[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: AZTLAN list: fear of the new?

Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
> Benjamin H. Diebold (bdiebold@pantheon.yale.edu) wrote:
> :
> : Yuri claims that the difference between Ed Conrad and him is that Yuri
> : only posts from peer-reviewed literature.
> :
> : Unfortunately, that is simply false. My only interaction with Yuri was
> : over his (via Needham) claims about Babylonian cylinder seals in
> : Mesoamerica. I asked for evidence, and he offered two citations. One of
> : the citations said exactly the OPPOSITE of what Yuri (or Needham)
> : suggested it said,
> This is incorrect.

What is incorrect?  Here's the old post where Ben provided 
information from the citation.  Is there something incorrect with 
Ben's information in this old post?  It appears to substantiate
what he wrote above.

[begin quoted post]
Subject:      Re: Shang script among Olmecs
From:         bdiebold@pantheon.yale.edu (Benjamin H. Diebold)
Date:         1996/12/04
Message-Id:   <582k23$kjf@news.ycc.yale.edu>
References:   <56q8fn$p1q@news1.io.org> <pmv100.46.329251E4@psu.edu>
<574jc6$8sc@news1.io.org> <574vtd$s50@news.ycc.yale.edu>
<pmv100.81.329CEBDB@psu.edu> <57psbk$g66@news1.io.org>
Organization: Yale University
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology

Yuri Kuchinsky (yuku@io.org) wrote:


: Well, at last I have been able to spare some time and to get to those
: books and do some more research. Now I can give those refs about the
: that Needham was using.

: Here are the publications he cites in his TRANS-PACIFIC ECHOES, p. 16:

: D. H. Kelley, A CILINDER-SEAL FROM TLATILCO, American Antiquity, 31
: (1966), p. 744.

: George F. Carter & S. Heinemann, PRE-COLUMBIAN SELLOS: Another
: Showing Possible Cultural Contact and Trans-Pacific Diffusion,
: Anthropological Journ. of Canada, 15 (no. 3), (1977), p. 2.

: I have not (yet) gone and looked at these publications.

I have examined the Kelley 1966 reference. If Needham is using this to
make a case for diffusion then he is smoking something he shouldn't.
is zilch, zero, nada here that suggests diffusion, which even Kelley IN
THIS ARTICLE suggests:

[begin quotes from Kelley]

"...on present evidence it seems to me that the elements are simple
so that they afford no presumptive evidence of Egyptian influences by

"I have not been able to recognize affinities to any other script with
which I am familiar either in the Old World or the New World" (p. 745)

[end quotes from Kelley]

I got the following from this article:

1. There is no real archaeological context for the piece; it was a
find from a site with no hint otherwise of diffused traits.

2. There is no evidence from script, design, material, or style which
would lead anyone to suppose that this seal has anything to do with the
Old World. Kelley is perfectly happy to deal with it as an interesting
and completely indigenous development.

3. Needham's use of this article as evidence for diffusion renders his
scholarly pretensions suspect, if you have accurately represented his

I have not seen the other article yet. I am not hopeful. This one was a
waste of time, and is *exactly* the kind of crappy diffusionist
I was talking about -- misinterpretations of out of context small finds.
How about a real site? Where are the ceramics?

Actually, this whole discussion is silly. Most diffusionists have an
answer in search of a problem. They are sure something diffused
without ever being able to say who diffused what, when or where.
Everything in the New World can be explained by developments in the New
World; there is no need to look elsewhere, and no call to do so until
compelling evidence is offered to suggest otherwise. 

[end quoted post] 

> : and the other was from a non-peer reviewed, small-time,
> : short-lived journal with serious hyperdiffusionist interests (i.e. George
> : Carter's dumping ground).
> I used Needham as source. Needham was a pre-eminent Cambridge scholar and
> a world authority on the history of science and technology. He made many
> great discoveries in this area.
> By casting aspersions on the legacy of this great scholar, Benjamin only
> undermines his own credibility.

Interesting non sequitur.  By disagreeing with Yuri's dogma Ben
undermines his *own* credibility.  Could you explain that again,
Yuri?  I thought you were adverse to the dogmatic, do you accept 
everything Needham writes without question?

You seem to have a problem understanding scientific criticism, 
Yuri.  Because someone doesn't agree with something written or 
suggests it is wrong does not in anyway imply they are "casting 
aspersions on the legacy of this great scholar" (whatever that 
means).  Please learn to differentiate criticism of ideas from 
criticism of people  (that could be why you use the phrase "ad 
hominem" incorrectly so often).

August Matthusen