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Re: Atawallpa was no chicken (It was Re: chicken in America: from Asia? (cont.))

This is for Peter to read and to think about. Also for others who are so
enamoured with endlessly rehashing the _argumentum ex silentio_. Don't
you get tired of such simplemindedness, people?


Extracts from a file available on the Internet.

[begin quote]

   Interpretation of Evidence 
What is the nature of archaeological evidence and what can we expect to
learn from it? We will discuss briefly some cautions about the
interpretation of archaeological evidence. 
   We cannot expect too much from archaeology. While at times
   concrete, definitive proof that needs no interpretation is
   discovered, more often that is not the case. Archaeological evidence
   is often not absolute, but relative. There are a number of reasons
   for this, the most important, however, is that we frequently do not
   have all of the evidence. Do you know how many sites are
   unexcavated? And even at a given site, who would dare to make bold
   claims until further research was done? The best that can be done is
   to reconstruct probable interpretations. These need to be carefully
   checked with all of the available written evidence while further
   field work is done.
   The interpreter must use strict rules of logic while dealing
   with evidence. For instance an important principle to remember is
   that the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Just
   because something has not been found, that is not to say that it
   will not be found. The absence of evidence is obviously a problem,
   particularly in archaeology. But it is only crucial when it can be
   proven that one has no hope of ever finding what one is lacking. On
   the other hand, beware of arguments that are intentionally based on a
   lack of evidence. That is, some people claim that the fact that there
   is no evidence proves something. This is called an argument from
   silence. It must be rejected for lack of evidence. There are a number
   of rules of logic that apply in a simple way to the interpretation of

Always think clearly and use careful rules of logic.

            =O=    Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto    =O=
  --- a webpage like any other...  http://www.io.org/~yuku ---
We should always be disposed to believe that that which 
appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the 
Church so decides       ===      St. Ignatius of Loyola

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