Thursday, April 05, 2018

3 is greater than 0.

They say Aryabhatta invented "0" so it should be very easy for the "Out of India" crowd to follow.

Some people are criticizing the "Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia" study based on the fact that some of its conclusions about the composition of the Indus Valley Civilization are drawn on three human specimens found in the Shahr-e-Sokhta and Gonur.

Comments like this are pretty common

Again - this is absolute fact that there are only three specimens on which this study has been attempted. It is also fact that the specimens at Rakhigarhi are still under analysis. It is absolutely true that should new data emerge with comparable quality to what has been presented in this paper - the conclusions will have to revisited. 

But criticizing the hypothesis of the Genomic Formation paper based on "only 3" specimens is a bit absurd because

1) The entire "out of India" hypothesis is presented with exactly 0 genetic analysis specimens that support it. If people can buy that bullshit* without any supporting evidence of quality - then I don't see what the fuss about "only 3 specimens" is about. People are out there dating the Vedas to 12kya based on one vague statement about the proper motion of the constellation Pleiades or even vaguer testimony about a coincidence event in the celestial sphere. If that's okay - why are you complaining about only "3 specimens"?

2) It is incredibly hard to find specimens of that vintage. A buried human body decays in about a decade if buried under a six feet of ground. Absent a mummification, a permineralization, or an encapsulation (in a chemically inert oxygen and water+moisture barrier)  - nothing survives for more than a hundred years. It is a miracle any specimens were found at all and that there was enough DNA in there to be able to conduct a proper measurement.

3) It is almost impossible to find specimens of correct vintage where the geolocation is reliable and the stratigraphy matches radio-carbon dates. This is actually the most crucial technical point - even if a specimen is dug out of the ground, unless the stratigraphy and RC data match what is known about the location itself, there is no way to admit such a sample into the study. The presence of large error bars on either the stratigraphy or the RC data will render the conclusion unreliable. 

My point here is compact - real hard science is different from Bullshitology**.

* The "Out of India" idea is interesting - as are so many ideas of ancient civilization that flourished in the last interglacial period. But these are not testable per currently known precision measurement techniques. As you cannot put things that are verified by precision measurements on the same plane as things that are supported by less precise branches of study (like Linguistics, Astronomical dating etc...) on the same level - I prefer to call ideas which rely solely on such imprecise evidence as "bullshit". 

** Bullshitology - the art of framing bullshit (see above definition) in scientific sound terms so that less informed people are fooled into accepting conclusions as "scientific proven". Bullshitology relies heavily on the sub-disciplines of "Hiding-the-absence-of-error-bars" and "Making-random-connections-between-random-internet-information". The main aim of Bullshitology is to lobotomize the listener into a intellectual vegetable. It is an extremely successful discipline that has managed to make footfall in various other areas of social engineering - including myth-making. 

PS. The Vedas themselves represent an essentially timeless body of knowledge. They are source of information about society even if they can't be precisely geo-located or time stamped. Treating them as myths is more appropriate than trying to twist science to do your bidding. In the decades past,  proponents of White supremacy and colonialism tried similar nonsense with eugenics and that was also a fail. The Nazis already tried this shit with "Aryan Science", they even tried to appropriate and twist the works of the Theosophists and it produced a complete fail as Germany went. It's not surprising that Hindu Supremacists want to repeat that stuff, but sane people should not get sucked into this.


At 4:37 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

syria's assad being called an "animal" by trump means his life and that of his top generals are forfeit. I don't know what the airstrike by israel on the syrian airfield was all about but the US will go for a direct decapitation strike.

we should have plenty to ponder about in the next few weeks.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger jak said...

Dear Sir, Is the scientific evidence related to the dried up river referred to as Saraswati in the Vedas also "Bullshit"?


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