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Denial and method (It was Re: chicken in America: from Asia? (cont.))

In article <59jva0$ksm@news1.io.org>, yuku@io.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) wrote:
>Well, lots of people thought lots of things impossible until they were
>proven to be true...

I think that more common, and sometimes sadder (especially when outside 
religion), is the opposite, i.e. people in denial that believe --and spend an 
inordinate amount of energy trying to prove-- that something is true no matter 
what.  The pervasiveness of this behavior may be a consequence of the way 
modern people advance knowledge, which consists of proving that hypotheses are 
true, thus always leaving a  window open for the possibility that something 
else *may* not be false as well and after all.

This is the problem here.  Pre-Columbian Transoceanic contacts *may* have 
occurred, but the plausibility, and especially the relevance, of such contacts 
is not being persuasive at all, and --more importantly-- no proof exists that 
it ever occurred and/or left any tracks.  Most of the hypotheses advanced by 
people supporting such contacts are rather easily debunked (some of them even 
here, in Usenet!) and sound a lot like wishful thinking. Using an approach 
a-la Noah's Ark (i.e. start looking for it because of the *belief* it is 
there, somewhere), they record only the things that support the *belief*.  
Last night, browsing through the Mormon FARMS web pages, I could see a long 
list of references, including Johannessen and Carter's paper on maize, that in 
any way tend to support their faith.  They are clearly not searching for the 
truth, whatever that may be, but rather looking only for a confirmation of 
their beliefs.  In their case, it is easily understandable, because they want 
to confirm what their beliefs tell them.  And, as it has already been 
mentioned in these multiple threads, they do fund research aimed to confirm 
their beliefs.

Here at Usenet we are sort of trapped in the middle.  On the one side, many of 
us are here to learn what is going on in a field of interest to us, and to 
contribute to the discussion if we find a piece of information we may believe 
of interest to others. But there are those among us that are basically 
preaching ("I got it!, this the the truth!"), while others are spamming just 
to get some attention. We will just have to live with that, getting a kick out 
of reading some unusual posts, or from posting a witty response ourselves.

Best regards, and may 1997 bring...


Domingo Martinez Castilla

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