There is no subject like the Titanic for making people jump to conclusions without a safety net. It appears that not only the reporter who filed the newspaper story leaped without looking, but so are a lot of allegedly serious Titanic researchers.
One of the men closest to the History Channel production is Roger Long. He has asked me to post the following note about critics of the upcoming program on other forums who have prejudged the program and without seeing even one frame of video have decided it is unworthy of their time.
-- David G. Brown
I’ve asked Dave Brown to post this. I don’t follow the Titanic forums for reasons this thread
illustrates quite well. Titanic research is a professional endeavor for me which will probably end when this show airs and the checks stop. I
expect this to be my single appearance in the Titanic forum world.
Some people have written that they won‘t watch the show on the basis of a newspaper
article and I understand that there are other Titaniacs voicing similar views. This willingness to avoid hearing the results of an extensive project demonstrates exactly the resistance to considering analysis and
information which doesn‘t fit preconceived ideas that Titaniacs are so quick to cite whenever something opposes their viewpoint.
This project team included some well know names to this group including Marine Forensic Panel members (of which I am one). Technical
computation and analysis was carried out by a naval architectural firm that specializes in marine salvage and forensic engineering. These guys primarily study how ships die and they brought state of the art computer tools to the table. The idea that you wouldn‘t watch a show about the results on the basis of the information available to you at this point
is exactly why I found the various forums generally irrelevant to serious inquiry and analysis back when I reviewed them extensively at
the beginning of this project.
The fact is that, despite the rather amusingly over reaching and hyping Sunday Telegraph piece, the forum critics don’t know what is in the show. I told the reporter that I could tell him some of the questions the show would answer but I couldn‘t tell him the answers due to the NDA. He chose to guess at the answers, hoping I presume, to get a scoop. Whether his gamble paid off is something you will have to watch the show to find out.
For the record, I was surprised and disappointed when the interviews with Roy Mengot’s group were cut from the show. This decision was made
at the History Channel and not by the producers. I was never consulted and it had nothing to do with whether their findings supported or contradicted our research. The attitude displayed by Roy in his post on another forum illustrates why the producers felt like they should find someone like myself to get a ride down to the ship and guide the inquiry to be
presented in the shows as opposed to someone who has spent years pushing a particular viewpoint of the accident.
Bottom up vs. top down actually turns out to be mostly irrelevant to where the analysis of the last year led us. We could accept the findings
of the MFP paper Roy is working on pretty much whole cloth without changing our essential findings. I‘ve read a draft of the paper and find
it unconvincing due to both internal contradictions overall approach. But, as I said, that‘s a side issue at this point.
As for clinging to pre-conceptions, those who do watch the show will be treated to a scene of me announcing in front of a room full of people
that computer analysis being conducted real time right in front of us has just shot down an essential element of a theory I proposed. That
alone should be worth the price of admission.
History is not what happened but what historians think happened after researching the records and information available. It‘s always wrong and
incomplete to some extent and my work on the Titanic will be no different. Historical analysis is always susceptible to bias and
preconception which is why the producers intentionally brought in someone with minimal prior interest and involvement with the Titanic
world to guide the inquiry.
The Titanic world is so used to everyone being a partisan for some point of view that I, quite unfairly, became the "expansion joint guy". My job was to assemble a team to supply the background I was missing, and take a fresh and unbiased look at all the information we could put on the table. That‘s what I did. I got paid, I got to see the wreck, but I don't have a dog in this fight other than to provide my most objective opinion on what the data points to. The strength of my position is that
I really don’t give a hoot. I warned the producers at the beginning that, if I found out that everything happened exactly the way everyone
thinks it did, that would be the story. I was dragged out of a meeting and screamed at in the hallway when a potential bombshell didn’t pan out
in further analysis. The producers backed me up so I can assure that there has been no effort to hop this story up for ratings.
This job is done. Now I’ve got to go and get my University of Maryland research vessel built and design boats for relief supply delivery and
transport in the war torn regions of Africa.