Re: maize in Europe and India: a twisted tale
August Matthusen (email@example.com)
Wed, 08 Jan 1997 17:22:06 -0800
Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
> Now, what can I say here? V & S claim to have found the right kind of
> methodology to evaluate these carvings. But is their methodology really
> infallible? I'm sure someone else can easily come along and devise
> another methodology, and claim that IT is the most appropriate?
> In particular, they say above: "Most of the characters for which they [J
> & P] made comparisons are subjective and not quantifiable". Well, sure,
> these _may be_ subjective characters. But, really, what do we have here?
> We have a UNIQUE case of a large number of ancient carvings that _seem_
> to many to represent maize. (And not only that, but also a very unusual
> archaic variety of maize, that, although unusual, still looks like
> maize.) How do you devise _an objective methodology_ for comparison in
> such a case? And -- whatever methodology you devise -- is it possible
> that nobody would come along to cast doubt on it and to suggest another
> methodology? I don't think so.
Why not? If the other method is more objective or refines the
objectivity, fine. This is no reason to discard statistical
> I don't think the debate about methodologies is irrelevant here. But
> let's not get sidetracked too far. This matter is not so complicated that
> it would not allow for an individual judgement -- yes, subjective --
> based on simple observation.
> Get a few fair-minded people to look at the carvings and take a vote. If
> they vote, Yes, this is maize -- so be it. If, No, then No. Now, how's
> this for a methodology?
If I understand what you're saying (and please correct me if
I'm wrong): discard an evaluation which attempts to be objective
because you or some other person may come along and question if
it is objective (with no evidence or rationale why it isn't
objective) and do a subjective evaluation instead. For some
reason, that doesn't seem very _objective_.