Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, October 21, 2019

John S. Robertson Offers Strong Support for Brian Stubbs

Recently Brian Stubbs, a leading and widely respected expert on the Uto-Aztecan language family, provided a guest post with his detailed response to a harshly critical review of his work from a BYU professor, Chris Rogers, that was published by the Maxwell Institute. Stubbs has thoroughly documented the existence of strong influences in Uto-Aztecan from apparent infusions (borrowing) of Old World languages, including Hebrew and Egyptian, in ways that meet and exceed typical requirements in linguistics to establish a legitimate connection between languages. It's fascinating work, but work that clashes with the reigning academic paradigm of isolation of the New World prior to Columbus. Rogers' critique sadly seems to completely misunderstand what Stubbs has done and almost seems to let the paradigm pass premature judgment without engaging with Stubbs actual work.

Now a respected linguist, John S. Robertson (retired from BYU), has also written a formal response to the misguided negative review by Rogers. See John S. Robertson, "An American Indian Language Family with Middle Eastern Loanwords: Responding to A Recent Critique," Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 34 (2019): 1-16. Robertson clearly explains why Stubbs' case is vastly stronger than Rogers imagines, and radically different from Rogers' caricature of Stubbs' work. In his detailed review, not only does he expose the many painful mistakes in Rogers' publication, but shows us just how much there is to Stubbs' work.
Abstract: In 2015 Brian Stubbs published a landmark book, demonstrating that Uto-Aztecan, an American Indian language family, contains a vast number of Northwest Semitic and Egyptian loanwords spoken in the first millennium bc. Unlike other similar claims — absurd, eccentric, and without substance — Stubbs’s book is a serious, linguistically based study that deserves serious consideration. In the scholarly world, any claim of Old World influence in the New World languages is met with critical, often hostile skepticism. This essay is written in response to one such criticism. 
Robertson's article provides significant praise of what Stubbs has achieved and demolishes Rogers' case against. It's time that we pay more attention to what Stubbs has delivered. Meaty, almost overwhelming evidence of some kind of ancient contact. Fascinating.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stubbs’s book is a serious, linguistically based study that deserves serious consideration.

If Robertson believes this, then he should be calling as vigorously as I have for outside peer review by non-LDS experts.

Instead he just preaches to the choir in The Interpreter.

You guys can whine all you want about “the prevailing paradigm,” but it’s still just an excuse to avoid facing the music. It’s cowardice, really.

— OK

Anonymous said...

Robertson writes, It is academic dogma that any prehistoric migration from the Middle East to the Americas never happened, nor could it ever have happened. Any scholar’s work would be anathema if it made such a claim.

I don’t see any evidence whatsoever for this claim. Robertson certainly doesn’t provide any. It would be more accurate to say that academia has never had to seriously consider the possibility of such a migration, partly because timid scholars like Stubbs and Robertson have never formally presented their evidence for it.

Academia is certainly going to be skeptical of work like Stubbs’s, for a variety of good reasons, starting with the absence of corroborating archaeological and DNA evidence. (To get a sense of what truly convincing evidence for a claim of migration looks like, consider what we know about
the Norse colonization of North America).

— OK

Anonymous said...

So anonymous 3:08 pm, how vigorously have you been calling for outside peer review by non-LDS experts? Have you contacted any periodicals? Which scholars have you contacted?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:58,
A Wikipedia article? Seriously? The high academic standards you propose is discussion of evidence in Wikipedia article for an widely accepted theory? Heaven help us all!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:59 / 4:04, please be serious. I suggested the Wikipedia entry “to get a sense of what truly convincing evidence ... looks like,” not as truly convincing evidence in its own right. I try to write carefully; please extend me the courtesy of reading me carefully. And of course I can hardly be expected to submit Stubbs’s or anyone else’s work to an academic press or journal for peer review. It doesn’t work that way.

— OK

Hoosier said...

OK, with regards to "cowardice" in this issue, we would be remiss if we did not note that you are attempting to punt the whole issue to some anonymous "peer reviewers," presumably so that they will back up your skeptical take in contravention of the data.

The work has already been reviewed by competent linguists, and not in the fashion of a serenade to the choir. That's the whole point of this article, is it not? And they couldn't find any serious methodological flaws in it. If that is the case then I expect we will see from skeptical reviewers precisely what you are already parroting: sure, the data is sound, but we still can't believe it because wE Don'T HaVe ZaRaHemLA.

And that won't help explain Stubb's findings any better.

coltakashi said...

I am puzzled why a linguistic analysis needs to be tested by archeological research or DNA comparisons. The one distinctive genetic marker associated with Israelite ancestry is the Cohen gene associated with descent from the priestly tribe of Levi, which followed the Jewish diaspora around the Mediterranean during the Roman Empire. But the Book of Mormon does not claim that Levites were among the Lehite or Mulekite colonists, and the Cohen gene would be irrelevant to Egyptian speakers. As for archeology, the research into the pre-Columbian history of the New World is hardly so complete that it can exclude the possibility of events we don't yet know. Indeed, the recent LIDAR scans around existing sites in MesoAmerica have shown that archeologists have studied only 10 percent of the area that was inhabited in the Mayan culture region, and demonstrates how limited our knowledge is for the broader separate region where Uto-Aztecan languages were spoken.

The Uto-Aztecan language areas in the southwestern USA and northwest Mexico is outside Meso-America, where many scholars think the Book of Mormon narrative is most at home, and it also seems to be outside the alternative hypothesis that the hill near Palmyra, New York, was a focus of Nephite civilization. Thus the Book of Mormon does not strongly cause us to expect an influence of Middle East languages on the ancestors of this ethnic group. Dr. Stubbs just happens to be an expert in this indigenous language group who has also studied Semitic languages. He has found this information there because it is illuminated by his scholarship. We have not heard from other linguists who specialize in other American Indian language groups who have also invested in learning Hebrew, who could say whether such correlations in this depth could be found among the natives of other parts of North and Central America. If there were several such studies, their conclusions could shed light on Dr. Stubbs' analysis, but so far, it appears no one has looked.

Jeff Lindsay said...

I don’t see any evidence whatsoever for this claim. Robertson certainly doesn’t provide any. It would be more accurate to say that academia has never had to seriously consider the possibility of such a migration, partly because timid scholars like Stubbs and Robertson have never formally presented their evidence for it.

OK, thanks for helping to illustrate how pervasive that reigning paradigm is. Dr. Stephen C. Jett's recent book, Ancient Ocean Crossings: The Case for Contacts with the Americas before Columbus Reconsidered, helps illustrate how and why so many academics like you have this reflex, while also providing a great deal to contemplate in turns of the solid evidence you feel doesn't exist. Highly recommended reading! Hope you'll take a look.

Jeff Lindsay said...

A great deal of the evidence supporting transoceanic contact can already be gleaned from the scientific literature, often peer-reviewed literature. Analysis of this literature is provided in Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages by John Sorenson and Carl Johannessen, Sino-Platonic Papers (April 2004). Here's the abstract:

"Examination of an extensive literature has revealed conclusive evidence that nearly one hundred species of plants, a majority of them cultivars, were present in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres prior to Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas. The evidence comes from archaeology, historical and linguistic sources, ancient art, and conventional botanical studies. Additionally, 21 species of micro-predators and six other species of fauna were shared by the Old and New Worlds. The evidence further suggests the desirability of additional study of up to 70 other organisms as probably or possibly bi-hemispheric in pre-Columbian times. This distribution could not have been due merely to natural transfer mechanisms, nor can it be explained by early human migrations to the New World via the Bering Strait route. Well over half the plant transfers consisted of flora of American origin that spread to Eurasia or Oceania, some at surprisingly early dates.

"The only plausible explanation for these findings is that a considerable number of transoceanic voyages in both directions across both major oceans were completed between the 7th millennium BC and the European age of discovery. Our growing knowledge of early maritime technology and its accomplishments gives us confidence that vessels and nautical skills capable of these long-distance travels were developed by the times indicated. These voyages put a new complexion on the extensive Old World/New World cultural parallels that have long been controversial."

But Stephen C. Jett's work adds much more to this, including DNA analysis, ancient maritime possibilities for contact, etc.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Good quote from Sorenson and Johannessen on the reigning paradigm (pp. 44-45):

TURNING PARSIMONY AROUND

As we view all the evidence, it seems clear that a total approaching 100 plant species were moved across the ocean to or from the Americas before 1492. Furthermore, it is plausible that additional plants will be shown to have crossed as well; we cannot imagine that our present list is exhaustive. Tables 2 and 3 list additional candidates from the flora that ought to be further researched. Of the microfauna, 21 species show what decisive evidence of prehistoric transoceanic movement, and another 18 species deserve more study in that regard. Of other species of fauna, we count 6 as conclusively demonstrated to have been distributed in both hemispheres, and 6 others are possible. This evidence puts a new complexion on long-standing questions about transoceanic movements of humans and associated flora and fauna. The outdated stance was illustrated by Spinden’s statement (1933) that, “the fact that no food plant is common to the two hemispheres is enough to offset any number of petty puzzles in arts and myths” [such as the patolli/pachisi game]. Thirty-eight years later the same argument was still being invoked: “There is no hard and fast evidence for any pre-Columbian human introduction of any single plant or animal across the ocean from the Old World to the New World, or vice-versa” (Riley et al. 1971, 452–53). The logic of those days held that since “the bulk of the evidence” from biology was generally construed as being against any direct inter-hemispheric contact, every item of evidence in apparent contradiction to the orthodox view ought to be discarded or held in abeyance.

As late as 1985, Willey tried to tighten screws on the evidence even further by insisting that, “No Old World manufactured object has yet been found in an indisputable, undisturbed New World context. If nothing concrete can be shown in the next 50 years, proponents should stop talking about it.” But no arbitrary stricture like this can be imposed on the question. Evidence speaks for itself, whether it consists of a shared “manufactured object” or a natural feature.

In the light of our findings, parsimony should now be interpreted quite differently from what it formerly was. Given that so many organisms were demonstrably shared between the hemispheres before Columbus, “the bulk of the evidence” today actually supports a voyaging explanation. Not only can we expect additional confirmation to come from further study of the flora and fauna (including DNA studies, archaeology, and more careful study of ancient art), but we may also find that many of the “petty puzzles” in culture, formerly rejected as proof of contact, now will turn out to be in agreement with “the bulk of the (new) evidence.” It thus deserves careful consideration instead of perfunctory dismissal.

BrianG said...

Never let a linguist tell you about biology. As a botanist, the evidence is extremely thin for any plants migrating before Columbus like would be expected if there were Nephite civilizations that brought seeds, bees, animals, etc. as described not once but three times in the Book of Mormon (Lehi/Nephi/Lamanites, Mulekites, and Jaredites). I am not a linguist so I won't make too much judgement about their linguistic analysis, but if they are ignoring the biological evidence that is contrary to their hypothesis then it makes me worry they are doing the same with their linguistic dataset.

Anonymous said...

"perfunctory dismissal" What on Earth are you talking about? Anyone who has carefully considered, written extensively and carefully, but disagrees with antiquated methodologies to endlessly manufacture plausibilities for preconceived, or should we say pre-decieved, conclusions is quilty of " perfunctory dismissal"? Sighhh ....

Anonymous said...

Jeff, since you have misread my comment above, I will repeat it here, this time capitalizing the key phrase you appear to have missed:

Robertson writes, It is academic dogma that any prehistoric migration FROM THE MIDDLE EAST to the Americas never happened, nor could it ever have happened. Any scholar’s work would be anathema if it made such a claim.

I don’t see any evidence whatsoever for this claim. Robertson certainly doesn’t provide any. It would be more accurate to say that academia has never had to seriously consider the possibility of such a migration....


The phrase "such a migration" refers back to "prehistoric migration FROM THE MIDDLE EAST."

Can we agree that evidence for voyages "between the hemispheres" is not evidence for migrations "from the Middle East"? And that evidence for such ancient voyages, even if it exists, is not evidence for academic dogmatism?

You're probably busy, but still, please try to read with a bit more care.

-- OK

John Robertson said...

It would be nice to give the whole citation:

"It is academic dogma that any prehistoric migration from the Middle East to the Americas never happened, nor could it ever have happened. Any scholar’s work would be anathema if it made such a claim. Some say Stubbs’s work is anathema — but only at the expense of ignoring the breadth and depth of the actual data. There is actually existing evidence that favors such a migration — not an archeological artifact, nor a recorded manuscript — but evidence in the form of factual, predictive, lawful linguistic data found in Stubbs 2015. Such evidence of borrowing exists in abundance, available for proper review and criticism. And certainly, factual linguistic data should carry more weight for professional linguists than for anyone else."

It is a bit unfair to say that Robertson didn't provide any evidence. The evidence for borrowing is factual, predictive, lawful and massive. If you do not accept Stubbs 2015 as evidence, it doesn't mean that it isn't evidence. At least if you don't understand or do not wish to understand the intellectual merit of the evidence, I think a reasonable person might be willing to admit it. It's not good practice reject an idea on grounds that you don't understand it. That blocks the road to inquiry.

Note that I make no claim that there should be archeological artifacts or even manuscripts. For example, groups from Athabaskan Canada and Alaska migrated to the Southwest United States possibly one or two hundred years before Spanish contact. The Navaho and Apaches left no artifacts or cultural practices from their ancestral homeland. Indeed, they are culturally the poster child for American Indians found in the American Southwest. To think language has no cognitive value in assessing migratory homelands, consider Edward Sapir's article, "Internal Linguistic Evidence Suggestive of the Northern Origin of the Navaho." For example, the etymology of the Navaho word for 'corn,' when surgically dissected, meant historically "enemy food." (Word boundaries can be lost, as e.g., world < wer-ald 'man old'). It doesn't mean 'enemy food' today, only 'corn.' Sapir give many examples of words like 'sowing seed' which meant 'falling snow,' 'glide' meant 'travel by canoe' when they live in the North. All these words have culturally adapted to the aboriginal Southwest. Note that the these adaptations were made recently not in the first millennium bc.

As regards DNA. People often mistake the relationship between spoken language and DNA. For example, a native speaker from Singapore can conduct business with an Irishman, but short of marriage and having children, one would be hard pressed to find similarities in the Chinese Singaporean the Irishman's DNA. It's a bit unfair to demand artifacts and DNA.

By the way, it should be understood that Stubbs 2015 does not prove that Book of Mormon to be true, although the BofM provides an interesting backstory.

Anonymous said...

John Robertson writes, It is a bit unfair to say that Robertson didn't provide any evidence. The evidence for borrowing is factual, predictive, lawful and massive....

When I wrote in my comment above that Robertson hasn’t provided any evidence, I was not referring to evidence of linguistic borrowing. I was (quite obviously) referring to evidence of an academic dogma against ancient migration from the Middle East.

— OK

John Robertson said...

Hmmm. A litle syllogism here, maybe Barbara:
a includes b
b includes c
∴a includes c
The excluded middle makes the case.

(a) academic dogma includes (b) no evidence of oceanic migration between the hemispheres
(b) no evidence of migration between the hemispheres includes (c) no evidence of migration from Middle East to Uto-Aztecan land
∴ (a) academic dogma includes (c) no evidence of oceanic migration from Near East to Uto-Aztecan land

But there is evidence of both, as pointed out by Lindsay and me.

So no thinking person could agree that evidence for voyages "between the hemispheres" precludes solid evidence for migrations "from the Middle East." The evidence is there in both cases. What is impossible is a migration to UA land, but no migration to the New World in general.

—OK

Anonymous said...

No, John, neither you nor Jeff have provided evidence that academia dogmatically refuses to consider the possibility of migration. You’re confusing evidence for migrations with evidence for dogmatism.

Please remember the context here. Supporters of Stubbs claim it would be pointless for him to submit his work on linguistic borrowing for outside peer review because academia has dogmatically prejudged the question and thus would not give him a fair hearing. I disagree with this claim — the dogmatism claim, not the borrowing claim — and have asked for evidence to support it. The best evidence either way would come from Stubbs actually submitting his work and seeing what happens. (I think it’s likely Stubbs would get a fair hearing but would not like the result.) What I keep getting instead is just evidence that there’s an academic consensus on migration (duh), but that is not the same as evidence of dogmatism about migration.

Also, of course, a syllogism that assumes academic dogmatism can tell us nothing about the existence of said dogmatism.

— OK

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous, whoever you might be,

"Neither you nor Jeff have provided evidence that academia dogmatically refuses to consider the possibility of migration,” is a statement, not a contradiction of evidence — further evidence of academic dogma on your part. Read Sorenson again, where several citations show that scholars reject even the consideration of east-west contact; and this, in the face of Sorenson’s evidence. Do you reject Sorenson’s evidence? If so, on what grounds?

John Robertson said...

Furthermore, do you reject Stubbs 2015 evidence of east-west contact? If you do, is it on grounds that Stubbs did not submit it for review, say, by the University of Oklahoma Press? Or that in its present form, it has not been reviewed? After all, a review is second hand evidence, trustworthy to the degree you trust the reviewer. Why not review the data for yourself? Then you wouldn't have to take anyone's word for it, academic dogma notwithstanding.

John Robertson said...

Again, do you trust Christ Rogers's review? After all, it was thoroughly negative, his being LDS notwithstanding. Or does his being LDS count, either way? Or do you trust my two reviews of Stubbs 2015. Or do you reject it on grounds that I'm LDS? Does that make me not trustworthy? If so, why?

Ryan said...

John Robertson, it’s great to see you on this thread! I love the points you raise!

It’s funny, anonymous would probably insist the Supreme Court Justices are completely impartial, despite our ability to predict how they will vote lol

Ryan said...

Anonymous/OK,

If you reject Stubbs, can you explain what acceptable evidence would look like to you? Can you point to evidence someone else has published on a similar finding, and explain why their evidence is stronger than Stubbs?

If not, can you at least admit that Stubbs 2015 could be made substantially weaker if he left out some of his data? And weaker still if he left out more data? And weaker still if he left out still more data, and so on? And if that’s the case, then his total combined data must constitute some substantial evidence, otherwise it could not be made substantially weaker and weaker as types of data are removed from it.

Anonymous said...

Ryan / John - OK must have struck a bone because you both are obviously deliberately misunderstanding him and peppering your responses w ad hominems.

Anonymous said...

Sigh.... Once again, everyone, two things keep getting confused here:

(1) Transoceanic migrations.

(2) Academic dogma against transoceanic migrations.

These are not the same things. Evidence for (1) is not the same as evidence for (2).

Yet every time I ask to be shown evidence for (2), I am directed to evidence for (1).

What might evidence for (2) look like? Oh, I don't know, maybe a rejection letter from an academic conference or journal that says Sorry, but we don't truck with this sort of nonsense. We're not even going to send this out for peer review because we alredy know it's wrong.

What might evidence against (2) look like? That is, what might count as evidence that academia does not dogmatically reject transoceanic migration? Maybe something like this:

This paper is an expanded version of a presentation given at a conference, "Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World," held at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, May 5, 2001. The conference was organized by Victor H. Mair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also editor of the volume of papers from that conference in press at the University of Hawaii Press in 2004.

Since our initial paper was submitted for inclusion in that volume, we have made further discoveries. The present book incorporates the new materials, constituting a revision and extension of the original paper....

Support for the preparation and presentation of the original paper was provided by the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, at Brigham Young University, and the Center for Ancient Studies of the University of Pennsylvania.


The above is quoted from "Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages" by John Sorenson and Carl Johannessen.

If work on transoceanic migration like Sorenson's is such anathema in academia, if academia is so dogmatically opposed to such work, then why in the world is it being presented at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania? Why is it being published by the University of Hawaii? Why is it being supported by the Center for Ancient Studies of the University of Pennsylvania?

On the question of academic dogma, all I've seen thus far is evidence that supports my own position. (Thank you, Jeff, for pointing me to this evidence!)

-- OK

Anonymous said...

Ryan asks, If you reject Stubbs, can you explain what acceptable evidence would look like to you? Can you point to evidence someone else has published on a similar finding, and explain why their evidence is stronger than Stubbs?

How would I know what acceptable evidence would look like? How would I know what sort of methodological deviltry might be generating Stubbs's results?

I'm not a linguist specializing in that sort of work, which is precisely why I'm calling for it to be peered reviewed by such a specialist.

Instead of calling for peer review, Jeff et al keep saying it's enough for us non-specialists to review the evidence and make up our own minds. I'm saying, no, that's not enough.

-- OK

Anonymous said...

For nearly 200 years the academic and "intellectual" community has engaged in a concerted conspiracy to attack the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and belittle the stalwart saints defending weaker saints from persecution. Enough is enough, evidence is evidence, and on Jesus's glorious return he will personally invite stalwarts such as Jeff, John, and Ryan to carry the banner that triumphantly displays -
the Mormons were right all along.

Anonymous said...

... on Jesus's glorious return....

The Bible tells us this was going to happen before the then-current generation passed away. But it didn’t happen, which is reason enough to reject the biblical literalism on which Mormonism is founded.

— OK

John Robertson said...

Dear Anonymous,

I must confess I have more or less enjoyed this little exchange. You are clever, and I have profited from our exchange of comments. However, I doubt that I could ever dislodge you from your perpetual, oft-repeated drumbeat of "calling for it [Stubbs 15] to be peered reviewed by such a specialist," nor could I ever hope to convince you that I AM a specialist, and I have reviewed it once and then another time for good measure. Sadly, you reject anything I have said or might say because I am LDS and am “preaching to the choir” All acceptable reviews should be done by "non-LDS experts."

I must confess that like me, you have a bit of an edge to the tone of your writing. Because I have somewhat enjoyed this exchange, I believe you wouldn't mind if, in good humor, I give back a little of what you gave: "OK must have struck a bone because you both are obviously...peppering your responses w ad hominems." I checked, and I didn't see any name calling on my part; maybe a little edge, but name-calling? At least none that I could find. On the other hand......"You guys can whine all you want about 'the prevailing paradigm,' but it’s still just an excuse to avoid facing the music. It’s cowardice, really," and "If Robertson believes this, then he SHOULD be calling as vigorously as I have for outside peer review by non-LDS experts. Instead he just preaches to the choir in The Interpreter (my emphasis)." Yikes, cowards, whiners, choir preachers. I'd be surprised if you really meant what you said, Anonymous. It was a little tough.

John Robertson said...

Now, let's get down to cases. Let's summarize the content of the above. You say that you are not a linguist, specializing in that sort of work, and therefore, you are calling for it to peer reviewed by a specialist. Well, I am a linguist, a specialist in the comparative method, and I did review Stubbs 2015. But according to you, everything in my review (except "academic dogma," of course) should not count because I am an LDS reviewer? "Jeff et al keep saying it's enough for us non-specialists to review the evidence and make up our own minds." Am I part of "Jeff et al.?" Do I qualify as a non specialist? If I am a specialist, maybe I could help permeable minds.

So, I take it from what you have repeatedly said, you want a NON-LDS scholar to review it. There's always that possibility:

Fact: Every UAnist has a copy and Stubbs 15. They have also heard Stubbs's presentation of such in UA linguistic fora. They are well acquainted with the predicate of Stubbs's claim.
Fact: Every Uanist's comparative work must take account of Stubbs 11, because of its massive surpassing scholarship.

What could be better than for one of them to review Stubbs 15, the same way Stubbs 11 was reviewed (favorably in that case), say in IJAL? They are perhaps better qualified than most anyone else to meet what you are perpetually calling for: non-LDS, and UA experts. But they haven't reviewed it. Maybe you could find more traction outside the LDS fora to call "for it to be peered reviewed by such a specialist." I can't review it because I'm LDS. Stubbs' can review it because he's LDS and he wrote the darn thing. Personally, and like you, I would want a review by a non-LDS expert who is at least knowledgable in UA, or Near East languages, or the comparative methodology. That way, they could look at the data objectively, thereby quenching once for all your ardent desire to "know what sort of methodological deviltry might be generating Stubbs's results."

John Robertson said...

But why am I even talking about this? Stubbs had it published in 2015. Anyone who wants to can peer review it. It's out there. Its on the web — available everywhere to anyone who has the internet. But Stubbs, like any author of a book, cannot self-review it. “It doesn’t work that wayhe SHOULD be calling as vigorously as I have for outside peer review by non-LDS experts, (my emphasis).” I am admonished: I SHOULD be calling for an outside review, in the same way Anonymous has been calling for it. Some people might possibly find it uncomfortable to be admonished by an anonymous person that they SHOULD be doing exactly what the anonymous person is doing.
===========
Now, here's the very core of what Anonymous said in the exchanges:

"If Robertson believes this, then he should be calling as vigorously as I have for outside peer review by non-LDS experts. Instead he just preaches to the choir in The Interpreter."

“Instead of calling for peer review, Jeff et al keep saying it's enough for us non-specialists to review the evidence and make up our own minds.”

“I'm saying, no, that's not enough. I'm calling for it to be peered reviewed by such a specialist.”

“Oh, I don't know, maybe a rejection letter from an academic conference or journal that says Sorry, but we don't truck with this sort of nonsense. We're not even going to send this out for peer review because we alredy know it's wrong”. [By the way, might this wished for hypothetical be your example of "academic dogma", at the level of the the needed rejection of Fell, Gordon et al.?]

“Supporters of Stubbs claim it would be pointless for him to submit his work on linguistic borrowing for outside peer review because academia has dogmatically prejudged the question and thus would not give him a fair hearing”.

“I disagree with this claim can hardly be expected to submit Stubbs’s or anyone else’s work to an academic press or journal for peer review.”

“It doesn’t work that wayhe should be calling as vigorously as I have for outside peer review by non-LDS experts”
=================

By now, it’s clear enough from the above that any statement addressing Stubbs’s work will be met with a certain "peer-review" dysphoria. Anything I or anyone else might say has been and will be met with: I'm calling for a non-lds peer review by an expert.

It's patently predicatable.

I’ll give Anonymous the last word, and given the above, I can predict what the last word will amount to, however Anonymous frames it. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Yes, John, your evaluation of Stubbs’s work is insufficient because you have a significant personal stake in the outcome. That conflict is real, and it’s not the least bit controversial of me to say so.

My call for truly independent peer review is perfectly reasonable. You said above that you, too, would like to see such a review, so I’m not sure what’s left to discuss.

— OK

Jeff Lindsay said...

Dear non-LDS scholars, please review Brian Stubbs' 2015 work on Old World languages in Uto-Aztecan. But please read it first and seek to understand it in order to give your review have any value.
Sincerely,
Jeff Lindsay

There, I'm on record again being very much in favor of ongoing academic attention to Stubbs' work. That process may take a long time, but in the interim, there's no excuse to dismiss the strong and clear evidence already before us.

But OK, be open here. You aren't interested in evidence and you've said as much. You are interested in attacking any potential evidence because of your animosity to the Church's social policies. That is, unfortunately, the opposite of the standard of objectivity and scholarship that you appear to call for. It's important to understand that this is just a game, a way of achieving your foregone conclusion and objectives, and no matter what happens in peer review, you will ignore or dismiss anything not to your liking. Makes it hard to take your overly clever comments very seriously. Am I wrong?

As you failed to notice, I think, I previously pointed to Jetts' book as containing many intriguing examples of evidence of the antagonism of many scholars to even considering diffusionism. Surely you've noticed the racial sensitivities and even anger that have been raised in response to highly unwanted reports on, say, Kennewick man or other issues related to diffusionism? The idea that Old World societies may have brought some elements to the New World, instead of the New World folks inventing everything in their civilizations on their own, is widely decried as racist and as denigrating to Native Americans. One source that discusses this problem to some degree is the article from the Atlantic, "The Diffusionist Are Coming!" Worth a read, but Jetts' book provides much more background into why it's so hard for many in academia to consider ancient transoceanic contact as anything but pathetic exercises in lunacy.

Dr. Robertson, thanks so much for joining the conversation here! Sorry I've been away for a few days of intense travel.

Anonymous said...

Jeff -

Classic mentality: You openingly admit you are not interested in evidence and objectivity, therefore every one must be just like you.

No one missed your reminder of the now rudimentary observation that science has many examples of prevailing paradigms obstructing useful paradigm shift opportunities. What you no doubt are intelligent enough to understand is that those examples represent less than hundredth of a percent of all possible claims (not evidence) that science would ground to halt if it constantly had to readdress every pet theory on a daily basis. The beauty is, the scientific community is self aware of it's historical blunders and actively tries not to repeat them.

So no jeff, you have not presented evidence of something most everyone did not already know. You are being asked to provide evidence that the scientific community is actively ignoring your pet theories and not giving them the attention your emotions demand. There is plenty of evidence that the scientific community has given excessive attention to your theories, and as the botanist in the thread observes, migration patterns are rarely relegated to linguistics alone, despite your openly stated adversion to seeing forests for trees.

You have not presented evidence that your pet theories are being wrongfully descrimated against.

Anonymous said...

Also consider Mormonism long history of demanding attention for things debunked and long history of applying statistical voodoo to linguistics

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jeff, I am opposed to some of the Church’s social policies. But that does not mean I’m “not interested in evidence,” nor have I ever “said as much.” Rather, I am convinced that the evidence will do two useful things: undermine the Church’s moral authority, and prod the Church to liberalize its theology and policies. If this happens it will be because of the integrity of the evidence. It will happen because the evidence for my position is so strong and so widely acknowledged that the Church itself can no longer ignore it. So what you see as opposed — scholarly integrity and political project — I see as aligned.

— OK

Anonymous said...

Well said OK. Jeff is urging patience for the evidence he wishes to overturn evidence that we currently have. He is clearly the one that is anti-evidence.