As I understand things, this statement of yours cuts to the heart of the matter..
"if the bear were Virgo, then how could it be sitting right beside Sagittarius? (He also missed the point that the “sun” is a severed head. With a face.) Overall, I think it's a nice demonstration of Martin’s inconsistency in approaching the images, and the ad hoc nature of his inferences. "
Understood, I think...
The first part of what you say is what I feel I can leverage as a layperson. Composite celestial art interpretations should accord with traditional juxtapositions of the same, or with a demonstrable line of celestial depictions that may have morphed into the traditional zodiac.
As I wrote, when you and I began talking I thought it best to not look beyond the points you were making, so that I didn't prejudice myself by knowing how they influenced Martin's core thesis.
As you were gone laying linoleum, I concluded that the 'ibex' was much more likely a feline, as you had clarified that the other like images were GT creations.
That said, I wouldn't rule out the ibex interpretation for which reason I certainly would NOT say Martin is a "con artist" for holding to such an interpretation, as one poster (who is not you, Rebecca) did. In my view the overall image IS sufficiently similar to an ibex to maintain this possibility. However, in light of the other related GT art I would now say this is significantly less likely.
Just so we're clear, I wish to clarify my understanding of why I think that Martin's mathematical foundation is sound, and you can correct me.
He wished to explore the idea of an astro-archeological match based on a chosen point in time which involves a finite number of carvings at GT being possible matches. Since the set is finite one CAN establish rankings. That is the mathematical aspect, as I understand it.
This involves TWO subjective layers as I see things. First, we must accept the premise to begin with, if only in order to work with Martin's main idea. I give him full credit for going out his way to say that that is a subjective premise, because it is. He totally went out of his way to make that clear, that this is a subjective starting point.
I also told Martin that I thought that his idea will strongly depend either way on what other GT art reveals, and he agreed. Will he feel that the other art supports his primary interpretations? Such thinking falls under the domain of what you showed earlier, that there appears to be a method involved, regarding how those cats at GT drew felines.
This is the secondary subjective test, and I'm sure that Martin will agree that it is not mathematical. It's really where the rubber meets the road, however, as it must and should greatly influence how much we embrace the primary thesis, that said GT art is or might intentionally reflect the stars at his appointed time.
If my basic understanding is correct, then I would still say that Martin has been reasonable when it comes to how he uses math. I see nothing wrong with him saying that, "If you play along, you will very likely agree that the small letter b looks more like a d than it does an s,z or x." All he is saying is, "Let's work within that fixed set of possibilities" from which numbers can be "scientififically" established.
Whether that fixed set is appropriate is the secondary, non-mathenatical issue.
I'll leave off with two things, one in defence of Martin.
Just to state for the record, he has said that he can answer your parody article, but will only if you publish your objections. So maybe he'll be able to flip public opinion regarding whatever counterpoints you have made.
The second thing, in addition to thanking you for your courtesy Rebecca. I have also said that the circle's interpretation greatly empowers Martin's ideas, that 43 may be referencing the Sun. I've also heard the severed head, which I have thought is a significantly weaker interpretation. But here you say one can discern a face in the circle!? Please elaborate.