Article 58 of 118
  
Subject:      Re: maize in Europe and India: a twisted tale
From:         yuku@io.org (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1996/12/29
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology,
bionet.general,sci.anthropology,sci.bio.misc,sci.agriculture,sci.bio.botany

Peter van Rossum (pmv100@psu.edu) wrote:
: In article <5a457u$4rp@news1.io.org> yuku@io.org (Yuri Kuchinsky) writes:

: >Well, now I looked closely at the old research again. I will be
: >basing this posting on the article PRE-COLUMBIAN MAIZE IN ASIA, by
: >M. D. W. Jeffreys, in MAN ACROSS THE SEA, U. of Texas Press, 1971,
: >quite a respectable source. What this material indicates is that the
: >evidence for the antiquity of maize in the Old World is based on
: >both genetic, as well as linguistic and historical research. This
: >evidence appears to be very strong. (This article doesn't mention a
: >word about the carvings of corn-cobs in ancient Indian temples, the
: >subject that Carl Johannessen investigated recently.)

And so, the twisted tale continues. Among some glaring illogicalities that
Peter posted yesterday, one also finds this helpful quote (he quoted from
the "Historical Geography of Crop Plants: A Select Roster" by Jonathan D.
Sauer):

:   The possibility of Pre-Columbian presence of maize in various
:   regions of the Old World was actively debated during the 1960s
:   and 1970s.  Historical evidence was drawn from early reports now
:   generally interpreted as references to GRAIN SORGHUM.  Archaeological
:   remains were reported only from 15th century India, but the dating
:   is questionable.  New evidence has been drawn from stone carvings
:   in 12th and 13th century temples in southern India that depict
:   objects resembling maize ears (Johannessen & Parker 1989).  The
:   resemblances are intriguing but other possible models have been
:   suggested, including Pandanus fruits.  Moreover, the carvings may
:   not be as old as the temples.  If maize was really present, direct
:   archaeological evidence should exist; the cobs are unmistakeable,
:   radiocarbon datable, and nearly indestructible in a dry site."
:   (p. 232)

Let us deal with this. I'm beginning to see the shape of the defence that
American Isolationists are providing in order to try to make their case,
however hopeless it seems, and, no doubt, will continue to provide. Yes,
in spite of his well-known penchant for confrontationality, Peter has 
been known to provide bits and pieces of relevant material occasionally...

The defences of Isolationists, and the way this debate is shaping, remind
me strongly of another debate that may be very familiar to the readers of
these groups. Namely, it is the Creationists vs. the Evolutionists
"debate". The strongest line of similarity? Well, you see, one clear thing
that has emerged long time ago in the evolution debate is that the
Evolutionists have a basic story of evolution that they overwhelmingly
agree upon. The chronology of our planet, for example, is rather well
established, the basic lines of speciation, etc. The evolution story is
understood now as a _coherent story_, and is so presented by
Evolutionists.

The Creationists, on the other hand, are very, very far from being
coherent. There's the Young Earth lunacy (the Earth is 6000 years old),
there's the Catastrophism lunacy, and there are plenty more. The
Creationists, it seems, can never get their story straight, and this
certainly rings alarm bells among their critics!

So this is how the debate about Johannessen's evidence is shaping.
Johannessen and others have a coherent story. The plants portrayed in the
carvings are corn, obviously so to anybody without an axe to grind. This
is supported by strong and irrefutable evidence for great genetic variety
of corn in the Old World, a sure sign of antiquity. Further, this is
strengthened by the plentiful historical evidence to the same effect,
linguistics, evidence from pollen, etc. Importantly, this, in turn, is
strengthened by other, rather plentiful, evidence for connections between
ancient India and Mesoamerica. (Here I would quote the calendrical and
astronomical/zodiac connections, and, here, the work of David H. Kelley
is extremely relevant.)

All this, and I'm missing rather a lot here, points unmistakably in one
direction: corn is ancient in the Old World.

And now, the "deniers'" case. Let's see, what have we seen sor far?

It is sorghum above. Not maize but sorghum. Well, I have a picture of a
sorghum plant right in front of me now. The carvings don't look in the
least like sorghum... Hmm... But perhaps it's not sorghum? And here the
versions begin to multiply! Peter, alone, suggested two "magical
solutions" already in two days! Sorghum, and what else? Get ready for it,
ladies and gentlemen... It's A NEW UNICORN! Wow! A mythical plant that
doesn't really exist! How's this for a sure rebuttal?

I suppose, later, he was dissatisfied with his creative effort, and
decided to return to reality? Welcome back, Peter, but yours and Sauer's
sorghum are only slightly better...

What else? I think the irreality of the "deniers" is only increasing, and
promises to increase further. We also had -- seriously! -- "an upside down
bunch of grapes"! No comment here...

And also, one well-known contributor to these ngs suggested the
pomegranates... Sure, elongated and bent along their axis pomegranates...

The competition is still on, my dear Isolationist friends. I, and others,
are stil awaiting with interest further flights of imagination from you --
so let it fly...

Let us see the quotation from Sauer again:

:   New evidence has been drawn from stone carvings
:   in 12th and 13th century temples in southern India that depict
:   objects resembling maize ears (Johannessen & Parker 1989).  The
:   resemblances are intriguing but other possible models have been
:   suggested, including Pandanus fruits.

So now it's Pandanus! Well, I don't know much about Pandanus, but I will
look it up, although my hopes of seeing a connection are not high...

:   Moreover, the carvings may
:   not be as old as the temples.

Now this is a red herring for sure. There are dozens of temples and
hundreds of carvings. All of the carvings are unconnected with the
temples? I suggest Mr. Sauer, and Peter, should take their science fiction
somewhere else...

In the following posting I will look at more of these Isolationist
defences.

All the best,

Yuri.

--
            =O=    Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto    =O=
  --- a webpage like any other...  http://www.io.org/~yuku ---

We should always be disposed to believe that that which
appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the
Church so decides       ===      St. Ignatius of Loyola

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