast the words of Leslie Reade in the final passages of the main body of his own book: "In this age especially, where the individual has been despised and mocked and murdered by a hundred dictators of all sizes and colors, it is better to be over careful about a wrong to any individual, rather than blatantly contemptuous of it, particularly when, as here, we are confronted with what is as much a moral as a legal issue. "Fiat justitia, ruat coelum," which in the case of Captain Stanley Lord alone, may be translated: "Let justice be seen to be done, though heavens fall. From the weight of white stars as distress rockets call."

So, when we contrast the final paragraph of Molony's book with that of Reade's book, it is pretty evident that Molony is setting his personal opinion down as fact, but Reade is perfectly willing to let the reader judge the evidence and then make up his or her own mind about the strength or weakness of the case against Captain Lord.

You wrote (about Leslie Reade): "He judged some evidence based on how it fit into his arguments - and, in at least one instance I know of, selectively quoted an unpublished source to use only the material that was useful to his argument, excluding material that was not (Senan Molony, by contrast, urged me to publish this same source in its entirety).

Good for Molony! :)

You wrote: "You haven't read - or you haven't understood - my posts if you believe I've been changed from an 'anti' to a 'pro'.

Great -- then I take it that we are completely agreed that Molony's defense of Captain Lord was indeed persuasive but not convincing.

You wrote: "I said 'gave me a good deal of food for thought' - that doesn't mean I have reversed my opinion. It means I am open to alternative ideas, and concede that he may be correct on some issues..."

Inger, as you could tell from my book review, I'm open to alternate ideas as well, and I agree with you that Molony might be correct on some issues. However, regarding Molony's main issue (i.e. that the Californian was not the Titanic's mystery ship), it seems apparent that you and I both agree that Molony failed to make a convincing case.

You wrote: "If you ask me what I found persuasive about his arguments (and I note that you yourself describe him as 'persuasive')."

Inger, I said "persuasive," which, of course, isn't the same thing as convincing.

You wrote: "If I seem to be persistant on the matter of why you single Senan out as a purported 'final arbiter', it is because it seems rather out of character for you (particularly in light of the balance you strove for in your Commutator review) and verging on an ad hominem attack on the author, and what I feel to be a great injustice to the spirit in which he writes."

In character for me can be a number of different things. Many political opponents would characterize me as ruthless and hateful -- for merely writing about their past actions. Many of my printing customers would characterize me as a tireless worker, a perfectionist and a fellow stuck in the past (most of my presses date to the 1950s, and one from 1913 is in at least weekly use if not more). My family would characterize me as loving, caring and thoughtful (the words of my nearest and dearest -- not mine!)

But when it comes to literary efforts, I do not go out of my way to be offensive. I've never met Molony, and I'm on the wrong side of the pond for an accidental meeting at the shopping mall. However, given his own writing -- and writing this outside of the confines of a balanced book review for publication -- he alone gives himself that appearance of being the final arbiter.

What puzzles me, Inger, since you and I agree on several of these above points, is that you don't agree with me on this one as well!
 

Inger Sheil

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You put me in an awkward position, Tim, as Mark Baber has asked that we focus on the book itself rather than the characteristics of the author. It is difficult to disentangle any discussion that addresses whether an author considers himself a 'final arbitrator' of an subject from those characteristics, as it involves our own subjective interpretation of what the author's intent was. On the other hand, it could be argued that this is textual analysis (from which we are deducing the author's intent and attitude...sigh).

I'm honestly tossing this up as to whether it would be acceptable to address the matter here or via email. I'd like to discuss Reade and Molony in more detail and my own analysis of those passages you cite, why I strongly disagree with your observations on the two as well as citing other examples from Reade and authors like Wade that illustrate my perspective. In addition to textual material, I also have the advantage of a lengthy correspondence with the author and my own anecdotal evidence coming from many years of personal contact discussing this very issue with him that I shed's further light on interpreting what the author's intent was. I don't want to be seen to be trying to sneak a punch in under the arm of the umpire, however, so while I go muster up my copies of the texts I want to cite in response to your post, I'll await moderatorly direction on how to further conduct this discussion. If you're wondering why this post doesn't contain the usual copious cites, specific examples and direct responses to your statements, it's because I don't want this to be seen as a contribution to a discussion that we've been asked to discontinue. If the moderators feel the need to delete this message I will, of course, take no offense.

I do wish to make it utterly clear in this public thread, however, that I believe Molony has made as convincing a case for his perspective as any author who has written on the subject - whatever their camp. I may not agree with every aspect of what he wrote or every facet of his argument, but I've yet to see a comprehensive book on any Titanic issue where I've found myself in complete lock-step with the author.
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Inger,

I think our discussion on this thread has centered on whether or not Molony is a convincing writer on this subject. However, I doubt that anything new will come from this exchange -- on line or off -- so I'm going to make this my closing post.

(One thing to consider, though, is the comment that Senan Molony made to Phil Gowan, when he told Phil that he didn't really believe in the Californian's innocence but that he merely enjoyed "stirring the pot" or words to that effect.)

You posted: "I do wish to make it utterly clear in this public thread, however, that I believe Molony has made as convincing a case for his perspective as any author who has written on the subject - whatever their camp."

Inger, I agree with you that Molony did the best job possible in presenting the pro-Lordite case. However, that doesn't change the ultimate fact that neither of us believe that his book succeeded in proving that two mystery ships were located between the Titanic and the Californian that night.

You wrote: "I may not agree with every aspect of what he wrote or every facet of his argument, but I've yet to see a comprehensive book on any Titanic issue where I've found myself in complete lock-step with the author."

"...in lock-step" right up to the final page, where you and I both disagree with Molony's final conclusion that two mystery ships lay between the Titanic and the Californian.

Since you and I are both in agreeance that Molony's book failed to prove the pro-Lordite case, there really isn't any reason to continue this thread -- on- or off-line -- since the only characteristics that are of any significance to you and the other members of ET are the public characteristics that Molony has displayed on ET in the past.
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo Tim -

I'm a little disappointed that you do not wish to continue this discussion (particularly as I lugged a whole pile of books off the shelf and had earmarked passages in them, and was going to email Senan to see if he had departed on his latest research trip or whether he was available to send me a comment on the subject), but I understand why you feel that we are at a stalemate and further discussion would serve no purpose. To be honest, I can see your point - this could develop into a long and exhausting discussion, and while I've a weakness for that sort of thing, it's not the best use of our time. I have vague hopes of getting a draft article ready for ET before I depart on vacation. I've deleted a lengthy section from this email discussing the final paragraphs of both books, the necessary context that leads to their reading, and a comparison with the many other writers who conclude without use of caveats and manage to escape accusations of being self-credentialing final aribtrators. I suspect it would be a waste of typing
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I'll just address a few points you made in this final post:
quote:

One thing to consider, though, is the comment that Senan Molony made to Phil Gowan, when he told Phil that he didn't really believe in the Californian's innocence but that he merely enjoyed "stirring the pot" or words to that effect.
I was there 'at the beginning', so to speak, when Senan first looked into the matter of the Californian. Initially I do believe that there was an element of devil's advocacy to his position - not because he 'didn't really believe' in the Califorian's 'innocence', but rather because he was uncomfortable with the arguments that had been put forward damning her Captain and crew. Over the years, that position has expanded into profound convictions on the matter.

Would a man who was 'just stirring the pot' passionately argue the case with his in-laws, who have no interest in the subject? I've seen him present the case to people who have no connection or interest in the Titanic (among them my dearest friend) - it can hardly have been pot-stirring when there was no pot to stir.

I can also recount a conversation I had with him in Liverpool last April, when he told me what had drawn him to the subject and driven him for so long. He was scornful of any suggestion it was the appeal of personalities - Lord, after all, was long dead. No...it was a desire for truth, and a rejection of neat, reductive and simplistic assessments of history. You can disagree with his interpretation of the evidence, but please don't ever doubt his sincerity.
quote:

Inger, I agree with you that Molony did the best job possible in presenting the pro-Lordite case. However, that doesn't change the ultimate fact that neither of us believe that his book succeeded in proving that two mystery ships were located between the Titanic and the Californian that night.
What he has done, however, is succeed in turning a committed, self-proclaimed anti-Lordite into someone now finds the term as problematic as he does himself, and who acknowledges that my former ideas were simplistic. The reason I don't believe he has 'proved' his case is because I don't believe the case isproveable, one way or the other. I've gone from the position of a true believer to one who is no longer comfortable in that camp, and who can say that Senan may be quite correct.

So no...I'm not in lock-step with you either when you disagree with Senan's final paragraph, as he expresses the belief that a ship approached the Titanic, turned and stopped and departed the scene. I am not asserting that one certainly did, but nor am I asserting that one certainly did. I'm inclined, if anything, towards the view that one did. We are not in agreement that he 'failed to prove' the pro-Lordite case, any more than I'd condemn another writer, like Reade, for failing to prove that the Californian was guilty of whatever degree of culpability you attribute to it (and there are degrees among those who view the vessel and its master in a negative light - from those who agree with Reade that the Master deliberately ignored a vessel in distress, to those who think a series of errors was involved and that they failed to recognise the situation unfolding).
quote:

the only characteristics that are of any significance to you and the other members of ET are the public characteristics that Molony has displayed on ET in the past.
I could not disagree with this statement more. Subjective interpretation of his 'public characteristics' on ET is, to my mind, possibly the least significant aspect of this discussion. The reason I took issue with your comments in the other thread was not because of any public stance on ET, but because you claimed in his written work that he had set himself up as the final aribtrator of the issue. I found this so utterly at odds with him both as a writer and what I know of him as a person - publicly and privately - that I had to respond. My approach has not been about whether he was right or wrong (although you have tried to draw me into a discussion on these matters, and I have in part responded, thus leading us off on a tangent). It has been entirely about whether he believes he is the final judge. I have discussed the issues with him for many years, and not exclusively through the cumbersome medium of the internet. It would have been utterly remiss of me not to have brought this dimension to the discussion, and to explain why I feel as I do from my extensive conversations with the author.

One thing I should note - I have mentioned Reade several times in my posts, also Wade, and have alluded to others. I do not mean my comments to be constructed as accusations that Reade set himself up to be the final arbitrator of this matter. On the contrary - I'm arguing that Senan does not deserve to be castigated for this supposed sin, and that it would be highly selective to do so and not similarly take to task authors like Reade who, taking the opposite position, frequently state as fact matters that are in fact open to debate.

I admire Reade tremendously, as I've stated often on this board. I particularly respect his innovative research and pioneering of new sources. However, I was forceably struck anew by this paragraph when I opened the book:
quote:

On this category of sources, it should perhaps be said its acceptance must depend on the judgement, and especially the good faith of the author. Little credence can, or should be, accorded to those who have manifestly shown themselves as careless, or even unscrupulous, in their manipulation or even supression of sources which can be checked, such as their use of the of the transcripts of evidence.
You - quite rightly - commended Senan when I commented on his position regarding publishing a source in its entirety, but I don't know how you feel about Reade's approach. Re-reading the above passage, I could not help but see the approaches of the two authors in strong relief.

At some time, in the course of writing his book, Reade came across an unpublished source...a sworn affidavit, residing in a private collection, of which only one original is known to exist. This document, sworn under oath shortly after the disaster, contained details about the appearance of the 'mystery ship', as seen from both the deck of the Titanic and also from a lifeboat. The observer was an experienced merchant seaman.

In coming across this source, the writer faced a dilema. Parts of the witnesses' observations supported his argument - other parts supported a position he was anxious to discredit. How did he handle this situation?

He published the observations in part - excluding those portions of the eyewitness statement that contradicted his arguments. Bear in mind, this was not a document that could be readily checked - it was not even in a public archive.

I hope that this was simply a one-off lapse of judgement on Reade's part, although ever since I've wondered what else he came across in his research that he decided to supress.

Senan Molony - confronted with the same document, and the same problem that it in part helped, and in part hindered his argument, had an utterly different response. He urged it be published.

That is typical of the man who, as I said earlier, has put his own money on the line to fight for freedom of the press in his native country.

I believe both authors are persuasive writers. I believe that their books are written, like legal cases, in order to put forward their interpretation of the evidence, and sway the audience. I believe both men are utterly convinced themselves of their legitimacy of their case. Although they argued their cases as comprehensively and exhuastively as possible, presenting years worth of intense research, I don't believe either man should be charged with setting themselves up as the final judge of the matter. In Senan's case, for example, the research and analysis is ongoing.

I hope you have the opportunity to meet Senan some time, Tim - I know you said it was unlikely, but he does bounce around the globe a good deal (he's about to embark - or has already left - on yet another research trip).

And I'm sure we'll 'meet' again in another thread soon - hopefully next time arguing the same side, as we always have the common ground of interest in the same maritime subject.​
 
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