GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-07 > 0901733077
From: John Steele Gordon <>
Subject: Re: The Mathematics of Genealogy
Date: 29 Jul 1998 17:24:37 GMT
D. Spencer Hines wrote:
> Gordon continues to practice "virtual mathematics" --- sans benefit of
> discrete facts and sound logic.
Mr. Hines makes an assertion, but does not show why or how it is true. If he has
found an error of fact or logic he should enlighten the rest of us as to what it
> He would also be wise, but perhaps that is too much to expect, if he were to
> stop talking *ex cathedra* without benefit of clergy, about numbers of
> descents from a given A to a given B [Karl der Grosse to Prince William, or
> whatever] without any careful, practical experimentation.
Since when does mathematics require experimentation to verify it?
> In that manner,
> he might get beyond and over the adolescent Aristotelian pontificating that
> has become his continual stock in trade.
Wow. Now that's a sentence. The phrase "adolescent Aristotelian pontificating"
has a syllable-to-word ratio of 5/1. Very impressive.
> Were Gordon to get off his "Virtual Mathematical Duff" [VMD] and actually do
> some hard work of practical significance calculating lines of ascent and
> descent --- he might well generate some useful copy.
Mr. Hines disapproves of my having produced an apple instead of an orange.
> Some of these "New York Writers" often need a severe dose of the reality
> salts to bring them to their senses.
OK. Please supply same. You haven't yet.
> Perhaps this will do the trick.
You flatter yourself, but what else is new?
> don't hold your breaths or bet any money on it. They are generally a quite
> hard-headed lot and remarkably stubborn --- even in the face of clearly
> countervailing evidence.
Not one drop of which does Mr. Hines vouchsafe us. I guess it's sort of like
Nixon's secret plan to end the war. Or am I showing my age? (Which, to save Mr.
Hines the trouble, is 54.)
> Oh yes, and he should learn how to spell *Pharaohs* too.
I was writing in "reformed Egyptian." (Hey, it worked for Joseph Smith!)
> These guys are helpless without their editors,
> copyreaders, proofreaders and other clean-up artists.
God bless them, every one.
> It reminds me of the
> performance of the network anchors at Diana, Princess of Wales' funeral when
> they obviously had no idea what they were talking about or who was entering
> Westminster Abbey --- but blithely warbled on anyway.
At last a subject on which we agree.
Isn't it a bit soon after your release to go off your medicine, Mr. Hines?
John Steele Gordon
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