I have no idea, and I will never find out if con men keep meddling in this field.JohnB wrote: Harte.
I agree with your first two paragraphs. On the third, I'm curious what you think these mysteries are. (And what you think the solutions might be.)
Evidence, yes. Proof, no. Evidence is not the same as proof. After all, in the example of the sphinx (which is not really a good example for this idea, either,) even if we were to find Egyptian writings about how and when and by whom it was carved, these writings would not constitute "proof." For, how could we be completely and absolutely sure that the writings were telling us the truth? Even a time machine would not suffice, as we could just as easily be visiting the past of a different universe as that of our own, a universe where the sphinx was carved at a time different than the carving date of the sphinx that exists in this universe.JohnB wrote:And all this time I've been labouring under the misapprehension that the practice of scientific principle was to present your evidence and argue your conclusions to either substantiate or disprove a theory. I had no idea that by asking a member of the scientific community to show proof (evidence) I showed I was losing an argument.The sorry truth is, there is just no "proof" at all of anything in the physical world. Nothing exists except evidence. When you read people saying "prove it," they're either talking about the legal definition of "proof," or they are losing an argument.
There's just no way around this solipsitic conundrum when you involve the word "proof." "Proof" only exists in the arcane world of mathematics, and there only because every term used has a precise mathematical definition.
I feel similarly about many unestablished ideas in Archaeology. I'm ready to change any opinion I may have upon presentation of any new evidence that leans contrary to what I have been surmising.JohnB wrote: As you say, there is a dearth of evidence that really supports any theory conclusively. This makes the almost pathological defense of the IVth Dynasty theory (in some quarters) much harder to reconcile with scientific principles. Please bear in mind that I ATM don't support any theory as to the dating of the Sphinx. I'm willing to look at all theories and see what evidence is offered to support the theory. There may never be enough evidence to conclusively support any theory. I can live with that. Life without wonder and mystery would be so boring.
Like I said earlier, a pseudoscientist is one that conveniently ignores the established facts in order to further his theory. So yes, when Hawass does it, he is defending a theory (not his theory BTW.) When Hancock does it, he is sweeping established known factoids under the rug so that the laymen who read his trash can be better convinced to buy his next book. Did you not read my example about Pacal's sarcophagus?JohnB wrote: It's attitudes to evidence that I've been talking about all along. If a "pseudoscientist" is one who clings to his theory without good evidence, then what do you call an archaeologist/egyptologist who does exactly the same thing? If Hancock does it, he's "milking a gullible public" but when Hawass does it he's "Defending a theory"?
The proper usage of the English language was not a topic I was addressing (well, okay, maybe I was in the sense that I had to remark on the difference between proof and evidence.) I'll say that the proper use of the word "pseudoscience" was not the target of any of my posts, I was just mentioning a way of detecting it. I'm sure that some people misuse the term, just as some misuse many English terms (my favorite - the use of "jive" instead of "jibe" as in "these facts do not jibe/jive. ) Jibe is correct, jive is a type of slang language. I've given up whining about such atrocious ignorance of language.JohnB wrote: I suppose all I'm getting at is that;
a) The term "pseudoscience" is used far too much as a means of avoiding debate in the same way that any label can be overused. Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, the list is endless. This is not conducive to a reasonable debate on issues, it's just name calling. And
b) The practice of "pseudoscience" is not confined to non professionals.
Clearly the practice of pseudoscience is not confined to non-professionals. After all, Schoch's works are certainly pseudoscientific, and he's a professional Geophysicist.