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

Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
> 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?

Why yes, tired of such simplemindedness like people who speculate 
without abundant, valid evidence (while claiming absence of evidence
doesn't "prove anything), fail to erect falsifiable hypotheses, 
and who fail to test their hypotheses.


>    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,

But why let such a minor problem bother speculation?

>    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. 

Non sequitur, science doesn't prove anything and trying to prove 
a negative is an exercise best left for invisible pink unicorns(tm).
(Proof of the non-existence of invisible pink unicorns(tm) is left as
an exercise for the reader).

>    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. 

Is it just me or is this entire argument circular and "intentially 
based on a lack of evidence"?  Again, science doesn't "prove" anything, 
so the sentence "some people claim that the fact that there is no 
evidence proves something" is fallacious and non-scientific.  Second, 
this "logic" claims that it is ok to reject "an argument from silence" 
for *lack of evidence*.  In effect you're saying it's ok to reject 
arguments based on *no evidence* for *lack of evidence*  If this is 
so, then why can't other arguments be rejected for "lack of evidence?"

>    There are a number
>    of rules of logic that apply in a simple way to the interpretation of
>    data.

You have to have some data before you can interpret them.

> Always think clearly and use careful rules of logic.

A few of which are: Don't hypothesize without evidence; erect testable
hypotheses which can be falsified; test your hypotheses.

August Matthusen

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