"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Scientific Scrutiny

For so many years now, I have been fascinated with seeing "discoveries" in the periodicals and then the amazing interpretations of them and how gullible people can be about accepting the conclusions therein.

It is amazing what people will simply accept as fact, when it is nothing but pure speculation or in some cases a "SWAG."  Daddy taught me that phrase.

I came across this recent discovery over at Bayou Renaissance Man.  Seems they found a Roman gladiator in York, England.  Now, you really need to click on that link and go there and look at the pictures.

The problem I have, like so many such things foisted on the public, is the idea that they can tell so much from so little material evidence.  Let me just work this problem like a prosecutor.

So, you don't have any bones from anywhere below the lower spine?  No pelvic girdle? No femurs, no tibula, or fibula, or any assorted foot bones, yet you claim that you can extrapolate from that little evidence how tall the subject was?

Based on only wound marks found on rather old and decaying bone, and the total lack of soft tissue, you can tell us he was a swordsman?    How does this tell us what the man did for a living?  Why does he have to be a gladiator?  What if he was simply a victim of stabbing?  How do you know how muscular he was?  Everybody had to work very hard before the advent of welfare states.

Given that the man was buried and not cremated as is the custom of the Romans, and given the wide range of diverse people who traveled the European area in the time frame you choose for this subject, how do you know what ethnicity the man was?  He could have been Nordic or Irish or Moorish or anything.

How many records are available from living subjects which accurately record their biometric measurements to tell us with some degree of certainty what the average height of a person was at that time? How do we know how homogeneous height was at that time.  History records plenty of discrepancies in biometrics going back thousands of years.   Since Roman practice was to cremate their dead, what evidence do we have to go on, that this information is correct?

Given the frauds of Piltdown man and Nebraska man, and the proven unreliability of radiocarbon dating, how do we know when this body was buried?

The number of questions far outweighs any "known" facts.  Yet you get the impression from the story that they know all about the poor bloke.  This is how people get taken in by hoaxes.  Just say that somebody is an expert and has credentials and whatever they say about a given subject must be right.

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