tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1527613590529958801.post3008407741738295436..comments2015-03-28T08:16:08.336-07:00Comments on Genealogy's Star: Methodology vs. Proof in GenealogyJames Tannerhttps://plus.google.com/111292106004869462088noreply@blogger.comBlogger3125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1527613590529958801.post-87560735779615311752013-10-07T06:25:07.211-07:002013-10-07T06:25:07.211-07:00OK... it get it. From both sides of this argument....OK... it get it. From both sides of this argument. But it appears that the one essential ingredient is the idea that genealogical findings can't be mathematically or statistically stated.<br /><br />We use words like probably or likely or possibly and so on, but why not apply more concrete evaluation to our results or "proofs"? We can't we quantify ideas like "direct is usually better than indirect" or "original is preferred to derivative" or "primary is more valid than secondary"? Are we so fearful that a statistical or numerical expression of our had work will lessen its value?<br /><br />I don't mind the word "proof", but I would prefer "statistical likelihood" better. I have stopped trying to argue my case, and I have begun to find ways to express my results from that point of view.<br /><br />I do this with my research using an arbitrary scale that puts my proofs at low percentages, and that's fine by me. DNA is presented the same way. We have a certain statistical likelihood that we have a common ancestor with another person. Why not do the same with our proofs?<br /><br />Numbers should not frighten us. They can be of great help to show us how strong our proof might be; how much more we must do to improve it; and provide a more precise way to apply methodology to our hard work.Jimmy Johnsonhttp://www.parkinweb.netnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1527613590529958801.post-88577759536247549552013-06-25T07:49:23.108-07:002013-06-25T07:49:23.108-07:00You said "We are not talking about science he...You said "We are not talking about science here. I can't conduct an independent experiment and validate your findings."<br /><br />Two years ago this argument may have been mostly true.<br /><br />Today, genealogists do have the ability to scientifically verify the results of their paper "proofs". DNA does not lie. Autosomal DNA testing and the tools developed for working with this data is available now. It allows us to scientifically prove the validity of our methodology findings. <br /><br />It is not cheap ($100 to $200 range depending on current sales), but it is getting there very fast. It is already less then the cost of traveling to a distant repository. <br /><br />It does require the participation of other descendants, but social networking and on-line trees make them easier to find then ever.<br /><br />It does require time and does not replace paper based proofs, but it certainly is science and it can produce your "proof".<br /><br />Nancy<br />Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1527613590529958801.post-72395022903319822222013-06-19T07:01:42.831-07:002013-06-19T07:01:42.831-07:00But then again, the only discipline that has real ...But then again, the only discipline that has real genuine proof, is mathematics - which sits outside the real world. All else in science is just statistics - the "proof" of the Higgs Boson will be a result from a statistical analysis, and it will say that physicists are X% confident (actually that's not the way it's expressed but it'll do) - and this still means that there's a 100-X % probability that they're wrong. <br /><br />In other words, they have a methodology that produces a "proof", that could still be wrong. <br /><br />I don't really see that this is dramatically different from genealogy.<br /><br />To my way of thinking, it is not a case of "methodology v. proof". The two are different - methodology is how you do something, proof is the output of the methodology. Yes, you are very right to worry about the degree of proof or the quality of the methodology - but what else do we call the output if not "Proof"? It's a simple word and (justified) worries about the standard of proof shouldn't stop us using simple words. After all, if it did, as a mathematician I'd stop the legal profession from using the p-word!<br /><br />Adrian Adrian Brucenoreply@blogger.com