Friday, May 15, 2009

'A grossly misleading jumble of fanciful inventions'

The reaction against the New Zealand Herald's decision to present Martin Doutre as a serious 'researcher' continues. This letter* appeared in yesterday's Herald:

Celtic Theory

Six years ago, I did my own survey of a site on Maunganui Bluff, north of Dargaville, where Martin Doutre claimed he foudn evidence of a 4000-year-old stone-circle astronomical observatory.

My measurements and map plotting identified clear examples of misrepresentation of what was on the ground. I concluded that one of his photos was faked and that his claims of astronomical precision were wrong.

The site comprises nothing more than a random configuration of large and small stones lying fairly much where the volcano dumped them 20 million years ago.

Mr Doutre's claimed network of ancient stone surveying sites is just a collection of rough chance alignments of mostly natural features. My detailed critique of his work was published in two articles in the
Auckland Astronomical Society Journal, July and August 2003.

His work is a grossly misleading jumble of fanciful inventions and fabrications dressed up to look like careful science, and has sucked in many impressionable people. It cannot be taken seriously.

Bill Keir,

Bill Keir is clearly no stranger to the nutcrushing business. Besides dealing to Doutre, he's also made what is perhaps the definitive critique of Ross Wiseman's claims that Phoenicians once inhabited New Zealand.

As Edward Ashby has pointed out in this comments thread, Martin Doutre has lashed out at his growing army of critics, presenting them as 'politically correct' pawns in some sort of sinister conspiracy. The man's Christmas card list must be getting fairly short.

*For some inaccessible reason, the letters to the editor that appear in the hardcopy Herald don't make it to the paper's website - I'm trying, then, to reproduce them here. I'm not the most assiduous reader of the Herald - I try to scan it in the local cafe, rather than coughing up a dollar eighty for the increasingly limited job listings and the increasingly cantankerous columnists - so I urge anybody who spots interesting letters I've missed to type them up and post them in the comment boxes of this blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wiseman sounds even weirder than Doutre -

A well known rule of thumb in this kind of inquiry is that if there is a choice between a complex and a simple explanation, the simple one is the more likely.

'Wiseman often prefers the far-fetched version, and it gets him into difficulties. One drawing (which he dates before the Taupo eruption of course) seems to depict fallen trees, which he takes to be the flattened forests caused by the Taupo eruption. In fact, the content of the drawing is so ill-defined that you could read almost anything into it. Wiseman's analysis is that, because the drawing was done before the Taupo eruption, it foresaw the Taupo eruption. Now hang on a minute. Here we have Wiseman arguing that because his dating of the drawing can't be wrong the artist must have foreseen the Taupo eruption. Would not a drawing depicting an event be conclusive evidence that it was drawn after the event? Not for Wiseman it seems. Such contrived manipulation of the evidence to fit a strongly held theory, especially by resort to the paranormal, is grossly unscientific. But Wiseman dug himself into this quagmire by allowing his preconceived ideas to dictate his findings, and by reading detail into the rock markings that is simply not there.'

12:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV)

1:38 pm  
Blogger Paul said...

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV) What does that mean? No, don't tell me.

Returning to the point, you have done a good day's work. At last, people are criticising Doutre, vigorously and effectively. He will not be able to get away with the rubbish he writes again.

2:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nonsense other Anon, there have been "scoffers walking after their own lusts" for as long as we have had human society.

You may as well "predict" that in the end times there will be lying politicians, or perhaps people who walk on two legs.

2:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is plenty of evidence to show Maori (which is only a name used after whites appeared) were not first in New Zealand, however ignoring all that argument If Maori truly were first please provide evidence of how they sailed to South America and returned with kumara when not one canoe has ever been found with South American wood. No wooden boat could travel so far without being repaired. If Maori history so right and others so wrong I wonder why not one jot of evidence has ever been produced to prove they made such trips. Or we could consider the amazing flexible dates. Every time earlier carbon dating appears, the settlement time of Maori arriving simply changes like magic. Start answering these questions without resorting to fables....

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