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