I viewed the document but unfortunately do not have a link for you to download the massive amount of material. I will leave it to those with expertise in metallurgy to evaluate Pulitzer’s claims about the testing done on the sword. For our purposes today, I’d like to focus on Pulitzer’s “Introduction Letter” (his term), and the strange claims he makes in it. As will become clear, Pulitzer has a very hard time distinguishing between facts and inferences, observations and conclusions. For him, they are all the same, and all part of a vast conspiracy marked by “emphatic” use of punctuation.
“The system tells us with emphatic defiance,” Pulitzer writes, “that ‘they KNOW what happened 15 billion years ago or even 1000 years ago to an exact!’” (sic). Pulitzer, who seems to advocate a postmodern understanding of epistemology while remaining ignorant of both polysyllabic words, asks “How is it that mankind can issue any statement for others or regarding others with an absolute period on the end of the sentence?” He goes on to declare war on “periods” on behalf of “question marks,” blithely unaware that in denying that scholars can truly know the past he therefore undermines any case he hopes to make for his diffusionist worldview. He can never turn his question mark into a period since by his own admission facts are essentially unknowable.
But that’s not the worst of it by any means. One the second page of his introductory letter, Pulitzer calls evolution into question by demanding to know how a mere man could discover a few fossilized bones and therefore declare (with “the emphatic ‘period’”) that the bones belonged to “your mother Eve, out of Africa, from which we all beget” (sic). Never mind that no one has ever made that claim, and that Pulitzer is conflating the discovery of presumed human ancestors such as Lucy (an australopithecine) with “mitochondrial Eve,” the presumed originator of the genetic line of Homo sapiens. In both cases, though, the connection between modern humans and ancient ancestors is a conclusion drawn from observations, not a statement of absolute fact. This can be seen in the continuous debate about how best to organize various fossils on the human family tree, not to mention continuing questions about how to demarcate fossil finds into species.
We have all seen the Jurassic Park movies and we all now know what species extinct for millions of years look like. Or do we? Once again, find a few bones, maybe a fossilized outline in sediments and amazingly we know the dinosaurs (sic) skin color, eye color, eating habits, growls, snarls, and roars. This is what this dinosaur looked like. Once again there’s that emphatic “period” at the end of the sentence.
It’s also important to note that no one claims that these conclusions are “100% confirmed.” They are inferences drawn from observations, and while they remain the best available, they are not unassailable, and nearly everyone recognizes that new evidence can overturn current conclusions. Pulitzer doesn’t understand and doesn’t care about this, and he doesn’t recognize that even if we accept his “hard science” at face value, he still requires inferences and hypotheses to explain it. For example, even assuming he is correct that the “sword” is from the second century CE and made from bronze from central Europe, that does not prove that the Romans made it (and not, say, the Gauls, or Scythians, or space aliens), nor that it was taken to America in that century (and not, say, in 500, 1500, or 2000), nor that human beings carried it there (and not, say, ocean currents, or eagles, or, again, space aliens). In other words, Pulitzer doesn’t recognize his own inferences as inferences. That’s what makes it so galling that he includes a photo spread showing the sword to be “Roman” by comparing it stylistically to dissimilar genuine Roman bronze depictions of Hercules—you know “hard” science!
This is to be expected since Pulitzer simultaneously argues that his report is not meant to lead the audience to a conclusion while purposely prejudicing it through rhetorical sleight of hand. Thus, while claiming to fairly and objectively investigate “both sides” of whether the St. Mary’s University study of the “Roman” sword followed scientific protocol so readers, acting as “a jury of peers,” can make up their own minds, he phrases his inquiry as “irrefutable evidence of […] educational bias [and] institutional malice.” He also calls it “bigoted.” You know, fair and balanced!