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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Atlantis

Cable television. A wasteland of diamonds. Crap. And some things worthwhile. There's a show on, uh, TLC I think, about ghost hunters. Some tubular enthusiast with a tight teeshirt so we can see his big guns, going through abandoned death rows and insane asylums and, uh, abortion clinics at night, with infra red -- no, cuz it's green -- night-vision cameras. "Oh!" he enthuses, peering intently at a screen, "did you SEE THAT!?! It was a GHOST!! Clearly a dancing sphere of light on the screen, and a sharp echo!!! You saw it too! It was astounding!!! Are you HERE, spirit!/!!?? Are you trying to tell us a message about your existence??!e;?!?!> ? wuz ur deth paynfull!!?!!!EI??"

So we can consign Ghost Search! to the crap factory. Then there's Mystery Quest, on the History Channel. Something tonight on Jack the Ripper -- made a pretty good case for a suspect. But it was what followed. Atlantis. Two teams, one of divers, exploring the old news about the "Bimini Road", and some rectangular "storage buildings" that would have been ten feet above the 10,000 BC Caribbean coastline, now 100 feet below water. The Ice Age, don't you know. Long story short, carbon dating on the beach rock of the "road" gives a date of about 3000 BC, or maybe 1600 BC -- I forget. But 7000 years or more too young to be the artifacts of the Lost Continent of Atlantis.

Again, the "scientists" slash "explorers" were filmed staring at and commenting upon the sonar and video images of their efforts. "See that?!? It is clearly a right angle, a perfect right angle, indicating carved rocks of human construction proving Atlantis of course. And notice how regularly spaced these storage structures are! It's such a shame they are utterly covered by 10,000 years worth of coral overgrowth, which law forbids us from removing, but the sharp angles of these humanly carved blocks have nevertheless survived 12,000 years of eroding strong currents that threaten us in our dives to sweep us out into the miles-deep ocean."

I did not see right angles. I saw random formations of rocky outcroppings or displaced boulders. Hard to say which. As for the "road", it is indeed an interesting "archaeological" or geological phenomenon. Analogous to natural formations found on, say, dry lake beds. Highly ordered and regular geometric shapes. Who can say. But where does the "road" go? Has its course been mapped? I've known about it since the mid 70s, and in the ensuing 35 years we would expect this elementary question to have been pursued. How long is it? How wide? Does sonar or other testing reveal a network or a pattern? Perhaps there are answers, but the show did not give them.

The show concluded that perhaps this too-young lost civilization, if it is one, was of the descendants of the Atlantians. Sure. They survived the 9000 years of utter silence, in Bimini.

Atlantis is crap. Absolute garbage, archaeologically speaking. Neato myth, from Plato, used as a codicil to his Republic utopia, but useless as history. Nearly 2000 years followed Plato, with nothing new about Atlantis. Then Thomas Moore wrote another work about another Utopia, placed in America, called Atlantis. It's not even a theory. Theories are for testing. This was a literary myth. No problem with that, but fools later tried to make it history.

Atlantis was, as the second team on the Mystery Quest show considered, the Minoan Civilization of Crete. It is a certainty. I don't have easy access to my old, pre-internet notes, for the second volume of my reconstruction of ancient history, the first volume of which, Most Ancient Days, is partially available here online. Because I'm so generous. I may never write the second volume. But it would deal with, in part, the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Hittites and Kassites and Assyrians and Carians and Hurrians and Mitanni and Uratuans and New Kingdom Egyptians and Dorians -- well, it goes on. I'm getting a little distracted thinking about how cool it is.

Point is, the island of Thera, Santorini, was the cultic center of the Minoan religion, and it blew up volcanically about 1600 BC, leaving a caldera, ring-shaped island. The consequent tidal wave crippled the Minoan civilization on Crete, 70 miles away. We find the signs of the waves. They rebuilt, a pathetic shadow, and lasted a few hundred years more, then got wiped out again in another disaster. It's in my notes.

Plato tells us Atlantis lay beyond the Gates of Hercules. Gibraltar, right? No. There was another strait by that name, in the Aegean. Beyond which lay Crete. Plato says 9000 years. 900 years before Plato wrote, the second destruction of Crete occurred. He says Atlantis was a series of concentric islands and harbors. Thera survived as a ring-shaped island. Get it?

Pretty good memory, actually. And we can find the correctable errors. I like that. As for the UFO pyramids on Mars dudes, I get a little impatient with them. I love mysteries. I like their solutions to be rational, and to answer the evidence in the simplest way possible. You know, parsimony. Occam's Razor.

When we are young we love to speculate, but we generally have only a little actual knowledge, so we may be led to all sorts of pleasing but incorrect solutions. With maturity should come probity. We must be skeptical of even our cherished ideas. The Bimini swimmers needed someone on board who had a capacity for critical thought. The Spook Hunters ... well, they need to open a stripper bar and do their reality show about that, instead of "science."

Look. I think the world is 6000 years old, and UFO aliens are fallen angels, and demons are the shades of a hybrid cross between fallen angels and the daughters of mankind. I think there was a literal world Flood, survived by a single human family in an ark that contained the entire genome of all land-based vertebrates. I believe many ridiculous and disreputable things. Understanding that dignified things can be ridiculed, and disrepute is a fashion, not an inherent quality. Like, the Bible as history rather than metaphor. Like Jesus on a cross, dying and actually redeeming the sins of mankind. Ridiculous things, that some people honor.

The age of the world and the great questions of geology are interesting, fascinating, but secondary. Maybe Evolution is the true religion. Maybe space aliens seeded the cosmos with panspermia. Maybe there are giant faces on Mars. I could be wrong. It's important to remember what's important. But regardless of whether we're right, let's not be right only by coincidence. Let's analyze the evidence methodically, instead of being wishful-thinking clowns.

It's just embarrassing, is all, and annoying. I don't consider being annoyed to be a form of entertainment.


J

1 comment:

Will C. said...

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