Articles to 2022-08-01

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When the humanities talk about theory what they mean is scholasticism, i.e. the endless regurgitation of previous opinions however refuted and invalidated they may be. The graceful dropping of known errors as in the sciences is never allowed. Any theoretical treatise has to demonstrate that the author knows and has read everything ever said or proposed about his subject – understanding is optional. A case in point is provided by Boušek. A theory in this sense is any idea that has come to mind and been written down.

In the sciences a theory is a model that allows predictions going beyond those observations, that gave rise to the idea in the first place. Just as in the humanities is does not matter how the idea arose and where it came from. But contrary to them having an idea and writing it down is only the first step and it yields no theory but only a hypothesis. The main work is elaborating and testing the predictions it yields. Only after having survived many such tests and attempts of refutation will it provisionally start to be considered a “theory”.

The examples Boušek gives for science are not theories, not even hypotheses, but measurements followed by speculations as to what they might mean. Out of these a testable hypothesis and model may arise, but in his examples none has so far. See also Maran. As long as different disciplines use terms like “theory” in totally different and incompatible ways, no meaningful dialogue is possible.


Linguistically van der Veen’s idea is not implausible. But if it were correct that would have far reaching consequences. Ramses III is securely tied to the Sea People’s invasion and the beginning of Philistine settlement. If he were contemporary to the beginning of the divided kingdoms, then everything about Saul, David, the Judges, and even Joshua would have to be phantastic, anachronistic, or transposed into the wrong time frame. Doubtless there are instances for all of that, but accepting it for all of a corpus as large as that goes far beyond the credible.

Conversely one may well doubt the historicity of both Rehobeam (and the split itself) and details of the Shishaq campaign, so the real Shoshenq being later and campaigning much further south, as van der Veen claims, is not impossible.


By today there can no longer be any doubt about the rate of adverse side effects being far higher with Covid vaccines than with all other commonly applied ones. These adverse reactions occur mainly in younger people with their stronger immune replies and are typically justified by the claim, that the same morbidities were also caused by the infection itself, only more so. A large retrospective cohort study by Tuvali et al. has found no rise of myocarditis and pericarditis above the uninfected matched control. This strongly enhances the questions and doubts about vaccinating younger people and children, for whom Covid poses no appreciable danger.


Unfortunately no provenancing of the Tollense tin rings reported by Krüger et al. through lead isotopes has yet been attempted.

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