Thread: Ancient Aliens
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Old November 14 2012, 06:44 PM   #395
TIN_MAN
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Reverse engineering is not so straightforward a process as people like to believe. It's a very specialized sub-field in engineering that is actually more similar to forensics and archeology itself.
Agreed, which is why it complements these so well and should be consulted more often.

I think you're under-estimating how important knowledge of ancient technology and building techniques actually IS,
No, I think archeology is underestimating how important it is, and so are you. But still, an engineer specializing in reverse engineering (perhaps with a minor degree in archeology or vice versa) would be better qualified to do it than your average archeologist.

and archeologists are in a far better position to examine those techniques than engineers, almost to the point that an archeologist would be able to tell how a structure was built just by comparing it with other structures whose construction processes ARE documented.
Documented by whom? I don’t think your average archeologist could even be able to read modern blueprints or engineering diagrams, what makes you think they would do any better with ancient ones, even if they could be found and accurately translated? Besides, there are no documents for the ancient structures I’m referring to. If you know of any, why not mention a few?

That's like saying archeologists 4000 years in the future won't be able to determine anything meaningful about capitalism until they reverse engineer the Golden Gate Bridge. That's just silly; you could reverse engineer half of San Francisco and it wouldn't tell you as much as a Tommy Friedman book. More importantly, even if you lacked the building schematics for the Golden Gate, you could determine alot about how it was built by comparing it with those of other suspension bridges you DO have data for; reverse engineering it is an interesting exercise for engineering sake, but it isn't helpful for archeologists.
I don’t think that’s a very apt analogy, but let’s be clear; I’m not saying that reverse engineering can tell us everything about ancient cultures and their beliefs, only that it is one way we can glean a better context in which to interpret them, and perhaps a better respect for what they were capable of.
An archeologist wouldn't have to GUESS. He'd be able to consult the ancient records to figure how how they did it.
Only if he (or she) could read the originals, or have said records translated accurately, which is a task for a philologist, not an archeologist. And even then, it’s still a matter of interpretation, which is where preconceived notions are often imposed, almost out of necessity.
If those records don't exist, then the goal of the archeologist is to find those records and translate them. Reverse engineering the pyramids isn't going to help with that processes.
Actually, this is not -as I’m sure you’ll agree- their primary goal; while it’s always a bonus when archeologists recover written records, these will still need to be translated, which in many cases proves futile. Besides, many megalithic structures were built by people who apparently had no written records.
And as far as a technical term for tools and/or techniques goes, an engineer could indeed help with translations pertaining to how the pyramids were built, especially if he or she had a minor in philology.
I'm not sure why that makes a difference. About a dozen of my ancestors are entombed in a mausoleum in Kentucky right now; my grandmother plans to join them when she dies. As that would involve OPENING the mausoleum in order to place her remains there, "intrusive burial" doesn't strike me as an odd thing to happen in a building designed to function as a tomb.
Not for a tomb, but there’s no evidence that the (Egyptian) pyramids were originally tombs! Their design, in most cases, certainly isn’t conducive to that function.

Your conditioned bias that the pyramids must have been tombs prevents you from seeing clearly that, without any evidence, there is no real reason to have ever assumed they were tombs in the first place! People are buried in and around churches too, but that doesn’t mean that they were originally built for that purpose.


More to the point, it's not really clear what else the pyramids could have been used for OTHER than that. There's not much room in there for much else; I could see them being used as the Pharaoh's panic room during an invasion, but as others have pointed out, they're not particularly effective as fortresses.

This is precisely where a little interdisciplinary cooperation would help to clarify things tremendously.

From you, when you say things like "it’s not that archeologists have been unable to determine if they were used for some other purpose, it’s that they have been unwilling to try, or even to consider the possibility"
This has nothing to do with whether they have, or have not, been “inundated”, only that they won’t even listen to any other possibility.

It seems to me they're quite open to that possibility. Perhaps you should be more specific about what you're referring to?
Perhaps you should be more specific about whom in the archeological or Egyptology community are “quite open” the idea? I know of none, although there may be some archeologist who aren’t so closed minded; leading Egyptologists’ such a Hawass and Lehner insist on the “tombs and tombs only” function, or words to that effect, and have referred to anyone with an alternate theory as a “pyramidiot”.
It does, actually, since water erosion over stone is not something geologists typically use to determine the age of structures -- artificial or otherwise -- because it's extremely difficult to determine at what rate that erosion actually occurred.
No, it doesn’t. You’re over-generalizing, I’m speaking specifically of Egypt and the Sphinx and its enclosure. This monument was weathered by rain, (a lot of it) of which there was none in the time when Egyptologists say the structure was carved and its enclosure built. But there was plenty of rain to account for the weathering several thousand years (minimum) earlier, ergo the monument was made during the wetter period of pre-history.
Of course paleo-climatology comes into play here as well, so we have two relatively “hard” sciences contradicting the “soft science” of Egyptology, whose ideas on the matter were basically guesswork in the first place.
Neither have astronomers. That may tell you something.
It tells me at least two things; (1) that most astronomers are not interested in archeology (no surprise there); and (2) that both archeology and astronomy still suffer under the misconception that our ancestors were primitive simpletons who could not understand precession or build monuments that accurately track the stars.
In exactly the same way that most science teachers avoid problematic students. But in both cases it doesn't take a great deal of prodding to get them to admit "Well, I always hoped..." followed by a cautious, "But where's the evidence?"
Again, not a very apt analogy, but in any event, it’s not so much a matter of the amount or quality of the evidence, but the proper interpretation of that evidence we have that counts, and for that an interdisciplinary approach is often helpful in seeing “the big picture”.

Yes, just not in the way you're thinking. Most of the evidence you're referring to has been compiled by people who lack expertise in most of those fields...
I disagree, but would it make any difference to you? According to your extreme reductionist way of thinking, there is no one person –scientists or otherwise- that you would consider qualified to analyze it all.

...and aren't really in a position to determine whether they are relevant to the legend itself or just odd coincidences related to something else entirely (or garbage data related to nothing at all).
Again, who’s going to be qualified to fairly and expertly disentangle what’s relevant or not? For that we need an interdisciplinary panel to consider the data, something that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. When it comes to things like Atlantis, we’re all amateurs.

And what is “garbage data” anyway? Sounds like a term for anything we don’t understand, kinda like “junk DNA”.

AFAIK, Egyptian writings contain an account of the construction of the pyramids, for example, or at least imply that the Egyptians didn't think there was anything particularly odd or otherworldly about the nature of their construction. This is even more true of the Mayan pyramids, for which somewhat more detailed writings exist on their significance as well as their construction.
throwback beat me to this one; the only thing that exists is Herodotus’ work and as already said, its accuracy is doubtful, and in any case, is not anywhere near an original or first-hand account.

But the fact that he mentions that Khufu was buried under the pyramid –not in it- is, if true, suggestive that this is also another case of intrusive burial, and that Khufu only claimed the GP for himself and was not the builder!

Incidentally, Herodotus also said that Khufu prostituted his daughter in order to pay for the construction of his pyramid! So I think we can safely ignore him on this and related matters.

That's not really what "empirical" means...
Then how would you define it then?

Here’s how I define it, “the logical and systematic collection and organization of raw data, followed by hypothesis formation to explain the data (without preconceived bias), which leads to designing experiments to validate or falsify the hypotheses, which then leads the most successfully tested hypothesis being elevated to the status of theory, and after standing the test of time (and more conventional testing) becomes tacitly accepted as provisional fact”.

Give me your definition and we'll compare notes and see if, in actual practice, archeology fully qualifies.


...but the point in this case is archeologists cannot (or, as a rule, TRY not) to make claims that aren't supported by concrete findings. They don't make assumptions about what was going on in a particular culture unless they can find some clues that indicate as much.
Not in my experience, what you’re talking about is the Ideal, not the actual practice.

I concede that you cannot always say the same about anthropologists, though. History records MANY cases where anthropologists chose to interpret the behaviors of ancient or isolated peoples through their own cultural lens and reached totally erroneous or inappropriate conclusions as a result. Things have gotten a lot better since then, but the tendency is still there to some degree.
Archeology is a sub-branch of Anthropology, and its practitioners are just as guilty of what you describe, especially the further back in time their investigations take them.

Last edited by TIN_MAN; November 15 2012 at 06:32 AM.
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