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Archaeologist Johan Normark fights back against cranks
#71
Jack Wrote: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.


Fair comment Smile
I didn't say anything about data collection though (for climatologists or archaeologists).

What I was trying to get across was the fact that 'The Science' was regarded as unproven. Indeed, you will still hear few candidates for President of America etc. say, "well, The Science on climate change is still unproven". The answer is, of course it's unproven, as are all things subject to scientific study because sooner or later some guy/gal is going to come up with a better explanation. And unlike pseudo-archaeologists, scientists and other similar disciplines actually *like* the fact that someone will eventually prove them wrong. Or at least, the ones who are too vain/sociopathic/scared-of-losing-their-tenure that they don't think like that would be committing a serious social faux pas to suggest otherwise.

So while the climate data had been gathered in a scientific fashion there was still interpretation going on, not just presentation of data to the public. The climatologists learned that they needed to promote the most likely interpretation (i.e. that we're all screwed), rather than standing by while people promote interpretations that were based on inadequate education, insufficient use of the available data, unjustifiable assumptions about non-anthropogenic fluctuations in climate, or good old fashioned greed.

That debate and the one regarding how we treat pseudo-archaeologists continue to sound pretty similar to me. In particular, they have the following elements: disciplines based on a tiny amount of data relative to the object of study; interpretations that are based on that data but which go beyond it; dangerous nutters seeking to subvert the discipline; a few specialists complacent enough to let them.
#72
P Prentice Wrote: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

So whatever happened to respect for other cultures and beliefs?
and the motto "Archaeology for All", is that "all" who believe exactly like you do, or a grand encompassing "all"
Why not claim that all who hold beliefs that differ from you are crackpots and then you can have a pure untainted archaeology or at least modify the motto.
After all we can't have people roaming around believing what they want, they must be governed, dictated to, have every trace of individuality erased, or all hell would break loose.

They must learn our ways- we must not be silent, jeez, how colonial is that.
Do archaeologists exist to learn from our own and other cultures of the past and/or present or dictate to them?

The outlook on this forum is so depressing, that you are so convinced of the sactimonious propaganda you decree, not debate, makes archaeology more like the cults you claim to be crackpots.

Archaeology, at least the view of archaeology in this forum, does not hold exclusive rights to the past. It does not and should not proclaim a monopoly on interpretation. The criticism that just because an archaeological question has not been debated in the halls of universities, with stringent peer reviews and a 100 years of tradition yada yada... somehow invalidates the discussion is such an elitest and Western one. If archaeology is for all- then it should be for ALL!
#73
BAJR Wrote:...therefore to the pseudo archaeologist this means it could exist and this means it does exist...

this is frequently the identifying aspect of a certain type of researcher. in the first instance, based on data, a proposal is put forward, in the second instance the hypothesis is fact, upon which one can build an argument, with further hypotheses being based on preceding 'facts', which had only pages (or paragraphs) previously been expounded as a hypothesis. you even get it in history: When China Discovered the World by Gavin Menzie is the last book like this i read

i am currently looking forward to reading Mr Hancock's Talisman for pretty much the same reason

however, in both cases the whatever truth is out there, the speculated confabulation is preferred over the infinitely more prosaic reality. however, it doesn't stop people collaring me on site, asking 'what about the pyramids, eh?' etc.

yes, quintaine, there have been out-there theories which have come inside the fields of academic discourse, such as Thom's archaeoastronomy, although as Clive Ruggles points out "...[A] field with academic work of high quality at one end but uncontrolled speculation bordering on lunacy at the other." - such are the exception, precisely because while we build hypotheses, we always, as has been said so many times before here,we return to the data, and cross-check against data, and only accept the hypothesis as a best fit, a form, if you will, of Popper's falsification. That is the fundamental difference. As Jack (i think) pointed out, we are writing, expecting to be shot down, rather than expecting to change the world...

or maybe that's just me...
Your Courage Your Cheerfulness Your Resolution
Will Bring US Victory
#74
Why not view "cranks, crackpots and outlandish" viewpoints with a critical eye? There is something to be said about the anomalous way some people of professed genius view science. Perhaps the way these views (alternative science, cryptozoology etc.) that are promoted by amateurs are founded in conflicted relationships with mainstream science. Perhaps it is resentment rather than reason which motivates the pseudoscientific theorist.

Perhaps it is the aggrieved personality towards mainstream roots of learning? Or the lack of respect and status attained by one’s peers? Pursuing pseudo-scientific explanations IS out of step with the academic mainstream. Surely where these two differing rationalities meet is where the conflict begins? From my POV there is a clear issue with accepting pseudo-scientific explanations that impinge on anthropological archaeology. It seems to me that the lack of the willingness and the ability to write a standard acceptable academic paper to present to peers is suspect. Why do pseudo-scientific theorists argue from personal conviction rather than from agreed, referenced evidence, and then have the audacity to call themselves free thinkers, when it is clearly evident that such individuals have failed to keep up with current research?

Please spare the fallacy of anecdotal evidence. This isn’t some new radical manner of thinking; it is nothing more than the cherry picking of incomplete evidence. The suppositions drawn are by nature flawed. Picking evidence to support such conclusions is nothing more than selective attention to draw upon data that suits or confirms a particular position, nothing more. Where is the weighing of evidence to support the hypothesis? Conformation bias perhaps, but not a well constructed theory and more like over the top populist exploitation. Tortured genius syndrome me thinks.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
#75
quintaine Wrote:So whatever happened to respect for other cultures and beliefs?
and the motto "Archaeology for All", is that "all" who believe exactly like you do, or a grand encompassing "all"
Why not claim that all who hold beliefs that differ from you are crackpots and then you can have a pure untainted archaeology or at least modify the motto.
After all we can't have people roaming around believing what they want, they must be governed, dictated to, have every trace of individuality erased, or all hell would break loose.

They must learn our ways- we must not be silent, jeez, how colonial is that.
Do archaeologists exist to learn from our own and other cultures of the past and/or present or dictate to them?

The outlook on this forum is so depressing, that you are so convinced of the sactimonious propaganda you decree, not debate, makes archaeology more like the cults you claim to be crackpots.

Hi
There are some problems by not addressing the beliefs and view of people with alternative ideas about archaeology. We have seen already how a minority with certain pagan beliefs refuse to accept the argument that the retention (and preservation) of (prehistoric) human remains can be justified because scientific techniques improve. If this view was left unchallenged it would seriously erode the potential for understanding the past as there would be no re-assessment of remains as new techniques are developed.
I fundamentally do not accept the premise that all views have equal merit and that anybody can say what they like and have it respected by others. I was once asked (in an accusational way) by someone who believed their dowsing results should be prioritised over the geophysical survey results to influence a targeted evaluation "who are you to decide what is important and what should be investigated?" My response "A trained, qualified specialist who has been employed to advise members who are democratically elected by their local community to represent them"
So, instead of investigating the "mass baby burial from the civil war massacre" discovered by the dowser we trenched some of the industrial features of the DMV shown by the aerial photography, geophysical survey and documentary records.
Do you think in this case both interpretations were of equal merit, and both had the same legitimacy? Do you think an unrepresentative, unaccountable individual should have made the decisions in this case that or the accountable specialist might have a better understanding and therefore make better value judgement?
Steven
#76
moreno Wrote:Why not view cranks, crackpots and outlandish viewpoints with a critical eye?
On a point of irony, when you use prejudiced terms like, cranks and crackpots, are you not doing exactly what you claim the so-called pseudo-archaeologists are doing by starting with an idea and finding evidence to prove it?
#77
quintaine Wrote:On a point of irony, when you use prejudiced terms like, cranks and crackpots, are you not doing exactly what you claim the so-called pseudo-archaeologists are doing by starting with an idea and finding evidence to prove it?

Certainly not, but rightly these terms should be "cranks, crackpots and outlandish" etc. I don't "claim" anything. There is enough literature out there should one choose to read it to completion and critically reflect upon rather than cherry pick ideals to suite one's needs.

Finding evidence to support or reject a theory is one thing, I've never walked a site with a bible in hand looking to "prove" it.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
#78
Steven Wrote:
Hi
There are some problems by not addressing the beliefs and view of people with alternative ideas about archaeology. We have seen already how a minority with certain pagan beliefs refuse to accept the argument that the retention (and preservation) of (prehistoric) human remains can be justified because scientific techniques improve. If this view was left unchallenged it would seriously erode the potential for understanding the past as there would be no re-assessment of remains as new techniques are developed.
I fundamentally do not accept the premise that all views have equal merit and that anybody can say what they like and have it respected by others. I was once asked (in an accusational way) by someone who believed their dowsing results should be prioritised over the geophysical survey results to influence a targeted evaluation "who are you to decide what is important and what should be investigated?" My response "A trained, qualified specialist who has been employed to advise members who are democratically elected by their local community to represent them"
So, instead of investigating the "mass baby burial from the civil war massacre" discovered by the dowser we trenched some of the industrial features of the DMV shown by the aerial photography, geophysical survey and documentary records.
Do you think in this case both interpretations were of equal merit, and both had the same legitimacy? Do you think an unrepresentative, unaccountable individual should have made the decisions in this case that or the accountable specialist might have a better understanding and therefore make better value judgement?

So you are willing to pick and choose articles from various accepted archaeological codes of conduct:

IfA
[FONT=&quot]1.11 A member shall take account of the legitimate concerns of groups whose material past may be the subject of archaeological investigation.

WAC
[/FONT][FONT=&quot]6. To acknowledge and recognise indigenous methodologies for interpreting, curating, managing and protecting indigenous cultural heritage.

I see, so it is selective interpretation of words as well as archaeological data. Now I get it, if you don't like the code of ethics, ignore them or reinterpret them to fit. It's so simple.

Now how does that make you different from "pseudo archaeologists"?

BTW: Yes I think dowsing should be recognised as a legitimate technique unless you disagree with WAC Code of ethics pt.6. Just because it has a power pack attached, it doesn't make it more legitimate. The point is just as fervently as you believe in a geophysical survey others believe in their methods and you have to accept this if you really wish to cooperate and not patronisingly and grudgingly accept it as a quaint sideshow in support of the "real" techniques.
[/FONT]
#79
Quintaine, from your post above, number 50

Quote:I would just like to see each method tackled on its own merits or lack of them

That is exactly what Steven was doing in his example. He assessed the data on its own merits.

BTW, those guidelines say say 'take account of', and 'acknowledge and recognise', not 'allocate your resources wherever interested people tell you to'.
#80
Oxbeast Wrote:BTW, those guidelines say say 'take account of', and 'acknowledge and recognise', not 'allocate your resources wherever interested people tell you to'.
Not that you have to comply entirely with what "interested people" tell you you to do, but don't they have the right to make an input, and not be summarily disenfranchised by being labelled loons, cranks, crackpots, or any other inventive derogatory terms designed to set them apart just because they have a different opinion?

Frankly, I am amazed at who falls under these terms, according to this forum. We've had beliefs including various religions, lifestyle and lack of higher educational background, astrology, astroarchaeology, people unwilling to accept current academic theories as gospel and practitioners of alternative medicine. How long before you include certain races, gender or height or hair colour. This thread is very enlightening and says more about the attitude of the archaeologist of today than it does about pseudo archaeologists. I've thought of a new motto
Archaeology for Shame!


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