The Experts got it wrong, not "right"

Origins, comparisons, dating of Voynich Illustrations
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The Experts got it wrong, not "right"

Post by proto57 »

One of the more curious and interesting- to me- phenomenon in the field of Voynich studies has been this claim that "The Experts Got it Right", when it comes to dating. As I wrote in 2015 in my blog article "Modern Voynich Myths", myth number 9 reads,
"When the dates were revealed, it showed that the experts were correct about the age of the Voynich: Incorrect. Tallying the expert opinions, pre-C14, the majority of experts… I think it works out to about 14 out of 16 of them, by D’Imperio’s book, were dead wrong. In fact this was noted soon after the C14 was announced, in the 2009 ORF documentary, and its surrounding promotions: the results were touted as toppling the previous expert opinion, and being a total surprise. It was a surprise. But in a very short time, this reality morphed into “The experts got it right”, by using the two or so experts who did happen to have opinions near or in the C14 range, and ignoring the majority that were wrong. This new mythology is often used to support the false premise, “It cannot be a forgery, because how could a pre-C14 forger have happened to choose the ‘right parchment’?”. The thing is, they did not choose “the right parchment” for the work they laid on it, if forged."

I recently revisited this claim when in a recent discussion with a friend of mine explained that a major reason they believed the Voynich was genuine was because Panofsky and Lisa Fagin Davis both identified the script to fall within the date range of the C14 results. Putting aside Davis's opinion, and all those who came to their opinions post-C14, it turned out that only one person... Lehmann-Haupt, a rare book bibliographer and consultant to Hans Kraus... got it "right" (as in fell in the range of the C14 dating).
Pre_C14_Expert_Graph.jpg (163.57 KiB) Viewed 72 times
In fact it is somewhat surprising that all experts were actually before or after that C14 range! The point is that, on re-inspection, the reality is that nobody, save Haupt, "got it right".

Does this mean the Voynich is or is not a modern forgery? No. What it does mean is that this aspect of the investigation into the Voynich, using known evidence, is entirely backwards. It also shows that incorrect information proliferates the field, and gets repeated over and over, and then believed by many, when it would only take a short peek in the actual history to know it is wrong.
"Man is the measure of all things: What is, that it is; what is not, that it is not"- Protagoras

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