A couple of days ago, Victor Mair wrote about some provocative behavior on the part of “Kŏng Qìngdōng 孔庆东, associate professor in the Chinese Department at Peking University, who also just happens to be the 73rd generation descendant of Confucius (Kǒng Fūzǐ 孔夫子 ; Kǒng Qiū 孔丘), or at least he claims to be a descendant of Confucius.”

In the comments, Victor names someone else who he believes to be a true descendant of Confucius, and notes that there is some doubt about Kŏng Qìngdōng’s claim to this status.

Well, I’d like to come to Kŏng Qìngdōng’s defense, at least on the specific and limited question of whether he is descended from Confucius. My standing to make this argument is based on the fact that I also am descended from Confucius. And I can prove it mathematically.

Language Log » Being descended from Confucius. Alex Shoumatoff is really good on this principle — called “pedigree collapse” — his his book The Mountain of Names.