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Re: orion 14C and falsifiability
Sigrid Peterson wrote:
> I do have extensive experience in
> scientific method and statistics, enough to be concerned that the findings of
> the technology involved are being misinterpreted as *absolute data by
> non-scientists. One example follows:
I can only interpret this statement in its context as having me as
its referent. You seem to be claiming I have misrepresented the
14C data. I studied dendrochronology under the world's leading
Mediterranean dendrochonologist, Peter Kuniholm at Cornell. I
obtained the Tucson AMS lab offer for the scrolls datings that were
done there, and have visited the Tucson lab twice, as well as the Seattle
lab where the world's calibration datasets are prepared. I have made
it my business to read, and attempt to understand, most of the
literature within the radiocarbon field in the past decade or so. I am
the author of the article on radiocarbon testing and the scrolls in the
forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I
was honored this past June to be sent by the Scrolls Project in
Copenhagen, where I am employed, to participate in the 16th International
Radiocarbon Conference in Groningen. I have some understanding of
the issues involved with radiocarbon dating.
> Strictly speaking, the observation of either a cluster, or the beginnings of a
> normal bell-curve distribution of frequencies, means that the harvesting and
> tanning of the leather >of the TESTED scrolls< occurred in a briefer period than
> the occupation of Qumran. The presence of "outliers" tends to support the longer
> period of occupation of Qumran, such as Jodi Magnes has maintained. I'm sure you
> know that. A visually apparent cluster of dated leather pieces doesn't say that
> the scrolls were *deposited at one time, and it offers no support for a theory of
> one time deposit.
> In other words, the outliers don't matter that much.
This has virtually nothing to do with anything I wrote, apart
from some overlap in use of vocabulary. I have never sought to
apply scrolls 14C data to argue for a longer or shorter human
habitation period at Qumran, and it would of course be absurd for
anyone to do so. The reference and relevance to Jodi Magness is
obscure since she has argued for shortening, not lengthening the
Qumran human habitation period, and at least to my hearing in
Jerusalem, did so without recourse to 14C scrolls data. I
have not argued that existing 14C data constitutes an
argument in favor of a short period of production of the scrolls,
or a one-time deposit. . . . Please, read Paul Sodtke's post. Paul
got the issues right, and expressed the issues in a manner that is
> There is actually a great deal more discussion that could take place on the
> appropriate use of C14 data. I have not had any hope of dealing with individual
> DSS, so have not dug into the methods of C14 dating. I'm busily occupied with a
> lot of other stuff that's time critical.
I certainly understand, and hope that you can catch up, so that
you can participate in future 14C scrolls discussion in a serious manner.
For the third time, and without having read the most basic literature
on radiocarbon, you have submitted a post which argues, in
an authoritative tone and abstruse manner, against positions which
I never held. This does not advance discussion.
We are dealing with serious issues of dating of the Qumran texts as a
corpus, as individual texts, and with important interpretive
consequences. You are talking irrelevancies, using jargon in a
barely-comprehensible way, and derailing discussion by attempting to
educate others in matters of which you are not well-informed.