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Re: [gothic-l] Re: Emigration av (some) Goths

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  • Wilhelm Otto
    Hi Tore, Oscar, Macmaster and Konrad et al. This is about idea swapping. On one hand everyone has a right to hold any views, and on the other side if I give
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 29, 2006
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      Hi Tore, Oscar, Macmaster and Konrad et al.

      This is about idea swapping.

      On one hand everyone has a right to hold any views, and on the other side if
      I give voice to a line of thought on a mailing what I say is fair game, so
      to speak. I see such a view as unconditional. If I confront your views I
      also stake my own, i.e. if my views do not stand the test I am prepared to
      try the views of the other party, at least tentatively, and the other way
      around. It is like comparing watches in the market. The best watch wins and
      winner takes al. This applies to science matters. But how do we treat belief
      systems? And where in the grey zone do I draw the line between myth and
      science?



      There is certainly a grey zone as we know much less than we think we do.
      Much of that we take for granted is just a more or less well founded
      intellectual construction. We imply, we presume, we consider that a
      statistical probability speaks for this or that. We are actually lumbering
      about with a back pack full of myths. This is OK in everyday life. It makes
      it possible for us to navigate in life. But is it good enough when it comes
      down to science or those areas, where we apply scientific rules? And on a
      mailing list we try to apply scientific methods. The general answer to these
      and similar questions is answered by historians, who I am not, by careful
      testing of every assumption on which an idea is founded. Similar sounding
      words are not given much credit by these historians. If you pick Goth and
      Gotland you could as easily pick jute and Jutland. They contain the same
      root of the word. And why leave out Gotaland, i.e. the south of Sweden.
      There has to be a well proven binding connection. Historians of this kind
      are found in every country. In Tore’s Sweden there are among others the
      Weibull brothers, Erik Lönnroth.





      This is but an example of method to push our knowledge a bit further. Sir
      Karl Popper tells us to disprove and falsify our own views. In the wake of
      failure we might have found something useful. According to this view
      intellectual improvement is a result of consecutive failures. And history
      teaches us that what we believe in to day is to morrow probably all wrong.
      What is great and important to day will to morrow probably be forgotten.
      Admittedly we know a lot more to day about the construction of our solar
      system then we did in Kepler´s times, but we are still making great
      improvements. So your views, as well as mine, are probably tentative. There
      are indeed very few matters that can described as final. Not even the Goths
      heritage.



      This process of intellectual development is intimately connected with the
      evolution of ideas. Thomas S Kuhn came in the early 1960´s with “The
      Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. There he claimed there was a sudden
      shift of paradigms. Gradually the old dominant one was considered obsolete
      and a new one was chosen. These revolutions can be triggered by
      technological breakthroughs, such as construction of the first telescope and
      we found that the heavenly bodies were not perfect and unchanging. There can
      be a conceptual breakthrough as the invention of calculus so laws of motion
      can be formulated. And there can be a breakthrough which explains older
      ideas as when Mendel’s genetic results proved Darwins theories. Most
      researchers see this to day as a Darwinian process. Teachers, researchers
      but maybe foremost the staffs of the scientific newspapers play an important
      part. This is a very slow process, you think, when you are inside it. But
      remember that this process is still young. It is about 180 years ago that a
      young man started to organize the Kings of Denmark cabinet of curiosities.
      He then sorted the very old things in three compartments, one for things of
      stone, one for things of bronze and on for iron. Eventually the concepts of
      Stone Age, of Bronze Age and of Iron Age were born out of this. It is my
      grandparents’ time. In the history of nations it is not even yesterday. It
      is to day. Let this process then work for a notable time and you see the
      evolution of science. And in this process of change some of us are slower,
      but others are more up to change. But history can not be an isolated part of
      that process!



      So it is doubtful that we ever will find common acceptance of facts and how
      they are related from times long gone, for example the heritage of the
      Goths. Those were times when common writing seldom took place, and when it
      happened it had other purposes than finding the truth. But it seems to me,
      with all this in mind that Heathers revision of Jordanes, which is very well
      considered by the leading scientists, was not entirely out of place.

      Wilhelm




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