Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary ghost story (West Point)

If you're looking for a spine-tingling ghost story for Halloween this year, look no further than the current issue of West Point magazine, published by the West Point Association of Graduates.

In a story entitled "Ghosts of West Point Past," found on pages 20 through 23, it describes the well-known story of paranormal events in the "47th Division," which every cadet hears from his classmates or upperclassmen ("The Divisions" are an older section of barracks, officially called "Scott Barracks" after General Winfield Scott, located on the west side of North Area facing east, and so named because they are designed with a single entrance leading to a series of vertical floors connected by a staircase with landings and rooms on each landing, so that each vertically-connected section is effectively divided-off from the others to its left and right; each division is numbered, and there is an additional wing folded around the back and not facing North Area, with numbers above 50, known as the "Lost 50s" -- see map detail below, from the West Point area map available online here).

This particular article, however, contains the first-hand account from Cadet John Feeley, West Point Class of 1973, which I had never actually heard before.

I will have to tell the Association of Graduates to stop sending me their quarterly magazine if it continues to contain such frightening material.

The possibility of the existence of spirits, of course, must be vehemently denied by conventional Darwinism. There is no Darwinian explanation involving gene mutation or natural selection that would explain the process of evolving something called a spirit (or at least none that most academic biologists would admit). Spirit beings have no place in a completely materialistic or "naturalistic" Darwinian worldview (see the previous discussion entitled "Supernatural or Extraterrestrial" for related musings on this topic).

The story above provides one possible explanation for the occurrence described by the cadets in October 1972: a case of sleep paralysis accompanied by hypnogogic hallucinations. This explanation raises the epistemological question of how we know anything. In other words, if our minds experience something, does that mean that it is real? If our minds can register sensations as if we were perceiving them with our sensory organs (including our eyes or the nerves in our hands and fingers), how do we know there is anything actually originating those sensory signals?

Shakespeare probed epistemological questions like these (and several much deeper epistemological questions related to them, such as how we know who we are and how solid this idea of "our identity" really is) in most of his works, including perhaps most famously Hamlet, where such questions are also initiated by the disturbing experience of seeing a ghost.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Important cross-quarter day approaching!

We're approaching another "cross-quarter day" in the earth's annual orbit around the sun. It is, in fact, the most famous of the cross-quarter days for modern cultures, due to the tradition of Halloween, which is the most famous and most actively-celebrated surviving remnant of the cross-quarter day festivals that took place to mark these important stations of the year in many ancient cultures.

We've examined the concept of cross-quarter days in previous posts such as this one. To shed some more light on the subject, and the upcoming day in particular, let's take a look at the paths of the sun through the sky as marked out by the unknown builders of the observatory at Mystery Hill, New Hampshire (in the United States).

The diagram above shows that the builders of this observatory placed stone markers at points aligning with the rising and setting of the sun on certain important days of the year, including the two solstices (the summer solstice being the point of northernmost rising and setting, and the winter solstice the point of southernmost rising and setting of the sun along the eastern and western horizons each year) and the equinox (a point between these northernmost and southernmost points, where the sun will rise and set on the two equinoxes as it passes through on its way north to the summer solstice and south the the winter solstice points each year).

As explained in the previous post discussing Mystery Hill (linked above), this site was first reported in 1826, but it was not until the 1960s that astute observers began to suspect that it contained astronomical alignments, and not until the beginning of the 1970s that they began to be demonstrated conclusively.

The diagram above is laid out such that north is upwards (and indicated by a north-seeking arrow, which the ancient builders also marked with a series of fang-shaped stones drawn in the top of the diagram, the central "tooth" being the largest and indicating north, the the auxiliary stones to either side thought to represent markers indicating the direction of Thuban, a star in Draco which was located near the celestial south pole millenia ago). East in the diagram is therefore to the right, and west to the left, and south is indicated by a stone wall drawn in the diagram which is constructed of a long thickened "wall" of stones oriented due north-south in the observatory itself.

Of course, the earth turns towards the east, meaning that the diagram above moves towards the right during the course of the earth's rotation, causing celestial objects (including the sun) to trace out pathways from right to left in the diagram -- from the east to the west. The sun will thus rise on the eastern horizon (beyond the diagram) on the right, and will do so at its northernmost point on the day of summer solstice. The rising point on that day each year is indicated by a large triangular standing stone indicated on the diagram.

During the day, as the earth turns, the sun will trace out an arc in the sky, always remaining between the observer and the southern horizon at this latitude (this fact can be understood from the next diagram below), and will then set on the western horizon at its northernmost point, marked by another impressive standing stone which is indicated on the diagram above as well.

The sun reached the summer solstice -- or, more properly, the earth reached the point in its orbit that creates the summer solstice conditions -- back in June of this year (on the 21st), discussed in this previous blog post. As earth continued on its annual track, the sun's rising point progressed southward, moving towards the fall equinox and onward towards the winter solstice.

The reason the sun's rising and setting points move along the horizon is discussed in greater detail in the Mathisen Corollary book. A brief diagram, shown below, should give some explanation. It shows the earth tilted on its axis, going around the sun on a plane that is viewed "edge-on" so that it looks like a flat horizontal line. An observer on the earth is drawn in the northern hemisphere, and as the earth rotates he will see the sun only as earth's turning brings him around to face it each day (so "day" is when facing to the right for the observer on the "left earth" at winter solstice and "day" is when facing to the left for the observer on the "right earth" at summer solstice). The angle of the sun as it arcs through the sky will be very different for the observer on the earth at right (summer solstice) than at left (winter solstice), and its rising and setting points will be as well.

Between the solstices and the equinoxes (which divide the year into four portions and were thus also known as the "quarter days"), ancient cultures also tracked intermediate stations known as the "cross-quarter days," which fall on the approximate calendar dates of August 8 (after Summer Solstice on the way towards the September Equinox, halfway between the two), November 8 (after September Equinox, halfway to the Winter Solstice), February 4 (after the Winter Solstice, on the way towards the Spring Equinox and halfway between those two stations), and May 6 (halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice).

These dates are taken from Martin Brennan's essential book, The Stars and the Stones (page 39), discussed in this previous post. Of course, just like the solstices and equinoxes, the actual calendar dates drift slightly from year to year, as the calendar gets slightly out of line with the orbiting earth and then is brought back again by the insertion of a day during the leap year).

In addition, the ceremonies and festivals associated with the cross-quarter days have generally been moved to the first of the month in Europe, so that they are now most closely associated with traditions centered around the first of August, the first of November, the first of February, and the first of May, or the day following (such as in the case of Ground Hog Day) or the night immediately before (such as Halloween).

The Celtic festivals and ceremonies associated with the cross-quarter days are Lughnasad (the early August cross-quarter day), Samhain (the early November cross-quarter day), Imbolc (the early February cross-quarter day), and Beltane (the early May cross-quarter day). These names all have various spellings and variations.

The Catholic church incorporated the cross-quarter days as Lammas (August 1), All Saint's or All Hallow's Day (November 1), and Candlemas (February 1).

The cross-quarter days were also associated with the start of the seasons of summer and winter, which is why the solstice dates were known as Midsummer and Midwinter. This website discussing the cross-quarter days aptly points out that if summer didn't start until Summer Solstice (June 21 or 22), then it would make no sense to call the summer solstice Midsummer.

That site also notes the parallels between the cross-quarter days of November and May, in that the night before each one was associated with the thinning of the barrier between the world of the living and the dead, such that both October 31st and April 30th were thought to be nights of witches and spirits. The two cross-quarters are connected in that the October-November cross-quarter marks the beginning of the darkest segment of the year (in the northern hemisphere), containing at its mid-point the winter solstice, and the April-May cross-quarter marks the beginning of the brightest segment of the year (in the northern hemisphere), containing at its mid-point the summer solstice.

Because these cross-quarter days were very important to the ancient Celts and Druids, the presence of observatories in the New World with clear markers for both the quarter days and the cross-quarter days is noteworthy. It is, of course, possible that these stone observatories are the creations of native peoples of North America, and that their marking of the cross-quarter days arose in isolation of the attention paid to the cross-quarter days in other cultures in other parts of the world.

However, this is not the only possibility, nor is it necessarily the most likely possibility, in light of other evidence of ancient trans-oceanic contact that is rarely mentioned by conventional histories (see for example the discussions here and here). It is very possible that sites such as Mystery Hill, New Hampshire were created by Celtic visitors or settlers in the New World thousands of years ago, or perhaps that the builders were influenced by relatively brief contact with ancient Celtic travelers. Since it is also possible that the Celtic culture was influenced by another ancient culture, it is also possible that another ancient culture other than a Celtic culture built or influenced the building of the sites in North America which preserve markers of the quarter days and cross-quarter days.

In any case, it is worth taking the time to understand the celestial mechanics that create the quarter days and the cross-quarter days, and how the stone observatories preserve these heavenly activities with markers on the ground. If you have access to a suitable piece of ground, you could designate a central observation point and then mark the sunrise and sunset points on the quarter and cross-quarter days for yourself. Since a significant cross-quarter day is about to arrive, this is an excellent time to start just such an observatory, if you are so inclined!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Parshah Noach

In Judaism, there are regular weekly scripture portions or passages known as parshiyot, in which the entire Torah is divided up into 54 portions to be read throughout the year.

The second of these portions is the Parshah Noach ("the portion of Noah") which covers Genesis 6:9 through 11:32, and it falls this week. That passage of scripture tells of a cataclysmic worldwide flood, the preservation of Noah and seven other people in an ark with animals and birds, and the repopulation of the world afterwards.

In previous posts, we have examined extensive evidence that a cataclysmic worldwide flood in fact did take place and that such an event in fact explains the geological evidence we find around the world better than do other theories. Much of this discussion follows the work of Dr. Walt Brown, whose book on the subject can be read online in its entirety. A partial list of the evidence we have examined includes:
  • The evidence for earth's "Big Roll" found in Antarctica, the Arctic, and 90° East Ridge. One amazing piece of evidence is the presence of unfrozen lakes trapped deep beneath the ice of Antarctica.
  • The strata found around the world.
  • The Grand Canyon and the extensive piles of petrified wood found in the same part of the world.
  • Findings of dinosaur fossils and other fossils which still contain soft tissue.
  • The presence of difficult-to-explain fossils of creatures such as jellyfish.
  • Extensive submarine canyons found all over the world which were probably carved by runoff from the flood event before they were covered up by the ocean.
  • The findings of what may be undersea ruins of human civilizations at depths that cannot be explained simply by sea level rise after an Ice Age.
  • The existence of an Ice Age in earth's past at all, which is difficult to explain with conventional theories but which is quite clearly accounted for in the conditions after a world-wide flood as postulated in the hydroplate theory.
  • Certain clues in other bodies in the solar system, including the moon, asteroids, and comets.
Additionally, there appears to be extensive evidence from ancient civilizations which can be best explained by this geological theory of a great flood, which is the subject of the Mathisen Corollary book and many other posts in this blog.

Certain clues raise the possibility that this cataclysmic flood took place only thousands of years ago rather than millions or hundreds of millions of years ago, including the presence of the soft-tissue fossils mentioned above and also the presence of ancient writings which appear to indicate first-hand human knowledge of some of the events that took place in the aftermath of the flood, including the draining of the Vale of Kashmir.

Regardless of whether you agree that such a flood took place within human memory, accepting the possibility of a global flood would cause some fairly obvious and quite severe problems to the traditional Darwinian explanation of biological origins (which is no doubt the prime reason that the very suggestion that a global flood took place on earth is vehemently denied and savagely ridiculed by conventional academia).

A global flood within the past several thousand years would cause even more severe problems for Darwinian theory.

However, we have already discussed other evidence which indicates that belief in either supernatural origins or extraterrestrial origins are more reasonable alternatives, in light of the evidence, than the storyline proposed by conventional Darwinism.

A discussion of the Jewish cycle of reading Torah portions throughout the year can be found at this website. Note that the description there begins with this very notable declaration: "Each week we read (or, more accurately, chant, because it is sung) a passage from the Torah."

Isn't that interesting? The passage is not actually read but rather it is chanted or sung! Where have we encountered that idea before?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How much time do you spend chanting praises?

In this previous post, we considered the teachings of the Hopi elders who consented to pass on their sacred traditions in the 1950s for the benefit of others, which Frank Waters and Oswald White Bear Fredericks recorded in The Book of the Hopi (1963). We saw that, according to the oral tradition, the world had been destroyed three times in the past, and that at the commencement of each new age after each successive cataclysm, the Creator gave to his people the same two commands:
First, respect me and one another. And second, sing in harmony from the tops of the hills. When I do not hear you singing praises to your Creator I will know you have gone back to evil again. 16.
What is it that is so important about singing praises to the Creator in harmony from the tops of the hills that this would be one of two strict commands, the neglect of which would bring as a consequence another world-ending catastrophe? If this command is so important, should we perhaps be paying more attention to it?

It turns out that singing praises in harmony to the Creator is held to be extremely important in other places where very ancient teachings are remembered as well. Above, we see a video of the late Swami Buaji (whom we met in this previous post). In it, he begins a very interesting chant, which contains words which can certainly be described as "singing praises to your Creator," to wit:
Relax your body!
Relax your mind!
Mentally massage your body.
Give a mental massage!
Pray to God, Almighty.
The Creator of the universe.
Pray to him to give you your long life
Your healthy life
Your disease-free body
Health and strength
Strength and stamina
Vigor and white energy (?)
Peace and prosperity
He is the doctor of doctors
He is the father of fathers
He is the architect of this human being (?)
He is the engineer of this human machine
He alone can give you whatever good you require
Therefore, pray to him
Surrender to him
Take shelter under him
Seek perfection under him
Seek asylum under him
He is the Creator
He is the protector
He is the (?)
He is the survivor
He is the sustainer
He is the preserver
He is the designer
He is the (?)
He is the requirer of all wisdom (?)
He alone can give you whatever good (?) you require
Therefore, remember him always
Forget him not
[. . .]
Not only are these words themselves noteworthy, but the tone in which they are sung or chanted is extremely noteworthy as well. They are not simply spoken, but rather intoned. The sing-song pattern of this "singing" or "chanting" appears to be important, because it is found in other ancient sacred chanting as well. Compare the pattern to the singing or chanting in the following videos.

And again here:

And here:

It appears that some people are remembering the importance of chanting (and specifically, "singing in harmony" and "singing praises to your Creator," as expressed by the Hopi elders), while many of us have forgotten it.

Without rushing to any conclusions presumptuously, it is at least possible to say that in light of all of the above, it might be wise to consider the possibility of the ongoing importance of chanting. It might also be possible to conclude that the actual language one uses is not as important as other aspects of this kind of singing -- the video of Swami Buaji indicates that it can even be done in English!

It is certainly possible that these similar patterns of expression sprang up independently around the world. On the other hand, it is also possible that they preserve some common heritage of mankind that is very ancient (we have seen previously, such as here and here, that John Anthony West provides extensive evidence that "harmonies" -- including audible harmonies -- were considered to be of great importance by the ancient Egyptians as well).

This seems to be a subject worthy of further exploration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ganges Fan, the Indus Fan, and the Great Flood

In the previous post we discussed the lengthy undersea ridge pointing towards the region of the Himalayas and how this ridge provides powerful supporting evidence for the validity of the hydroplate theory of West Point and MIT graduate Dr. Walt Brown.

The northern section of that huge ridge sits right next to another enormous geological feature which likewise supports the hydroplate theory: the massive Ganges Fan (also known as the Bengal Fan), a tremendous network of canyons carved in a pattern resembling a mighty river-system on land, but stretching across the floor of the Bay of Bengal at depths of 2000 meters to over 5000 meters beneath the surface, starting at the mouth of the Ganges and running all the way down at some points to well south of the equator, terminating in the Ceylon Abyssal Plain near the Anafasiy Nikitin Seamount.

On the other side of India, in the Arabian Sea, a similar fan can be seen emanating from the terminus of the Indus River and stretching across the entire Arabian Basin at the bottom of the Arabian Sea, at depths well in excess of 4000 meters in its southernmost regions.

The Ganges Fan can be seen in the map on this web page (labeled in French) which discusses the formation based on conventional tectonic theory, and both the Ganges Fan and the Indus Fan can be seen in the 1967 National Geographic Indian Ocean Floor Map linked in the previous post (which allows some zoom-in capability when you hover your cursor over the map itself).

These submarine canyons -- and the many others found around the world such as the Monterey Canyon discussed in this previous post, as well as those cutting into the continental shelf beyond the mouth of major rivers such as the Hudson, the Amazon, and the Congo -- pose a real difficulty for conventional geological theory, which eschews catastrophic explanations for geological features and cannot possibly admit to the possibility of a worldwide flood. These steep-sided canyons resemble those carved on land by the rushing waters of rivers, but they are beneath the ocean's surface at great depths.

The conventional explanation currently popular is that "turbidity currents" that carry mud and sediments under the sea somehow gouged out these enormous fan systems -- a fairly ridiculous explanation. Discussions of how this might work can be found on the Wikipedia entry for "submarine canyons" under the heading "formation," as well as in more scientific discussions such as the one found in this report from 2000.

Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory proposes a much more plausible explanation. After the catastrophic flood event and the sliding and buckling of the continents and the deepening of the ocean basins (particularly the Pacific Basin), flood waters rushed off of the continents towards the oceans, carving the river basins we see today on land, and pouring off the continental shelves (which were still above sea level) and carving the submarine canyons we see today as they did so.

The ocean levels were much lower then than they are today, and the continents and their continental shelves much higher -- over time, the weight of the thickened continents would cause them to sink into the crust, which had the effect of raising the sea levels by thousands of feet. We have discussed this gradual process in previous posts, as well as the fact that this theory would explain the undersea ruins -- some of them at great depths -- which explorers may have found in several places around the world (and why this explanation is superior to an explanation that relies entirely on ice-age melt).

The hydroplate explanation is clearly superior to the current attempts to explain these undersea canyons and fans using non-catastrophic mechanisms. Dr. Brown highlights some of the problems with the current roster of non-catastrophic explanations in this page of his online version of his book:
Submarine Canyons. The ocean floor has hundreds of canyons, some that exceed the Grand Canyon in both length and depth. One submarine canyon is ten times longer (2,300 miles), so long it would stretch nearly across the United States. Many of these V-shaped canyons are extensions of major rivers. Examples include the Amazon Canyon, Hudson Canyon, Ganges Canyon, Congo Canyon, and Indus Canyon. How were canyons gouged out, sometimes 15,000 feet below sea level? Did ancient rivers (or major drainage paths) cut these canyons when sea level was lower or the ocean floor was higher? If so, why did those elevations change? Swift rivers supposedly cut most continental canyons. However, currents measured in submarine canyons are too slow, generally less than one mile per hour. Frequently, the flow is in the wrong direction. Submarine landslides that produce dense, muddy currents sometimes occur. However, they would not form the long, tributary patterns that characterize river systems and submarine canyons. Furthermore, experiments with thick, muddy water in submarine canyons have not demonstrated any canyon-cutting ability.
Note that these submarine canyons which were carved by floodwaters rushing off of the rising continents are very different from oceanic trenches, which pose different problems for tectonic theorists and which Dr. Brown addresses on that page and on following pages as well.

Few people in the general public are even aware of the existence of these massive submarine canyons, or of the networks of canyons such as the Indus Fan and the Ganges Fan (aka the Bengal Fan). However, they are yet another in a long list of geological clues which indicate fatal problems with the reigning non-catastrophic theories of earth's past.

Monday, October 24, 2011

90° East Ridge

The Mathisen Corollary book explores the ramifications of the groundbreaking hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown to the abundant evidence from human archaeology and mythology that mankind's ancient past is very different than we have been taught in school.

Dr. Brown's theory explains earth's geology through a catastrophic flood rather than through the gradual processes that were proposed in the late 1700s and began to gain ground throughout the early 1800s, and which became hardened into dogma following the rapid acceptance of Darwin's theories in the second half of the 1800s.

As we have pointed out in many previous posts, the geological and astronomical evidence supporting the hydroplate theory is overwhelming in its volume and in its diversity -- for links to previous discussions see this post or this post.

One of the aspects of Dr. Brown's theory that is extremely important for any examination of the evidence left by mankind's most ancient civilizations is the fact that his theory argues that the earth experienced a slow but massive roll in the aftermath of the violent events surrounding the catastrophic flood of antiquity.

He proposes that the continents of today slid to their current positions after the initial rupture of the earth's crust that caused the flood and that is still evidenced by the mid-Atlantic ridge which can be seen as a light-colored scar that snakes down the center of the Atlantic in the image above, echoing the contours of Europe and Africa to the east and North and South America to the west. When these continental plates ground violently to a halt, great mountain ridges were formed (just as ridges would be formed in the hood of a truck if you drove it into a brick wall).

The largest and thickest of these ridges contains the Himalayas, and the weight of this massive new clump on the side of the earth would have actually unbalanced the earth. The principles of physics would dictate that the Himalayas would have wanted to migrate towards the equator, due to the principle of centrifugal force (just as a rock spun on a string over your head will want to pull straight outwards, so too the Himalayas wanted to spin around the equator rather than around a point on the northern hemisphere well above the equator).

The force pulling the Himalayas towards the equator initiated the roll of the earth. Evidence that such a roll took place is manifest in several geological features around the world, the most dramatic of which include fossil evidence in Antarctica which reveals that the southern continent was not always at the latitudes of the south pole. We discussed this evidence and the reasons that the hydroplate theory explains it much more satisfactorily than the current plate tectonic explanations in this previous post. Similarly, the "big roll" initiated by the Himalayas pulled lands that were further south to latitudes that were much further north, including the islands now known as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, as we discuss in this previous post.

However, there was a countervailing force which prevented the Himalayas from rolling all the way to the equator, and which moderated the roll so that it did not go as far as it otherwise would have, and that countervailing force was the equatorial bulge, as Dr. Brown explains on this page of his online version of his book (particularly in the discussion accompanying Figure 78, about 3/4ths of the way down the page).

He explains that the more the Himalayas pulled towards the equator, the more the equatorial bulge was displaced from the new line of the equator, creating a new centrifugal force vector on the bulge that wanted to pull it back towards the new equatorial region (because of the same "rock on a string pulls directly outwards" principle that we explained before as acting on the Himalayas). The spinning of the earth pulled the particles at the new equator outwards, in effect "shifting" the equatorial bulge upwards towards the new equator where it belongs.

Dr. Brown explains that each incremental shift of the bulge reduced the force vector countervailing the Himalayas, allowing them to shift towards the equator again, which then shifted the equatorial bulge out of stasis again, causing it to shift back towards the equator as well, and this process went on until stasis was reached. Geological evidence indicates that the total roll was 35°–45° of latitude.

Dr. Brown points to an important piece of additional geological evidence which supports this explanation of events, which is a long straight ridge at the bottom of the Indian Ocean known as 90° East Ridge, because of its location on the 90° East line of longitude. This ridge was formed because, as the equatorial bulge shifted incrementally back towards the equator, it actually ripped the crust, causing it to split apart as it "inched" its way along, like a pair of jeans that are too tight! Dr. Brown explains, "Magma quickly flowed up into this rip, which eventually grew 3,000 miles long and is today called Ninety East Ridge."

Because the Himalayas were further north than they are today, the equatorial bulge directly below them was shifted southward when the Himalayas tried to roll towards the point of "straight out" centrifugal force (the equator). Thus, the equatorial bulge south of the equator was trying to move back northwards (on the other side of the globe, the roll of initiated by the Himalayas would have caused the equatorial bulge to be north of the new equator and the "hoop" of this equatorial bulge on that side of the earth would have been trying to get back southwards).

Notably, Ninety East Ridge runs north-and-south and points towards the Himalayas -- powerful confirmation for this explanation of its origin. It thus would have been a rip that started at the southernmost point and moved northwards, as the equatorial bulge below the Himalayas was displaced to the south by the roll and then worked its way back northwards.

Conventional explanations for this long straight ridge (which begins at latitude 40° South and goes all the way to latitude 14° north) include a stationary "hot spot" of magma which spurted out a line of molten rock as a plate moved over it, leaving the long straight ridge we see today. Another explanation proposes that it is a remnant of a line of volcanoes marking a breakup of tectonic plates at some point in the distant past, perhaps in the Mesozoic. However, both of these theories are very dubious in light of the fact that there are numerous parallel ridges on either side of 90° East Ridge, which are explained far better by the "ripping crust" theory proposed by Dr. Brown due to the distortion created by the shifting equatorial bulge than by any explanations the tectonic adherents have put forward.

90° East Ridge can be seen in the diagram above, marked by a white arrow at its southern point. For a more detailed depiction, you can visit this beautiful 1967 National Geographic map of the Indian Ocean Floor, which allows you to hover your cursor over the map itself for a zoomed-in close-up of the artist's depiction of the geophysical bathymetry.

Dr. Brown writes that "Earth’s slow roll after the flood would have changed the paths of the Sun and stars across the sky. Attempts to measure those irregularities may have led to the construction of ancient observatories such as Stonehenge."

I agree completely with that observation, and believe that the big roll of the earth is one of the most important aspects of the hydroplate theory for its implications on the evidence left to us by the extremely advanced ancient civilization (or civilizations) that influenced other ancient cultures around the world. The evidence for such an event is extensive. The subtle clue contained in 90° East Ridge at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, pointed directly at the Himalayas, should not be overlooked.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Ka Mate haka

It's time for the Rugby World Cup championship match, which will take place on Sunday, October 23, at 9 pm in New Zealand (1 am California time) between the All-Blacks of New Zealand and the national team of France, sometimes referred to as les bleus. The World Cup is only held every four years, and this year's matchup finds the same two nations competing as those that met in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

The All-Blacks will of course perform their famous haka immediately before the match. The haka is a traditional Maori ritual dance with chanting, conveying the ultimate resolve in the face of a challenger or enemy. It features ferocious facial expressions including opening the eyes wide and sticking out the tongue, as well as deep stances, the slapping of the thighs and chest, and stamping the feet.

This website cites a quotation from Alan Armstrong's 1964 book Maori Games and Hakas: Instructions, Words and Actions describing the haka in this way:
The Haka is a composition played by many instruments. Hands, feet, legs, body, voice, tongue, and eyes all play their part in blending together to convey in their fullness the challenge, welcome, exultation, defiance or contempt of the words. It is disciplined, yet emotional.
In an article on his website Ancient Celtic New Zealand, Martin Doutré makes some extremely interesting observations about the similarities between the stylized facial expressions and deep stances of the haka and the Egyptian god Bes, a lion-headed god who was a protector of gateways, doorways, and especially of mothers, women and children. Surviving statuary indicates that Bes was short, bow-legged, and often depicted with wide bulging eyes and a protruding tongue.

Mr. Doutré explains the similarities:
The dancer, to this day, assumes a squat or bow-legged position and stomps the ground with all the force he can muster, slapping the thighs, rolling bulged out eyes, chanting ferociously while grimacing and poking-out the tongue. The fearsome display is designed to let any challenger know that there will be no quarter given and that unwarranted incursion will be met with ferocity unto death. This was the role of Bes, the unflinching, uncompromising protector of women and children. The male hakas of yesteryear, within living memory, were commenced low, at ground level, on one knee to accentuate the diminutive size of the dwarf god or to imitate his portrayed design on the Hei-Tiki pendant. In recent years the haka form that New Zealanders and the rest of the world have become most acquainted with is the one performed by the All Blacks football team.
Now, the fact that it is a little lion-headed god who was considered the guardian of portals and gates and of women and children is quite interesting as well. It is a historical fact that sculptured lions are found guarding gateways and doorways from very ancient times -- and not only in the Old World but even it seems in the Americas, where lions with manes were supposedly unknown!

In Sacred Science: the King of Pharaonic Theocracy, the profound R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887 - 1961) theorizes as to the reason that lions have been gate-guardians since ancient times:
Examining the various essential themes, we note that during the entire historical period of Egypt, the sun was situated in Leo for the heliacal rising of Sirius. This is why the ancients, as early as the Fifth Dynasty, fashioned the temple gargoyles in the form of a lion head, a fact that seems to confirm their knowledge of the zodiac. 92.
(For an explanation of the concept of the "heliacal rising of Sirius" see this previous post). Now, this observation of de Lubicz is extremely interesting in light of the actual words expressed in the haka, which can be seen subtitles provided in the video above. In the haka performed in the video (from the All Blacks prior to a match in 2004) the chanted words are given in the video as follows:
Listen up with your ears!
Prepare yourself!
Hands on hips, bend the knees!
Slap the hands against the thighs!
Stamp the feet as hard as you can!
As hard as you can.
I die! I die! I live! I live!
This is the hairy man
Who fetched the Sun
And caused it to shine again.
One upward step!
Another upward step!
An upward step, another . . . the Sun shines!
Rise / Dawn.
These words certainly seem to indicate that this particular haka, often referred to as the Ka Mate ("I die") has celestial meaning under the surface. The website linked above which discusses the origins of the Ka Mate explains it as the memorialization of an actual Maori event involving a chieftain in the early 1800s escaping from his enemies by hiding in a kumara pit (here's the link again).

While that explanation is certainly possible, it doesn't really explain the elements of the chant that clearly refer to the rising sun. The sun is very prominent in the haka, which ends dramatically with the sun's rising or dawning. The fact that Schwaller de Lubicz believed that the sun's rising in Leo on the date of the heliacal rising of Sirius is connected with the concept of lions (or lion-headed gargoyles, which certainly describes Bes) guarding gates, and the fact that Martin Doutré believes that the protective activity of Bes is connected with the motions and expressions of the haka, would appear to indicate that these solar references in the Ka Mate chant may well have something to do with celestial symbolism.

There is also the striking line in the haka which says, "This is the hairy man / Who fetched the Sun / And caused it to shine again." The story that this refers to the Maori chieftain's rescuer, who helped save the chieftain's life by hiding him in a kumara pit, seems a little strained as an explanation for a hairy man who fetches the sun and causes it to shine again.

It seems especially unsatisfactory in light of the fact that there are very powerful mythological traditions of a "hairy man" or a "hairy twin" found throughout the world and stretching back to very ancient times. For some discussion of these, see the previous post entitled "Gemini, Canis Minor and the Hairy Twin." That discussion notes that the "hairy man" appears in the epic of Gilgamesh (Enkidu is the hairy man), in the book of Genesis (Esau), and in the mythology of Japan and of the Cherokee people of North America.

Note that the hairy man is associated with the constellation Gemini (the Twins) as discussed in that post, and that this constellation is very close to the constellation of Leo the Lion that we have seen may somehow be connected to the haka. They will actually be higher in the sky above the head of the Lion when the sun is rising in Leo, which could be the explanation for this concept of the Hairy Man fetching the sun.

Arguing against this explanation is the fact that Cancer the Crab is actually directly next to the Lion and precedes it in the sky, but it is much fainter than the Twins. However, as we have seen from the painting known as "The Panel of the Wounded Man" in the Cave of Lascoux, if that panel is actually a celestial diagram (and I believe it is very likely that it is), it depicts the stars of Leo (in the tail of the Rhino), then the leaning man (the "Wounded Man") drawn using two parallel lines who depicts the constellation Gemini, then the charging Bull who represents Taurus. Cancer is not present. There is a significant bird on a pole in that diagram-- this could perhaps be connected with the star Procyon, but it is not in the correct location to be Cancer.

Therefore, it would seem that we can use this painting as supporting evidence for our theory that the Hairy Man who "fetches the sun and makes it rise" is connected with the Hairy Twin who is associated with the constellation Gemini, especially if the haka really has a connection to the sun rising in the constellation Leo.

Even if you do not buy this possible explanation, it is pretty clear that there is a lot in the haka that is worth careful study and consideration. It certainly appears to contain ancient knowledge and celestial references that were known by the Maori of previous centuries. Whether it also contains evidence that this knowledge is connected to the ancient knowledge of the Egyptians (knowledge which might also have been preserved by the Cherokee, the Japanese, and other cultures around the world) is a matter for debate. We should probably not be too quick to dismiss the possibility.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Orionid meteor shower

The earth has reached a special point on its orbit, a point it passes through every year at about this time, when the Orionid meteor shower is visible.

The Orionids are not as spectacular as the Perseids in August, numbering around 30 per hour in contrast with the almost one hundred-per-hour that the Perseids can muster, but they are remarkable for three reasons.

First, they can be seen to radiate from a point near the constellation Orion, one of the most recognizable and dramatic constellations in the night sky, and one which plays a very important role in ancient mythology (see this previous post for more detail).

Second, the Orionid meteor streaks themselves are dramatic, often having long tails and exhibiting distinctive colors before they burn up.

Finally, the space debris that causes the Orionid showers (burning up in the earth's atmosphere as our globe plows through the debris field) is left by one of the most famous denizens of the solar system: Halley's Comet.

To understand why we encounter this particular debris at this particular point in our orbit each year, and why it is associated with the constellation Orion, visit this previous post entitled "Meteor shower tonight, and why they have calendar-dates and constellation names."

The diagram above (admittedly a rather rough sketch) may help in conceptualizing the Orionids. As earth makes its annual circuit around the sun, different constellations are seen in the night sky by observers when the daily rotation on the axis turns them away from the sun (although those constellations that are "on the ceiling" in the direction of the north pole for those in the northern hemisphere, or "on the floor" in the direction of the south pole for those in the southern hemisphere, are visible at night year-round).

As earth began approaching the point where Orion would become seen again, he was first visible rising in the east just prior to the sun rise: look at the diagram above, note the direction the earth is turning around its axis, and envision Orion being revealed just above the eastern horizon right before the turning revealed the sun. However, as earth progressed, he rose above the eastern horizon a bit earlier each 24-hour period, and he is now making his way pretty far across the sky before the turning of the earth brings the sun back up to drown out the night stars.

As earth progresses around its path, it runs into various clouds of debris left by comets and other phenomena, and each October it reaches the trail of particles left by the famous comet Halley (for more on the importance of comets as clues to the geology of the earth, see the discussion in this post, and the other posts referenced in that one). Because of the angle that the earth plows into this field, the stars in the background for an observer gazing into the heavens looking for meteors happen to be the stars of Orion, as shown in the drawing (of course, Orion's stars would be very far "into" the surface of the drawing; he looks too close in this drawing because to make his stars easy to see I had to draw them big -- he would look farther away if his stars were drawn as tiny dots but then you might not notice them very easily).

The path of Halley's Comet and the debris that it leaves is shown by a cloudy trail of dots in the above diagram. Note that the earth crosses through this track of debris again in late April / early May, when Halley's dust is again responsible for a meteor shower, this one seen with Aquarius in the background, giving rise to that meteor shower's name, the Eta Aquariid shower. The Eta Aquariids also have tails with colorful streaks just as the Orionids do.

One thing to note that doesn't come out perfectly clearly in the rough sketch is the fact that Halley's comet has a path which is not on the same plane that the earth and the other planets follow (it is not on the ecliptic plane). Its plane comes "up" from the south pole side of earth, goes around the sun, and then exits back "down" towards the direction that the south pole is pointing, not at a 90° angle to our ecliptic plane but at a shallower angle of attack, as shown in this helpful diagram.

Here are a couple of articles that explain how to view the Orionids this weekend:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some implications of recent studies on the plasticity of the brain

Today, several news outlets -- from NPR to the Wall Street Journal -- published discussions about new scientific studies showing that IQ test scores can change radically throughout one's lifetime, possibly in response to activities and choices that one makes.

Rarely mentioned in these discussions is the possibility that this research demonstrates what an wrong-headed concept the entire IQ test really is, and how it is really one of the centerpieces of the Darwinian revolution that took over England and the United States during the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. It should be fairly obvious that IQ tests, which flatten the varied and unique gifts that individuals are given by their Creator to a one-dimensional measurement of "intelligence quotient" is Darwinian in its very nature, and encourages reducing people to numbers and stratifying them according to their potential.

One of the pioneers of the idea of quantifying human potential in terms of intelligence tests was Darwin's half-cousin Francis Galton, whom we have met before. Galton was a major figure in the eugenics movement and it is a fact of history that the IQ test was a primary tool of the eugenics movement and was used as the basis for the forcible sterilization of women in the United States.

If the distasteful history of the IQ test (rarely mentioned by the media) does not completely discredit it, these new findings should cast further doubt on its value. The fact that "intelligence quotient" can increase (or decrease) can, of course, be viewed as hopeful information, spurring us to take steps to keep our brains moving in the right direction, but really the entire idea that you can put a number on intelligence is questionable at best. At least this new study should prevent the test from being used to permanently categorize someone's potential, the way it regrettably has in the past.

A more interesting study revealing the distinct possibility that our habits and practices can have positive effects on our minds is the ongoing work by some neuroscientists scanning the brainwave activity of those who have spent tens of thousands of hours in meditation, specifically Buddhist monks.

For years, Professor Richard Davidson and other neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (and elsewhere) have been testing the possibility that disciplines such as meditation can actually change the brain. This article from 2004, entitled "Scans of Monks' Brains Show Meditation Alters Structure, Functioning," says that when the brain activity of novices with little experience meditating and the brain activity of monks who had spent more than 10,000 hours in meditation were measured during an exercise in meditation, the monks "showed a dramatic increase in high-frequency brain activity called gamma waves."

This article on the same subject from Wired magazine implies that emotions such as empathy, compassion and love can actually be trained and strengthened on purpose, with real results. It says:
The monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times as strong as the students'. In addition, larger areas of the meditators' brains were active, particularly in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions.

Davidson realized that the results had important implications for ongoing research into the ability to change brain function through training. In the traditional view, the brain becomes frozen with the onset of adulthood, after which few new connections form. In the past 20 years, though, scientists have discovered that intensive training can make a difference. For instance, the portion of the brain that corresponds to a string musician's fingering hand grows larger than the part that governs the bow hand -- even in musicians who start playing as adults. Davidson's work suggested this potential might extend to emotional centers.

But Davidson saw something more. The monks had responded to the request to meditate on compassion by generating remarkable brain waves. Perhaps these signals indicated that the meditators had attained an intensely compassionate state of mind. If so, then maybe compassion could be exercised like a muscle; with the right training, people could bulk up their empathy.
Notably, the same article later quotes a speech given by the current (14th) Dalai Lama to a group of neuroscientists in Washington DC, saying that in the speech he expressed the importance of compassion in our everyday lives. The article's author says:
He's especially concerned that researchers are not paying enough attention to the development of "warmheartedness." Like charity, this quality begins at home. "Come home and be with your wife, your husband, or your children," he beseeches the assembled neuroscientists, "and feel happy!"
This appears to imply that the Dalai Lama perceives the practice of "warmheartedness" to be a discipline that benefits from daily practice!

While there is no Darwinian standardized test for measuring "warmheartedness quotient," it would seem that these statements (and the results of Professor Davidson's research) imply that this capacity can be increased throughout our lives as well (or, more disturbingly, that it can be decreased too).

This is a finding that is at least as important as the finding that IQ (if there really is such a thing as IQ) can change through life, and one that we can put to practical daily use much more easily. Of course, Dr. Davidson's research also implies that meditation might be a discipline that -- while forgotten and neglected much of the modern world -- is vitally important.

Is it only coincidence that the wisdom of the Hopi elders passed down through the centuries indicates that chanting (which forms a central part of many forms of Tibetan meditation -- see for example this video clip) was seen as a vital daily activity and that failure to practice it was symptomatic of falling into evil deeds and hatred of others? As we saw in this earlier discussion, Hopi legend relates that the Creator told the people "sing in harmony from the tops of the hills. When I do not hear you singing praises to your Creator I will know you have gone back to evil again."

While there is nothing inherently wrong with trying to improve one's ability to learn, is it not possible that our modern obsession with "intelligence quotient" and all that it implies, and our pursuit of anything that can help us "get an edge" over others in a "dog-eat-dog world" (in other words, the fruits of the modern religion of Darwinism) have eclipsed a focus on other aspects of our humanity that we should be exercising as well?

Special thanks to Mrs. MDS for sharing these articles about the monks with me during our West Point reunion a few weeks back.

Go have a look at the Pleiades!

If you make a habit of going out for a walk to look at the stars at about the same time each evening, you will begin to notice over the course of a few months how the sky changes slowly through the seasons as a result of the earth's ongoing progress in its orbit around the sun (explained here using the metaphor of the walls of your dining room at home).

Currently, the stars rising in the east in the evening before midnight include some distinctive and easily-recognized constellations, and best of all the beautiful Pleiades, one of the most famous and most important star clusters in the sky (important because of their prominent role in ancient mythology and astronomy).

You can easily locate the Pleiades in the evening hours, rising in the east and clearly visible well above the horizon by 9 pm (currently rising above the horizon just before 7 pm in latitude 35o north). To find them, it is advisable to first locate Cassiopeia, which is the "W-shaped" constellation that circles the north star opposite the Big Dipper and which should be fairly easy to find in the east (between the hours of 8 pm and midnight in the northern hemisphere, it will be oriented as shown below in the drawing).

Once you have located Cassiopeia, then proceed to the constellation Perseus, which will be oriented as shown in the diagram above for viewers in the northern hemisphere (remember, he is rising in the east and thus looks horizontal as he rises, straightens up as he crosses the zenith, and then becomes more horizontal as he sets -- Orion does the same thing). You may not be able to recognize all the stars show above in the Perseus diagram, but you should be able to make out the main trapezoidal stars of his body and probably his arms and maybe his legs as well (on a clear night). For more discussion of the constellation Perseus, see this previous post.

Once you have located Perseus rising, you are ready to find the Pleiades. They are very close to his lower foot, and when he is horizontal like this they are on his same level (once he straightens up he will be above them and above the constellation of Taurus the Bull, which is important for the analysis of the ancient Mysteries of Mithras offered by Professor David Ulansey and discussed here; for more detail check out his excellent book Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World).

The Pleiades are a beautiful silvery cloud when viewed with the naked eye (depending on your vision, you may be able to make out several of the individual stars of the Pleiades). However, they are even more breathtaking when viewed through binoculars. The diagram at the very top of this post shows about what you can see with an ordinary set of binos, except that it will be far more beautiful. The names of each Pleiad are identified in the illustration, as are the locations of their parents, Atlas and Pleione.

Now is a fantastic time of year to go find the Pleiades. The moon is rising later and later each night and currently does not come onto the scene until just after midnight at latitude 35o north, so late evening after 8 pm gives you several hours to observe the dazzling array of stars in the eastern night sky.

Currently, the brilliant planet Jupiter is rising in the east at roughly the same time as the Pleiades, and is shown in the diagram above. Also, much higher in the sky and indicated in the diagram, look for the Great Square of Pegasus, discussed in this previous post.

You absolutely owe it to yourself to go out and spend some time enjoying the beautiful Pleiades this week. They are spectacular.

Bring along a pair of binoculars (some tips for using binoculars to observe celestial objects can be found here).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peter Tosh, 1944 - 1987

October 19 is the birthdate of Peter Tosh, born on this date in 1944, and murdered on September 11, 1987.

For some reason, he is not as well known as Bob Marley, although he was equally important in the formation of the Wailers and in the development of the musical genre of reggae. Peter Tosh played guitar for the Wailing Wailers (later renamed the Wailers) and with their important albums Catch a Fire and Burnin' in 1973. His unmistakable vocals can be heard as the lead in the well-known Wailers songs "400 Years" and "Stop That Train," as well as in certain parts of "Get Up, Stand Up" and in the background of many others.

He began a successful solo career in 1974, releasing his debut album Legalize It in 1976, which is his most well-known compilation, but it was followed by six more solid albums filled with track after track of inspired songwriting.

He was killed during an invasion of his home in 1987 under suspicious circumstances: he was often the target of government harassment in his home country of Jamaica for his vocal assaults on corruption, thuggery, oppression, inflation, and restriction of freedom.

The themes which are never far from the surface of reggae music and Rastafari include the oppression and enslavement of one group (in this case Africans) based on race and prejudice, which provides an intersection with the topics discussed in this blog in that the elevation of one tribe, race, or ethnicity over another may historically be the most potent destroyer of civilization and harmony, and may well have played a part in the loss of the advanced knowledge of the ancients, much of which has never been recovered. On the other hand, there is evidence that harmony between peoples of all the so-called races may have prevailed in the ancient periods of greatest achievement (see here for some evidence of that, as well as this post for a discussion of the fact that the entire concept of "races" of man is fallacious).

Below are a few samples from the outstanding body of musical art produced by this gifted singer and songwriter. You owe it to yourself to become familiar with all of his albums, as well as the compilations which contain songs that were not included in his seven main albums.

When Peter Tosh was brutally killed, the world lost a creative genius. But his voice and message live on.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If the ancients really knew so much, why didn't they just come right out and say it?

Readers of this blog or the Mathisen Corollary book might be asking themselves, "Why would the ancients hide advanced scientific knowledge in mythology? If they really knew all the things you claim that they knew, why didn't they just come right out and say so?"

Well, for the past several days we have been launching discussions from some of the excellent analysis of Robert Temple in his Sirius Mystery (as well as briefly discussing his latest contribution about the Sphinx of Giza). While not necessarily agreeing with all of his conclusions, it is clear that he has a lot to offer and deserves a lot of credit for advancing the knowledge available to us all in many ways with his work over the years.

When it comes to the question of why the ancients chose to pass down their knowledge inside of myths that had great literary merit in their own right and which were so full of human drama and intrinsic interest that they would be told for generations (right up to our own times!) without any knowledge that they might contain hidden messages about the paths of the stars and planets, Robert Temple provides some valuable insights. First, he articulates a theory that others have made before, which is that by doing so, the authors of these myths could "incentivize" others to pass them on -- because they were such irresistible stories, they would be passed right along in total ignorance of their true meaning.

Beyond this, however, he makes another very good point, which is that ancient cultures were often quite "totalitarian" in nature (my word, not his, with apologies for importing a not-entirely-appropriate modern word, but doing so in order to make a point), structured in such a way that a new regime could completely obliterate knowledge that had been passed down for ages, simply by killing off those who knew it, or by some slightly less violent but equally final form of censorship. In his "Author's Note" at the beginning of his book, Robert Temple says:
It is important that this strange material be placed before the public at large. Since learning was freed from the tyranny of the few and opened to the general public, through first the invention of printing and now the modern communications media and the mass proliferation of books and periodicals and more recently the 'paperback revolution,' any idea can go forth and plant the necessary seeds in intellects around the world without the mediation of any panel of approval or the filtering of a climate of opinion based on the currently accepted views of a set of obsolescent individual minds.

How difficult it is to keep in mind that this was not always the case. No wonder, then, that before such things were possible, there were secret traditions of priests which were handed down orally for centuries in unbroken chains and carefully guarded lest some censorship overtake them and the message be lost. In the modern age, for the first time secret traditions can be revealed without the danger that they will be extinguished in the process.
Robert Temple raises an excellent point in the above. The only point of disagreement might be his concluding sentence, which appears to presume that civilization and progress as we know it cannot possibly collapse into barbarism and backwardness -- an assumption that should be hard to maintain in light of the evidence he finds for extremely ancient and advanced knowledge that was later obliterated in almost every corner of the globe for many centuries (see discussions on this subject here and here).

John Anthony West has even more to say on the subject and adds yet another dimension in his indispensable book Serpent in the Sky, in which he argues that advanced knowledge of harmonics, resonance, and proportion (such as that apparently in use by the ancient Egyptians) can be used for evil and for reducing its targets to abject despair, and thus such information should not be scattered abroad lightly, even today. We discuss this angle in this previous blog post entitled "Mild but persistent torture." Mr. West's analysis suggests yet another reason why the ancients would want to encode their advanced knowledge and keep it from being understood by anyone but those carefully screened and allowed in to the circle of the initiated.

All of this may strike a familiar chord with readers familiar with the New Testament, particularly passages such as the parables of Christ, in which the disciples are given the explanation and told that the true meaning will not be given to all of the hearers. After hearing the famous parable of the sower in Luke 8, for instance, the disciples asked Christ, "What might this parable be?" In verse 10 we read: "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."

The parallel event in Matthew 13 is even more explicit. This time, the disciples come and ask a slightly different question, "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?" In verses 11 and following, the answer given is: "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

These verses are strongly suggestive of the same approach that we have been discussing. This subject clearly bears careful consideration. I will leave it to the theologians to explain why these rather stark statements are given to the disciples after the parable of the sower.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Supernatural or extraterrestrial?

In the previous posts discussing the knowledge of the Dogon (see here, here, and here), we made the point that the knowledge apparently preserved by the Dogon poses an enormous dilemma for conventional naturalistic explanations of humanity's ancient past.

We argued that such knowledge could be explained by invoking the supernatural, or it could be explained by invoking the extraterrestrial, but that it was very troubling to what we might call the "conventional naturalistic" narrative that dominates the education of children, which tries to explain all of human history without having to resort to either one (most 4th grade teachers in the US would not teach their class that alien contact was necessary to explain some of the knowledge or artifacts found in history and preserved around the world, and most university professors probably would not either).

Advocates of the conventional naturalistic framework generally either deny that Dogon art and tradition is actually referring to objects such as Sirius B (a white dwarf too small and too dim to see without advanced astronomical technology, due to its proximity to the extremely bright Sirius A) and the four largest moons of Jupiter (also too far away to perceive with the naked eye, although they are called the Galilean moons of Jupiter because they can be seen with telescopes such as the one Galileo used to observe them and report them in the period 1609-1610). Either that, or they argue that modern astronomical knowledge was somehow conveyed to the Dogon and the Dogon absorbed it so deeply into their most sacred and secret traditions that it appeared to be their own even though it was not.

However, as Robert Temple demonstrates with ample evidence in his book the Sirius Mystery, refuting the Dogon is not sufficient to get past this issue, because it appears that ancient civilizations knew much more about Sirius than the conventional narrative would like to admit, as well as about the size and shape of the earth itself -- in fact, he demonstrates that ancient civilizations including the ancient Egyptians may have been the original source of the Dogon traditions.

We have discussed other evidence that appears to point to the conclusion that ancient cultures knew about the size and shape of the earth at a very early date -- prior to the construction of the Great Pyramid, for example, and perhaps prior to the construction of Stonehenge as well (see this previous post).

It would seem that one could explain such extremely advanced ancient knowledge by resorting to a theory about ancient extraterrestrial contact, or by resorting to a theory of supernatural creation of the human race (ie, mankind did not crawl upwards into civilization from extremely primitive ancestors but was relatively advanced almost immediately if not immediately). There may be other possibilities beyond the supernatural or the extraterrestrial routes, but the conventional Darwinian explanation seems to have some problems with extremely advanced ancient knowledge in the very earliest civilizations that we know about.

The conventional Darwinian worldview has another existential problem which we have discussed previously as well, and that is the fact that Darwinian evolution relies on self-replicating molecules, which makes it very difficult to explain where self-replicating molecules came from in the first place (you can't simply say that "self-replicating molecules evolved," since the mechanism for evolving requires them to be present already). As even the arch-defender of Darwinism Professor Richard Dawkins has admitted, it may be necessary to resort to extraterrestrials to explain the original source for self-replicating molecules here on earth. Others, including those in the "intelligent design" movement, have resorted to a supernatural explanation. In other words, when it comes to the origin of self-replicating molecules, conventional naturalism (we might call it "naturalism without extraterrestrials") is at a similar impasse to that raised by the extensive evidence of advanced ancient scientific knowledge, and the main choices today appear to be some supernatural explanation or some extraterrestrial explanation.

Some people are quite comfortable with supernatural explanations for the above-mentioned thorny problems. Many, however, would prefer to stick to naturalistic explanations, which may explain the rise in interest in extraterrestrial theories in recent decades. It is clear to many people that the conventional naturalistic explanation is bankrupt -- it stubbornly refuses to deal with so very much evidence, or to deal with the evidence in such an unsatisfactory way, that an alternative must be sought. For those who wish to avoid a supernatural explanation, extraterrestrial contact can provide a solution. We might call it "naturalism with extraterrestrials," since it is naturalistic in seeking to avoid an explicitly supernatural explanation.

However, as you might have already observed yourself when it comes to the question of where the first self-replicating molecule came from, the extraterrestrial solutions only push the question back in time and out to another part of the universe. Saying that self-replicating molecules might have come to earth from aliens doesn't help us understand how the self-replicating molecules that supposedly enabled the evolution of those aliens came about themselves (unless they came from still earlier aliens!).

There is also something of an evolutionary timeline problem if you keep pushing things back to successive generations of aliens. Scientists who believe in the Big Bang theory (which has its own set of king-sized problems, as we discussed in this previous post) generally say that it took place 13.7 billion years ago. Then, according to that theory, there was some amount of time required for the first stars to coalesce, and then another fairly substantial amount of time for those first stars to go through life cycles that eventually produced later stars with more complex elements. Only then could life forms begin to evolve, and they couldn't begin to evolve right away even then, since their evolution would require the introduction of self-replicating molecules, somehow, and you have to allow some period of time for those self-replicating molecules to develop.

If all earthly evolution didn't get started until some very advanced aliens brought self-replicating molecules here, then we have to put that first importation of alien molecules pretty far back in the past, which pushes the long process of evolution which produced those aliens even further back in the past, and this causes some problems with available time (not to mention the still-unresolved question of how the remote one-celled predecessors of those aliens got their self-replicating molecules).

Nevertheless, the extraterrestrial explanation is satisfying to some people (including, apparently, Dr. Dawkins). There certainly appears to be some evidence to support the extraterrestrial view, including some of the drawings and legends of the Dogon discussed by Robert Temple, as well as some of the artwork and myths of ancient civilizations, such as the histories that mention the Oannes. There are ancient petroglyphs around the world which seem to suggest extraterrestrial life forms as well, such as the one shown above (from Sego Canyon, Utah) or this one from New Mexico (and there are thousands of others).

The main point is that the conventional naturalistic worldview, the one which held sway in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds in England and the US -- which did not see the need for aliens and which inspired stark naturalistic literature such as the novels and short stories of Jack London -- the worldview which is still generally taught to children in schools and universities, should really be identified as the historical relic that it is, and placed in a museum.

In the twenty-first century, based on mounting evidence that the establishment chooses to either ignore or to ridicule, the choices really seem to be between supernatural and extraterrestrial (or perhaps both). Link