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Author Topic: After the Landing  (Read 279453 times)

Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2012, 01:25:19 AM »


Hi Malcolm...glad to have a chance to engage with you too.  I respect your opinion, etc.

Hello Adam

I think even TIGHAR admit that the radio messages only provide very scant evidence of Earhart and Noonan's location. The extrapolation to Gardner Island using them really only hinges on the 157/337 line transmission.


I don't think TIGHAR has referred to the evidence as "scant" or otherwise.  I think it's extremely compelling myself.  You appear to simply dismiss it out of hand.  That's fine, but it's hardly scientific.  At the very least, it's quite a coincidence; you simply choose to ignore it.  And your last sentence is incorrect.  The DF bearings on the post-loss messages is a totally separate evidentiary matter from the bearings in the last confirmed transmission.  Taken together, they are very suggestive, but the people that took the DF bearings were doing just that: taking bearings.  They led where they led, irrespective to the 157-337 factoid.

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The skeletal re-examination without access to either the bones or scaled photographs does not provide anything other than an informed guess. Currently, despite TIGHAR's rather hopeful thinking following that re-examination that they are of a white female (ergo Amelia Earhart), I have no reason to doubt Dr Hoodless's original conclusion. That is not to say I am closed to further proven evidence or examination of the island, just that as someone with a background in field archaeology and bone recovery I see nothing in the new claim that conclusively overturns his findings.


What you have is a non-expert (Hoodless was a medical professional but not, I understand, an athropological one) who had the bones who said one thing, and an expert who did not have the actual bones saying something else.  You say "you have no reason to doubt" Hoodless' original finding, and then betray the bias in your thinking by talking of TIGHAR's "hopeful"ness.  There IS reason to doubt Hoodless' original finding in that a later examination of the evidence came to a different conclusion.  That's not, as you point out in changing the goal posts in the next sentence, the same as conclusively overturning his findings.  It simply calls them into question.  You're free to doubt TIGHAR's expert and question their findings...but it IS evidence in favor of their hypothesis.  Again, evidence is not, nor does it need to be, proof. 

You also have nothing to say about the other items found at the site which point to a European female (at least one of which Gallagher himself mentioned), so I'm assuming you're blowing that information off as well in deciding to take Hoodless' evaluation as the sole data point that clears the evidentiary bar.  To me, the fact that a woman's shoe was found at the site and Gallagher associated it with the skeleton at least lends credence to the idea that Hoodless MAY have been mistaken.  It doesn't prove anything, but it should at least raise a question.  There's some evidence that Hoodless felt slighted and intercepted the bones so as to make the evaluation himself, which is suggestive to me, though hardly conclusive...but I've encountered many self-styled experts in my time who didn't necessarily know what they were talking about, but were very forceful about how they expressed themselves and got away with it.  If you choose to believe in one data point and blow the rest off, great.  But to me, that's not the scientific method.  TIGHAR has not proved Hoodless was wrong, and I agree that his report is a data point against the TIGHAR hypothesis; but it's surely not much of a stretch to conceive that he may have been wrong, when the other evidence is fairly considered. 

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I won't reiterate the four hypotheses as I see them but I can say that currently the physical evidence produced so far, from my experience in archaeology, is too scant to make Nikumaroro any more certain than any of the four competing hypotheses. The key to proof is the recovery of the Electra wreck - and once more nothing conclusive has been found so far.


Well, you have four competing hypotheses, a good deal of evidence, some of which you choose to completely discount (as opposed to approaching with open-minded skepticism) for what seem to be totally arbitrary reasons, has been amassed in favor of one, and as far as I know little or none for the other three.  I respect your opinion, and I agree that nothing is conclusive.  I simply submit that your means for reaching it is not as scientific nor as objective as you would have us believe.

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Therefore as to offering hypotheses about the hypothetical movements of our hypothetical crash survivors who are suffering from hypothetical injuries I prefer to abstain. All it will turn into is an exercise in fantasy like the identification of aircraft fragments on the ROV footage when one doesn't even have a scale with which to work out sizes of what are, to all intents and purposes, amorphous chunks of coral debris.


1.  It's fun.  It's also just people on a message board. 
2.  People thinking out of the box, and with a firm grasp on the big picture, very often arrive at the correct answer where people who consider themselves experts, and so blind themselves to answers that are before them, but may conflict with long-standing biases or lie beyond the narrow focus of their own sense of expertise, do not.

:)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 02:10:39 AM by Adam Marsland »
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Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2012, 01:32:01 AM »



Hell no, that's not what I would have done.  While there's a visible landmark (plane), an outside tether to the world (radio), and means to operate (battery/remaining gas), I am staying right by that plane.  I have a limited window to run the radio before the juice runs out and (as may have become increasingly evident) the plane itself disappears.  Add to that the supposition that FN was injured, which may have prevented them from, say, splitting up...no way.  Leaving the area of the plane would be completely idiotic.

"Fred, according to Betty you're injured, so you better wait here. Keep a sharp lookout for any planes or boats. Try to stay in the shade a bit but don't go very far into the bush, you need to be able to get out and wave if something comes by."

"What are you going to do, Amelia?"

"I'm going to see if I can find some help."

"Why don't you wait til tomorrow?"

"Because I'm worried that I may be weaker and unable to do it tomorrow due to hunger and thirst, today is my best shot."

"How long will you be gone, I don't like being left alone."

"Well, the island didn't look too big when we were landing so I will see if I can walk all the way around it, that way I can't miss finding help if there is someone on the island. I"ll be back before sundown, after all, I can't get lost, it is an island after all."

gl

So how does making a script to match this scenario make it any less nonsensical?  They've just crashed the plane on a reef, but they're got gas and a working radio, and the whole world's waiting for word from her.  Rescue is days away even if the distress call goes out immediately.  Fred's injured, and Amelia just goes, well hell, the whole world can wait, suck it up Fred, I'm going to poke around on the off chance there's someone here instead of phoning for help until I run out of gas?  On my possibly busted ankle, on no sleep whatsoever? 

Seriously, man...you're a pilot, right?  You're saying after you lost contact with the tower and you land your plane in an unknown location and incur injuries with the crew, and you're just going to ignore the radio, dump your injured navigator to fend for himself and limp off on a day trip? 

Please don't ever fly my plane.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 01:34:15 AM by Adam Marsland »
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2012, 02:31:14 AM »



So how does making a script to match this scenario make it any less nonsensical?  They've just crashed the plane on a reef, but they're got gas and a working radio, and the whole world's waiting for word from her.  Rescue is days away even if the distress call goes out immediately.  Fred's injured, and Amelia just goes, well hell, the whole world can wait, suck it up Fred, I'm going to poke around on the off chance there's someone here instead of phoning for help until I run out of gas?  On my possibly busted ankle, on no sleep whatsoever? 

Seriously, man...you're a pilot, right?  You're saying after you lost contact with the tower and you land your plane in an unknown location and incur injuries with the crew, and you're just going to ignore the radio, dump your injured navigator to fend for himself and limp off on a day trip? 

Please don't ever fly my plane.
Rescue is days away unless there is a village at the other end of the island in which case it is only a few hours away. And you might be able to get some medical attention for poor Fred, he can't wait several days, he'll die unless he gets some medical care immediately. And where did you come up with the busted ankle, even Betty didn't claim that?
And the two options are not mutually exclusive. If Earhart circled the island and didn't find succour then she ends up back at the plane and fires up the engine and can try to send out radio calls.

Also, she does NOT know that her radio works, as far as she knows it wasn't working before and the gas will still be there when she gets back from her walk.

So no, it is not nonsensical.

gl
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 05:35:34 AM by Gary LaPook »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2012, 06:13:08 AM »

... There's some evidence that Hoodless felt slighted and intercepted the bones so as to make the evaluation himself, which is suggestive to me, though hardly conclusive...

Hoodless went to Fiji as a math tutor.

He trained as a medical doctor in a highly compressed fashion on breaks from the foreign service.

Source: Misi Utu: Dr. D.W. Hoodless and the development of medical education in the South Pacific / by his daughter, Margaret W. Guthrie.

He was not a specialist in forensics.  He had a textbook whose formulas from the 1890s were based on the examination of approximately 90 skeletons.  Source: not available this morning.  I heard about this either on EPAC or in other threads on this forum.  The FORDISC analysis suggested that the highest probability was that the bones were from a female of Northern European descent, but that doesn't mean that they could be male or non-European.  Strange things do happen.

Hoodless did not intercept the bones.  That was Isaac/Verrier.
LTM,

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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2012, 06:33:02 AM »



1.  It's fun.  It's also just people on a message board. 
2.  People thinking out of the box, and with a firm grasp on the big picture, very often arrive at the correct answer where people who consider themselves experts, and so blind themselves to answers that are before them, but may conflict with long-standing biases or lie beyond the narrow focus of their own sense of expertise, do not.

:)

Hello Adam

If you read very carefully and thoroughly what I said then you will see that nowhere have I blown off the evidence as you so oddly put it. However what you are actually saying is that you find the fact that I am clearly not overwhelmed by the case put forward by TIGHAR somewhat of an affront to yourself.

I was asked a question - I put forward my reasons for not indulging in what I consider to be useless and scientifically unsound speculation about a purely hypothetical event. That is what sensible people do, especially people from an archaeological background like myself. I have no interest in creating an imaginary reconstruction of Earhart and Noonan's last days based on the quite inconclusive information from Betty's notebook of a transmission she heard which might have come from Gardner or an island in the Gilberts. Seems to me all the theories put forward about the hypothesised events on Gardner Island come from that garbled account. A victory of imagination over rational consideration.

Dr Hoodless was a experienced doctor, he also was conversant with the physical anthropology of Polynesians. He was not some village general practitioner viewing his first set of skeletal remains. It may well be the people who carried out the assessment of his notes are right but that will not be known until or, if ever, the missing fragments of the skeleton are found on Nikumaroro or the ones that Hoodless examined turn up. That is all one can say given the current level of evidence. I am not denying anything I am simply pointing out that there is not enough available to build a case.

The artifacts recovered by Gallagher were recovered in far less than ideal archaeological circumstances. Very simply put we have no record of their actual physical relationship to the skeletal material. Clearly they have significance but what do they signify? Parts of a woman's shoe are found near some partial skeletal remains that is identified by an experienced anatomist as that of a short male of Polynesian heritage. Over 50 years later two physical anthropologists are asked by the team investigating if Nikumaroro is where the Earhart round the world flight ended. They don't have these partial remains at all yet they say that Dr Hoodless was completely wrong and that the skeleton was instead that of a slender tall white woman who just happens to match Amelia Earhart's physique. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong occurring, what I am saying is that I would like to see some more evidence to support that assertion. I think anyone who has an ounce of scientific training would say the same thing.

As for -

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Well, you have four competing hypotheses, a good deal of evidence, some of which you choose to completely discount (as opposed to approaching with open-minded skepticism) for what seem to be totally arbitrary reasons, has been amassed in favor of one, and as far as I know little or none for the other three.  I respect your opinion, and I agree that nothing is conclusive.  I simply submit that your means for reaching it is not as scientific nor as objective as you would have us believe.

I can reply to that in detail if you wish although I find the tone offensive. The three others are -

1. The first hypothesis is commonly known as the crashed and sank model. The only evidence of that would be if the wreck of the Electra is located on the ocean floor. Two separate expeditions have searched around Howland Island and not found it. That doesn't mean that the wreck doesn't exist, only that in that vast area of ocean it was not found. No one can say fairer than that given the current amount of data available.

2. Earhart and Noonan adopt their contingency plan as recounted to Vidal by Earhart which was that if they failed to find Howland then they would attempt to fly to the Gilberts where there are more islands and therefore a better chance of a landfall. Again no evidence is known but this could be in the ocean as in the first hypothesis or equally on some remote part of an island. No one knows. Therefore it cannot be discounted except by finding the Electra elsewhere.

3. The New Britain hypothesis where according to http://www.electranewbritain.com/   an Australian army patrol in 1945 found the wreck of a twin engined aircraft that was not a military type and was unknown to the US military to whom it was reported. Far fetched? possibly but as we don't know at what point Earhart and Noonan actually felt that they were lost then they may have flown a reciprocal course back. I am not convinced myself but the C/N on the metal tag on the engine mounts is quite compelling.

Now against that we have the TIGHAR Nikumaroro which is based on -

1. Some small parts of a woman's shoe,

2. A partial skeleton identified at the time by a qualified anatomist as that of a short Polynesian male and 50 or more years later after the bones have vanished is re-identified as a slender tall caucasian woman by two anatomists working off the notes taken by the first anatomist.

3. One bone fragment that was of unknown origin. Human finger bone or turtle flipper bone.

4. A broken blade, some fragments of an ointment jar, the tag of a zipper, a snap clip and other assorted small items. None offering any evidence other than that they possibly could have belonged to Earhart.

5. One piece of aluminium it is claimed fits the Electra, but which is disputed by other researchers. Some other fragments of aircraft skin which probably come from the crash on another island which is documented.

I could go on but you can see I am being quite open minded in my scepticism. I haven't denied that any of the things could be from Earhart, Noonan or the Electra, instead what I have said consistently is that there is no evidence that conclusively points to them being from Earhart, Noonan and the Electra - there is a vast difference and something you have appeared to have ignored.

Now TIGHAR have published the computer reconstruction of what appears to be the remains of part of the undercarriage lying on the reef and have reported the sudden discovery of that anomaly (Nessie) in the photo taken on the New Zealand expedition as part of the PISS project in 1937 which is purported to be consistent with the undercarriage leg of an Electra standing upright on the reef. Both of those await to be confirmed or otherwise later this year. There is that open minded enough? I am being as rigorous and open minded as possible, this isn't a game.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 06:44:09 AM by Malcolm McKay »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2012, 06:36:53 AM »

I know I've mentioned it before but, that's because I believe it's the most significant factor regarding the castaway theory. Water, water everywhere but, not a drop to drink! My survival timeline was based upon water intake, 14 to 21 days...
http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/how-long-can-you-survive-without-water
I'm not convinced yet that either of them would have the knowledge or experience to be able to collect drinkable water, Fred maybe, if not injured. Water left behind by SS Norwich City in my opinion would be unusable and, the only way they could have discovered this was to drink it, disaster.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2012, 08:28:41 AM »

Dr Hoodless was a experienced doctor, he also was conversant with the physical anthropology of Polynesians. He was not some village general practitioner viewing his first set of skeletal remains.

What evidence do you have to that effect?

Quote
They don't have these partial remains at all yet they say that Dr Hoodless was completely wrong and that the skeleton was instead that of a slender tall white woman who just happens to match Amelia Earhart's physique.

Paper tiger / straw man.  You are NOT accurately describing what the forensic anthropologist said.  This is a basic failure of reasoning and courtesy on your part.  She said there are reasons to think that Hoodless may have been mistaken because his measurements, run through a modern forensic system, suggest that a different analysis is probable.

LTM,

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Heath Smith

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2012, 02:40:00 PM »

Quote
3. The New Britain hypothesis where according to http://www.electranewbritain.com/   an Australian army patrol in 1945 found the wreck of a twin engined aircraft that was not a military type and was unknown to the US military to whom it was reported. Far fetched? possibly but as we don't know at what point Earhart and Noonan actually felt that they were lost then they may have flown a reciprocal course back. I am not convinced myself but the C/N on the metal tag on the engine mounts is quite compelling.

Very far fetched. The fact they that were nearly at Howland (signal strength 5 in radio logs) and the fact that they said "We must be on you but cannot see you" discounts that entire theory. Given the fuel consumption, they probably could not travel in excess of 500SM after arriving where they thought Howland was.
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Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2012, 04:18:35 PM »

I'm sure I'm partially responsible for the thread shift, and I apologize...but my motive was to contribute something (hopefully) new to the discussion...that AE and FN probably could not be absolutely sure that the island was uninhabited, and explains why, once options with better odds of rescue were gone, it would have made sense to immediately decamp and look for help on the off chance someone else was lurking on the island, or at least some other resource that could be of help to them.

Gary -- Yeah, it doesn't really matter how many times you restate the premise, your scenario sounds pretty nonsensical to me.  But hey, my opinion.

Malcolm -- I'm sorry you found the tone of my posts offensive, or misunderstood me to believe that I saw an attack on TIGHAR as an affront to me personally.  I have no connection with them other than having great respect for the way they do their research.  Such was not my intent, other than to tease you a little bit at the bottom.  :)  But I did call into question your basis for evaluating what is and isn't substantive evidence.  I think it's totally subjective, and I told you why.  Your detailed response, which I think displayed a bit of confusion about some of the facts of the case, rather reinforced that impression.  But hey, man, that's great.  We're all here to kick around ideas and valid criticism is a part of that.  But you have to be able to take it as well as dish it out -- if someone takes the logical basis of your criticisms apart, that's just what you should expect.  If you're not used to having that done, I am sorry.  But it is a two-way street. 

I think both your opinions are valid and I respect them.  Nothing conclusive has been discovered and it should be restated, because it seems to be lost on a few, that no one has claimed otherwise.  So anybody's theory could be right...the world's a funny place.  But as far as being more plausible, more supported by the evidence, more convincing...um, no.  You got your theories and that's great...but there's far more holes to be poked in them, I think, than the holes you have poked in TIGHAR's, and I took a few seconds to give you, in detail, my empirical reasons for that opinion.  That's all I'm sayin'.

Martin -- Thanks for the corrections.  Duly noted.

LTM, as they say... :)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 04:55:46 PM by Adam Marsland »
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Adam Marsland

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2012, 04:28:44 PM »

OK, here's another thought.  Let's look at the theory that they were dead or dying by the time of the overflight.  And engage in some hypothesising.  Anybody who does not wish to participate has the option of not doing so.

Is there enough time for them to be dead or dying by July 9th, assuming
1.  safe landing on Gardner
2.  post-loss messages until...I think July 5th is the last credible one, right?
3.  decamp to 7 site, probably slowly and checking the island out as they go
4.  eat a lot of turtles and die.

Timing seems tight to me for that all to have happened in a week, but I suppose it's possible.  Thoughts?
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2012, 05:36:00 PM »

Again assuming the Gardner reef landing theory. Can you imagine the level of panic being experienced at different times since the landing?
1. The landing? Good/bad?
2. No ones answering the radio transmissions?
3. The island is un-inhabited!
4. The rescue planes that didn't signal us?
5. The lack of water!
6. The rescue planes didn't return!
7. We're thirsty and hungry
8. They've stopped searching for us!
9. We're going to have to escape by ourselves!

Panic is a strange thing, sometimes it is instantaneous, a shot rings out, an explosion, sometimes it slowly builds up on you as you realise more and more of the situation. I'm sure you other ex-military guys know the feeling of being isolated in an unfamiliar and unfriendly place and you just know that the only way back depends on you, no one else. You've been trained not to panic in these situations, you've been trained what to do, you've practiced.
Now imagine the panic a civilian would feel in this situation, sad.
All IMHO of course
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2012, 08:18:36 PM »

Quote
3. The New Britain hypothesis where according to http://www.electranewbritain.com/   an Australian army patrol in 1945 found the wreck of a twin engined aircraft that was not a military type and was unknown to the US military to whom it was reported. Far fetched? possibly but as we don't know at what point Earhart and Noonan actually felt that they were lost then they may have flown a reciprocal course back. I am not convinced myself but the C/N on the metal tag on the engine mounts is quite compelling.

Very far fetched. The fact they that were nearly at Howland (signal strength 5 in radio logs) and the fact that they said "We must be on you but cannot see you" discounts that entire theory. Given the fuel consumption, they probably could not travel in excess of 500SM after arriving where they thought Howland was.

Equally therefore they could have ditched and sank which is hypothesis 1.

To state the obvious that outcome has never been ruled out by any subsequent information. Oddly the New Britain hypothesis is the only one that actually has identified (if subsequently lost) wreckage - the C/N tag noted on the engine mounting frame. Even the oral accounts of the Nikumaroro residents concerning aircraft wreckage do not have something as specific as that C/N tag.

Which is simply to say that I am not ruling any of the four hypothesis out of contention - if on the next trip TIGHAR come up with the much sought "smoking gun" then I will accept it. I have no dog in this fight - to use that quaint expression.  :)
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2012, 08:23:18 PM »


Paper tiger / straw man.  You are NOT accurately describing what the forensic anthropologist said.  This is a basic failure of reasoning and courtesy on your part.  She said there are reasons to think that Hoodless may have been mistaken because his measurements, run through a modern forensic system, suggest that a different analysis is probable.

That is still a hypothesis unsupported by any physical skeletal material - if the next expedition finds any further remains then it can be properly tested against actual skeletal material. In archaeology and physical anthropology second guessing previous findings without having the original material present is very risky - probably is not certainly.
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2012, 08:39:05 PM »

Malcom: "5. The next expedition to Nikumaroro needs to find unequivocal material evidence."

Or what?  I won't be giving up and you can't make me...  :D 

The Gardner search will find legs as long as there are enough people of enough means who believe in it to make a search happen.  Is it anyone's intent to kill such a creature for us sad folk who would persist?  Perish the thought - it's still a free country.

Really? that is a pretty unscientific method of approaching the problem. And I might add that nowhere have I said that TIGHAR should abandon the search after this trip - what I did say was that at some point any responsible person who is spending someone else's money has the obligation to recognise that the answer may not be where they are looking. That's how the real world of funding for scientific activity works - do you have a reason why it shouldn't be the same for this matter, other than the somewhat nebulous reason of faith?

I can presume therefore that you are happily providing part of the funding and you are happy to continue to - if so that is your right and no one should deny it. But if there are people who have contributed to help solve the mystery because the TIGHAR hypothesis seemed to them to be a possible solution do they have the right to say enough is enough because no final solution has emerged which, unfortunately, is the current situation. In the end if cut off points are not declared then it develops into a sort of research Ponzi scheme.  :)
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2012, 09:02:08 PM »

I think it's totally subjective, and I told you why.  Your detailed response, which I think displayed a bit of confusion about some of the facts of the case, rather reinforced that impression.  But hey, man, that's great.  We're all here to kick around ideas and valid criticism is a part of that.  But you have to be able to take it as well as dish it out -- if someone takes the logical basis of your criticisms apart, that's just what you should expect.  If you're not used to having that done, I am sorry.  But it is a two-way street.
LTM, as they say... :)

Hello Adam

Nowhere have I seen where you have taken the logical basis of my comments apart. All you said was that I discounted some of the evidence without much comment. Some things are so vague in their material associations with the hypothesis or provide so little diagnostic evidence that comment is unnecessary. I commend TIGHAR for noting these limitations in its discussion of the items - it is a pity that some of their supporters appear unable to do the same.

Initially I was asked what my hypothesis was concerning the fate of Earhart and Noonan, which I answered by providing a brief synopsis of the four main hypotheses and which I qualified by saying honestly that I felt that there was insufficient evidence available for me to make a choice of any of them. To support my concerns I briefly mentioned the problem of the archaeology of the finds on Nikumaroro, as archaeology is the specific discipline in which I have some experience - Masters, Ph.D, fieldwork in various parts of the world etc.

My main fault it appears, is that I have not unequivocally accepted the Gardner Island hypothesis although as I recall I have never said that I don't accept it. All I have ever said is that it, like the others, remains unproven. If you find that hard to understand then there is no more I can say to make it clearer to you.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 11:39:24 PM by Malcolm McKay »
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