Re: *dan-

From: stefan
Message: 5645
Date: 2001-01-19

From: "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...>

[PG]The Nostratic hypothesis is not pseudoscience

[PG] I didn't say it was. :-)

[PG] The results are controversial, to be sure, which is why many
linguists (including me) reject Nostratic reconstructions, but
highly speculative hypotheses are nothing new in science. It's a
"fringe" hypothesis (no offence intended), but not an inherently
lunatic one.

[S] I suspect that the results are "controversial" because very few
linguists have any in-depth knowledge of languages outside the usual
IE bunch. What is the antonym of "fringe"?

[PG] I love fractals and I know a few things about chaos theory, but
I fail to see their immediate relevance to the matter in hand (it
was the similarity of words in languages belongig to different

[S] My dear Piotr, language is chaos, linguistics is order and never
the twain shall meet. Now if you accept that premise, than any topic
eg accidental similarity between words from different language
families, becomes a legitimate subject for further investigation.

[PG] Fortunately, it isn't necessary to read the collected works of
Erich von Däniken to form a fair opinion about him. I dare say a few
pages suffice (though I actually read more once upon a time, just
out of curiosity, till I got bored and disgusted).

[S]This is a perennial problem with scientists who tend to get very
lost when they start confusing von Danniken's fantasies with the
research going on in places like the Esalen Institute and many other
scientific establishment. I have given up trying to explain the what
is which.

[PG]Double-blind tests (I could easily provide you with up-to-date
references, if you're interested) involving famous astrologers and
dowsers have not confirmed their paranormal skills.

[S] I am sorry, but we have our wires crossed. Predictive astrology
and run-of-the-mill paranormal skills are for TV shows. This is not
what I was talking about and this is not a list to explore these

[PG]I need not go to Canada to meet a dowser who makes a decent
living with his rod and pendulum, thanks to the suckers who hire
him. Let me tell you two AUTHENTIC anecdotes from my own experience.

[S] See above. In the case of the dowser you are blaming the tool
instead of the man who was using it. There are lousy dowsers who
have no idea what they are doing and there
are charlatans who make money by giving bad name to the ancient
science. But do you know of any field of human activity where there
are no cheats, half-wits and ignoramuses?

[PG] Please, don't tell *me* that dowsing works.

[S] Come off it, Piotr! :-) A scientists should never pass such a
judgment without first studying the subject, reading *serious*
papers about geomagnetic lines, studying feng shui and geomancy,
talking to dowsing scientists and then -and only then - giving your
verdict whether it works or not.