Did Hong Kong become a culturally confused society?

Feb 2011
5,791
NordicDemosthenes, I said you gave zero quotes from zero sources in THIS thread about the claim you made in THIS thread. I thought I made that pretty obvious.

As for the other thread, you gave one single academic source (not the European Castle Institute as you claim now, but actually M. W. Thompson) which don't even agree with you. Your "25,000 castles" in Germany number came from a news source quoting from the European Castle Institute. What your academic source actually says is the following: "Some 14,000 castles (5,500 earthwork remains) have been listed in German-speaking areas of Europe, although no doubt an underestimate". Despite the quantity of evidence I provided you in another thread, you refused to be convinced because you managed to dig up one source in the linked thread which didn't even support your argument. Yet in THIS thread you gave zero quotes from zero sources and you get angry when I refused to be convinced.

As for your source in the thread I linked, it is a non-sequiter argument.
The premise of your source: There were 70,000-100,000 castles ever built in Western Europe (extrapolated from England and Germany only). Some 14,000 castles (5,500 earthworks) were listed in the German speaking areas of Europe.
Your conclusion: There were thousands of castles in a single European state during the year of the Mongol invasion of Europe. There are 25,000 German castles, practically all stone.

Your source and your conclusion do not support each other. Just like how you provided zero sources and zero quotes on the premise of your counterarguments.

Here is the list from the single post you just made:

1. You claim that I said there were "1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasions"
-False. Where did I say there were 1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasion? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it.

2. You claim that the vast majority of the known German castles "are from the middle ages, and all practically are of stone"
-False, you gave zero sources and zero quotes that said the vast majority of known German castles are "all practically are of stone". That is your sourcelsss assumption.

3. You say I claimed that "95% of all Castles in Germany were constructed after 1250.".
-False. Where did I say that there 95% of all castles in Germany were contructed in 1250? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it. In fact I specifically addressed that a fair portion of castles could simply be built prior to 1250 and then became abandoned.

4. You claim I assume "conventional wisdom about the number of castles in Europe at the time of the mongol invasions are wrong." Sorry, if by "conventional wisdom" you mean "academic consensus", then you have provided zero sourcing and zero quotes that any academic agree with you. I provided sourcing and quotes that academics say there were hundreds of castles in a European state at a single point in time around the time of the Mongol invasion, not the thousands you claimed. "Conventional wisdom" is not the same as googled people in forums saying things without sourcing.

So you pitch your molehill of a source, against the mountain of sourcing I provided, some of them which literally states that there were hundreds, not thousands, of castles in a single European state at one point in time. They literally state the exact same thing I said. It doesn't matter if you can list credentials for your source, if what your source says is not the same as what your claim says, then I am being very generous to even say your source is a molehill.

On the other hand, in THIS thread, THIS discussion, you provided zero sourcing and zero quotes, and you are flabbergasted that I'm not convinced despite that my mountain of evidence . You know full well what I meant when I told you you provided zero sourcing and zero quotes.

In summary, for the linked thread on European castles:
1. Your sole source is a non-sequiter that do not back up your claim that there were thousands of castles in a European state at a single point in time. Your source merely says that known castles in Western Europe was in the tens of thousands. That does not mean there were thousands of castles in a single European state at one point in time. Castles could be left to rot prior to the 1240 Mongol invasion, or built after 1240.
2. My sources show that in significant swaths of France and Germany making up a quarter of their territory, castles amounted to over somewhat a hundred or several tens of castles at a single period in time
3. My sources have authors which specifically say that France and Britain had hundreds of castles, not the thousands you claimed. Your source do NOT specifically say that a single European state had thousands of operational castles in around 1240.

In summary, for this thread:
You claimed that some specific European careers (doctors/lawyers/government positions) require pre-job "practical experience" before starting said job. I asked you for evidence, you didn't give any. When you insisted that your claim is true, I asked you for evidence again, you call the skepticism "childish".

It's funny, in the linked thread you try to discredit my sourcing because, in your opinion which you describe as fact, medieval European scribes couldn't count their number of castles accurately. They need to be off by several magnitudes in order for your claim to be correct though.
Here in this thread, when I said "just because Europe adopted a policy don't mean it's the best one", you accused me of having the arrogance to think I know better than past European policymakers. Yet in the linked thread you apparently think you know better than Medieval European scribes on the number of castles they have.
In other words, you think you know better about Medieval castles than Medieval scribes whose job was to count castles. When I question your premise that policy decisions in Europe was the best suited policy, you accuse me of having the arrogance to know more than they. Fair?
 
Last edited:
Feb 2011
5,791
Nordic, you need to address these issues you attributed of me because I've addressed them more than once.

1. Apparently I said there were "1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasions"
-Where did I say there were 1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasion? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it.

2. Apparently I claimed that "95% of all Castles in Germany were constructed after 1250.".
-Where did I say that there 95% of all castles in Germany were contructed in 1250? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it. I corrected you of this repeatedly, I don't know why you keep insisting I claimed something I did not.

3. You claim that the vast majority of the known German castles "are from the middle ages, and all practically are of stone"
-You gave zero sources and zero quotes that said the vast majority of known German castles are "all practically are of stone". Otherwise quote the sentence and post number which you gave sourcing to back this up (If anything your sourcing said the opposite). If anything you gave a quote in which ~40% of listed German castles were just earthworks.

4. You claim that Medieval-Reinassance European doctors/lawyers/government positions require "practical experience" before they start their job. You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO quotes to back this up. I have been waiting for multiple posts and apparently you would rather spend hours arguing about why you shouldn't have to give the evidence, rather than dedicate the time to simply give the evidence.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
You can ask me to provide for evidence as long as I made a claim about a historic fact. As far as our discussion is concerned, I have not made such claims. You made the claim, you provide the evidence. Your claim being: European lawyers/doctors/government positions were required to have pre-job experience.
Yeahyeah.

See, this is why I don't particularly believe you are debating honestly. Do you think I would be stupid enough to make such a claim, in and of itself? Especially after I've repeatedly claimed that Europe was politically decentralized? Is that a good summary of what I really meant? Was I speaking in and of itself, or as a contrast to Chinese circumstances?

As far as evidence is concerned, despite repeated request you have failed to provide evidence, instead you dedicated your time going on the offensive or giving more claims without evidence or giving more claims that have nothing to do with the evidence I requested. You could have dedicated that times providing evidence instead, and this would all be over. I can only assume that you have no evidence for your claims until you prove otherwise.
I did provide claims which you could easily verify if you wanted to. My (in your opinion) most solid claim, that Padua had a great focus on dissection, anatomy, autopsy classes after the late middle ages you dismissed as "one university, doesn't prove anything etc. etc."

Is this a reasonable thing to say? If you know any of the following (which is once again common knowledge, but I'm sure you will ask for "evidence" for that as well) it does not seem like a very reasonable comment to make:

1) Padua was one of the oldest and leading universities and arguably together with Bologna the leading one in the medical sciences during at least the early Renaissace/ Late middle ages.

2) The Renaissance in general is usually characterised by increasing degrees of experimentation in the natural sciences, commonly called (shocking, I know) the scientific revolution.

3) Universities in Europe were semi-independent institutions, often started by the arms of the Church and very heavily influenced by Church teachings but not quite completely under their wing. They often had their own charters regardless, guaranteeing them all sorts of rights and priviliges much like the free cities.

4) University graduates in Europe moved around quite a lot, and there was much movement of students to universities from all over Europe. During the Renaissance this network is often considered to form part is commonly likened to "Republic of letters".

You can't dispute the statements above really (or at least I don't see how you can), and thus my narrative is really quite reasonable, isn't it?

Explain this "spirit behind your words" which you haven't done. Did or did you not say in post 178: "My first point is that in Europe before the 1850s your supposed score results on tests was not enough to "pass to play": practical experience or some artificial substitute for it seems to have been also required for admittance." , amongst other things?

You made the claim that European lawyers/doctors/government positions require pre-job "practical experience", yes or no? If that's not what you meant, do you then retract the claim? It sounds like you are defending yourself not with evidence, but defending yourself with intentional vagueness. Instead of giving a book title and relevant quote from a book in order to defend your claim, you tell me to "read a book" or "watch a TV-documentary", without even providing a title, much less a quote.
No, what I said was "your supposed score results on tests was not enough to pass to play". Which they weren't. Government bureaucrats, lawyers and doctors increasingly required university studies involving besides law and medicine, theology, logic etc. and all the other things medieval university students studied - quite similar to the confucian classics, but they would not have been on your bar-exam, or for medicine specifically (terms like PhD, BA, Licentiate etc. come from? They are not new inventions exactly...). No, the system was not streamlined, yes there were plenty of loopholes,yes, the church may have had a negative influence, no, not everyone needed these kinds of qualifications and sometimes - how often is open to dispute - people were admitted that did not "deserve" to be there. I never claimed Europe was this wonder of meritocracy. In fact, I don't even think "meritocracy" is necessarily desirable in all cases. Attending university =/= test score results.

Sometimes these requirements included practical experience, sometimes they didn't. Sometimes the relevant sources I've read bemoaned the fact that they had no experience and only had been to university. Sometimes they whined over how uneducated they were and that they didn't study more (this is especially true of canon-lawyers in the high middle ages), or only studied half-assedly. The overall comparative trend with China seems to quite clearly be that there is a multiplicity of ways in which one can be admitted to the government bureaucracy, one of those ways placing greater emphasis on experience, and other ways to "get in" besides university studies.

Just out curiosity, was there something like that in China? Did Chinese bureaucrats actually have to study at an institution, or did they just spend X years as private scholars to go to a test-taking centre one or a couple of times over a period of X years?

I also cited sources in my post to @heylouis, which you clearly did not care to look at for some reason, despite the fact that they are more than a little relevant to what we are debating here.

Here are some sources, and quotes:

The Medieval Origins of the Legal profession James A Brundage (2008)

All of Chapter 7 with the title "Attaining professional status" is of interest, but here are a few passages from:

pp. 287-292:

"By the late fourteenth century, however, it was not unusual to find a substantial proportion of the advocates in bishops’ consistories described in court records as magistri which normally signified that they had spent at least some years at a university." (implying that the norm previously had been lawyers being admitted on experience-grounds alone)

"Later jurists considered three years of legal study inadequate and sought to raise this minimum educational standard. Civilians in the early thirteenth century maintained that judges should not grant an advocate the right of audience unless he could show at least five years of academic preparation, as Justinian had prescribed. 15 By the end of the thirteenth century, some church authorities and canonists had come around to the same view. [...]

"Henry Burghersh, bishop of Lincoln (r. 1320– 40), in the 1334 statutes for his consistory court went even further: he demanded six years of university study plus an additional year as a pupil observing the conduct of court cases."

Medicine and Law in the Middle Ages, Turner, Butler (2014)

Here, once again - chapter 7 ("Regulating Surgery and Medicine in 15th century Bologna") comes into play, although much of the book is really of interest.

pp 176-182:

The best evidence for physicians’ ideas on medical education comes from the surgical texts themselves, but these have the same problems as many sources of the period: they are the remnants of a learned, elite group in society. Scholars have tried to tease out what the relationship of surgeons and medicine would have looked like in daily life, but the results are still influenced by medieval medical authors, the actions of the medical schools, and city regulations, since these are usually the sources that survive. Modern scholars have worked to break this idea that academically educated physicians, in spite of the source bias, had intellectual superiority over other surgeons, specialists, or apothecaries who were trained in the guild system.

By introducing the idea of the “medical marketplace,” scholars have intended to complicate the situation by illustrating the variety of medical help available in cities like Bologna and Paris during this period and the many options that were available to patients based on their particular circumstances. Roger French, for example, points out that guild members dominated the merchant class in urban situations and in many local governments, which made this supposed superiority more difficult to articulate in a reality outside of the medical texts. French cites the example of apothecaries who would hire trained academic physicians to visit clients in their shops. This, he says, shows a lack of a rigorous hierarchy that oppressed non-academically trained practitioners."

I haven't found any good sources dealing with this specifically for the Renaissance and later Early Modern Period so far, but please go ahead and do so if you feel compelled to doubt my words. The source I cited in my post to @heylouis has some interesting information about British bureaucratic practices before 1850. Maybe you should read it, if you are interested.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
@HackneyedScribe

How about we give the Mongol thing a rest? I doubt anybody in this thread cares, and I feel I increasingly don't either.

Also, just FYI, if you expect me to respond to any of your posts from no on, please provide an alternative narrative, an alternative explanation or something interesting rather than just saying "you're wrong".
 
Feb 2011
5,791
Yeahyeah.

See, this is why I don't particularly believe you are debating honestly. Do you think I would be stupid enough to make such a claim, in and of itself? Especially after I've repeatedly claimed that Europe was politically decentralized? Is that a good summary of what I really meant? Was I speaking in and of itself, or as a contrast to Chinese circumstances?
How am I not "debating honestly"?

Did you or did you not make the following claims?:
In post 173 you said: Lawyers and doctors for example usually have not (since the renaissance, and middle ages in the case of lawyers) been examined primarily by test-taking alone, but have been taught by shadowing one in their field or sitting in on lots of court-room decisions/ dissections etc.
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence for that claim, despite repeated request
In post 178 you said: My first point is that in Europe before the 1850s your supposed score results on tests was not enough to "pass to play": practical experience or some artificial substitute for it seems to have been also required for admittance. If that is correct there is a contradiction
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence for that claim, despite repeated request
In post 192 you said: Many "government services" in European history have essentially been in the form of a guy with a badge, appointed because they had integrity, experience, local anchoring - and sometimes, happened to be somewhat connected.
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence on how government position s were appointed to guys with badges, despite repeated request

So before you accuse me of dishonesty, did you or did you not say those things? If you did say those things then I am not dishonest.

I did provide claims which you could easily verify if you wanted to. My (in your opinion) most solid claim, that Padua had a great focus on dissection, anatomy, autopsy classes after the late middle ages you dismissed as "one university, doesn't prove anything etc. etc."

Is this a reasonable thing to say? If you know any of the following (which is once again common knowledge, but I'm sure you will ask for "evidence" for that as well) it does not seem like a very reasonable comment to make:

1) Padua was one of the oldest and leading universities and arguably together with Bologna the leading one in the medical sciences during at least the early Renaissace/ Late middle ages.

2) The Renaissance in general is usually characterised by increasing degrees of experimentation in the natural sciences, commonly called (shocking, I know) the scientific revolution.

3) Universities in Europe were semi-independent institutions, often started by the arms of the Church and very heavily influenced by Church teachings but not quite completely under their wing. They often had their own charters regardless, guaranteeing them all sorts of rights and priviliges much like the free cities.

4) University graduates in Europe moved around quite a lot, and there was much movement of students to universities from all over Europe. During the Renaissance this network is often considered to form part is commonly likened to "Republic of letters".

You can't dispute the statements above really (or at least I don't see how you can), and thus my narrative is really quite reasonable, isn't it?
I did not ask you for more of your sourceless claims, and I did NOT ask you for any evidence about class curriculum in Padua or those things you listed. I asked you about your insistence that certain European careers require pre-job "practical experience" before even starting the job.

Your entire list is a Red Herring. I asked you to provide evidence for one of your claims and you try to hide it by providing unsourced statements about ANOTHER one of your claims.

No, what I said was "your supposed score results on tests was not enough to pass to play".
You are denying what you said because you said something else. It does not take away that you stated this:
Did or did you not say in post 178: "My first point is that in Europe before the 1850s your supposed score results on tests was not enough to "pass to play": practical experience or some artificial substitute for it seems to have been also required for admittance." , amongst other things?

The rest of what you said did not address the evidence I asked for. The best you made was quote a source over something I did not ask for. I asked for evidence about the requirements of pre-job "practical experience" of European careers as you claimed, you gave me pre-job requirement on education, which is not the same thing.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2011
5,791
Also, just FYI, if you expect me to respond to any of your posts from no on, please provide an alternative narrative, an alternative explanation or something interesting rather than just saying "you're wrong".
I didn't say you're wrong, Nordic, I said you have no evidence. I don't require an "alternative narrative" to point out that the few times you do give a source, they don't back your claim I pointed out, or your quoted source may even outright contradict said claim.

And in your last post 193 you switched tactics by providing quoted "evidence" over things I never asked you about. I think it's beyond obvious which of your claims I asked evidence for.

To summarize these are what I asked of you:

1.
You claim that I said there were "1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasions"
-False. Where did I say there were 1000 castles in Europe at the time of the Mongol invasion? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it.

2.
You claim that the vast majority of the known German castles "are from the middle ages, and all practically are of stone"
-False, you gave zero sources and zero quotes that said the vast majority of known German castles are "all practically are of stone". That is your sourcelsss assumption. The one quote you provided that's relevant to this claim says that 40% of the listed German castles were just earthworks.

3.
You say I claimed that "95% of all Castles in Germany were constructed after 1250.".
-False. Where did I say that there 95% of all castles in Germany were contructed in 1250? Quote the sentence in which I made that claim and the post number associated with it. In fact I specifically addressed that a fair portion of castles could simply be built prior to 1250 and then became abandoned.

4.
You claim I assume "conventional wisdom about the number of castles in Europe at the time of the mongol invasions are wrong." Sorry, if by "conventional wisdom" you mean "academic consensus", then you have provided zero sourcing and zero quotes that any academic agree with you. "Conventional wisdom" is not the same as googled people in forums saying things without sourcing. I provided sourcing and quotes that academics say there were hundreds of castles in a European state at a single point in time around the time of the Mongol invasion, not the thousands you claimed.

5.
In post 173 you said: Lawyers and doctors for example usually have not (since the renaissance, and middle ages in the case of lawyers) been examined primarily by test-taking alone, but have been taught by shadowing one in their field or sitting in on lots of court-room decisions/ dissections etc.
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence for that claim, despite repeated request

6.
In post 178 you said: My first point is that in Europe before the 1850s your supposed score results on tests was not enough to "pass to play": practical experience or some artificial substitute for it seems to have been also required for admittance. If that is correct there is a contradiction
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence for that claim, despite repeated request

7.
In post 192 you said: Many "government services" in European history have essentially been in the form of a guy with a badge, appointed because they had integrity, experience, local anchoring - and sometimes, happened to be somewhat connected.
^You gave ZERO sourcing and ZERO evidence on how government position s were appointed to guys with badges, despite repeated request
 
Last edited:
Oct 2018
12
Somewhere
"
Lawyers and doctors for example usually have not (since the renaissance, and middle ages in the case of lawyers) been examined primarily by test-taking alone, but have been taught by shadowing one in their field or sitting in on lots of court-room decisions/ dissections etc.
Standardized tests are a great way to, as JBI pointed out, shape your candidates mental processes. Some standardized tests are fairly objective (IQ-tests for example), but as soon as you start writing tests with more instrumental or subjective knowledge you will always end up in a situation that is shall we say, sub-optimal.
Yeahyeah.

See, this is why I don't particularly believe you are debating honestly. Do you think I would be stupid enough to make such a claim, in and of itself? Especially after I've repeatedly claimed that Europe was politically decentralized? Is that a good summary of what I really meant? Was I speaking in and of itself, or as a contrast to Chinese circumstances?

If you cant provide evidence then please refrain from making claims.
Speaking of Pre-job practical experience, I actually have evidence, in China there are cases of potential candidates directly tested on their abilities, this is especially true for military imperial examination.

One example is the famous and one of the most influential Ming general Qi Jiguang.
At the age of 22, Qi Jiguang headed for Beijing to take part in the martial imperial examination. During that time, Mongol troops led by Altan Khan broke through the northern defenses and laid siege to Beijing. Candidates participating in the martial arts exam were then mobilized to defend the capital. Qi Jiguang was among the candidates noted to have displayed extraordinary valor and military cunning during the battle, and saw the defeat of the invaders, so he passed.

After Qi Jiguang passed the test, he did not automatically became a general. He was a very minor leader with only ~100 troops under him, after displaying his competence, In 1553, Qi Jiguang was promoted to Assistant Regional Military Commissioner (都指揮僉事) of Shandong's defense force against wokou pirates. When Qi Jiguang took over the commandership of Shandong's coastal defense, he still had less than 10,000 troops at his command. From there his rank keep rising that by In the winter of 1572, Qi have conducted a month-long military exercise involving more than 100,000 troops at his command. Based on his experience with the exercise he wrote the Records of Military Training(練兵實紀), which became an invaluable reference for military leaders after him.

See how he passed the exam through his merit, and then he kept rising his rank through his merit also. Notice how the examination is not just a memorisation test, but also includes analysis and real practical experience. Even after he passed with a great score, he did not just automatically become a general, he still had to start from the bottom and need to work his way up.
 
Last edited:
Aug 2015
1,823
Los Angeles
Practical experience can come from military service, business life, having a father who you could observe. Obviously you are not going to be skilled in that particular form of public administration per se, but you might have experience in taking responsibility. The Swedish government used to choose local "lawmen" (fjärdingsman) according to such highly subjective criteria until the 1800s. Many "government services" in European history have essentially been in the form of a guy with a badge, appointed because they had integrity, experience, local anchoring - and sometimes, happened to be somewhat connected.
While I am certainly not against some good old nepotism, thinking that just because you have a father you could observe implies ANYTHING MORE than actually taking exam is a bit beyond me.

Just so you comprehend, if you want to say someone is good at something, the easiest way is to quantity them, that is HOW good they are at their job compare to someone else. And the easiest way to quantify someone is through a standardized testing.

The fact is that bureaucrats did not govern Europe for the vast majority of its history, regardless of whether you or I find it suitable in theory for Europe to be governed that way. Bureaucracy presupposes that somebody clearly defines the state interest, and what goals the bureaucrats should strive to accomplish. In feudal Europe there were competing power centres and the principle was that speheres of relative autonomy existed. This is very different from China. Bureaucracies emerged in Europe in the 1800s but some balance between different social interests was maintained by dispersing the decisionmaking authority at the centre (parliaments, etc.).
And these were clearly not 'states' the way we think of. These could be carved up and given to one and then re gifted to someone else.

European countries were not better of in 1600 than 1850, but I do think their more Feudal and decentralized systems had many advantages over the Chinese system...
Like what. You came predisposed that one system is superior and find things to fit that rule.
 

Similar History Discussions