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Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
i just finished a book i found quite interesting, craig, which had a lot to do with the critique of egyptology i was giving--fingerprints of the gods by graham hancock.

most people are familiar with chariots of the gods by erik von daniken, who easily attracts criticism. where von daniken is a bit of a lightweight, hancock is a heavyweight, bringing a knowledgeable education to the anomalies he tries to make sense of. he builds his case on some pretty solid facts, beginning with the piri reis map.

ever hear of that? how did a turkish admiral in the 1500s get reliable geographical information on antarctica? there are a number of other early maps as well, which show in uncanny detail features which are now under ice. these old maps have provenance. teachers of standard history/archaeology wish they didn't exist. this is what werner is talking about. the evidence is compelling.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Jan 3, 2013 - 10:41pm PT
I agree, they had great intelligence back then
But compared to today??

Jan 3, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
You are saying that it's way more important to know about the coat than the person.

Modern science has made great advancements in studying the coat and all it's attributes while completely neglecting the person (living entity).

Our materialistic science will make you happy in the future.

Meanwhile the whole fuking world is miserable.

Here ... have a nice coat, while the man in the coat is sick, from separation.

In the future.

The post dated check they've been handing out ......

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:32pm PT
hancock is proposing a timeline with an extraordinary leap backward. i'm not ready to buy everything he says, and, to his credit, he only suggests--he's not out to sweep everything away at once. but the pyramids are kind of a key element. their very immensity suggests that their builders employed forces over matter yet unknown to our modern time. there are supposedly only two cranes in the modern world capable of lifting the biggest stones.

werner's comment reminds me of things i'd always hear growing up in the boom times of the 1950s. so much progress, so many new inventions and conveniences. somehow this would translate to better living for everyone. somehow, it never did.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
Re Hancock's book...

Reception: Members of the scholarly and scientific community have described the proposals put forward in the book as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology.

And on cataclysmic pole shift hypothesis:

It is now established that true polar wander has occurred at various times in the past, but at rates of 1į per million years or less. Analysis of the evidence does not lend credence to Hapgood's hypothesized rapid displacement of layers of the Earth. Although Hapgood drastically overestimated the effects of changing mass distributions across the Earth, calculations show that changing mass distributions both on the surface and in the mantle can cause true polar wander.

All the discussion about a long-gone advanced civilization existing before the Egyptians and Mayans is interesting conjecture, but never makes it out of the realm of sci-fi and is not supported by any evidence.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
some people here seem to think we (pick your flavor) have it all pretty much figured out

whereas my personal view is that we only have access to a little carefully selected collection of pieces and various flavors of opinions constructed from them

and with very little or no concept of the big picture

obviously it would be politically convenient to accept the current establishment view of the world

it makes for an interesting intellectual exercise to step back through time in 100 year steps and look at what was the politically acceptably view of reality at each of those steps

then, as suggested earlier by Base, try to imagine what might be the accepted world view 100 years in the future...and why?...

also try to imagine just how far we are from really understanding...

(given the tiny glimpses we have from our little blue bubble)


Jan 4, 2013 - 01:36pm PT

You seem angry. Sorry, if I offended you. Nothing I wrote really mattered. We were just talking, my friend. No need to take any of it personally.

My views are the results of being an old professor. The practice of teaching and research in my field of organization, institution, and strategy (along with a little cognitive science) demanded that I go outside my field to study their contexts and how contexts change. That work has encouraged me to see capitalism inextricably tied-up with education and technology. Along the way, I took the looking glass and started to look at the very practices I found myself involved in as an academic.

Congrats on your personal decisions. None of my comments were meant to question the integrity of your decisions.

Good luck on your dissertation. :-) It's a cultural rite of passage. The point of a Ph.D. is to institutionalize you into becoming a recognized member of the Academy. Supposedly then you'll be able to do what you want to do.

Be well.

P.S. Wanna make God laugh? Make plans.

Jan 4, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
The point of a Ph.D. is to institutionalize you into becoming a recognized member of the Academy. Supposedly then you'll be able to do what you want to do

Yep. My dad (a professor) used to tell me to get my union card.


Trad climber
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
^^^ My father (a professor) pushed liberal arts and taught a course called Theories of the Good Life. I'm forever grateful my parents were of this mind. Much ado about science these days. The liberal arts man is nearly extinct. Finding a straight one without a paunch nearly impossible here in Silicon Valley.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
some people here seem to think we (pick your flavor) have it all pretty much figured out.

Quite to the contrary, most of the distance past is a complete unknown. And, while theorizing variously about how our cultures unfolded over the past 10,000 years is an interesting exercise, what isn't helpful is attempting to pass off unsupported conjecture as science. It's again a matter of having the discipline to resist a desperate urge and need to plug the voids in our knowledge with fantasy, however entertaining.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
If you want an optimistic view on the future of the human race, read Steven Pinker's 'The Better Angels of Our Nature; Why Violence Has Declined'. The gist of the book is that you can take nearly any variable having to do with violence snd show that it has declined over our history. In the end, he offers 5 possible reasons for this trend.

The leviathan (development of the State),
gentle commerce,
the expanding circle, and
the escalator of reason.

Ignorance of science, willful or not, may not be directly related to violence, but I'm betting on number 5 for the long view on that one as well.

Sport climber
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:05pm PT
Has anyone seen the movie Zeitgeist?

I have a hard time looking at the world like I used to before I watched it.

Trad climber
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
It's not an "ignorance of sciencs." Science is just one piece. Look back at Plato discussing the BALANCED human being. Enough with the science hard-on.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
Science is our attempt at understanding and describing nature. Substitute science with nature. The natural world is what the escalator of reason should help you to understand.

Social climber
the Wastelands
Jan 4, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
What's with the bashing of the science anyway?

Everyone here benefits from science, from driving a car to refrigerated foods.

Why do those who do bash science assume that we would somehow be better off without it?

I don't think they really believe that, but they do seem to leap to the irrational conclusion that those who support the scientific process also mock the "spiritual".

Science by definition does not put down or mock religion or exploring higher consciousness or spirituality.

Go ahead, ponder all day, science will be waiting for you when you are done.

Maybe what pisses some people off the most is when "science" puts forth pretty darn strong fossil "proof" that humans evolved and were not created instantly a couple thousand years ago.

Because if evolution is really true, then the first big crack appears in many organized and ritualized religion, and that rightfully scares and angers some people.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
As someone with a strong microbiology bent, I am not optimistic.

Humans show no more 'intelligence' or restraint in their reproduction rates and resource use than bacteria in a petri dish. And if humans are simply an optimal expression, or 'fruiting body' of the global pool of DNA in response to a particular set of environmental and ecological conditions which exist on the planet, then our lifestyle will continue only so long as those conditions do. I say 'lifestyle' because our continued existence matters only to us - we are otherwise wholly irrelevant to the 'well-being' and survival of the planet and the global pool of DNA.

And we have basically turned ourselves into the most abundant, consumption-ready biomass on the planet and we deliver ourselves everywhere to boot. My own opinion is that, as we extinguish species, a percentage of mammalian and vertebrate pathogen loads are not going lay down and vanish with their hosts; no, they're going to jump ship instead. And under the right circumstances, I could easily see humanity diminished by a half or two thirds of today's population numbers almost overnight by some novel pathogen trying to climb aboard our boat.

Anyway, I think emerging disease threats are far more worrisome than any human-manufactured threat.

Spread of SARS in Taiwan and beyond:

Global Mobility Network:

I'm personally thankful these folks are on the job (clickable):
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 5, 2013 - 10:29am PT
this thread could start to get interesting. don't go running off looking at boobies now.

healyje, if you had read carefully what i posted on graham hancock, you would know how admittedly controversial he is. you should also know that egyptology is perhaps the most vulnerable "science" to anyone who comes along and rocks its boat. it's easy to google up people who will dismiss hancock with a flick of their tenure-track bics, but what i defy you find is anyone who can explain, in any rational manner whatsoever, the very factual evidence which hancock tries to engage. no, they sit in their cubicles and "accept" a world full of "anomalies", leaving it for some future genius to make sense of it all. their world is so damn full of anomalies it hardly has any "noms" left. and when the geniuses come along, as they have so many times in the past, they generally get a reception just like hancock has gotten.

it's also interesting to note that a single, lonely "respectable" voice was raised in support of hapgood's work in the 1950s--that of albert einstein.

there's an old egyptian saying, which i believe might pertain here: time is the enemy of all things--but the pyramids are the enemy of time.

i hate to get cocky about infectious diseases, healyje, but what you never hear your CDC paranoids talk about is the strength, resilience and resourcefulness of the human immunity system, and how it can be cultivated and bolstered. that would detract from the paranoia. yvon chouinard has an interesting comment in his book, let my people go surfing. when he first started going to mexico to surf, he realized that he had to adapt to a different style of food, water and hygiene if he wanted to pursue his sport there. it was a rocky road at first, but he's gotten himself to the point where he can now boast that he drinks from most of the waters he fishes in and rarely gets sick. as any immunologist will tell us, it's those who only know the protected environments who are the most vulnerable. but "science" does not seem to concern itself with building immunity in new and better ways, only with insulation and paranoia.

michaeld, zeitgeist puts forth a lot of information long known in the field of mythology, but generally quite surprising to those used to the christian version of everything. it also suffers from a number of outrageous scientific inaccuracies, which made it very difficult for me to sit through the first part of it. i had so many new-age buddies that went wild when it came out, but they didn't like to be troubled with the details of science either. but i'm glad it changed your point of view.

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Jan 5, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Healyje, if you kill all the animals, you would actualy decrease the number of potentially harmful viruses or bacteria. No birtds means no bird flu pandemic ;-/
Vaccination is the best way to prevent diseases.

Tony B, self vaccination is very dengerous. Don't drink contaminated water to prime your immune system...

because yer gunna die!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 5, 2013 - 11:40am PT
...and how it can be cultivated and bolstered...

If you survive the illness. was a rocky road at first...

Meaning he was pucking and shitting at both ends at the same and wished over and over that he would die.

Sounds like a great way to live.

No, thanks. I'd rather do it the smart way.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 5, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
Thought a few of you might enjoy this from a commenter following a review of Religulous (2008), requoted by Jerry Coyne, evolutionary advocate.

Speaking truth to...

ďThe irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge having key decisions made by religious people, by irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didnít learn a lot about it. Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. Itís nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who donít have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think itís wonderful when someone says, ďIím willing, Lord! Iíll do whatever you want me to do!Ē Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas. And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you donít. How can I be so sure? Because I donít know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not. The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and thatís what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh#t dead wrong. This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you comes at a horrible price. If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, youíd resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers. If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, letís remember what the real problem was. We learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it. Thatís it. Grow up or die.Ē
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