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  #51  
Old 05-16-2019, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
Paper is cheap and widely available. Vellum, historically, has been neither cheap nor widely available.
What does that have to do with what Derleth wrote? The point is the effort involved in making such a work, not its expense. The person who wrote it obviously had some learning and esoteric knowledge, and could have had access to materials like vellum.

Last edited by Colibri; 05-16-2019 at 08:40 AM.
  #52  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:33 AM
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I’m boxing way outside my weight here but wouldn’t there have to be a proto-romance language?
It may be that Cheshire is misusing the term, but yes, proto-Romance is a thing. E.g.: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Proto-Romance.

It refers to a theoretical version of vulgar Latin.

Last edited by eschrodinger; 05-16-2019 at 10:35 AM.
  #53  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:50 AM
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All of these claims go the same way.

Researcher: I've done it! I've figured out the Voynich Manuscript!
Everyone else: Cool, what does it say?
Researcher: Um, I haven't figured that out yet.
  #54  
Old 05-16-2019, 11:42 AM
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Ars technica article: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019...ch-manuscript/

(basically saying 'nope")

Brian

Last edited by N9IWP; 05-16-2019 at 11:43 AM.
  #55  
Old 05-16-2019, 12:22 PM
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Ars technica article: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019...ch-manuscript/

(basically saying 'nope")

Brian
Already linked to in post #41.
  #56  
Old 05-16-2019, 12:56 PM
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No matter how many frauds have claimed to have translated the manuscript, it is an error to automatically roll one's eyes and conclude every claim is a fraud. Ancient languages were untranslated until they were. Coded messages were untranslated until they were. Unthinkingly dismissing every claim as a fraud is intellectual laziness. If you are too lazy or too busy to seriously evaluate every claim, it is better to just ignore the claims.
  #57  
Old 05-16-2019, 01:01 PM
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I'm skeptical too, but it seems like this approach to translating the document is worth study & testing.

Perhaps put a little money into it and evaluate the results.

It shouldn't take long to see if this theory works.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-16-2019 at 01:03 PM.
  #58  
Old 05-16-2019, 02:06 PM
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Languagelog discussion.
  #59  
Old 05-16-2019, 02:22 PM
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And one of the descriptions linked on that page, demonstrating what a total twit Cheshire is.
  #60  
Old 05-16-2019, 02:57 PM
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No matter how many frauds have claimed to have translated the manuscript, it is an error to automatically roll one's eyes and conclude every claim is a fraud. Ancient languages were untranslated until they were. Coded messages were untranslated until they were. Unthinkingly dismissing every claim as a fraud is intellectual laziness. If you are too lazy or too busy to seriously evaluate every claim, it is better to just ignore the claims.
My objection is the breathless reporting that the code has finally been solved. By all means, explore the extraordinary claim and donít dismiss it out of hand, but when every six months thereís yet another media story that the Voynich Manuscript has been deciphered, a healthy degree of skepticism is warranted.
  #61  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:03 PM
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No matter how many frauds have claimed to have translated the manuscript, it is an error to automatically roll one's eyes and conclude every claim is a fraud. Ancient languages were untranslated until they were. Coded messages were untranslated until they were. Unthinkingly dismissing every claim as a fraud is intellectual laziness. If you are too lazy or too busy to seriously evaluate every claim, it is better to just ignore the claims.
And this guys has actually translated some parts and the translations make sense.
  #62  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:07 PM
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And this guys has actually translated some parts and the translations make sense.

No.
  #63  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:11 PM
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And this guys has actually translated some parts and the translations make sense.
Perhaps a reference to Facilitated Communication is appropriate here. FCers "translate" what a severely handicapped person supposedly says, and it makes sense. But unbiased tests strongly suggest that the facilitator is the one doing the actual talking, not the handicapped person.

I submit that the "translator" in this case, in the absence of corroborating evidence, may be making the translation up, just to make sense. I'm willing to be proven wrong.
  #64  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:18 PM
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What does a article from 2017 have to do with a theory published in 2019?

Yes, Cheshire released a draft of one idea on how to translate, but that doesnt have much to do with his paper two years later, where he actually published translations.
  #65  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:39 PM
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And this guys has actually translated some parts and the translations make sense.
No he hasn't, and no they don't. He has made some claims as to what some isolated words and phrases mean, without corroboration. That's not translation. And here's an example of one of his extended "translations," which looks like you passed a passage through Google Translate from Polish to Swahili to Chinese to Korean to English.

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people and ship in unity take charge mothers/babies of ship to protect life-force pots [he says this is pregnant bellies] yet in he/she at inauspicious/unfavourable he/she is in a/one omen to look it is man not mouse epousee and embrace an opening thus you go but carefully to the queen to facilitate not getting wet with seawater
Please provide an example of an extended passage you think "makes sense."

Last edited by Colibri; 05-16-2019 at 03:40 PM.
  #66  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:41 PM
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What does a article from 2017 have to do with a theory published in 2019?

Yes, Cheshire released a draft of one idea on how to translate, but that doesnt have much to do with his paper two years later, where he actually published translations.

Fine. We'll just wait a while for you to eat crow on this one, just like the last time you were breathlessly enthusiastic about a Vonych translation that everyone was saying was crap.
  #67  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:46 PM
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It doesn't matter if some guy claims he is able to read the manuscript. What matters is that you and I can do so. Especially if it be in Latin, not exactly an obscure language in Europe, we should be able to read it just like we can read Julius Caesar. I wonder what explanation he offers for the fact that statistical analysis of the text shows it is different from Latin, as well as other reasonable guesses for the language, nor does it look like Latin (or proto-French, or whatever) when we stare at it.

High-res images of the manuscript, as well as several transcriptions of the contents, are available online, so if it's that easy we ought to be able to go through a couple of randomly-chosen paragraphs right here.
  #68  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:50 PM
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The next logical step is to roll your eyes at this hyperbolic bombast and wait until this thread is bumped for the next person who decoded the manuscript. (Given past patterns, it should be only a few months to wait.)
It'll probably be one "Dr. Stewart."
  #69  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:56 PM
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No he hasn't, and no they don't. He has made some claims as to what some isolated words and phrases mean, without corroboration. That's not translation. And here's an example of one of his extended "translations," which looks like you passed a passage through Google Translate from Polish to Swahili to Chinese to Korean to English...
I am reminded of James Thurber, who once claimed, tongue in cheek, that he was having his entire library translated into French. Because they lose something in the original.
  #70  
Old 05-16-2019, 03:56 PM
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I've found a video of someone reading a translated passage using the new decryption method.
  #71  
Old 05-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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Here's a book ca. 2012, full of charts and graphs, that also claims to have solved the mystery. It's an astrological text! From the publisher's blurb:
Quote:
A 575 year old mysterious text named the Voynich Manuscript hidden in plants, herbs, castles, astrological charts and naked woman [sic]. Through out[sic] the ages people have asked, "What is in the hidden code"? Now for the first time read what no one else has read. Take a peek at the decoded text!
See if you can make any sense of it; I can't.
  #72  
Old 05-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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And one of the descriptions linked on that page, demonstrating what a total twit Cheshire is.
Damn, that's quite the take-down. What I found interesting was his list of "non-language-like behaviours" of the VM text. I had also never heard the phrase "Neal keys", which is apparently the name for the "letters" in the manuscript that look like one or two legged gallows and that don't correlate with any other known letters.

I'm going to lose a lot of time on that blog. Here's a more general take-down of VM solutions from 2018.

I'm going to lose so much time.
  #73  
Old 05-16-2019, 05:05 PM
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And this guys has actually translated some parts and the translations make sense.
Which, oddly, was pretty much your same reaction the last time a - completely different - supposed solution gained this amount of media traction. So, for example:

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Originally Posted by Colibri
Yeah, they do. The claim that he deciphered it is bogus. He provides no evidence that he has done anything of the kind.
Yes, they make that claim, but more actually they doubt that he did so. But where is their evidence?

Read the articles.

"I could list a whole load of things that are wrong with this, but Iíd be typing all night on a TL;DR post and nobody would care. *sigh*"

"On checking around the web I find that a clear majority, if not all, of the most widely known VM researchers agree that Nicholas Gibbs has not solved the VM puzzle. Apart from his theory being a mish-mash, a hodge-podge, a veritable congeries of conflicting theories old and new, he restates what is blindingly obvious to many and long since known amongst VM theorists aka 'Voynicheros'. ....There is so much wrong with Gibb's ideas that I must pause here or risk my sanity."

Here's one that says"The idea that the book is a medical treatise on women's health, however, might turn out to be correct. But that wasn't Gibbs' discovery. Many scholars and amateur sleuths had already reached that conclusion, using the same evidence that Gibbs did. Essentially, Gibbs rolled together a bunch of already-existing scholarship and did a highly speculative translation, without even consulting the librarians at the institute where the book resides."

Everyone already knew it was a book about women's health?

But another: "Regarding the validity of his solution, I personally find it lacking in logic. No author would expect a book to be understood by its readers when only the first letter of each word is given; itís a massive loss of content. And then grouping together those letters so that they appear to be words obfuscates the meaning further. If his analysis that itís a book about womenís health is correct, itís the worst one ever written. It could have served no reader."
or is it-
It can't be a book about women's health?

and just who is attacking Gibbs? "VM theorists aka 'Voynicheros'".


But as the Atlantic sez:
"Some of the skepticism of Gibbsís theory likely has to do with him being an outsider. He does not seem to be known to professional scholars or the amateur Voynich community."

Their main attack is that he is (Oh noes the horrors!!!!) making a TV special about it.

TV special and "not one of us"= ipso facto he is wrong.

Of course, maybe his "solve" is wrong. I dunno. I am not a "Voynichero" by any means. But so far, it is the most convincing theory I have read.
  #74  
Old 05-16-2019, 05:19 PM
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Which, oddly, was pretty much your same reaction the last time a - completely different - supposed solution gained this amount of media traction. So, for example:

"Of course, maybe his "solve" is wrong. I dunno. "
  #75  
Old 05-16-2019, 05:22 PM
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Damn, that's quite the take-down. ...
Actually, it's not, it was written two years before Cheshire's article was published.

Look, I am not a expert on this but he did provide a few short translations that made sense. And it is in a peer reviewed journal, which the rest have not been.

is everyone's point is that the manuscript isnt translatable? So every translation is bogus?
  #76  
Old 05-16-2019, 06:29 PM
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So every translation is bogus?
It sure is, unless you and I can read it and it makes sense. The same way you can learn to read Old Babylonian, Ancient Egyptian, and Classical Chinese. And Latin.
  #77  
Old 05-16-2019, 07:09 PM
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No matter how many frauds have claimed to have translated the manuscript, it is an error to automatically roll one's eyes and conclude every claim is a fraud. Ancient languages were untranslated until they were. Coded messages were untranslated until they were. Unthinkingly dismissing every claim as a fraud is intellectual laziness. If you are too lazy or too busy to seriously evaluate every claim, it is better to just ignore the claims.
Slightly different, in as much as there was never any question about where those ancient languages came from, roughly when they were spoken, or, indeed, whether they were actual languages in the first place, or just clever gibberish.
  #78  
Old 05-16-2019, 07:40 PM
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Actually, it's not, it was written two years before Cheshire's article was published.

Look, I am not a expert on this but he did provide a few short translations that made sense. And it is in a peer reviewed journal, which the rest have not been.

is everyone's point is that the manuscript isnt translatable? So every translation is bogus?
Check out YouTube and you will find at least dozens of "translations" that are just as robust.

Cheshire's paper includes: "Ultimately, a consensus emerged: that the manuscript was either impossible to solve or else written in gibberish, as an elaborate practical joke" which is a gross misstatement, and "Unbeknown to the scholarly community, the manuscript was written in an extinct and hitherto unrecorded language as well as using an unknown writing system . . . ", which is an obvious falsehood, and "Past scholarly attempts at solving the writing system are far too numerous to mention individually, but none was successful in any way, because every attempt simply used the wrong approach . . ." which is amazing self-congratulation.

He speaks of Proto-Romance as if it were a single language. This lets him ransack multiple languages for words that sound something like what he's decided to declare the non-standard letters in the manuscript sound like. His work showing how he decided what the "letters" sound like is not shown. His work showing how he decided which letters were written is not shown (the penmanship in some areas is not good - he's only showing areas where it is easy to read). His work showing how he decided the translation of most of the words is not shown. He does not discuss grammar at all. That is not a linguistics paper or a history paper. It's a puff piece. All conclusion and no analysis.

The Author Information given: "Dr. Gerard Cheshire has recently completed his doctorate, expounding an adaptive theory for human belief systems, and is now a Research Associate with University of Bristol. The solution to the codex of MS408 was developed over a 2-week period in May 2017 after he came across the manuscript for the first time whilst conducting research for his PhD dissertation. Having deciphered the writing system, he subsequently realized the significance of the manuscript to Romance linguists and Mediaeval historians, and so decided to publish the information." Translation: I have a doctorate in Biological Sciences* and History and Linguistics can't be hard compared to that.

* per the University of Bristol, where he's listed as a Visiting Research Associate.

As a separate thing, Janick and Tucker (the OP link) argue that the carbon dating of the manuscript has to be wrong because that illustration there has to be a sunflower, which is a New World plant. Also because other illustrations look like Mexican cities to them. Have you seen those illustrations? They're like ink blots - you could read anything into them. Also, they don't translate anything, they just identify medieval illuminations without any background in medieval history. (Background: 1- horticulture, 2- herbarium director, with help from a linguist and wildlife ecologist)

At least Cheshire doesn't claim the carbon dating has to be wrong.

Last edited by Yllaria; 05-16-2019 at 07:43 PM.
  #79  
Old 05-16-2019, 08:00 PM
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Someone has deciphered The Voynich Manuscript.


Well, we can cross This one off of the list.

Fascinating.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:06 PM
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Whoops. Already a thread on this. Sorry !
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:23 PM
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The University of Bristol is standing behind Cheshire. Way, way, behind him. While whistling nonchalantly and glancing about with apparent interest in something in the middle distance.
  #82  
Old 05-16-2019, 08:45 PM
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is everyone's point is that the manuscript isnt translatable? So every translation is bogus?
That's my favored hypothesis, as I've said before. It's an idiosyncratic production by the equivalent of an "outsider artist" today, in an invented language and alphabet that was only intelligible to the person who wrote it. It wasn't meant to be meaningful to anyone else.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:58 PM
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He speaks of Proto-Romance as if it were a single language. This lets him ransack multiple languages for words that sound something like what he's decided to declare the non-standard letters in the manuscript sound like. His work showing how he decided what the "letters" sound like is not shown. His work showing how he decided which letters were written is not shown (the penmanship in some areas is not good - he's only showing areas where it is easy to read). His work showing how he decided the translation of most of the words is not shown. He does not discuss grammar at all. That is not a linguistics paper or a history paper. It's a puff piece. All conclusion and no analysis.
Basically, his "methodology" is

1) Take one of the illustrations and decide what it depicts, which is usually highly ambiguous. For example, he makes much of an illustration that he alleges is a volcano, which others have identified as showing water imagery.

2) Transliterate the Voynichese words according to the unverified correspondence he claims with Roman letters.

3) Search through all existing Romance languages to identify corresponding words that might possibly be related to the supposed illustration. If he can't find one, then pick a word from any other European or Middle Eastern Language like Polish or Persian, and say that this indicates how far the influence of his "proto-Romance" had spread. (Seriously. I am not making this up.)

4) String it all together into some nonsensical mish-mash and claim it has something to do with the illustration. As some of the critics have noted, this is all perfectly circular. He figures out what the words mean based on the illustration, and then claims that the fact that the resulting "translation" refers to the illustration as confirming it.


This is one of the more ludicrous attempts at interpretation I have seen. The major mystery to me is how this got by even the most rudimentary peer-review. (Although some of the blog posts say it didn't undergo any true peer review.)

Last edited by Colibri; 05-16-2019 at 09:05 PM.
  #84  
Old 05-16-2019, 09:26 PM
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Check out YouTube and you will find at least dozens of "translations" that are just as robust. ....
The Author Information given: "Dr. Gerard Cheshire has recently completed his doctorate, expounding an adaptive theory for human belief systems, and is now a Research Associate with University of Bristol. ....
How many by a real PhD and published in a peer reviewed journal?
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:27 PM
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It may be that Cheshire is misusing the term, but yes, proto-Romance is a thing. E.g.: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Proto-Romance.

It refers to a theoretical version of vulgar Latin.
Right. Like I said, "proto-Romance" is Latin, or a form of it. But to the extent it may have existed at all, it was about a thousand years before the Voynich MS was written. Cheshire says it's unknown and left no trace even though it survived for 1000 years and was spoken over thousands of miles because it wasn't written - except in a single manuscript written in a non-Roman script (unlike virtually every other Romance language) on a tiny island just off the coast of Italy. Sounds plausible to me!
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:30 PM
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How many by a real PhD and published in a peer reviewed journal?
A real Ph.D.! Fancy that! How amazing! Surely it must be right! (As a real Ph.D. I know how flaky some of them can be.)

If you check the links, many people are questioning how such an utter piece of tripe got past even rudimentary peer review, and the University of Bristol has pulled its press release while it is investigating.

Last edited by Colibri; 05-16-2019 at 09:32 PM.
  #87  
Old 05-16-2019, 09:38 PM
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What does a article from 2017 have to do with a theory published in 2019?

Yes, Cheshire released a draft of one idea on how to translate, but that doesnt have much to do with his paper two years later, where he actually published translations.
Yes, actually it has everything to do with it. If his method is bogus (which it is), then his translations will be bogus (which they are).
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:38 PM
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How many by a real PhD and published in a peer reviewed journal?

Still supporting him, even after his university has put out a press release distancing themselves from his claims?
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:52 PM
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Whoops. Already a thread on this. Sorry !
Merged with existing thread.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:01 PM
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I've discovered an earlier pdf all about the "volcano." I don't know which about this guy is more oversized--his imagination or his ego.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:07 PM
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Still supporting him, even after his university has put out a press release distancing themselves from his claims?
I am saying his claims differ quite a bit from crazy people on youtube. Peer-reviewed means something.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:10 PM
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A real Ph.D.! Fancy that! How amazing! Surely it must be right! (As a real Ph.D. I know how flaky some of them can be.)

If you check the links, many people are questioning how such an utter piece of tripe got past even rudimentary peer review, and the University of Bristol has pulled its press release while it is investigating.
No, but a real PhD publishing in a peer-reviewed journal has more veracity than some nut doing a youtube. And no doubt, PhDs can be flaky.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:11 PM
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(And here is his announcement to a mailing list.)
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:28 PM
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ISTM that if he'd REALLY deciphered the thing, his announcement would have been written (and illuminated) in Voynichese.

Or maybe Klingon.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:28 PM
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Yes, actually it has everything to do with it. If his method is bogus (which it is), then his translations will be bogus (which they are).
So, you are a ornithologist, yes? Do you think you are qualified to speak on languages?

The guy whose article you guys think "took down" Cheshire is a avowed Voynich "expert" who wrote his own book where he "solved" the manuscript (which you say no one can do, so....) who has a MBA! and writes computer games for a living. He is by no means a linguistics expert.

Now, who do you say is the better expert? A guy who writes computer games, has a MBA and wrote a book on Voynich that was heralded by the Fortean Times , in other words, pseudoscientific hokum. This guy is completely full of shit and honestly, Darren Garrison should be ashamed for citing this pseudoscience nutjob as a real cite. Why not cite von Dšniken or Graham Hancock? They at least are best selling purveyors of hokum and pseudoscience.

Or a guy with a PhD who published in a peer reviewed journal. Who could be wrong. But at least he isnt backed by the Fortean times.

OK, maybe Cheshire is wrong, sure. But citing Nick Pelling, pseudoscientist and purveyor of his own hokum "solve" of the manuscript aint cutting it.
  #96  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:34 PM
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Okay, I just looked up the Journal of Romance Studies. I'm not really too sure what the hell the focus is (see, for example, this article about a Chinese CGI character in a SF horror movie) but it seems to be a journal less in the sense of "rigorous academic publication" and more in the sense of "a publication that you read once then use to line a bird cage."
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
Okay, I just looked up the Journal of Romance Studies. I'm not really too sure what the hell the focus is (see, for example, this article about a Chinese CGI character in a SF horror movie) but it seems to be a journal less in the sense of "rigorous academic publication" and more in the sense of "a publication that you read once then use to line a bird cage."
If you say so, but I am sure others strongly disagree. However it is cited almost 2000 times on Google Scholar.

Rates a little higher than your boy Pelling and the Fortean Times, however, eh?

Are you gonna cite von Dšniken or Graham Hancock next?
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:54 PM
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I am saying his claims differ quite a bit from crazy people on youtube. Peer-reviewed means something.
Better than a crazy person on Youtube? This is the bar that needs to be cleared for you to give it credence?

Depending on the journal, peer reviewed can mean something, or it can mean jack. I have my suspicions what it means in this case.
  #99  
Old 05-16-2019, 10:57 PM
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Okay, I just looked up the Journal of Romance Studies. I'm not really too sure what the hell the focus is (see, for example, this article about a Chinese CGI character in a SF horror movie) but it seems to be a journal less in the sense of "rigorous academic publication" and more in the sense of "a publication that you read once then use to line a bird cage."
Colibri, are there not some respected ornithology journals out there that the layman would find boring and even obtuse?

Here's one: http://ardea.nou.nu/

I am sure that this- to a layman- would make great bird cage lining. Rather poetic also.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:14 PM
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The problem isn't with it being "boring and obtuse" it is with it seeming to be utterly random articles about pretty much anything. For instance, the current issue has a paper looking at photos of the children of some rich Mexican guy and making statements like "A close analysis of photographs shows how gendered representations of girls demonstrate ambivalent aspects of neoliberal subjectivity and question neoliberal definitions of choice and success." It also has an article about gendering Chinese characters in Itallian novels. Actually look at the contents of the latest issue. This isn't a dry, rigorous academic journal on lingustics and history, it is a fish wrapper.
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