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Brief comments regarding Laupot correspondence

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  • Eric Laupot
    My attitude regarding my article has not changed one iota, despite appearances to the contrary based on remarks by me that have been both taken out of context
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 29, 2000
      My attitude regarding my article has not changed
      one iota, despite appearances to the contrary based
      on remarks by me that have been both taken out of
      context and misunderstood.

      Eric Laupot

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    • Eric Laupot
      In reply to Alfred M. Kriman s various recent messages, let me say that he has presented us with at least two serious contradictions: 1. He claims to have
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 1, 2000
        In reply to Alfred M. Kriman's various recent
        messages, let me say that he has presented us
        with at least two serious contradictions:

        1. He claims to have knowledge of statistics,
        and he indeed often knows how to "walk the walk" and
        "talk the talk." Yet his application of basic
        statistical principles to the specific and rather
        elementary problem at hand is so flawed as to present us with
        a serious contradiction between his knowledge and
        his actions. Specifically, Kriman's argument regarding
        the instant statistical problem fails in at least two
        respects:

        A. Although Severus (or the author of fragment 2)
        only chose *one* metaphor for the Christiani, Kriman
        claims we should treat the problem mathematically
        as if Severus had made 20 choices. This is nonsense,
        as I have stated before.

        B. Kriman claims that a Zipf distribution function
        is applicable in the present case, which is likewise
        not true. This is in part because we have no data
        on how Severus or anyone else would have gone about
        choosing their metaphor for "Christiani." The Zipf
        distribution function purports to supply this data
        by assuming that this choice would have been made
        according to the words which were generally most popular
        in Latin, but this is arguing from the general to
        the specific in this case -- that is to say, we
        simply have no data as to what metaphor
        someone would have used for the word *Christiani* in
        fragment 2. The Zipf distribution function doesn't
        cover this contingency. *In addition,* upon a moment's
        reflection one can see that the probability calculation
        here involves a straight-up, one-time computation
        involving a simple numerator and denominator, and
        the Zipf function has nothing to do with this sort of
        thing and wouldn't affect the calculation anyway.
        Indeed, no distribution curve is applicable here,
        including the Bell curve, because there is nothing to
        distribute. Kriman also brings the Perseus
        project into this, apparently implying they
        have made some new discovery involving the Zipf
        function that is applicable to fragment 2. This is
        entirely misleading, as the Perseus project is not
        working on the specific question of what metaphor
        Severus or someone else would have used to describe
        "Christiani." They are working on entirely different,
        and more general, matters. This is like comparing
        apples with oranges.

        This disposes of Kriman's statistical claims.

        2. Kriman has also presented us with a contradiction
        in that he has strongly (and falsely) implied that in
        effect I falsified research data by lying in my
        article by claiming I had consulted the statistician,
        Dr. Robert Gorman, when supposedly, according to
        Kriman, I had not. The contradiction Kriman presents
        us with involves the fact that Kriman never checked his
        statement out with Dr. Gorman, despite the fact
        that, virtually by Kriman's own admission, it would
        have been very easy for him to have done so. For
        by his own admission in his communication to
        Classics-L of 11/13/00 (reposted to this group, for
        reasons that are not entirely clear, by Jeffrey B.
        Gibbons on 11/28/00), Kriman revealed, on one of his
        Internet pop-ups, that Gorman is employed by Dade
        Behring. The pop-up even gave Gorman's job title. It
        would have been child's play to locate Gorman, but
        Kriman did not do so. Also, Gorman's home town of
        Elkton, Maryland was mentioned in the footnote in my
        article that Kriman quoted from verbatim in his
        message, and Gorman's home phone number is listed in
        Directory Assistance and on the Internet. Yet Kriman
        claimed he was unable to locate Gorman. There is a
        huge inconsistency here.

        Finally, I stand by my the argument in my
        article and encourage everyone to seek an
        independent opinion from a professional statistician
        if they would like to know more about the
        statistical issues involved.

        Sincerely,


        Eric Laupot
        PO Box 286510
        New York, NY 10128
        USA
        elaupot@...
        Tel. (212) 744-9450

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      • Bob Schacht
        ... I disagree. I think Kriman has a good point about the appropriateness of the Zipf distribution. It is prudent to assume that the popular distribution
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 2, 2000
          At 10:50 PM 12/1/00 -0500, Eric Laupot wrote:
          >In reply to Alfred M. Kriman's various recent
          >messages, let me say that he has presented us
          >with at least two serious contradictions:
          >
          >... Kriman claims that a Zipf distribution function
          >is applicable in the present case, which is likewise
          >not true. This is in part because we have no data
          >on how Severus or anyone else would have gone about
          >choosing their metaphor for "Christiani." The Zipf
          >distribution function purports to supply this data
          >by assuming that this choice would have been made
          >according to the words which were generally most popular
          >in Latin, but this is arguing from the general to
          >the specific in this case -- that is to say, we
          >simply have no data as to what metaphor
          >someone would have used for the word *Christiani* in
          >fragment 2. The Zipf distribution function doesn't
          >cover this contingency.

          I disagree. I think Kriman has a good point about the appropriateness of
          the Zipf distribution.
          It is prudent to assume that the popular distribution prevails unless you
          can show otherwise. You have not shown that some other choice model is more
          likely; you merely speculate about different possibilities. Furthermore,
          you admit that we lack data to determine the choice model. It would be
          foolish to suppose that the choice of nouns is equiprobable, that is, that
          each noun is equally likely to have been chosen-- I don't know of any
          language that works like that. Under these conditions, the Zipf
          distribution seems quite appropriate.

          > *In addition,* upon a moment's
          >reflection one can see that the probability calculation
          >here involves a straight-up, one-time computation
          >involving a simple numerator and denominator, and
          >the Zipf function has nothing to do with this sort of
          >thing and wouldn't affect the calculation anyway.

          Maybe if one only devotes a moment's reflection; but if one thinks about it
          a little longer, your argument does not hold water.

          >Indeed, no distribution curve is applicable here,
          >including the Bell curve, because there is nothing to
          >distribute.

          This is nonsense, and shows a lack of mathematical intuition.

          >...This disposes of Kriman's statistical claims.

          Au contraire.

          Bob
          Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
          Northern Arizona University
          Flagstaff, AZ


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Eric Laupot
          Bob Schacht believes he is on to something. I wonder, therefore, if Bob wouldn t mind actually running through his actual calculation for us, as I did in my
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 2, 2000
            Bob Schacht believes he is on to something.
            I wonder, therefore, if Bob wouldn't mind actually
            running through his actual calculation for us, as I
            did in my article. If he takes the time to do this,
            I believe he will discover, as I stated, that it
            cannot be done and that the Zipf function is
            irrelevant here.

            Regards,
            Eric Laupot

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