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Re: Ad Yurii Gloriam (and Adios Yuri)

pmv100@psu.edu (Peter van Rossum) wrote:
> yuku@io.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) wrote:

> >You really did not understand what I was trying to say there, did you?
> >What I was trying to say was that these arguments will never be settled
> >merely by discussing the similarities between the carvings and maize.
> >Impossible... AND YET, I firmly believe that these arguments WILL BE
> >SETTLED eventually. How will this happen? Well, these are just some
> >suggestions:
> So I take it that the counter-arguments which have been presented have
> convinced you that you were presumptuous in earlier concluding that
> Johannessen & Parker's work conclusively proved the case of Precolumbian
> transoceanic contact.

Well, so here we go again. Peter is back in his usual style, raising the
level of confrontationality. So you find me "presumptious" don't you,

I noted before that exceeding belligerence, remarkable illogicality,
heavy obfuscation, and sarcasm are well-known hallmarks of Peter's
style. This post of his provides a fine opportunity to see Peter in

> >a) As Johannessen's research indicates that maize was a staple crop in
> >that area, these cob fossils shouldn't really be that difficult to
turn up > >in excavations. Is anyone looking for them? 

> No one has yet reported finding a
> pre-15th century maize cob in an Indian context.

Illogicality. Argumentum ex silentio. Apparently he NEVER tires of it!

> Therefore, I hope we can both agree that at present the "maize in
> ancient India hypothesis"  remains unproven and cannot be considered at
> present to represent a smoking gun type of argument for Precolumbian
> Old/New World contacts.

Here's a fine example of obfuscation. Now he's going to argue about what
does or does not represent a "Smoking Gun type of argument". What we have
here, apparently, is a case of primitive binary logic: this is a smoking
gun vs. this isn't a smoking gun. 

Well, in real life, of course, things are a little bit more complicated. 
Like there's a wide spectrum of types of evidence, with some things being
strong evidence for a hypothesis, some less so, and some not at all.

I have presented here what I believe is strong evidence for Old World
pre-columbian maize. I think this is valid evidence. No, I'm not
surprised that some people would like to distract attention from this by
obfuscating -- vested interests, both professional and ideological are
too obvious in this case. 

> >c) Our ability to find and analyse ancient plant pollen is constantly
> >improving.

> People are working very hard to further our understanding of past
> cultures.  That is why they get irritated when people who don't
> understand the issues or complexities of archaeological analysis
> constantly claim that based on their reading of a couple of books 
> on a topic they are in a better position to judge the evidence than
> people who have devoted their lives to such studies. 

Fine sentiment, Peter. I'm sorry, a country bumpkin that I am, that I
disrupted this idyllic picture of academic scholarship in action that you
paint by making you go on a campaign of ad hominem attacks against the
undeserving me... Yes, I know it was taking plenty of time from your busy
schedule. In the future, I should ask your permission to post anything
here for sure!

> >So THIS IS where the final confirmation will come from, I believe. The
> >carvings are merely a strong indication that maize was in India
> >pre-Columbus. They should point us towards further research.
> The carvings don't point us to any further research than what was already
> being carried out by competent scholars in many fields. 

How wise and relevant. Now I understand. The carvings were a waste of
time. I'm sorry, a country bumpkin that I am, that I disrupted this
idyllic... etc. 

> People have been working on using genetic tests to understand

[snippage. the rest of Peter's ill-tempered pontifications omitted]

> >Do you understand my point now? I should hope so...

> Do you understand our point now?  It was always that Johannessen & 
> Parker's analysis did not conclusively prove that Precolumbian
> contacts happened. 

Binary thinking. Plain negativity.

> We
> have not claimed that we know for sure that they didn't happen, we
> have only said that at present this hypothesis has not been confirmed.

> >And here, I would like to quote for you from a relatively new publication.
> >ETHNOBOTANY, Paul Cox and Sandra Banack, eds, Portland, 1991. In the
> >article POLYNESIAN PLANT NAMES, Karl H. Rensch writes:
> >
> >"I do not intend to go back to the question of whether the word _kumara_
> >[signifying sweet potato, _Ipomoea_], which has reflexes in most
> >Polynesian langauges, is of South American Indian origin. The case for it
> >has been proven beyond doubt (Yen 1974)" (p. 98)
> >
> >So how about you try this one on for size, Domingo?

> Been there, done that,

I didn't know your name was Domingo...

> the definite conclusion cited above is
> unwarranted, alternate possibilities exist.  Kind of frustrating to
> make a case, have said case acknowledged and then have see it be
> regurgitated again as though the original discussion never took place.
> Ah well, we've gotten kind of used to that. 

What's the matter, Peter? Why the sour grapes?

People (including yourself!) complained I haven't cited the latest
research. Now I do, and you complain _again_! Illogicality.

Not relevant? Baloney! The sweet potato and the maize diffusions reinforce
each other wonderfully... 

But perhaps Peter misunderstood? This article by Rensch that I quoted
from is _new research_. Rench establishes, based on linguistic analysis
of the word _kumara_, and its congnates, that, and I quote: 

"...the sweet potato reached Polynesia at least twice: once via a
northern route through Hawaii under the guise of *kuara/*kuala, and once
via a southern route under the guise of *kumara, with Easter Island as
its point of entry. In both places a great number of varieties of the
sweet potato is attested. As Polynesisans propagated the sweet potatoes
through cuttings, the new varieties came about through a very slow
process of vegetative mutation, pointing to antiquity of cutivation." (p.

So this is the way it is. Scientists go ahead and study the true story of
the diffusion of these plants. All the great achievements of ancient
tribal peoples -- their incredible skills in navigation, and in
agriculture -- are FINALLY emerging from obscurity created by Eurocentric
academic indifference and inertia. It's the deniers like Peter, with
their unmitigated negativity, who stand in the way of this progress... 

> >And do I really need to explain to you that the case for the
> >human-assisted diffusion of potato west from America pre-Columbus
> >significantly strengthens the case for the similar diffusion of maize? I
> >hope not...
> No it doesn't, neither case is definitive.

Quoting again from an expert (Peter sure isn't!):

"proven beyond doubt"

Who should we trust here? 

Peter, you know, you should try to learn to accept defeat with a modicum
of grace... 

> Just like we don't have any direct evidence for Precolumbian maize in
ancient India, > chickens in South America, or peanuts in China. 

Obfuscation. Trying to change the subject.

> Also it has been shown that > the distribution of sweet potato, bottle
gourds, cotton, and coconuts can be > explained by natural processes
which occur every day (humans may have been > involved but this has not
been conclusively demonstrated).  Also there are > substantial reasons
for being skeptical that Shang Chinese ever conquered the > Olmec, and
there is no evidence that Mesoamerican cylindrical seals are an > import
from Babylonia or the Indus Valley.  Did I miss any of the other >
arguments you've brought up?

A mixture of obfuscation and grasping for straws. Peter, just because
some things could have theoretically happened, it doesn't meant they
_did_ happen. I'm sure there's some significant logical fallacy involved
there, and if you wish, I will look up its name in my handy collection of
logical fallacies exposed that I saved especially for you...

If you really think that sweet potato miraculously diffused to the Pacific
islands by itself, perhaps you can name at least one other plant that
diffused in such a way? I understand the currents and winds in the area
don't favour such a diffusion... 

I don't understand why do you insist so strenuously on minimizing the
great achievements of tribal people who accomplished all this -- although
some possible reasons have been suggested by me previously. 

> Now I think I'll try to get back to working on my Ph.D. dissertation, >
preparing a couple of papers for an upcoming conference, continue
developing > a GIS database for a regional survey project, resume
reanalysing a paper > on Central Mexican settlement distributions, spend
more time using the > internet to maintain contact with Mexican scholars
whom I'm proud to call > friends and spending more time with my wife.

Oh, great. Perhaps I'll be spared your vitriolic illogicalities for a
while? Is this too much to hope for? 



            =O=    Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto    =O=
  --- a webpage like any other...  http://www.io.org/~yuku ---

*** PLEASE NOTE *** my Address and Webpage Location to change soon *** 
         this address will remain valid: bg364@torfree.net

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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