Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 4

Continued from the previous part….

The confused criticism of Shri Deiter Koch is due to his confusion between Vada (Discussion) Jalpa (wrangling) and Vitanda (Cavil).

Shri Dieter Koch mentioned AV observation in his book with the statement that he would get back to discussing it later in his book but he never returned to it. Whether he recognizes it or not, this is a clear admission of his inability to do anything meaningful with AV observation for the timing of Mahabharata war.  On the other hand, he has wasted much ink (virtual ink) in trying to throw some mud at my interpretation (and inference) of AV observation.

The reason he did not succeed can be understood from the short note (below) of Prof. Balagangadhara.  The reason is while my attempts are always driven by my desire to solve ‘unsolved problems’ of ancient Indian history, many researchers are happy to simply regurgitate the old stuff with some new.  Many fail to comprehend why they do what they do.

This brings to my mind contrast between an argument and a theory, articulated by Prof. S N Balagangadhara and is worth reproducing.

I have discovered that there is a fundamental difference between arguments and theory-building.  As a philosopher, I have come to think that one could argue almost any position, within reasonable limits.  Mostly, they consist of cutting across plausible, or even logically possible considerations in order to show that either some point is plausible or that it could be true.  Up to a point, arguments have a function: they force you to reason, check for inconsistencies, train your thinking process, etc.  However, you must remember that ultimately all you have done is make a sentence or a set of sentences sound plausible or shown it to be logically consistent and possible.  More often than not it has a psychological purpose as well: that of shooting down some person, demonstrate intelligence, exhibit stupidity and so on.  However exhilarating it might be at time, this is a very unproductive occupation, if carried on too far: one does not advance knowledge a great deal.

The second too involves reasoning, logic, etc. but it tries to build some kind of a theory.  Such an activity advances hypotheses, rejects or reformulates them, tries to solve problems and so on.  Even when proved wrong, a fruitful hypothesis tells us something about the world.  I find this an entirely different kettle of fish: it is far more dificult, it is subject to many more constraints than the first one; but it is even more exhilarating than the first one.

I will add that the second (theory-building) enterprise leads to growth of knowledge.


The link to his original blog is here:

I want to thank Shri Dieter Koch for his hard work in critically examining ‘my theory of astronomy observations and its application to AV observation’.

The value of a revolutionary theory and discovery is not understood until it withstands against fierce criticism. And in this ability of a new theory to withstand against such repeated attacks lies its revolutionary characters but even more critical its ability to lead to growth of knowledge.

Dieter Koch has provided additional critical analysis of few additional observations (but not 215 observations in my book) of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, conjunction of planets in the context of moon or the sun and solar/lunar eclipses.

I will certainly respond to his criticism.  However, these observations are what I term ‘near earth phenomena’ and thus there is no point in critiquing his analysis until the issue of broad interval for the plausible year of Mahabharata war is settled.

The analogy might help.   Imagine measuring the size of an object using Vernier Caliper (shown below). Vernier Caliper has two scales.  Vernier Caliper has two scales – Crude scale (main) and Finder Scale (Vernier).  If the main scale is not employed properly, accurate measurement of Vernier (finer) scale would still lead to a WRONG answer!

Vernier Scale


I eagerly look forward to responding to Dieter Koch’s critical analysis of ‘near earth observations’ once the issue of ‘Epoch of Mahabharata’ is settled.

To be continued…


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