carljweber carljweber at MSN.COM
Tue Jan 22 17:52:25 UTC 2002

Upon request, I had presented evidence for Amerindian cannibalism and said,
> Calling evidence of Amerindian anthropophagy merely anecdotal, and not
>  representative of Amerindian culture, seems the only refutation to my
>  of evidence, but maybe there are others.

Jim Landau said
>This is an interesting use of the word "anecdotal".  OED2 has no meaning
either "anecdotal" or "anecdote" that comes close (OED2 has three
for "anecdote": 1) hitherto unpublished narrative 2) narrative of a single
event told as being in itself interesting or striking 3) from art: a
etc that depicts a small incident).  M-W 10th Collegiate has one additional
definition: "based on or consisting of reports or obsdervations of usu.
unscientific observers (~ evidence)" which is a common usage in scientific
reports but does not really fit here.

Jim Landau said,
>What does carljweber mean by "anecdotal".  The context here is tricky,
he is rebutting statements in a previous letter that do not contain the word
"anecdotal".  Apparently he means to describe reports as being second- or
third-hand, written long after the fact, collected from unreliable
or otherwise carrying a presumption of unreliability.  I.e. "mere anecdotes
rather than reliable first-hand reports".

I say,
Suggesting I mean by "anecdotal" that my evidence is unreliable is whacky.
I have read many 17th century first hand accounts. The evidence I offered by
Parkman was summary or paraphrase of some of those early accounts.

Recapitulating the OED definitions is not without its interst.
OED definition 2 presents no problem as the one that comes close. I use the
general common
meaning with the aspect of isolated event. Perhaps easier is the definition
(M) Webster's 1892 High School Dictionary, having to do with "a short story
or incident,"
i.e., self contained and not a pattern or trend.

Carl Jeffrey Weber

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