Together with a team of presently two other authors, including chief editor Ludwig Merz, we co-author the world’s leading Langenscheidt/Routledge German-English, English-German Dictionary of Business, Commerce and Finance, currently in its 3rd edition.
Among other things, I am responsible there inter alia for law, patents, information technology and the Internet, including new media and telecommunications, all of course primarily from a legislative and regulatory point of view – with a special focus on the European Union.
I have also published a number of books and articles focusing on the history of civilization, a field of inquiry which developed out of my study of legal history, a historical interest which began when Professor Herbert Packer at Stanford Law School, author of The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, hired me as an assistant during my law student days to organize some original papers of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, including some papers of the late Judge Learned Hand.
That work, after Professor Packer’s untimely passing, led to my long-standing work with my mentor Professor John Kaplan, author of several books which I had the pleasure to edit, including what became a leading textbook on Criminal Justice as well as Marijuana: The New Prohibition.
John’s major contribution to my own intellectual development was his tremendous scepticism of the rationality of mainstream fact-finding and decision-making. John was of the opinion that many people in positions of responsibility do not do their homework thoroughly or objectively enough and that many of the facts upon which society based its decisions were poorly researched. Hence, the decisions based on such faulty research were often falsely based. Things were not as they seemed. John urged that one always should go back to original sources first and never make important decisions or conclusions drawn on second-hand knowledge, research or information. He said this applied not only to the law but to all areas of life.
Since those days I have learned to greatly distrust mainstream conclusions, especially in the “soft sciences”, i.e. the humanities, where unfounded theories often run rampant and where probative evidence is often secondary to academic politics and other non-scholarly motivations. Plus, as became very clear in my work, many academics are failures at research.
One of America’s greatest contributions to the rule of law was the modern adoption of the “best evidence” rule. In ancient times, people could be sent to the gallows on hearsay evidence and on the authority of the accuser, which led to great injustice. Today, the burden of proof is stricter. We go to the best ORIGINAL source. We check and recheck. We ask: “What is really true?”
Many of the humanities, unlike the physical sciences – do not have to prove that their theoretical “motors” actually run (this is also a problem with legal theories – e.g. current drug abuse laws). It is often sufficient if enough prominent names claim that the theories run.
The ill-fated doctrines of Marx and Engels were one example of theoretical blindness to the evidence. Another example is the 40-year mainstream resistance to the decipherment of the Maya hieroglyphs by Knorosow. Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn treat false paradigms at length.
Much of mainstream human history is based on myth, unfounded opinion and just plain hearsay. When we look at the testimony of man’s history through the piercing eyes of a cross-examining lawyer, much accepted dogma needs revision. We are still chained by the superstitions and taboos of the witchdoctors of yesteryear.
Take a look at my book, Stars Stones and Scholars and at my list of publications at Scribd, which point to hundreds of examples of evidentiary error in the study of the history of civilization. Many of these historical errors are exerting a substantial, negative impact on our modern world.
Online, I am the founder of the Flickr group, Archaeology Travel Photos, which has about 1500 members, who have posted more than 22,000 photographs, and I also own and moderate the LexiLine Group on the History of Civilization, the largest of its kind on the Internet, with currently about 500 members.