Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 5

Continued from previous part…..

Shri Dieter Koch responded further.  I responded to him in a letter/email.

Dieter Koch writes,

My critique of your work was actually not only addressed to you but to the public.

I responded….

I did not understand it otherwise.  All criticisms, analysis etc. are truly for the consumption of the public.  And I agree that that is indeed the right spirit.

I wanted to call out this digression of yours because the content of it was factually incorrect.  Although you had no intention of discussing it in detail (and that is fine), such careless statements mar the credibility of a work (although unrelated – in this case, only on astronomy), at least, in the eyes of public who is not equipped to comprehend subtleties of the arguments.

You are repeating those same factually incorrect statements, below.  I will explain.

Dieter Koch writes,

When I stated that dates for the Mahabharata War before 2000 BCE are unlikely because of historical and archaeological facts, “including historical information given in the Puranas”, then I wanted to make people aware that your dating is seriously challenged by the majority of scientists. I am not saying the majority is always right, but it should not be ignored or concealed.

My response…

Anyone can challenge anything and things become ‘controversial’ is a matter of seconds.  These are trivial truisms.  Who are these ‘majority’ of scientists you refer to? And what is their evidence? And do you agree with their interpretation of the very evidence (archaeology or Puranic)?  Do you agree with their logic in how they arrived at their inferences; never mind if they have bothered to evaluate my work?

This is how loaded the background investigation demands are before making statements such as above. However public is not equipped to do it.

If one wants to make a point of how evidence from one discipline of science (e.g. archaeology, genealogies of king lists from Puranas, Puranic claims for timing of Mahabharata, etc.) conflicts/contradicts with claim from another discipline (e.g. astronomy, genetics, hydrology, geology, climatology, etc.) this is to be encouraged.  Why even limit to two randomly selected disciplines of archaeology and historical information given in Puranas.  I have actively researched bringing together (to test, and thus corroborate or falsify) evidence from various disciplines for various problems of ancient Indian history.

For example, in a recently held conference on River Sarasvati, I have discussed cross-corroboration (or non-corroboration) of evidence from astronomy (my claims for the timing of Ramayana and Mahabharata) against the evidence from hydrology, climatology, relative chronology claims of Shri Shrikant Talageri, historical personalities (of Mahabharata & Ramayana) mentioned in Rigveda, genealogies of Rigvedic Rishis, descriptions of river Sarasvati from earlier to late Manadalas of Rigveda, Ramayana and Mahabharata and also chronology claims for Rigveda and/or Mahabhrata/Ramayana by likes of Shri Shrikant Talageri or Shri Michel Danino.

The link to the talk is here:

I am not only in agreement but also encourage exploration and cross-corroboration of evidence from multiple disciplines.  The list includes, but is not limited to, the disciplines of astronomy, archaeology, geology, geophysics, oceanography, hydrology, botany, paleontology, genetics, anthropology, linguistics, climatology, etc.

My only insistence is on ‘testability’ and thus objective evidence, while recognizing that there can be multiple interpretations of a given piece of evidence.  Multiple interpretations are fine and they can be dealt with via insistence on another basic requirement of the consistency of a theory.

On the other hand, What I am not ok with is making a generic statement that may lead to misleading conclusion such as

“archaeolgoy/history of purana evidence conflicts with proposal of ONLY Nilesh Oak”

If that is your assertion, I strongly object to it and am willing to show how it is wrong based on the scientific principles of how inferences are to be drawn (Absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence or how many of the inferences of archaeology/history of Purana are interpreted with additional faulty logic – confusion of Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens).

I have shown errors in interpretations of evidence from the field of archaeology and claims for chronology of Mahabharata (or Ramayana) based on Puranic references to either genealogies of kings or duration of years mentioned between certain king and timing of Mahabharata etc.  Excellent work of Shri Vedveer Arya has shown the errors, confusion and erroneous dates attached to various eras (Shaka – Vikram, Shalivahan etc.) and to Mauryas and Guptas.

I was disappointed, although not surprised, when you brought in these ‘usual suspects’ of Archaeology/history of Purana (others suspects, not mentioned by you, being Yuga and their durations – Krita-Treta-Dwapara-Kali, AIT, horses, chariots, iron, languages, technology, Draupadi vastraharan, divine weapons, Longer life spans of Mahabharata personalities, etc.)

To be continued….


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