Re: Subject: Re: [Harp-L] comb material
----- Original Message -----
From: "J Compton" <jofjltn4@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Harp-l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 8:18 PM
Subject: RE: Subject: Re: [Harp-L] comb material
Why is the burden of proof on the "material matters" people? Why is the
prevailing position that the material doesn't matter until someone proves
otherwise? Why isn't it that the material *does* matter until someone
demonstrates that it doesn't?
The rules of science and rational argument place the burden of proof on the
person who asserts the new, positive hypothesis..."comb materials affect
tone" in this case. There are good reasons for this.
* The positive hypothesis only has to be demonstrated once to be convincing.
If one person could discriminate among combs of different materials under
adequately controlled conditions, then the case would be proven.
* It is almost impossible to prove a negative. The SPAH97 and Buckeye98
camparisons demonstrated that. The disappointed believers claimed
afterwards that the tests were "flawed" and that could demonstrate the
ability under slightly different circumstances. If even one person had
demonstrated the ability, then the disappointed skeptics would have had to
admit the existence of the materials effect.
* If I did not have the burden of proof, I could say that there were 17
little green gnomes in the center of the sun, holding hands and singing
"Rock of Ages" and maintain it was true until you proved me wrong. There
would not be enough resources to investigate all of the preposterous
hypotheses that could / would be advanced. Until you support your claim,
whatever it is, with hard evidence, then it deserves to be considered false.
* "You can't (or haven't) proven me wrong" is a false argument of last
resort from those who have none better.
Perhaps an experienced player could record playing a set series of
notes/techniques with a wood comb, then repeating the same with a plastic
(or other) comb. If the sounds are identical (or can even be made to sound
identical) as determined by human ears, sound analyzing equipment, or some
other measurement, then there may not be a difference (at least within the
limits of whatever is used to judge them). Record the passage a few times
w/ each comb and completely randomize which clips are played. (Okay, so the
player might be able to compensate for the difference entirely through
ability, or might subconsciously play differently...I admit, it's not a
perfect plan, but apparently, neither are the previous attempts to approach
this from the neighbor's pasture.)
Except that the comparisons were live and not amplified or recorded (to
avoid complaints about distortion by the electronics), you have just
described what was done at the SPAH97 and Buckeye98 experiments.
So until someone does that, I'm going to stake my position on the side that
*feels* that "comb material" matters (although I admit, I really don't
*think* it does).
Is this another way of saying that you are swayed more by emotion than by
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