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20 November, 2013


Verb. To prove something previously discredited.

This word came about when I was talking to my sister about archaeologists' habit of calling things they cannot identify "ritual objects" in a joking way, and how I found one of these, but through further reflection and research have come to believe is in fact a ritual object. (Just scroll down to the last post, if this is too confusing).

In any case, one of the supremely humorous ironic scenarios is that of the rebunking: A hasty and possibly unfounded load of bunk is presented as truth, only to be debunked. But then, it turns out to have been true all along: rebunked.

Leafing through my unabridged dictionary (a 1941 edition of the 1934 copyright of Webster's), the etymology refers briefly to a Spanish "supposed card game" before getting serious with a reference to a speech by an Appalachian North Carolinian rep in the 16th Congress of the US of A, in which he referred to the people of Buncombe (County). It is only fitting that "bunk" as in BS, no...not merely that, but as in "don't even waste my time with your ridiculo-pathetic prevarications," originated in Congress.

Rebunking, I hope, does not occur often in the august legislatures of our US of A, state or federal. So little political bunk stands a chance of ever becoming true. It's low grade stuff,  Scrapple to Spam, Hanna-Barbera to Warner-Brothers.

But out in the real world, rebunking can happen. Science is replete with examples (I'm looking at you, epigenetic Lamarckians), often with the pleasing side-effect of pompous experts being forced to eat crow in their ivory towers (I'm looking at you, pre-Clovis doubters, if you still exist).  Rebunking, or the nagging threat thereof, is a force that creates at least a little humbleness in advanced society.

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