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Archaeologist Johan Normark fights back against cranks
#61
BAJR Wrote:.. .. With a colleague I can at least debate, with a crank (and I can tell you from experience ) I can't. there is no third way with a crank. archaeology is indeed not black and white, but a crank... I am afraid it is. You can't come out both enlightened... you really can't... you can't debate. have you ever tried? it is not a war, but it is also not worth my time...

That reminds me of a conversation I once had with a non-archaeologist visitor to a site where I was working. I gave the standard site tour and was impressed not only that the visitor seemed to be taking it all in, but also asking quite intelligent questions in return. Having reached the end of the tour, by then we had ventured onto discussing whether there might have been mesolithic settlement in the general area, and he asked 'So how long ago would that have been'. I suggested vaguely 'Oh maybe 10,000 years or so'..... which set him off on a raging torrent about how misguided I was because scholars had deduced from close study of the bible that the earth could not possibly be more than 6000 years old.....

Just playing devils advocate (possibly literally), would we class all creationists and believers of 'historically imprecise' religion in the same category as we'd class archaeological fruitcakes? If we could extend (perhaps patronisingly) a degree of tolerance to the former, couldn't it also cover the latter?
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
#62
And for me, the impossible question to answer.
After explaining the amazing site of Gobekli Tepe, and early date and how it is early days, but this site will be very important.
The question... "Hmmm... interesting, so is this site before or after the Fall of Atlantis?"
My answer " Ah"


Quote:Just playing devils advocate (possibly literally), would we class all creationists and believers of histroically 'flawed' religions in the same category as we'd class archaeological fruitcakes? If we could extend (perhaps patronisingly) a degree of tolerance to the former, couldn't it also cover the latter?

I agree that flaw and fruitcake can be subjective, and that to kick the idiot around the room may seem nasty. Tolerance can have a limit, and you are right, no matter how you couch terms of correction... it is seen as patronising. --- ie... how to reply to a person who continues to believe in the secret technology of "the Ancients" any reply will unfortunately sound flippant and possibly officious.

Extending tolerance has to be for a purpose. But when these views overshadow reality to the extent that the facts are lost (ie Rosslyn is NOT a Templar Chapel and the GRAIL is NOT buried there!) The real story is just as interesting, but ignored - then I will fight against them, whether daft archaeologist or pseudo- researcher They take knowledge backward.
#63
Isn't a quintain a jousting target, a symbol created specifically for the purpose of being destroyed as a learning exercise?
#64
Come on now Mr Hosty, I think it's high time you told the world The Truth about Rosslyn Chapel.
Wink
#65
Kev, we do extend a degree of tolerance, as you put it, towards pseudo-archaeologists (and most people I know do the same with creationists). By that, I mean that they are welcome to believe whatever they like. That tolerance stops though when it impinges on other people's liberties, and sometimes before that. Presumably, the site report for that excavation didn't have to include a section reinterpreting the results in the light of the biblical evidence. Even if it did, that clearly wouldn't have been enough for your visitor, who sounds like the last person to be embracing the kind of multivocality Haltdorf and others support. That visitor would want you to remove all trace of interpretations that don't fit with the Bible.

The comparison with creationism is an good one as it also exemplifies the limits of our tolerance. We, as a society, are happy for people to believe the world is 6000 years old and evolution doesn't exist, but we won't have it taught alongside science in our schools. Significantly, this applies to private schools as well as publicly funded ones; the government is telling people when they can say certain things to their children. That sounds pretty 'intolerant' to me, but then the government also forces people to say a lot of other things to their children (e.g. reading, writing and arithmatic) and that is pretty uncontroversial policy.

Incidentally, even Haltdorf doesn't think (or didn't) that we should accept all interpretations of the past. He thinks we should just discount interpretations that are disagreeable to us, for example facist interpretations (see: http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/...ltorf.html ).* Notably though, he also says, "there is certainly no need for emancipation of our interpretations from the data".

About the time when the above paper was produced, a similar debate was taking place in ecology, as it was becomming increasingly clear that climate change was a very scary and real issue but the scientists involved were having trouble winning what could charitably be called a multi-vocal debate (i.e. against petrochemical naysayers). The ecologists actually had to become *less* 'scientific' in their interpretation, get over the fact that they didn't really 'know' what was happening and stop apologising for their methodologies in order to convince the world at large.
...at this point, I was going to quote "Ecology and the End of Postmodernity" by George Myerson, and go on to say why I think post-modernism was all played out by 1980, but I've run out of time...

*eta: to me that seems very Pollitically Constructive, which I am generally in favour of, but I don't see it as being mutually exclusive with 'scientific methodology', and don't see why we can't do both. Hell, I don't see why interpretations can't be scientific *and* femeinist *and* critical *and* neo-Marxist *and* ecological *and* *and* *and* all together and without any of the dynamic tension/oppositions expicit in post-modernism...but that's another post entirely.
#66
hold on a minute
tolerance is one thing but silence is tantamount to collusion
do we really want people to believe the druids have a right to bury important human assemblages?
i should coco
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
#67
tom wilson Wrote:Kev, we do extend a degree of tolerance, as you put it, towards pseudo-archaeologists (and most people I know do the same with creationists). By that, I mean that they are welcome to believe whatever they like. That tolerance stops though when it impinges on other people's liberties, and sometimes before that.

Tom: Ummm..... I saw last week that the Archbishop of York suggested that the civil custom of marriage should not be extended to same-sex couples....I guess that suggestion could impinge on some folks civil liberties....

P.Prentice: My difficulty isn't as to whether druids have the right to rebury 'claimed' human assembalges, but why they as a pseudo-fantasist religion, should have any less right to claim it than those other pseudo-fantasist religionists the Church of England, the Church of Rome or even the Church of Scientology. I mean if you accept that the whole basis for a set of beliefs is a load of b------ks, then why differentiate between different types of b------ks!
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
#68
tom wilson Wrote:...........About the time when the above paper was produced, a similar debate was taking place in ecology, as it was becomming increasingly clear that climate change was a very scary and real issue but the scientists involved were having trouble winning what could charitably be called a multi-vocal debate (i.e. against petrochemical naysayers). The ecologists actually had to become *less* 'scientific' in their interpretation, get over the fact that they didn't really 'know' what was happening and stop apologising for their methodologies in order to convince the world at large.
...at this point, I was going to quote "Ecology and the End of Postmodernity" by George Myerson, and go on to say why I think post-modernism was all played out by 1980, but I've run out of time...

*eta: to me that seems very Pollitically Constructive, which I am generally in favour of, but I don't see it as being mutually exclusive with 'scientific methodology', and don't see why we can't do both. Hell, I don't see why interpretations can't be scientific *and* femeinist *and* critical *and* neo-Marxist *and* ecological *and* *and* *and* all together and without any of the dynamic tension/oppositions expicit in post-modernism...but that's another post entirely.

Your mixing your metaphors there a bit.

The need for climatologists to change how they engaged with government and the public in order to get the message over in no way altered how the data, measurements, experiments, modelling etc etc were carried out.

The debate was how to present the results to a wider audience..............not how to get the results or how to interpret them or how to report them to the scientific community.
#69
quintaine Wrote:But why is it up to "the archaeologist" to prove anyone wrong.

Because that is our job/passion. Every theory needs to be assessed with a critical eye

quintaine Wrote:What is wrong with formulating and publishing your own theories and add them to the pool of other possible ones and let the public decide.

The 'public' are not qualified and/or experienced enough to understand the intricacies of the evidence or the inherant levels of confidence (i.e. error ranges) of each measurement technique or the wealth of past evidence, site reports, papers or discussion lying behind every acceptable near fact or collection of current theories and/or questions.

The peer review process of publish, criticise, publish argument etc etc is a major part of how archaeology or any science progresses

quintaine Wrote:Just because there are two or more distinct archaeological theories out there, must we choose one or be damned for all eternity? Likewise must we castegate others at the first opportunity?

Critical assessment, discourse and comparison are a major part of what archaeologists do. See above.


quintaine Wrote:To attack or defend pseudo-archaeologists. Are they the only options? If one of your archaeological associates has a different opinion than you, would you attack it, ridicule it, grind it into the gound, or would you put forward your own and discuss it, keeping in mind that it's not a war, no one has to win, and both of you come away a little more enlightened. Must it always be win/lose black/white. Can I not choose the third option of understanding where pseudo archaeologists are coming from, be entertained by the colourful theories scant as they often are on evidence after all the first keepers of the human story were, aparently, the story tellers.

See above
#70
kevin wooldridge Wrote:My difficulty isn't as to whether druids have the right to rebury 'claimed' human assembalges, but why they as a pseudo-fantasist religion, should have any less right to claim it than those other pseudo-fantasist religionists the Church of England, the Church of Rome or even the Church of Scientology. I mean if you accept that the whole basis for a set of beliefs is a load of b------ks, then why differentiate between different types of b------ks!

although i agree in principle, i cant remember the last time any of the aforementioned tried to interfere with research or indeed gave a toss about bodies on their patch. in fact i derive a tidy income from these institutions, mostly willingly - though the bornagains are generally less understanding or civilised (a bit like the CofE and the CofR in the middle ages) and now the CofE hardly believe in a god at all we get on swimmingly
i am at heart a bit of a traditionalist i suppose and i still get entertained by anachronistic pomp and ceremony (there's a buck innit) so i dont see any room on the block for any more needy moonstruck b-------ks
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers


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