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Re: VMs: O.T.: The Indus Script--Write or Wrong? (Science)

17/12/2004 12:57:24 AM, Wdimitr@xxxxxxx wrote:


Can't access it. Not public.

>For 130 years scholars have struggled to decipher the Indus script. Now, in a 
>proposal with broad academic and political implications, a brash outsider 
>claims that such efforts are doomed to failure because the Indus symbols are not 

The usual: cannot decipher it, so it's not writing.
As La Fontaine put it (after Aesop): ces raisins
sont trop verts, et bons pour les goujats.

I've read the same about the Easter Island hieroglyphs.
Strangely enough, or perhaps significantly enough, we
didn't get fed the same story about Hittite, or, further
back, cuneiforms.

>Academic prizes typically are designed to confer prestige. But the latest 
>proposed award, a $10,000 check for finding a lengthy inscription from the 
>ancient Indus civilization, is intended to goad rather than honor. The controversial 
>scholar who announced the prize last month cheekily predicts that he will 
>never have to pay up.

Of course he won't. The inscriptions are all very short--seals in fact.
So what? Hittite hieroglyphs are all short, lapidary inscriptions. 
They used cuneiform for longer stuff. And, as I have time and again
argued, you don't find long inscriptions in stone in Bali--on palm
leaves, yes, but palm leaves do not last for centuries, let alone
millennia. I'll gladly sign a $50,000 cheque for finding an Easter
Island tablet longer than any known ones and datable to earlier
than 1700 AD. My money is safer than in Fort Knox. So WTF do
those promised $10,000 mean? 

> And what language the system might 
>have expressed--such as a Dravidian language similar to tongues of today's 
>southern India, or a Vedic language of northern India--is also a hot topic.

Or a total isolate, like Sumerian, like Proto-Elamite, and many more.

>Now academic outsider Steve Farmer (see sidebar on p. 2028) and two 
>established Indus scholars argue that the signs are not writing at all but rather a 
>collection of religious-political symbols that held together a diverse and 
>multilingual society.

Nice mumbo-jumbo. "A collection of religious-political symbols", eh?
Hundreds of them, too. They must have had a preciously complex religious-
political system, those ancient fellas.

>argue historian Farmer and 
>his co-authors, Harvard University linguist Michael Witzel and computational 
>theorist Richard Sproat of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

So Sproat is in it too? I am not overly surprised.

>This idea

Is complete bullshit. Why didn't Science ask Asko Parpola?

>Their thesis has bitterly divided the field of Indus studies

I imagine. And it's good for self-promotion. Just like one 
certain R*gg

>Parpola, a linguist at Finland's University of Helsinki who has worked for decades to 
>decipher the signs, says

Ah, tout de même!

I'll snip the rest. It is a prime example of crapulous pseudo

Give me Erich von Däniken any time. He might be crazy, but
at least _he_ seems honest.

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