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RE: VMs: No stats no fun

	I don't know how many times over the years we've heard people (including
myself) say that we must be counting the wrong things. The problem is that
if you don't do the statistical analysis from the various different angles
we wouldn't have any baselines to compare against with a new set of
statistics. Nick, by all means - your recent endeavours to look at the VMS
with a different transcription angle may prove to be unique and provide us
with more statistics that don't necessarily provide us with that Eureka

	All the stats to date are based on a variety of assumptions (and so is your
proposed angle). The transliterations have changed and we've had
character-sets that were somewhat glyph-based, syllabic, or stroke-based and
perhaps many other variations, but no matter what set was used to produce
someone's statistics they have all contributed to patterns that we can
discuss readily - although we can not say why those patterns exist.

	You found recently that lots of words 'could' start with the pair 'dy' if
you chopped up the transcription at the appearance of 'e' or 'ee'. This
really is not new news - it's just a different way of saying that lots of
words in the VMS token-A style end with 'dy'. No matter what transcription
set you use - you will still observe patterns like in B-token pages there
are lots of lines beginning with an 'l' character/glyph while in the A-token
pages this doesn't happen. You could choose to ignore the line as a separate
unit for your stats, but that doesn't make this anomaly go away. If the
author used some sort of pairing as you suggest - why does the alignment on
line starts in B-token pages differ so dramatically from those on A-token
pages. If we assume that there is no difference between A & B, and that the
statistical distinctions that have been noted to date is purely coincidence
then we still have to develop a reason for the patterning to show itself.

	Anyway, no information is bad information - even claims of solutions have
their value. No solution to the VMS has yet been able to provide a clear and
consistent system that anybody could read the same text from...

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx]On
Behalf Of Nick Pelling
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 7:07 AM
To: vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: VMs: No stats no fun

Hi Gabriel,

At 11:14 09/08/2003 +0100, Gabriel Landini wrote:
>What makes the statement of "making stats useless" sound objectable is that
>it seems to imply unawareness of the relevance of the statistical
>of the vms.

Statistics does not equal causality. Statistical equals correlations.
AFAICT, 91 years (or perhaps several hundred years, if you include Kircher,
etc) of statistical analysis of the VMs have given us *not one* definitive
correlation with an external statistical source - such as natural language,
syllabic language, artificial language, cryptography, etc - that has had
sufficient persuasive power to bring us to even a partial consensus.

TTBOMK, the strongest inferences drawn to date have been "suggestive of"
one or other of these various categories, without being at all definitive.
I have seen it argued (in one of my stats textbooks) that many of the
central successes of human endeavour in the 20th Century came about
directly as a result of statistical analysis & the emerging statistical
mindset - how does the VMS continue to resist assaults from this otherwise
fearsome analytical machinery?

Whether you like it or not, the manifest failure of our general statistical
exercise to resolve even the most basic questions points to one of three
(a) the VMS is a truly strange beast which we are unable to categorise;
(b) the statistical process by which we collect information is somehow
flawed; or
(c) the transcription we are using to apply stats analysis to the VMS is
somehow flawed.

Broadly speaking, (a) points to a conceptual failure, (b) to a processual
failure, and (c) to a representational failure. You seem to think I'm
describing (b), when I'm actually describing (c). I think stats are great -
but you have to be analysing the right thing for them to move you forward.

>Sounds like if you are intending to dismiss all currently gathered
>information with an analysis that has not been done yet.

I'm developing a transcription methodology quite different from other ones
that have been used, which is obvious "a road less travelled" - perhaps
you'd prefer I didn't post anything further on this subject until I reach
the destination?

Cheers, ....Nick Pelling....

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