[r-t] A Ringing Puzzle

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Fri May 23 19:49:31 UTC 2014

On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 3:02 PM, Ted Steele <teds.bells at tesco.net> wrote:
> It has I think been agreed that it's a bad idea to think of a
> false-in-the-plain-course method as a non-method block, by whatever
> name we may come to know that.

It has? By whom? The last I saw from the chairman of the Methods
Committee it was still considered by that committee that a method
false in its plain course is not a method. And the long time, though
no longer, chairman, and now past President of the Council, just today
on Facebook was expressing considerable distaste for the idea, too.

> I believe council is being asked to remove the requirement of truth
> in the plain course from the definition of method

That is excellent news, of which I was not aware. How is this request
being made, and by whom? From your bringing it up, I'm presuming you
have some sense that it has a reasonable chance of passing: is there
some evidence for that hope?

> so too with false methods, they are a sub group of all methods, but
> still methods.

Barely a subset. Nearly all methods, even Plain Bob, are "false", in the
same sense that a method false in its plain course is. It's just a
question of which lead against which different lead. The ones causing
so much consternation just happen to have one lead of the touch
that contains no calls false against a different lead of the same touch.

I think it is seriously unhelpful to mislabel them "false methods", as
they are no more false than any other method. They, just like any
other method, must used correctly to produce true touches, that's all.
You may have to be cleverer to combine mutually true leads together,
but "more false" makes about as much sense as "more dead"--a touch is
either true or it's false (against any particular standard of truth,
of course, which can get complicated in the world of multi-extent
blocks and so on). It would, I believe, be better to carefully stick
to words like "methods false in their plain courses", as "false
methods" seriously prejudices those who have not taken the trouble to
understand what the discussion is about.

It may be helpful to explicitly note that a method is *not* a
collection of rows. That's a touch. The plain course of a method is
simply a particular touch of that method. But, since a method is not
composed of rows, there's no way for a method to be false in the same
sense that a touch can be false (a method contains no rows, so there's
no way a method can contain the same row twice!)

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
         -- Albert Einstein, letter to Jost Winteler (1901)

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