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Author Topic: New Britain Hypothesis  (Read 95601 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #45 on: May 24, 2012, 10:57:11 PM »

So at present and until there is proof either way each hypothesis is equally valid. That is just my humble scientific take on it.

You are advocating spending time and money.  It is a fact-free advocacy.  There isn't an ounce of science in the anecdote about the C/N numbers.  It's human testimony.  Your "take" is a purely human opinion, even though you dress it up in a white coat and call it "science." 

I judge that the New Britain hypothesis is not worth pursuing.  NR16020 didn't have the fuel reserve to get within 100 miles of Howland, then return to New Britain.  If you map a course within the limits of the aircraft's capacity, you can't generate the steadily strengthening radio signals at the time that they were heard on the Itasca.

The two sciences involved in this analysis are aerodynamics and the physics of radio transmissions.  They provide very precious data--that stuff that contributes to objectivity, you know--that exclude the New Britain wreck from consideration. 
LTM,

           Marty
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #46 on: May 25, 2012, 12:31:17 AM »

So at present and until there is proof either way each hypothesis is equally valid. That is just my humble scientific take on it.

You are advocating spending time and money.  It is a fact-free advocacy.  There isn't an ounce of science in the anecdote about the C/N numbers.  It's human testimony.  Your "take" is a purely human opinion, even though you dress it up in a white coat and call it "science."

Martin, no amount of prevarication on your part affects the accuracy of my statement "So at present and until there is proof either way each hypothesis is equally valid." That is something you simply have to get used to. I said once before that to question something is not necessarily to oppose it - instead it is simply a means to seek clarification. That is all any of us can do.
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Heath Smith

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #47 on: May 25, 2012, 05:19:10 AM »


I agree with Martin. One hypothesis is plausible the other impossible. By definition that makes that makes them equal only in the sense that they share the English word hypothesis.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #48 on: May 25, 2012, 08:29:19 AM »

Martin, no amount of prevarication on your part affects the accuracy of my statement "So at present and until there is proof either way each hypothesis is equally valid."

It is your personal judgment--belief, if you will--that there is no proof against the New Britain hypothesis.

It is my personal judgment--belief, if you will--that the aerodynamics of NR16020 and the physics of radio transmissions logged by the Itasca prove that the New Britain hypothesis is not valid.

I believe I have data on my side.

I haven't seen you introduce any data on your side of the question, other than to express your conviction (belief) that the claim of finding a tag on the engine mount of the New Britain wreck is believable.  If you would be so kind as to produce a similar tag from any Lockheed aircraft, it would go a long way to establish the plausibility of the anecdote; in the absence of that kind of data, I do not find the claim persuasive.

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That is something you simply have to get used to.

Why?

May I not challenge authority?

May I not question assertions?

Your field is digging and dating, but I don't see any archaeology involved in this anecdote about the numbered tag.

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I said once before that to question something is not necessarily to oppose it - instead it is simply a means to seek clarification.

I did ask seven questions.  What I got back from you was the reply, "So's your old man":  "Martin is conveniently ignoring that much of the Nikumaroro hypothesis is both anecdotal (islander claims of aircraft wreckage and male and female skeletons) and artifacts yet to be conclusively linked to Earhart."  The status of the evidence for the Niku hypothesis does not answer any of the questions about the New Britain hypothesis.

You seem to be having some trouble distinguishing between questions, assertions, and data.  Let's take this sample from an earlier post of yours in this thread:

"The C/N number is that of the aircraft not the engine - that is why it is attached to the engine mount which is a part of the airframe not the engine. It also was the airframe part that suffered damage in the ground loop. That is why it is so interesting, that C/N matches that of Lockheed's for Earhart's Electra. A coincidence? possibly, but something that is a worthy of a properly financed expedition to find."

1. "The C/N number is that of the aircraft not the engine ..."

Assertion, not a question.

Data: definition of terms.  "Constructor numbers" are assigned to airframes, not to components of same.

2. "That is why it is attached to the engine mount which is a part of the airframe not the engine."

Speculative assertion, not a question.  This is the claim that is in doubt and which stands in need of evidence

Data: anecdote from an interested party.  This claim is not an object of science or archaeology.  It can't be examined by laboratory techniques or dated by stratigraphy or nuclear decay.  It cannot be falsified or verified by scientific methods.  It may not be false, but whatever value it has must be determined by non-scientific methods.

3. "It also was the airframe part that suffered damage in the ground loop."

Assertion, not a question.

Data: none provided.  I'll grant that the wreck photo suggests damage to an engine mount on the right-hand side.

4. "That is why it is so interesting, that C/N matches that of Lockheed's for Earhart's Electra."

Two assertions, neither one of which is a question.

The first, that the match is "interesting," depends upon the second: "That C/N matches that of Lockheed's for Earhart's Electra."

Data: anecdote accepted on faith that the witness 1) saw such a tag; 2) correctly copied the number; 3) reported accurately what he saw.

I'm a believer in many things.  I believe that faith in reason and faith in the intelligibility of the universe is warranted.  But I don't believe that I am obliged by science to take the word of the witness.  There seem to me to be ample grounds for reasonable doubt about the report.

I admit that these judgments are my own.  I take responsibility for what I believe.  I don't mind you believing differently from me.  What I object to is the claim that science requires me to neglect aerodynamics and physics on the grounds that a human witness could not have been mistaken about a number on an engine mount in a wrecked aircraft.  That assertion does not seem to be warranted by the data we have available in this case.
LTM,

           Marty
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2012, 07:09:52 AM »

Thats why you go and search--to validate the hypothesis if possible. Not all searches end up hitting the jackpot the first time. Even though there are alot of great assets going on this trip, that doesnt mean that they will find what they are looking for.
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #50 on: June 20, 2012, 08:27:51 AM »

The C/N number is that of the aircraft not the engine - that is why it is attached to the engine mount which is a part of the airframe not the engine.

This is pure assertion--a fact-free belief.

Until you provide evidence that this was Lockheed's custom, I'll take this as "not proven."

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That is why it is so interesting, that C/N matches that of Lockheed's for Earhart's Electra.

The reliability of this match depends on the evidence that such a number was really seen and recorded on site in 1945.  I'm waiting for you to show the reliability of that claim.  Until then, it is a huge "not proved."

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A coincidence? possibly, but something that is a worthy of a properly financed expedition to find.

That sentence represents a judgment.  I do agree that since you believe in the anecdote, you should help fund a New Britain expedition.  You can utterly falsify the Niku hypothesis by finding the Electra there.  Go for it!

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What saddens me about searches of this kind is that instead of pooling resources each group operates in competition with each other.

I think TIGHAR has excellent reasons for thinking that the New Britain hypothesis is absurd and that, therefore, money raised to research the Niku hypothesis would be wasted on a New Britain expedition.  I'm delighted that my donations are not being shared with the New Britain folks.
LTM,

           Marty
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Monty Fowler

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #51 on: June 20, 2012, 10:35:50 AM »

Mr. McKay -

Talk, as they say, is cheap. In here, it's free. What are you, personally, willing to put your own money down on to go out and try to prove as far as what happened to Amelia and Fred?

Or does that become to much of a commitment, when it ceases to be just a cheap intellectual exercise? I'm just wondering.

LTM, who puts his money where his mouth is,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER

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Malcolm McKay

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #52 on: June 20, 2012, 09:05:52 PM »

Mr. McKay -

Talk, as they say, is cheap. In here, it's free. What are you, personally, willing to put your own money down on to go out and try to prove as far as what happened to Amelia and Fred?

Or does that become to much of a commitment, when it ceases to be just a cheap intellectual exercise? I'm just wondering.

LTM, who puts his money where his mouth is,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER

Dear me - cheap intellectual exercise? Gosh, I am glad you have contributed money but are you certain of the yield of your investment?
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #53 on: June 20, 2012, 09:08:04 PM »


This is pure assertion--a fact-free belief.

Until you provide evidence that this was Lockheed's custom, I'll take this as "not proven."
...etc.   

Yes possibly, but one might ask with justification the same thing of your post.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #54 on: June 20, 2012, 10:38:11 PM »

Until you provide evidence that this was Lockheed's custom, I'll take this as "not proven."
...etc.   

Yes possibly, but one might ask with justification the same thing of your post.


My post is merely an observation that you have provided no objective evidence for the assertion you made.

And, just as you ask TIGHAR questions, I question you.

Rather than replying, "So's your old man," it would be helpful if you actually provided some evidence for your assertions.  So far as I can tell from your replies so far, your research has yet to go beyond examining some ideas that you have found in your head about C/N numbers being attached to parts used in repair.  I'm a believer, but I don't believe everything everybody says.  And even though I am filled with awe every time you humbly remind us that you hold a Ph.D. in archaeology, it strikes me that you show no signs of having done any archaeological research on this particular case--not in the field, not in the history of aircraft repair, not in the Australian army archives.  So far as I can discern from what you've posted, you take the C/N anecdote on faith alone. 
LTM,

           Marty
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #55 on: June 21, 2012, 05:03:42 AM »

And even though I am filled with awe every time you humbly remind us that you hold a Ph.D. in archaeology, it strikes me that you show no signs of having done any archaeological research on this particular case--not in the field, not in the history of aircraft repair, not in the Australian army archives.  So far as I can discern from what you've posted, you take the C/N anecdote on faith alone.

I am humbled that you are filled with awe Marty, however as to what that awe is based on I have no idea - and I speak with some knowledge of my meager skills. If you do a check you might find that I have actually never claimed to have done any research whatsoever beyond comparing the claims as posted on the internet of those promoting the New Britain hypothesis and those like yourself promoting the Nikumaroro hypothesis. Although I do admit to some prior knowledge on the use of construction numbers or their like in manufacturing - their origins are an interesting historical study.

Now as these sites make claims for the ascendancy of their claims over those of others, and that much of that is based in archaeological considerations I as a now retired and elderly archaeologist like to see just what the levels of proof required by the opposing factions are and what they offer to meet those requirements. So far I am not impressed, lots of faith and tenuous links on both sides.

Now as to faith, I have no faith in either hypothesis, only an understanding of their weaknesses. You on the other hand have on numerous occasions professed your belief in the Nikumaroro hypothesis and thereby I would argue that therein is where your faith lies. Nice thing faith, explains all sorts of tricky metaphysical puzzles that mere mortals like myself see answered only when the hard data is in. And unless I am very much mistaken the simple fact that TIGHAR is going back again to Nikumaroro suggests to me that they have yet to find that hard data (they tried with the revised analysis of the skeleton and with the shoe sole but the world in general was less than convinced), so why don't you and I wait and see what is revealed on this trip. These metaphysical arm wrestling exercises are rather pointless and on principle I never indulge in them (something that irritated a professor I had as an undergrad who was a Jesuit - poor chap always retreated to faith when pressed). Far more logical to admit that one doesn't know than to gamble all one's intellectual reputation on a leap of faith. And I admit I don't know - instead just simply asking the questions. But if TIGHAR does turn up the wreck or solid data on this trip I will happily offer my congratulations because that is what the hypothesis needs to get it over the line - solid data.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #56 on: June 21, 2012, 08:26:42 AM »

...you might find that I have actually never claimed to have done any research whatsoever ...

Thanks for conceding that.

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Now as these sites make claims for the ascendancy of their claims over those of others, and that much of that is based in archaeological considerations I as a now retired and elderly archaeologist like to see just what the levels of proof required by the opposing factions are and what they offer to meet those requirements. So far I am not impressed, lots of faith and tenuous links on both sides.

You've gone beyond that.  You've said that money should be spent by TIGHAR to help test the New Britain hypothesis.  Since you know your own thought so well, I don't have to dig out the posts in which you express sadness that Amelia researchers do not pool their resources to help solve the problem.

That is not detached observation from a neutral standpoint.  That is advocacy.

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Now as to faith, I have no faith in either hypothesis, only an understanding of their weaknesses.

In that case, there are no grounds for you to advocate spending money on one project rather than another.  Your sorrow about TIGHAR not sharing the wealth with the New Britain people becomes utterly irrational--on your own definition of rationality.

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You on the other hand have on numerous occasions professed your belief in the Nikumaroro hypothesis and thereby I would argue that therein is where your faith lies.

Oooooh.  Do you mean that when I say I believe that the Niku hypothesis is the most likely to be true that I mean what I say? 

Do you mean that when I say we need faith in unproven propositions in order to reason about anything that I am making an act of faith?

Do you mean to say that my expression of my beliefs is consistent with my epistemology?

Whoa.  I'll have to think about this.  I had no idea that my beliefs had been spelled out so clearly that people could actually detect what I think.

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Nice thing faith, explains all sorts of tricky metaphysical puzzles that mere mortals like myself see answered only when the hard data is in.

Now you're indulging in equivocation, and that is not fair in rational discourse.

The act of faith that I have made in TIGHAR's hypothesis is not the same as the act of faith that I make in God.  The same word is used, but it has two quite different meanings in the two different contexts.  In the first context, it means "taking some things as true that have not been proven to be true."  Faith in the power of the mind to make contact with reality and then to draw sound inferences from the observations is necessary to think about any reality in this universe. 

In the second case, my faith in the existence, beauty, goodness, and truth of God is related to "tricky metaphysical puzzles." 

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And unless I am very much mistaken the simple fact that TIGHAR is going back again to Nikumaroro suggests to me that they have yet to find that hard data (they tried with the revised analysis of the skeleton and with the shoe sole but the world in general was less than convinced), so why don't you and I wait and see what is revealed on this trip.

I think we have agreed on this idea many times already.  We don't disagree about the status of the Niku hypothesis.  Where we disagree is on the scale of value to be used to judge the infinite universe of unproven hypotheses about AE.

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These metaphysical arm wrestling exercises are rather pointless and on principle I never indulge in them ...

You just have.  You have made a metaphysical judgment: "These metaphysical arm wrestling exercises are rather pointless."  Either you have good reasons for that judgment or you don't. 

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(something that irritated a professor I had as an undergrad who was a Jesuit - poor chap always retreated to faith when pressed).

Now you're asking me to accept your testimony against this poor chap.  Perhaps your account of your discussions is accurate; perhaps not. 

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Far more logical to admit that one doesn't know than to gamble all one's intellectual reputation on a leap of faith.

Do you have a proof for this proposition?  Is it a theorem in logic?  Have you published your proof of this theorem and let other logicians test the validity of your argument?  Or are you merely making another unresearched, unproven, subjective leap of faith?

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And I admit I don't know - instead just simply asking the questions.

The texts you posted here have assertions in them that go beyond questions.  I question the value of those assertions.
LTM,

           Marty
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Ingo Prangenberg

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #57 on: June 21, 2012, 11:21:34 AM »

These metaphysical arm wrestling exercises are rather pointless and on principle I never indulge in them.
Yet for months now you have spend a considerable amount of time on this website on a daily basis. Malcolm, old chap, you are a part of Tighar now, admit it. Face your demons and give in. You are now ready to join your audience.  :D

Also, archaeologists never retire. Its not a job, its a way of life. Its never too late to become productive again. Seize the day me lad!

« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 11:24:34 AM by Ingo Prangenberg »
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Bruce Burton

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2012, 12:27:42 PM »

This entire dialogue between Marty and Malcolm which emerges in several threads has been a wonderful refresher course in the operation of logic, the principles of rational discourse, and the boundaries of scientific investigation.  8)

Thank you, Marty, for having the patience to allow yourself to be drawn out into this engagement and for providing such clear and useful responses.  It's been a real education and so far, the greatest benefit of my TIGHAR membership.  :)
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Monty Fowler

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Re: New Britain Hypothesis
« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2012, 12:49:12 PM »

Gosh, I am glad you have contributed money but are you certain of the yield of your investment?

Yes, Mr. McKay, as a matter of fact, I am. Certain enough that I tend to put a lot more weight on the opinions and actions of people who have actually gone out and done things and looked and gathered and sifted and looked some more, over the decades, than the armchair Monday-morning quarterback types who sit on their hands, contribute nothing, but are very very free with their opinions of where TIGHAR ought to go, where it ought to look, how it ought to do it, etc., etc.

LTM, who puts his money where his mouth it,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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