Friday, 17 January 2014

Academic Attacked: Name Calling from the Coineys

"Academecks, you say? We don' want
any of that book larning here!
(Ozark Hillbillies, pininterest ©The
 Old Photo Guy )

Peter Tompa ('Challenge To Doctor Elkins', January 16, 2014) casts aspersions:
Nathan Elkins purports to be a serious academic numismatist, but CPO has had its doubts ever since the release of his academic diatribe [published in the "Journal of Field Archaeology"] directed against a non-profit that uses ancient Roman coins to teach kids about history
Eh? There is nothing "unacademic" in that text, published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the topic is indeed one of serious import, and Elkins is wholly right (and within his rights) to raise the points he did. That in itself does not in any way undermine his academic qualifications. What however is undermined is the status of the type of heap-of-decontextualised coineyism as any kind of academic disciple (their long-standing claim), in that there was absolutely no attempt made by this pseudo-discipline at a reasoned response. Only name-calling.

The anti-academic tone of the paid lobbyist's blog post  is repeated in the comments by coin dealer Wayne Sayles who depicts conservation professionals as "unprincipled few" (allegedly benefiting from . "senseless repressions").

It is beyond question that Nathan Elkins has published a great deal more peer-reviewed research on ancient coinage than the paid lobbyist (who works in a firm specialising in employment law). Tompa simply tries to mislead his readers by denigrating others reputation without cause or reason. As Elkins points out:
Also, I think it says something about the milieu with which you associate yourself when repeatedly academic titles such as “Dr.” or “Professor” are deployed in a disparaging way. You discredit yourself by acting this way. [...] Your blog is bitterly hostile and insulting towards those who have opinions that differ from yours.
Peter Tompa not only discredits himself, but the professional numismatic associations which apparently continue to sponsor his lobbying, the PNG and IAPN. This kind of behaviour only puts collectors as a whole in a bad light. With 'spokesmen' like these drowning out alternative voices, who needs enemies?


Cultural Property Observer said...

Doctor or perhaps Mr. Elkins if he prefers seems to think that because he has academic credentials, his claims about the circulation patters of coins (which have been used to justify import restrictions damaging to the hobby of coin collecting) are beyond questioning. The fact that Mr. Elkins would pen a work attacking a non - profit using coins to teach kids about history speaks volumes about his views-- and peer review is not much use if those doing the peer reviewing have the same agenda of destroying collecting. The underlying concern I have is that academic credentials are being used to justify statements about coins that are not based on fact, but are clouded by such an anti-collector agenda. As Harry Truman once said, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Elkins by pursuing his anti-collector agenda is due some much needed scrutiny. Since Elkins won't do it, perhaps you can take up the challenge I made to him. You seem to have some numismatic pretensions yourself.

Paul Barford said...

No, I do not think Dr Elkins expects anyone to believe him "just because he has academic qualifications" (as I recall he said nothing about them when replying to you on your own blog).

My take on this is that like any reasoning person, he said what he knows, and rather expects the listener to follow that up by checking it out themselves. He assumes they can, though it seems we are coming up against the old problem of the collectors expecting somebody else to do the footwork for them and hand them an answer on a plate.

Yes, I am sure that in general his more nuanced view on the ancient circulation patterns of coins is right and you are wrong to use uncritical generalisations as factual arguments. And yes, I'll write (AGAIN) about why later.

It is absolute rubbish to say that the ancient circulation patterns of coins have been used to justify import restrictions on paperless coins. Quite the opposite, this is a discussion YOU and your PNG, IAPN and ACCG associates started, in order to undermine the US attempts to do something to clean up the antiquities market (NOT just coins). And I think you are WRONG, factually, intellectually and morally.

It's a dirty business you are involved in, and you are dirtying it more by these nasty anti- intellectual battles.

Paul Barford said...

"The fact that Mr. Elkins would pen a work attacking a non - profit using coins to teach kids about history speaks volumes about his views"
But that is not what Ancient Coins "For Education" was really about. You cannot even be honest about that and seem to g=have forgotten the "dragons' teeth' quote that I found when discussing it.

There are many ways of "teaching (even American) kids about history" without using artefacts taken from trashed foreign archaeological assemblages donated by no-questions-asked dealers. In previous posts on this blog I suggested a few and am surprised you come on here spouting the same old rubbish as years ago as if you ("Cultural Property Observer") did not know I have views on this subject exactly the same as Nathan Elkins. Not very "observant" of you CPO.

"those doing the peer reviewing" do not "have the same agenda of destroying collecting" Another nonsense I have many times discussed on this blog at some length, unobserved by you.

You just want to keep arguing round and round in circles, and not moving on, don't you?

Paul Barford said...

"As Harry Truman once said, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Elkins by pursuing his anti-collector agenda is due some much needed scrutiny"

Extraordinary. Perhaps rather than "Elkins", what would merit "scrutiny" is what he says? You know, not by personal attacks, but reasoned argument?

So, basically you'd like him to just shut up. Once again we see the coineys trying to shout down the opposition - trying to force through their agenda without any voices opposing. Coineys want it on a plate.

I am probably considered as having the same so-called "anti-collector agenda" (though you should see what it is I am actually questioning), so are you threatening to put "heat" on me too?

In other words, you coineys are basically no better than some of your friends the metal detectorists?

Cultural Property Observer said...

Yes, there is no nuanced view about coin circulation-- at the US State Department! As I've mentioned but you've failed to acknowledge, the Cypriot, Chinese, Italian, and now Bulgarian regulations place ALL Coins struck for minted for hundreds and hundreds of years onto the designated list. These include issues made of gold and silver. The "nuanced" view Elkins maintains applies would not seem to square with such a blunderbuss approach, at least if there was a principled determination being made on these issues.

Your other points really don't merit a response other than to note that my criticisms of Elkins are mild compared to what one can read almost every day on your own blog.

Paul Barford said...

If you dislike what you read here, don't read this blog. Nobody makes you.

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