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orion Radiocarbon dating and other issues
I'dlike to briefly address three things which have come upon the
list recently for discussionpurposes.
1. In spite of all the talk about carbon-14 dating, and its general
acceptance as a valid method, it is being treated by some as a wholly
objective method, when in fact it rests on a large number of assumptions
it its results, and any good student of post-modern physics knows, only
take on meaning once passed through the observer's interpretive grid.
So I find it very dubious to treat C14 results as somehow objective and
unchallengable while paleogbraphic results or other approachea are
somehow worth "less" because they are not objective, scientifc
approaches, as if something such as an objective approach existed.
2. Tied to #1, one individual attacked the use of Pliny and other
sources based on improved methods from 19th cent. historians,if I
remember the statement correctly. Given taht 19th (and even soe
current) "historians" still rely on a clearly falsified view that it is
possible to have objective data and objective reprots and present
history in a Rankean fashion, I would ertainly hope that we would not
use all the 19t6h cent. historians presented as methodology.
3. Some have attached Pliny as a source, presumalby because he may not
be an eye witness to all that he describes. I must assume from that
statement that any second-hand account, such as Thucydides, Polybius,
Josephys, et al., have nothing of value to tell us about the past simply
because a priori "second-hand" information( which is the kindususally
used by historians) isn't valid, esxpecially when there are pure
objectivemethods available. I'd take serious issue with this position.
Leaving Qumran for a moment, if we didn't rely on such second-hand
accounts, then we would idsmiss completely just about any event in the
ancient world Ican think of, such as Atilla crossing the Alps with
elephants or he campaings of Alexander the Great. Wy are written
accounts that relate to Essenses and might relate to Qumran being
singled out for rejection? Or are these individuals advocating that any
event that cannot be discerned from the very subjective ealuation of
archaeological raw data never happened?