genes and languages--Kurds and Georgians]

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 5 01:51:53 EST 2000


>Can "a quick summary, using 360 base pairs from the mtDNA sequence" from
>"45 Georgians and 29 Kurds" have any scientific value?
>

1. The quick summary was by a man who referred to the paper
on a mailing list. The original paper is 10 pages long, with
figures and tables of data. The full reference is - American
Journal of Physical Anthropology, 112 (1): 5-16, May 2000.

2. The number of base pairs and the sample sizes studied are
determined by previously known genetic relationships among
populations. To avoid getting too technical, I can only say
that in order to raise questions about the *scientific* value
of published scientific research, please read the original
papers and acquaint yourselves with the statistical methods
that go behind these comparisons. If scientists and engineers
should obtain the necessary background before challenging
historians and philologists, shouldn't the latter also do
the same before dismissing the scientists? Is it completely
hopeless to expect that humanities scholars should learn to
treat scientific disciplines with a modicum of respect? If
not, what distinguishes them from scientists who don't treat
the humanities with respect?

Vidyasankar

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