[r-t] Cult of the Plain Course

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sat May 24 18:11:42 UTC 2014

All this discussion about the CC Decisions has made me realize something
(or perhaps it's something I once knew and forgot). Apologies to those
for whom this has long been obvious.

According the the CC Decisions a method does *not* have a (unique) plain
course. It has a whole ensemble of possible plain courses.

If you don't follow that, consider the following: if methods did have
unique plain courses, then if method A is the same as method B, by
definition they would have to have the same plain course. But consider
Grandsire and New Grandsire. According to the the CC Decisions they
are the same method. But they have radically different plain courses,
the majority of rows in the plain course of one not appearing in the
plain course of the other.

Sadly, this (sudden, for me, at least) insight does not help in the
current dispute. If any one of a method's plain courses is false, it
follows that they all are. Thus, the only real corrollary to this is
we shouldn't talk about "methods false in the plain course", rather we
should talk about "methods false in a plain course".

I suppose it could be argued that subjectively the existence of a
whole suite of plain courses for (nearly) all methods makes the fetish
for viewing falsenss between a plain course and itself as more
important than that between other courses seem even less sensible. But
I'm confident that most of those who do hold the view that methods
false in a plain course are Not Proper Methods are unlikely to find
this argument persuasive.

But even if it doesn't advance the argument any, I do find the
observation that, according the CC Decisions, there is no such thing
as "the plain course", intriguing.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed
into law if it acquires the political power to do so."
    -- Robert Heinlein, "Concerning Stories Never Written"

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