Given the number of people who can't find their state capital on a map, who can't name half the presidents, and don't the names of the explorers who helped map and chart the country I am going to disagree. I don't consider it pointless that I know who Cabeza de Vaca was. It's important to know what he did and when he did it as well. Knowing causes and effects is good, as is critical thought. Still, history is partially about knowing names, dates, and places - A lot of them.
Suggesting that all you need to know about history trends, casual relationships, and outcomes is like suggesting all a doctor needs to know is how the body's organs's work and cooperate to sustain life (but not their location, name, or exact function. )
There is value in the discipline learned in studying the names, dates and places. There is value in knowing that you can't listen blindly and put information on a page. There is value in knowing that the test will be challenging in a variety of ways. Different types of challenge help you learn different types of studying and processing information.
I never said I disliked Mr. History. Quite the opposite is true. When I was in the class I set the goal for myself to get a hundred on one of his tests. I never did. Yet, I didn't leave that year feeling cheated on a technicality. I respected him for expecting a wide range of knowledge from me. After his classes, I found other history classes to be cake in comparison (even in college).
He is also the one who trained me for the AP history test. I did well because he had taught me historical relationships and trends. I also did well because he taught me straight forwards facts that had to be memorized.
He considered all parts of history to be vital to the daily life of his students. I agree. I would say the same for all subjects. Most things can't be studied from a single angle if you really want to appreciate them.