Re: Amerindian navigators and Eurocentrism in scholarship

From (Bernard Ortiz de Montellano)
Date 13 Sep 1997 01:29:15 GMT
Newsgroups sci.archaeology.mesoamerican, sci.archaeology, sci.anthropology,
Organization Wayne State University
References <5v7uj4$l3p$ > < > <5vbqv2$dlp$ >

In article <5vbqv2$dlp$
>, (Yuri
Kuchinsky) wrote:

> Bernard Ortiz de Montellano ( wrote:
> : In article <5v7uj4$l3p$
> : (Yuri Kuchinsky 17784) wrote:
> : > : If Heyerdahl gives primary sources, why don't you look at them and 
> : > : the primary sources rather than citing Heyerdahl?
> : > 
> : > He gives plenty of primary sources. And, in case you didn't know, he
> : > organized the first modern achaeological excavations there in 1955. So 
> : > himself happens to be a primary source. And then he organized another 
> : > of excavations in 1986. 
> : > 
> : > The great achievements of Heyerdahl in advancing archaeological 
> : > in this area can be doubted only by those who are completely clueless
> : > about this whole issue.
> : Again, primary sources are mentioned but we do not get any.
> What kind of primary sources would you like, Bernard?

As I've pointed out before, Yuri, you seem not to be able to distinguish
between sources. Primary sources in this case refer to publications by hte
people who actually did the archaeological, or zoological work-- not
sources which get the information second or third hand. I posted a group
of examples illustrating the problems one gets into when one does not go
all the way to the primary source.
> : One more
> : time-- let us not forget that we have repeatedly asked Yuri for citations
> : by the scholars who actually excavated and found *C. moneta* cowrie shells
> : in an Adena culture mound.
> Trying to change the subject?

No, I'm actually trying to keep you on the topic of proving claims you made.

> : We need evidence that the dig was done
> : correctly, that the identity of this species of shell was proven, and that
> : there was no sister species native to the New World existed.
> I will try to accomodate your requests in the future, since the literature
> in question is not easily available.
> : Do not keep
> : going to new topics before we settle this question-- or retract the claim.
> Here we see very clearly how Bernard operates. His style has nothing to do
> with true scholarship which is all about FINDING THE TRUTH. I wonder if
> Bernard cares about the truth even a little bit...
> Let's review this whole discussion. I posted about a very interesting
> theory by George Carter re: cowries. Carter claims that this evidence is
> solid. I have given citations for where more info can be found.

This is the crux of the problem. The only citations you make are to
secondary, tertiary or even quaternary sources usually Carter or
Heyerdahl. You then disclaim all further responsibility by repeating over
and over that all of us should go to Carter or Heyerdahl to get the data.
You have the cart before the horse, *You, Yuri are the one making the
claim* *it is your responsibility to provide the evidence to support the
claim* *This evidence is composed of PRIMARY SOURCES, not of citations to
Carter or Heyerdahl* Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
not paraphrased research of unknown quality. In this particular case it
seems that you have been even more irresponsible because you cited an
article by Carter which *you haven't read* How then do you know, except by
a childlike faith in Carter's accuracy and scholarship which the rest of
us don't have, that *in fact* Carter cites any primary sources in his
article? Wilfrid Jackson (1917) is most certainly not a primary source--
he sat in his library in Manchester and read what other people did. Your
refusal (inability) to post primary sources for claims of the appearance
of *C. moneta* in Adena mounds clearly illustrates that you do not have
any because either you have not read the article by Carter (although
Heyerdahl's book should have had them also) or Carter does not have any
because he relies solely on Jackson.
> If Bernard was interested in finding out more on this matter, and in
> finding the truth, his first response should have been to go and try to
> find this literature. At no point Bernard indicated that he tried to do
> this. (He even said that he refuses to read Carter!!!) For all I know, his
> library has the copy of the NEW DIFFUSIONIST where Carter's detailed
> article is, as cited by me -- so he can find this info for himself (this
> article is unavailable to me, as I indicated previously). Instead, Bernard
> has launched into a campaign of obfuscating and stalling. He's now raising
> all kinds of preconditions that I must fulfill at the drop of a hat,
> according to him. And, believe it or not, he demands that I withdraw the
> claim by Carter -- because my library doesn't have the copy of his
> detailed article! Absurd! 
> And not only that... It seems that Bernard is now gone to the extreme of
> actually trying to FORBID me to explore other related issues until I can
> provide the information that he imperiously commanded me to provide for
> him! And why should I bother at all, seeing how negative and unscholarly
> his attitude is?
> This is in very poor form, Bernard. I think you've demonstrated
> conclusively that you care very little about the historical truth.
> Yuri.
As I pointed out in my post on the need for primary sources, my insistence
on these for evidence predates by decades my unfortunate acquaintance with
Yuri, et al. It has been a key methodological approach. I will gladly
compare my interest in *truth* historical or otherwise and my demonstrated
methodology, my citation record, and my academic integrity with Yuri's.
You will remember that I have so far convincingly refuted claims about the
diffusion of cotton, gourds, bananas, tyrian purple, Egyptians, West
Africans, etc. Cowrie shells will soon be included because I have very
serious doubts that 1) the primary sources, if they ever appear, will be
very convincing. If the secondary source is Jackson (1917), the the
archaeological dig, if it was an archaological dig at all, would have been
earlier. At this time radiocarbon was unknown and the time scale used was
in serious error, and archaeological techniques were quite primitive- thus
I have doubts about the accuracy of the archaeology and the date. I also
have serious doubts that *C. moneta* was really identified as such rather
than a generic *cowrie shell* but we know that that there are members of
the genus native to the New World and also as Lawrence pointed out there
are species that resemble each other closely. Would people prior to 1917
be expert enough to distinguish? The only way we will know this is for
Yuri to post references to the primary sources for this claim. *Put or
shut up.*\
Bernard Ortiz de Montellano

> Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=-
> You never need think you can turn over any old falsehoods 
> without a terrible squirming of the horrid little population
> that dwells under it -=O=- Oliver Wendell Holmes

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