[b-hebrew] comparative historical linguistics was Re: Nun-Tav-Vet root

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Nov 27 17:28:04 EST 2006


Most of my response was on the level, with only a few statements to
try to reveal to you the ridiculousness of your statements. You are
one of the most dense people I have ever had to deal with,

On 11/26/06, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 11/24/06, K Randolph wrote:
> > I don't know whether to answer you seriously, or just make mockery of
> > your statements as did Isaac Fried.
> Karl,
> ...
> For example, as regarding the CV syllables,...
Two problems with your argument:

1) You continue to disregard my statement that this can neither be
proven nor disproven without interviewing native speakers, the last of
whom died 2.5 millennia ago. Either this disregard is deliberate, in
which case it is a straw man argument, or you are stupid.

2) Your counter example is a biased sample logical fallacy.

> The other major point in discussion is the issue of the 22 letter
> alphabet and Hebrew.  I had previously asked you how I could tell if
> a language was Hebrew, if it was written in a non-22 letter script but
> in an inscription dated to 1500 BCE.  You never responded.  As long
> as you fail to provide a way to determine if the language is Hebrew,
> your theory is not falsifiable.  It simply assumes that Hebrew is
> always written in a 22 letter alphabet.  Any evidence to the contrary
> is disregarded because it's not Hebrew in your opinion.  This is
> circular reasoning at its best.
In order to show that an inscription were Hebrew though written with a
different alphabet, you need to show a paper trail of the development
of such writing, or a "Rosetta Stone" with both alphabets used to
write the same message in the same language but with different
alphabets. You have failed to show either. Your question is

What we have are historical records (which you ignore) and documents
that are alleged to be copies of documents from that historical time.
And a few minor inscriptions and ostraca from the intervening time.
Therefore, if we limit ourselves to historical records and surviving
writings, all we have is Hebrew written with 22 letters.

> As for falsifying the theory relating to Shin and Sin, the theory behind
> this conclusion relates to following observations:
> 1) Languages A and B are identified cognate languages, meaning they
> appear to be genetically related based on a large set of words as explained
> in the article I provided earlier.
> 2) Language A is attested twice, once (A1) with a writing system that
> identifies X letters, and once (A2) with a writing system that distinguishes
> two variants of one of the X letters (I'll call these variants L1 and L2).
> 3) Language B may be attested at approximately the same time as
> attestation A1 historically or it may be attested later.  In both cases,
> however, the language makes the same distinctions for the two
> variants L1 and L2 in the cognate reflexes of those words where
> L1 and L2 appear in A2.  Language B is not a development of A.
> The theory suggests that while only X letters were written in attestation A1,
> the two variants L1 and L2 are still distinguished by speakers of
> the attestation A1 of language A.
> Of course, the theory would explain Shin and Sin where A = Hebrew, A1 =
> Pre-exilic archaeological attestations of Hebrew, A2 = The Massoretic
> vocalization of Hebrew, B = Sabaean, Arabic or Aramaic.  However, this is
> a general claim and theory and is not related to any particular assignment
> relating to Heberw, Sabaean, Arabic, etc, and can be applied to any
> language.  One can even choose a modern observed language where the
> above observations are made and show that it does not occur in the
> observed modern language, thus falsifying the theory.
Your argument in the above paragraphs is an example of the false
dilemma logical fallacy. What you describe are not the only options.

> Now, a little note on the nizkor site.  It would be wrong for you to
> assume that I don't visit it, as you seem to suggest.  Like I said, I
> always visit the sites you reference, even though it appears you do
> not always do the same for sites I suggest and sometimes point it
> flat out (such as the Ugaritic evidence).  Logic is more than
> pointing out false conclusions.  Furthermore, identifying fallacies
> should be correctly applied.  For example:
> > Really, you ought to visit http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
> > for this is an example of the Ad Populum logical fallacy, otherwise
> > known as the appeal to popularity.
> No.  I am not saying your beliefs are false because people of a wide range
> of theological beliefs approve of it.  I am saying the contrary position is not
> dependent on any specific theological belief because we see that people
> of a wide range of theological beliefs approve it.  For the record, your
> beliefs refer to the statement that I made saying that "you are practically
> the only person here who believes that the 22 letter alphabet was designed
> from scratch for Hebrew to mark all consonants separately."
You paragraph above baffles me, because it is internally inconsistent,
it directly contradicts what I said and it ends with a straw man
fallacy by trying to put words in my mouth that I did not say.

> Or:
> > > The statement I made is falsifiable.  And the only thing I have is an
> > > explanation and supporting evidence that is acceptable to anyone but
> > > you.
> > >
> > Really, you ought to visit the nizkor site. This looks like the
> > Bandwagon logical fallacy.
> The Bandwagon fallacy relates to assertions, not evidence.  If I bring in
> evidence such as Ugaritic, or transcriptions of place names and words
> in scripts dating to the 2nd Millenium BCE, and you say, "Well, this
> is not evidence," that does not mean it's not evidence.  If you would like
> to dispute its status as evidence, you'll need to bring in criteria for
> determining whether or not it is evidence.
I already have, repeatedly so. We have historical claims in the
writings that indicate that the originals for at least Torah predate
the earliest attested writings in Ugaritic. It is your assertion that
those historical claims are false, hence even by your own criteria
above, you used the bandwagon fallacy in your message.

> However, in contrast, the following paragraph is full of logical fallacies
> and leaps of logic:
This is a mere assertion, not an argument. You need to show what
logical fallacies were involved, and you didn't even try.
> Yitzhak Sapir

In the 16th and 17th centuries, most New Testament translations were
made from the Erasmus edition of the Greek New Testament. Why? It was
by far not the best. But it was cheap and in the hands of scholars
whereas the better editions were bulky, expensive, and hard to find. I
do use the Great Isaiah Scroll for research, but for general reading
find it bulky, slow to read, I have to be connected to the internet
and it deals with only one of 39 documents that make up Tanakh. As a
result, I usually use what is quick in my hand when I am away from the
internet (usually away from a computer as well), knowing full well
that what I use may not be the best, but it is in my hand and better
than nothing.

The reason I did not respond to you directly for a while, twice, is
because of your frequent straw man arguments, your direct
contradicting what I wrote and responding to that and other logical
fallacies, which force my responses often to spend more effort on
setting the record straight than responding to your assertions. I may
go back to that practice again. Even most of this letter is dealing
with logic, not Biblical Hebrew, and I suspect that many readers on
this list may find that boring, as they already know logic.

Karl W. Randolph.

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