These are ways in which archaeologists try to escape from uncomfortable
evidence when their dominant paradigm/mind set is threatened, and when
new evidence makes it likely that they might actually have to do some
extra work, learn some new things, and unlearn some old ones.

1. Appeal to authority. "We already know all that we need to know about
the subject, so anyone trying to challenge 'what the standard reference
books say', is automatically off-limits, and should be treated with the
highest suspicion."

2. Describe the information as "old news", even if short of the dogma
defender him/herself, nobody else have really heard about some item of
evidence. "This subject has been dealt with many times in the past
already, and we're terribly tired of it by now".

3. Affect indignation. "How dare you suggest that archaeologists may not
be doing their job with utmost competence?" "Are you attacking our whole
profession?"

4. Set up straw men. Misrepresent your opponents' arguments, and then
refute your own misrepresentations conclusively and with great flair.

5. Snow them with your expertise, real or imagined. Focus on the weakest
and/or irrelevant elements of the opponent's argument, so that the whole
thing can be nitpicked into oblivion.

6. Question competence of opponents. Also label your opponents, and use
personal attacks freely. You can call them names like "kooks," and
"fanatics". In contrast to those kooks, the defenders of the established
dogma are so much more "competent and reasonable".

7. Cast suspicion on the motives of critics of the official view. "They
only do it for money and/or to get publicity, and/or to please the TV
crowd." Of course the proponents of the official dogma never place any
importance in academic rewards, influence, and honors. They are
motivated by disinterested search for the truth only.

8. Employ circular reasoning with abandon. For example, "Competent
professional authorities always investigate all important evidence. So
if they did not report about Subject X, therefore there's nothing there
to report, and so this evidence is not important and/or it does not even
exist!"

9. Require that the skeptics provide the complete solution to some
difficult historical problem. "If you don't have a complete solution,
that means the problem itself does not exist. So why worry about it?"

10. If it might have been then so it was. Overload your posts with
wouldas and couldas. Postulate a lot of improbable events to explain
troubling evidence that doesn't fit the existing paradigm. Also known as
the logical fallacy of special pleading.

11. And if everything else fails, openly misrepresent the evidence, and
hope that nobody notice.

Written by Yuri Kuchinsky.

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