Sunday, July 10, 2005

Taiwan and the Polynesians - LexiLine Journal 352

The New Scotsman has an article by science correspondent Ian Johnston at http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=738032005 about a DNA study just published in the journal PLoS Biology finding that the indigenous population of Taiwan was genetically similar to Polynesians.

This is surely true. Unfortunately the study makes far-reaching and unwarranted conclusions not supported by the actual evidence, writing carelessly that:
"Analysis of DNA sequences in this study reveals the presence of a
motif of three mutations ... [which are] shared among aboriginal
Taiwanese, Melanesians and Polynesians. No mainland East Asian
population has yet been found to carry lineages derived from these
three [DNA] positions.

This suggests that the motif may have evolved in populations living
in or near Taiwan at the end of the late Pleistocene period [more
than 10,000 years ago]. The time element ... requires that we adopt a
model according to which the origin of Austronesian [including the
Polynesian] migration can be traced back to Taiwan."
That kind of erroneous thinking and poor logic has no place in science, even if it is partly made in Baltic Estonia, a country to which I am positively partial (the report is an interesting joint effort by scientists at the Transfusion Medicine Laboratory in Taiwan and Estonia's Biocentre).

Obviously, if the original Taiwanese did not come from the mainland, then they could only have reached Taiwan from somewhere else by boat and hence it was obviously the boatbuilders who reached Taiwan AFTER they discovered making boats elsewhere who first discovered Taiwan and not before they discovered making boats.

Do we need to give courses in logic to the mainstream scientists??

To find the original aboriginals of Taiwan you first have to find out where the boat-builders originally came from, and that issue is as yet undecided.

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