[Indo-Eurasia] **The Farmer-Sproat-Witzel Model
gthomgt at COMCAST.NET
Thu Feb 8 20:40:24 EST 2007
No, Michael, not the last word.
Not until you also see to it that a response from Mahadevan is not
framed by massive moderator notes and long essays of rebuttal. Let
dissenting views through to your list without these pre-emptive attacks
on them. They smother debate. They abuse the role of the moderator on
a scholarly email list.
It is not enough to let Mahadevan post to your list. You have to treat
him fairly. And make Farmer do so too.
I know that am speaking for many other list members in this matter.
They have assured me of this.
michael witzel wrote:
> Last word:
> The invitation to Mahadevan is NOT a trap.
> I will personally see to it that his comments will appear on the IER
> On Feb 8, 2007, at 6:33 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>> Dear Michael, Lars Martin, and Reinhold,
>> I too am busy. My publisher wants a manuscript in a few days. So I
>> will be brief. It is de facto Steve's list. He conceived of it.
>> He himself set it up on Yahoo. And he runs it. Michael and Lars
>> Martin simply legitimize it, occasionally helping out with the
>> moderating duties, as I once did. I think that it is legitimate to
>> discuss the ethics of email-list moderation on an email list.
>> Reinhold, I think that you have misread the post that was sent to
>> that list. It was sent by a third party, giving notice of
>> Mahadevan's article in the Hindu. Farmer took it over for his own
>> purposes, as is his wont.
>> Michael, you may wish to dismiss this as a personal matter, but, as
>> a friend of Mahadevan, perhaps you should address the discussion of
>> the treatment of Mahadevan here, instead of "leaving it apart."
>> Wasn't the treatment of him not a little abusive? Mahadevan is an
>> eminent Indologist. This is an Indology list. I think that it is
>> legitimate to address the abuse of this Indologist on this list.
>> If the IER list, as you prefer to call it, is based on a publication
>> model, why do you let so many uninformed Hindutva types on that
>> list? Do you really consider discussions like the recent one on
>> flying machines in Vedic worthy of publication? Or is this just a
>> kind of sport that you and Steve enjoy: skewering the crazies, like
>> Kalyanaraman, et al?. For someone who has many other, more pressing
>> tasks to deal with, you do seem to spend a lot of time in this sort
>> of sport.
>> Finally, list members, please note that I sent my initial post on
>> this matter to three email lists that I felt would be appropriate
>> places to discuss these matters. My post was received by two of
>> them. The third list -- and its moderators -- have ignored it. This
>> simply confirms my point that the so-called IER list is in fact
>> *not* an open list, and that it would be foolish for someone like
>> Mahadevan or Asko Parpola, or anyone else who disagrees with the
>> Farmer Sproat Witzel thesis, or who disagrees about anything with
>> one Steve Farmer, to enter into that obvious trap.
>> Dear Prof. Mahadevan: this invitation is an obvious trap. Please,
>> don't step into it!
>> Perhaps someone should pass the warning on to him, in the interest
>> of Indology.
>> Best wishes,
>> George Thompson
>> Michael Witzel wrote:
>>> Dear All,
>>> since Steve Farmer is not on this list (INDOLOGY), I answer briefly
>>> as I am co-moderator of the Indo-Eurasian Research list @ Yahoo,
>>> along with L.M. Fosse). Clearly, the IER list is not "Steve's list"!
>>> See: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/>
>>> On Feb 8, 2007, at 9:22 AM, George Thompson wrote:
>>>> I know that my post will seem to many to be little more than a
>>>> personal antagonism between me and Farmer, but it is more than that.
>>> But that is precisely what it is. I know the all of the
>>> background, which is not appropriate to be spread all over the net.
>>> We have enough of that already (as I can testify to personally, for
>>> a decade... :^).
>>> In addition:
>>> The IER list is moderated for good reasons. INDOLOGY members will
>>> remember that Dominik had to reformat this list a few years ago
>>> when the level of Hindutva sniping got too bad. We have learned
>>> from that.
>>> However, If there is *scholarly* disagreement, even heated
>>> exchanges, fine. For example, one scholar of Indian grammar has
>>> publicly done so, vociferously, several times, and has finally
>>> chosen to withdraw from further discussion, -- but he has not
>>> attacked the list as such on other fora such as this.
>>> It also is important to note that our List uses a publication
>>> model, unlike other lists.
>>> Further, that we have attempted to take on very central issues
>>> (some discussed at great length, and over a year) such as our still
>>> ongoing "stratification" discussion.
>>> In doing so, we have in fact broken new ground, and we have also
>>> debunked many scholarly myths standard (Indus bricks, weights, etc
>>> etc.) ever since we started. This is possible as we have scholars
>>> from some 30 fields who correct each other. No inbreeding.
>>> I leave apart the discussion about my friend Mahadevan's newspaper
>>> article and Steve's invitation to him to discuss it in public. I
>>> think Mahadevan is wrong in what he printed in the Hindu, and I
>>> have said so on IER.
>>> Incidentally, if some things were said about the F-S-W paper at
>>> Madison in October 2005(?), this has not reached my ears yet. The
>>> only thing in writing so far is a rather polemic paper by my
>>> friend A. Parpola, his talk at Tokyo in June 2005, where I was
>>> present. There was NO time for discussion! We did that a few weeks
>>> later, in his, M. Kenoyer's, Steve's and my presence, at Kyoto. A
>>> good defense for the "script" model did not emerge. Kenoyer
>>> conceded that the Indus signs do not represent written language
>>> (like sentences) but he still called them a 'script' ...
>>> And that is all I will say about this topic. I have better things
>>> to do... such as finalizing 2 book projects.
>>> Michael Witzel
>>>> Let me cite post #6030 of the IER list dated Monday, Feb. 5,
>>>> 2007. In this post a notice is sent to the list of an article
>>>> written by Mahadevan that expresses disagreement with the Farmer-
>>>> Sproat-Witzel paper. A paragraph from Mahadevan's article is
>>>> quoted there.
>>>> Notice that the post is preceded by a moderator's note from Farmer
>>>> that exceeds the length of the quoted passage, and notice too that
>>>> it concludes with a long essay by Farmer, rebutting Mahadevan, an
>>>> essay that is perhaps three times longer than the material quoted
>>>> from the Mahadevan article.
>>>> In short, Mahadevan has been refuted even before he is invited to
>>>> wade into this "debate." Notice finally also that in the
>>>> moderator's note, Farmer expresses doubt that Mahadevan will
>>>> accept the challenge to debate on the Farmer list since Mahadevan
>>>> is obviously wrong, and then a $10,000 "prize challenge" is
>>>> offered -- once again! -- to anyone who can refute the Farmer-
>>>> Sproat-Witzel thesis.
>>>> Needless to say, there are many good scholars on that list and
>>>> there have been many informed discussions on it.
>>>> As one list member has written to me privately, this moderator
>>>> handles the list more like "an impressario than a scholar."
>>>> Also, this list member reminds me of the South Asia conference in
>>>> Madison in Oct. 2005, where many objections to the Farmer-Sproat-
>>>> Witzel thesis were raised. All of this is ignored on that list,
>>>> however, as was my objection to the way that the Mahadevan
>>>> invitation to debate was framed. Why would anyone accept such an
>>>> unfriendly invitation?
>>>> Dear list members, if you do not accept my characterization of
>>>> this kind of list moderation, please offer me a better one.
>>>> Thank you for your response and your patience.
>>>> George Thompson
>>> Michael Witzel
>>> Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University
>>> 1 Bow Street , 3rd floor, Cambridge MA 02138
>>> 1-617-495 3295 Fax: 496 8571
>>> direct line: 496 2990
>>> < http://users.primushost.com/~india/ejvs/>
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