Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Hancock Woo

At the website Counterknowledge I recently posted the following reply to two comments. The link can be found Here. I’ve slightly modified my reply and added more references. (Note, December 2012, The Counterknowledge Website is no longer up or maintained. Although a copy of the Website is available at the Internet Archive. Sadly the copy of the page saved at the Internet Archive was copied before my reply posted below and one of the posts I was replying to. See Here.)

Kevin you say:
Sanji I to came to this site for exactly the same reasons has u and come to the same conclusion .watched both videos thanks for that .my first introduction to Bauval who I think is both intelligent and honest man listening to him now on information machine try watching black genesis by Bauval and don’t waste your time arguing with Pacal think him rude and offensive and blind to exploration of facts.
Bauval is not worth taking the slightest bit seriously along with Hancock. The whole Orion correlation thing as been exploded long ago. You are not aware that the constellation of Orion when imposed on Pyramids at Giza and the neighbouring area doesn’t match up. But then Bauval’s a joke. Have you bothered to read up on why the majority of Geologists do not accept an early date for the Sphinx as suggested by Schoch? Or how about how Bauval and Hancock were gunning for a 10,500 B.C.E., date for their Sphinx and basically ignoring that even Schoch gave a date after 8000 B,C.E. Of course do you accept the idea that the great pyramid was planned in 10,500 B.C.E., although built thousands of years later to reflect the date of 10,500 B.C.E. Which by the way Hancock got from Edgar Cayce, (the sleeping prophet). Both of them have been in the past quite ready to accuse Egyptologists of lying, of fraud, fabrication and forgery. In Fingerprints of the Gods Hancock accused an 19th century Egyptologist of fabricating Khufu’s name on stone blocks found in the chambers above the Kings chamber. Hancock has since retracted this baseless accusation but he continues to blither on about wicked Archaeologists suppressing the truth.

As for your last comment given the quite vicious names I’ve been called here I find you thinking me rude / offensive hilarious. I’ve merely said you guys were ignorant and clueless. Which you most evidently are. As for blind to exploration of the facts. Depends. If you mean the made up nonsense of Hancock and Bauval; that is speculation and fantasy not fact. But then you guys seem to have absolutely no interest in doing any sort of real research at all, but just mouth whatever Bauval and Hancock pull out of their asses.

Sanji you say:
Yeh its probably pointless to discuss with those guys, because in the end I'm just gonna repeat what Hancock and others have already said, and I m gonna read here the same critics I’ve seen, which sometimes are legitimate, but never good, solid, proven, unbreakable reasons to completely dismiss Hancock and every single aspect of his work. In the end, what he says has been going on for a quite a while through history, it s not brand new, so that debate has already been going on for ages.
Yep the debate between the cranks and Scientists as been going on for ages. Almost all of it in the minds of the cranks. Thank you for indicating that you have no desire to do any real research.

As for your request for unbreakable reason to dismiss Hancock. What about the simple fact that his lost super civilization seems to have vanished without a trace. How about the fact that each and everyone of the anomalies he points to is almost always has a “prosaic” explanation. How about Hancocks conspiracy mongering. I should not forget to note Hancock’s 2012 boosterism. From Baalbak, (built in Roman times), to the Piri Re’is map Hancock recycles mysteries that are not mysteries. Sanji then says:
Maybe because people like me haven’t yet spend a massive amount of time reading work to boost their knowledge, intelligence and ego, that what might be actually misleading or wrong, its easier to get on with the “outside the box” way of thinking.
Yep mustn’t have ones head clogged with knowledge it might inhibit one’s ability to swallow woo. I guess ignorance is a blessed state and knowing nothing is cool. Oh and Hancock doesn’t think outside the box his thought is firmly in the area of twentieth century crank Archaeology, he is right up their with Von Daniken, and especially Robert Charroux, (One Hundred Thousand Years of Man’s Unknown History). Sanji then says:
I wont go into details because they all say it better than me, but his position about C14 dating process for ancient monuments, his position about the Ice Age and its many mysteries, about maps found around the globe showing what might be locations unknown at the time, about ancient monuments that seem to have astronomical aspects to it, about underwater structures looking suspicious, about drawings, texts, interpretation of some ancient texts. and so on and so on….

There is just so much that you cant just ignore all of this, even when “it’s not a prefect match”, “most specialists disagree “, “he isn’t a professional” and blah blah blah blah.
Hancock’s position about Carbon 14 and how it is used to date monuments is deeply ignorant. Hancock never seems to get the fact that the materials that are associated with the monuments are dated. But then how Archaeologists do that would require him to read some of the many texts about Carbon 14 dating and how to use it. For dating methods see Archaeology, Second Edition, Renfrew, Colin & Bahn, Paul, Thames and Hudson, London, 1996.

He could also use with reading a book about climate history. Say Climate Change in Prehistory, Burroughs, William J., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005.

And of course has mentioned above Hancock’s “mysteries” are almost always not mysteries at all.

It is quite easy to ignore most of it, because it is generally not a mystery, and what little is “mysterious” does not require a unknown super civilization or aliens. I should mention here that for a time Hancock supported the idea of alien monuments on Mars, he as backed away from that I hope.

I lost any respect for Hancock from reading the sections of Fingerprints of the Gods (A deliberate play on Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods, in my opinion.), on the Maya and Tiwanaku. In the Tiwanaku chapter he almost entirely, (except for a throw away line) ignores the conventional dating of the site and instead advances a far out date based on astronomical alignments deduced from recently reconstructed buildings. These dates contradict dozens of Carbon 14 results along with ceramic, and stratigraphy studies to say nothing of ethno-historical data all of which date the site 200-1000 C.E (A.D.). Please see Ancient Tiwanku, Janusek, John Wayne, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008, The Tiwanaku, Kolata, Alan L., Blackwell, Oxford, 1993. As for the Maya please see The Ancient Maya, Sixth Edition, Sharer, Robert J, & Traxler, Loa P, Stanford University Press, Stanford CA, 2006, pp. 102-120, for the Mayan calendar. It also shows why Hancock’s discussion of it is a crock. Hancock’s discussion of the Sarcophagus lid in the tomb of Pacal at Palenque is also totally bogus. Sanji also says:
There are obviously a lot yet to discover about ourselves and our past, and that dude and his mates definitely bring something worth looking into. If a lot of experts of our time are against even debating or considering all this with a new eye, then so be it. It happened countless times before. Doesn’t mean we should blindly believe people like him, but if you sit on your books and ignore such character, then you really have shit in your eyes and your ears, and your slowing down the learning process of mankind. Anyway, I'm wasting my time typing all this, lets agree to disagree.

Guys I m still waiting to hear your opinion about those two videos
Thank you for the Galileo gambit, the typical cliché of cranks everywhere. However for every Galileo who was right there were 10,000 cranks who were way wrong.

As for seeing it with a new eye? Nope! It is the same old same old processed woo. In the 19th century Ignatius Donnelly was touting woo in his Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, in the early twentieth century we had Edgar Cayce and in the late 60’s and into the 70’s we had Von Daniken, along with countless others. It is the same old crap served for another generation.

As for shit in eyes and ears. Since people like Hancock listen to other woo miesters and ignore reams and reams of data while continuing their diet of woo. It is clear who has shit in their eyes and ears and it is Hancock and those who believe like him.

Although it is nice to know that you think the hard won knowledge of the past won over the past century or so is shit.

Some more reading:

Invented Knowledge, Fritze, Ronald, H, Reaktion Books, London, 2009.

Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions and other Popular Theories about Man’s Past, Stiebing, William H, Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY, 1984.

Giza: The Truth, Lawton, Ian & Ogilvie-Herald, Chris, Invisible Cities Press, Montpelier Vermont, 2001.

The Atlantis Syndrome, Jordan, Paul, Sutton Publishing, Gloucestershire, 2001.

Frauds, Myths and Mysteries, Feder, Kenneth L, Mayfield Pub. Co., Toronto, 1999.

Ancient Mysteries, James, Peter & Thorpe, Nick, Ballantine Books, New York, 1999.

Imagining Atlantis, Ellis, Richard, Vintage Books, New York, 1998.

The Space God’s Revealed, Story, Ronald, Barnes and Noble Books, New York, 1976.

The Code of Kings, Schele, Linda & Mathews, Peter, Simon & Schuster, New york, 1998.

Lost Continents, de Camp, L. Sprague, Dover Pub. Inc, New York, 1970.

In Search of Ancient Astronomies, Editor Krupp, E.C, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1978.

The New Age, Gardner, Martin, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, 1991.

From the website In the Hall of Maat, Here, are the following articles of interest.

Tiwanaku: Alternative History in Action, Fagan, Garrett, Here.

Antarctic Farce, Fagan, Garrett, Here.

Analysis of Hancock's Position Statement on C-14 Dating, Fagan, Garrett, Here.

An Answer to Graham Hancock, Fagan, Garrett, Here.
The Gentle Art of Myth Management, Edlin, Duncan, Here.

Fingerprints of the Gods: A Review, Malek, Jaromir, Here.

An Analysis of the Quality of Graham Hancock's Science, Bass, Mickey, Here.

Myth of the Open Mind, Edlin, Duncan, Here.

Going Orion in a Circle (Or: The Challenging Cayce of 10,500BC), Wall, John, Here.

Age of the Sphinx, Bordeau, Alex, Here.

The New Atlantis and the Dangers of Pseudohistory, Fagan, Garrett, & Hale, Chris, Here.

Tracing Graham Hancock's Shifting Cataclysm, Bass, Mickey, Here.

The Lost Civilization in Historical Perspective Déjà vu all over again, Feder, Ken, Here.

P.S. The two links are to films that are merely the same dull old nostrums that have been coming from those two for quite sometime.

Pierre Cloutier

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Notes on Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

There is the the opinion that the explorer Christopher Columbus was an amazingly far-sighted genius who saw that the world was round when everyone else thought it was flat and convinced people to fund his effort to reach India / China by sailing west and that no on had thought of that before.

Of course virtually everything in the above paragraph is myth. It was for example received educated opinion in Europe in Columbus’ time and had been so since the Greeks that the Earth was round.1 That particular myth I may look at at another time. Here I will look at the myth of Christopher Columbus as lone genius.

Supposedly the received view is that Columbus was a lone genius who had an idea that no-one had before. The idea being that one could reach Asia by sailing west. This is false as the following quotes from Admiral of the Ocean Sea, by Samuel Eliot Morison indicate.

Morison was to put it mildly a hero worshipper of Columbus, as indicated by his grossly apologetic way of dealing with the way Columbus dealt with native Americans, so his comments are of interest. For Example Morison says:

Why not try sailing west, to Japan, China and India?

What would prevent it? No flat-earth theory certainly; for of all the vulgar errors connected with Columbus, the most persistent and the most absurd is that he had to convince people "the world was round." Every educated man in his day believed the world to be a sphere, every European university so taught geography, and seamen, though they might doubt the practical possibility of sailing "down under" or holding on when you got there, knew perfectly well from seeing ships "hull down" and raising mountains as they approached, that the surface of the globe was curved. Aristotle was reported to have written that you could cross the ocean from the Spains to the Indes paucis diebus, in comparatively few days; and Strabo, the Greek geographer who died about a.d. 25, hinted that it had actually been tried. "Those who have returned from an attempt to circumnavigate the earth do not say that they have been prevented from continuing their voyage by any opposing continent for the sea remained perfectly open, but through want of resolution and the scarcity of provision.”2
Whilst no valid ground exists to question the traditional concept that Columbus's purpose was to reach Asia by sailing west, there is plenty of room for argument as to where he got the idea, and when.

Certainly the theory was not original with him. We have already seen what Aristotle was reputed to have said, and what Strabo did say, about the possibility of sailing west to the Orient. Since there was no doubt of the world being a sphere, almost everyone admitted that Columbus's theory was valid;...3
Interestingly enough this Columbus worshipper said in his The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages, Samuel Eliot Morison, Oxford University Press, New York, 1971, the following concerning L'Anse Aux Meadows, (this is c. 11 years after the discovery):

Finally in 1960, a Norwegian archaeologist named Helge Ingstad located a spot in northern Newfoundland, L'Anse aux Meadows, which he thought might be "it". Years of summertime diggings by competent archaelogists have (it seems to me beyond a reasonable doubt) proved this place to have indeed been Vinland, where Leif Ericsson spent one winter, and where members of his family founded a short-lived colony. So, now that the location of Vinland has been solved, we may proceed with the story told in the sagas.4

Nope; Columbus did not see things no-one else did and this as long been known and acknowledged.

Just where did Christopher Columbus thought he was heading for? Some have asserted he knew that he was going to America. This seems to be rather unlikely given what the man wrote himself.

The following are quotes from the following The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus.5 Which consists of translations of Columbus' logs letters and contemporary or near contemporary histories of his voyages.

From the log-book of Christopher Columbus' first voyage. I note that Bartolome De la Casas,6 preserves Columbus' log in the form of a digest with extensive direct quotes, unfortunately the original is now lost. From the preamble:

...your Highnesses decided to send me, Christopher Columbus, to see those parts of India and the princes and peoples of those lands and consider the best means of their conversion.7

Wednesday, 3 October

,...his {Columbus} purpose being to journey to the indies. He says that he would be foolish to delay.8

Saturday, 6 October

That night Martin Alonso said that it would be well to sail south-west by west, and the Admiral thought that he had the island of Cipangu {Japan} in mind, and saw that if they missed it they would not so easily come to the mainland and that the best thing would be to go there first and to the islands afterwards.9

Saturday, 13 October

But in order not to waste time I wish to go and see if I can strike the island of Chipangu.{Japan again slightly different spelling}10

Wednesday, 17 October

It has rained practically every day since I have been in those Indies.11

Sunday, 21 October

After this i shall set out for another island which, according to the indications given me by the Indians whom I have aboard, must be Chipangu.{Japan}12.

In passing I shall see the others that lie between and according to whether I find a quanity of gold or spices I shall decide what to do next. But I am determined to go to the city of Quinsay {in China}, to deliver your Highnesses' letters to the Grand Khan and request his answer which I shall bring back.13

Tuesday, 23 October

I should like to depart today for the island of Colba {Cuba}, which I believe according to the indications of its size and riches given us by these people must be Chipangu.{Japan}14

Wednesday, 24 October

...for if I am to believe the indications of all those Indians and those I have on board - I do not know their language - this is the island of Chipangu {Japan} of which marvelous tales are told, and which in the globes that I have seen and on the painted map of the world appears to lie in this region.15

Sunday, 28 October

The Admiral understood that the Gran Khan's {Title of the ruler of China} ships come there and that they are large and that the mainland is ten days' journey away.16
The next material is from a letter of Columbus describing his first voyage and written on his return trip.

When I reached Cuba, I followed its north coast westwards, and found it so extensive that I thought this must be the mainland, the province of Cathay.{China}17

In this island of Hispaniola I have taken possession of a large town which is most conveniently situated for the goldfields and for communications with the mainland both here, and there in the territory of the Grand Khan, with which there will be very profitable trade.18
The next material is from a letter of Columbus describing his fourth voyage (1502-1504).

They say that Ciguare is surrounded by water, and that ten days' journey away is the river Ganges. These lands seem to lie in the same relation to Veragua as Tortosa to Fuentarabia or Pisa to Venice.19

I arrived on 13 May at the province of Mago, which borders on Cathay {China}, and from there set out to Hispaniola.20

It is said that inland in the country lying towards Cathay {China} they have gold-embroidered materials.21
The above make it quite clear where Columbus thought he was going. It is also clear that he still thought he was near Cathay (China) during his last voyage. Which is a little strange given that by this time some Europeans were talking about the Americas as not being Asia but a “New World”.

1. For more about this myth see Myth of the Flat Earth, Wikipedia Here.

2. Morison, Samuel Eliot, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1942, vol. 1, p. 45. Here are two fuller translations of the passage that Morison quotes part of:

8. Perception and experience alike inform us, that the earth we inhabit is an island: since wherever men have approached the termination of the land, the sea, which we designate ocean, has been met with: and reason assures us of the similarity of those places which our senses have not been permitted to survey. For in the east the land occupied by the Indians, and in the west by the Iberians and Maurusians, is wholly encompassed [by water], and so is the greater part on the south and north. And as to what remains as yet unexplored by us, because navigators, sailing from opposite points, have not hitherto fallen in with each other, it is not much, as any one may see who will compare the distances between those places with which we are already acquainted. Nor is it likely that the Atlantic Ocean is divided into two seas by narrow isthmuses so placed as to prevent circumnavigation: how much more probable that it is confluent and uninterrupted! Those who have returned from an attempt to circumnavigate the earth, do not say they have been prevented from continuing their voyage by any opposing continent, for the sea remained perfectly open, but through want of resolution, and the scarcity of provision.(Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, Book 1, Ch. 1, s. 8)

From Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, v. 1, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1903. Copy available from the Internet Archive Here.

8 We may learn both from the evidence of our senses and from experience that the inhabited world is an island; for wherever it has been possible for man to reach the limits of the earth, sea has been found, and this sea we call "Oceanus." And wherever we have not been able to learn by the evidence of our sense, there reason points the way. For example, as to the eastern (Indian) side of the inhabited earth, and the western (Iberian and Maurusian) side, one may sail wholly around them and continue the voyage for a considerable distance along the northern and southern regions; and as for the rest of the distance around the inhabited earth which has not been visited by us up to the present time (because of the fact that the navigators who sailed in opposite directions towards each other never met), it is not of very great extent, if we reckon from the parallel distances that have been traversed by us. It is unlikely that the Atlantic Ocean is divided into two seas, thus being separated by isthmuses so narrow and that prevent the circumnavigation; it is more likely that it is one confluent and continuous sea. For those who undertook circumnavigation, and turned back without having achieved their purpose, say that the they were made to turn back, not because of any continent that stood in their way and hindered their further advance, inasmuch as the sea still continued open as before, but because of their destitution and loneliness. (Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, Book 1, Ch.
1, s. 8)

From Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, available from LacusCurtius Here.

3. IBID, p. 78.

4. Morison, Samuel Eliot, The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages, Oxford University Press, New York, 1971, p. 38.

5. Columbus, Christopher, The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Edited by J. M. Cohen, Penguin Books, London,1969.

6. Bartolome De la Casas, who became known as defender of the Indians, and is almost the perfect choice for becoming the patron Saint of human rights was a 15th-16th century monk who is also invaluable for editing and preserving many documents related to the European discovery of the Americas. Columbus; log of his first voyage being the most important.

7. Columbus, p. 37.

8. IBID, p. 49.

9. IBID, p. 50.

10. IBID, p. 57.

11. IBID, p. 67.

12. IBID, p. 71.

13. IBID, p. 71-72.

14. IBID, p. p. 72.

15. IBID, p. 73.

16. IBID, p. 76.

17. IBID, p. 115.

18. IBID, p. 120.

19. IBID, p. 288.

20. IBID, p. 294.

21. IBID, p. 298.

Pierre Cloutier