One or two occasional contributors to our blog discussions are getting hot under the collar because I have recently blocked some comments which have been so repetitive and convoluted that they have done nothing to advance our knowledge of anything apart from the obsessions of the contributors. I have done that before, with other contributors and on widely differing topics. The reason for this latest weird and fruitless debate -- off the record rather than on it -- is the publication of the recent article on the geomorphology and stratigraphy of Rhosyfelin. We are accused of failing to see what is there, or what might be there, or might not be there, on the grounds that there are many things in this life which are invisible to those who are not trained to see them or who are not well tuned to the subtleties of the landscape. That point is fair enough, and as somebody who knows the local landscape rather well I pride myself on having picked up many rather subtle things like old stone walls, embankments, circles, settlement sites and so forth that have apparently been missed by previous generations of archaeologists. So I am neither blind nor naive. But my default position, as a trained glacial geomorphologist, is to assume that things are natural unless there are signs that they are not. Cwm Gwaun is natural, as is Carngoedog. The pyramids are not natural, and neither is Silbury Hill. Others have different default positions, and assume that a wide range of features are man-made until somebody can come along and prove conclusively that they are not........
At Rhosyfelin my colleagues Dyfed and John and I have looked at the site carefully and have honestly described what we have seen in a peer-reviewed short paper. We have briefly examined the claims that have been made for "quarrying features" and have stated that in our view these features are all entirely natural. In other words, the quarrying hypothesis is not supported by the evidence on the ground, and is thus superfluous. In our press release, we have stated that our research undermines the quarrying hypothesis. If anybody wants to come along and present contrary evidence, that's their privilege. We'll then weigh up their evidence against ours, and independent observers can do the same.
But when we get into arguments (from people who have not even visited the site) about things possibly being there, or possibly not, as the case may be, and about the impossibility of proving that things did happen or didn't happen because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and so forth, accompanied by arguments and protestations about comments being misinterpreted or misrepresented, it's time to call a halt, on the grounds that we are leaving reality and getting into a world of metaphysics, psychology and even politics. I have better things to do with my time.
So a few comments have been dumped, and a few people have been invited to spend their time looking at other blogs instead of mine. For that, no apologies.