Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Need for More Interdisciplinariness in "Interdisciplinary" Studies

Ah, if they were all as good as Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.  The pioneer of interdisciplinary studies, and a Renaissance man, he would thoroughly immerse himself in genetics, demography, history, archaeology, and linguistics -- or find collaborators who could augment his knowledge.  Thus, his work SAW THE BIG PICTURE. 

A new paper out shows that modern "interdisciplinary" studies aren't so interdisciplinary at all.

It's called Mapping European Population Movement through Genomic Research by Patrick J. Geary and Krishna Veeramah.  You can read it by clicking here.

The authors show that many geneticists writing about history simply pick up some bogus two-bit history book.  That is why you get so much pseudo-science out there.

I once talked to a guy, a fairly educated scientist from another discipline, who felt he saw some marker in European genes.  So he did some google searches as to which tribe had ever moved in the rough place where he found the markers.  He then published a paper claiming he found a Cimbri-specific marker.  But he didn't read the rest of the history; had he done so, he would have grasped perhaps that that tribe was wiped out by Gaius Marius in the first century BC....

The paper also points out that there isn't enough precision in genetics, because geneticists don't bother to understand that different regions have different histories.  What good is knowing some person was French, without logging if that person is Provencal or Norman?  Very little....

Best quote from the paper: "The Ralph and Coop study, while highly rigorous at the level of the population genetic analysis, included no historians or archaeologists, and the only historical literature cited, presumably to »identify« the Hunnic contribution to European population, was a general history of Europe, a survey of Slavic history, and two articles in the New Cambridge Medieval History. The Busby et al. study also included no historians or archaeologists on its team, and the only historical literature cited was a Penguin History of the World, Peter Heather’s survey of the Early Middle Ages, and a survey of Muslims in Italy. Unlike these studies, designed and executed  exclusively by geneticists who then look through a few general historical handbooks to try to find stories that might explain their data..."

In other words, many scientific papers suffer from the same thing that plagues the Anthrogenica or even worse, Maciamo's horrifically bad Eupedia: "a LITTLE knowledge is dangerous."  They don't bother grasping the big picture in genetics, demography, history, archaeology, and linguistics...

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