Subject:      Re: scholars and the propagandists
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/10/17
Message-ID:   <628ajt$7l1$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology

I can see that this article of mine created quite a response. Among the
respondents in this thread we can see the names of just about all of my
"friends" here, the usual collection of rogues... And yet I did get some
support from SUDSM... So there! 

Still, I think I made some valid observations.

Yuri Kuchinsky ( wrote:

: The propagandist, OTOH,  has an Agenda. For the propagandist, his/her
: cherished Agenda is more important that the historical truth. Often, the
: propagandist is trying to prove that something _did not happen_. What
: actually _did happen_ in the past is no big deal for the propagandist.

The negativity of my opponents is pretty obvious. Even if they recognize
these (very evident!) transpacific parallels in art styles, for example,
they usually don't make the slightest effort to try to explain them. All
they do is bitch at those who do try. This is what I call negativity.
Recently, Greg has finally made some effort to deal with this important
matter by raising up the rather dated work of Levi-Strauss. I don't think
his efforts are so persuasive, and yet his attempt, at least, is to be
applauded... Finally, he tried to move beyond bare negativity...

: Part of the job of the propagandist is to try to find mistakes in other
: people's work. It is very important for the propagandist to determine that
: some researcher is wrong about some things. It is part of the agenda to
: discredit researchers who threaten the all important Agenda, the
: preconceived ideas of the propagandist.

And this sort of fault-finding is all too common, certainly. More than
enough contributors here operate under the philosophy: if you can find
some things wrong with a couple of footnotes of the author in need of
discrediting, this is all you will need to do. Forget about the substance,
as long as you can show that s/he got the page numbers wrong...

: So the propagandist will read a book in need of blacklisting and will focus
: on marginal issues, on the peripherals. When some mistake is found in the
: target research that needs to be discredited, these mistakes will be blown
: up out of proportion and beyond all recognition.

: The propagandist, the apologist of the received dogmas, never allows any
: doubt to emerge about his/her apologies. Building a balanced case? Forget
: it. "Everything I say is the only way it can be". "OTOH, my opponent can
: never be trusted about anything at all!" "Those *big mistakes* I found in
: there disqualify my opponent totally from serious consideration!" "Beware,
: everyone!"

And this too. Quite a few of my opponents leave the impression that they
know all the answers with _absolute certainty_. Whereas I, OTOH, as a
casual perusal of my posts would reveal, often don't pretend to know the
answers. Case in point is the thread about the cowries. Did I claim to
know all the answers? Of course not. I certainly don't claim to know how
the cowries, and the associated rituals got to N. America. Neither did I
claim to know all the answers in the discussion of the early horses in N.
America, but merely tried to point out the problems with the current
"received wisdom" about this...

So how about dealing with these matters, as opposed to making juvenile
jokes, friends?

: The propagandist leaves intellectual poverty in his/her wake. Intellectual
: poverty is the true product of the propagandist.


Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [22]

So much additional evidence argues in favor of trans-Pacific
diffusion on a very intellectual level at this point, perhaps
around the time of Christ, perhaps around the time of the
founding of Teotihuacan -=O=- Michael D. Coe (1981)

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