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Old November 16 2012, 07:38 PM   #406
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Ancient Aliens

^ That wasn't me, that was gturner.

But I think you might have a point.
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Old November 16 2012, 07:45 PM   #407
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Beg pardee both of youse. I just can't believe what they keep agreeing with each other about. In this country we've been raised on multi-disciplinary archaeology for ever, where the team has geophysicists, engineers, era specialist archaeologists, historians, paleontologists, anthropologists and a band of enthusiastic scrapers who do the donkey work. Of course, our island has some pretty ancient archaeology and masses of it, so the concentration of world class specialists is probably equal to the best in the rest of the world.

Everything is controlled by a government agency and 'scheduled' sites are protected until they can be properly examined.
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Old November 17 2012, 08:36 AM   #408
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Deckerd wrote: View Post

Everything is controlled by a government agency and 'scheduled' sites are protected until they can be properly examined.
Controlled by the government meaning cleaning up evidence of alien visitors in the past.
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Old November 17 2012, 09:01 AM   #409
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Your post is straw-man
No, it's a thought experiment. The point is information source: is a scientific claim automatically more credible just because it is being made by a scientist? By extension: is expertise in ANY field equivalent to expertise in ALL fields?
It was a straw-man "thought experiment" (due to it reflecting reality so inaccurately, biasedly).

And the point I specifically made - and which you tried to combat by straw-man - is that any person/scientist/etc can use his/her credibility as he/she sees fit.

And I noticed that your arguments in refuting scientists' predictions...
Have I refuted anyone's PREDICTIONS in this thread? You may need to refresh my memory.
You most definitely tried to undermine predictions/ideas/etc (just in case you want to go another round of semantic hair-splitting) by attacking the scientists expressing them - P Davies, for example.
Instead of attacking the arguments they made, that is.
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Old November 17 2012, 08:47 PM   #410
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The problem is trading on one's credibility and reputation to make a prediction they aren't actually qualified to make.
It's his/her credibility and reputation to trade.
As for the predictions - their value depends on the arguments on which they are built, not on the titles (and the domains corresponding to these titles) the predictors have.
Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and call bullshit on this one.

You know and I know that if Stephen Hawking announced with a straight face that the next phase of human evolution is likely to involve the genetic engineering of a race of enormous amazonian women, ALOT more people would take him seriously than they would if that prediction was being made by a pizza delivery guy from New York, even if the delivery guy used the exact same arguments and the exact same research.

Famous observation: "Back where I come from, we have universities -- seats of great learning -- where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep, deep thoughts -- and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma!"
Hilarious, yet I'll take the opinion of some of these scientists, who research books and talk with their colleagues in other fields quite often...and let's say Ray Kurzweil, successful inventor, businessman, innovator, computer software developer, winner of multiple national level technology awards, etc over you any day of the week...or even over the guy without a diploma. Sorry to disappoint.

BTW Hawking can easily extrapolate what he sees in academia and labs as well as what's possible in infotech that we have the transhumanist future I've described. A lot of it is in the math, and math is hard...but easy to predict if we don't get hit by an asteroid.

Frankly I'd take my opinion as an interested layman more seriously than someone off the street who has never ventured into such topics if we asked them about it.

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Old November 18 2012, 05:47 AM   #411
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Your post is straw-man
No, it's a thought experiment. The point is information source: is a scientific claim automatically more credible just because it is being made by a scientist? By extension: is expertise in ANY field equivalent to expertise in ALL fields?
It was a straw-man "thought experiment" (due to it reflecting reality so inaccurately, biasedly).

And the point I specifically made - and which you tried to combat by straw-man - is that any person/scientist/etc can use his/her credibility as he/she sees fit.
In which case, you concede the point: Stephen Hawking could make a patently absurd claim and have people believe him because He's Stephen Hawking, He Would Know. The basis of his prediction is almost immaterial; a complete nobody, making the same prediction, would be met with due skepticism even if his prediction had scientific merit. I'm actually surprised you have a problem with this, because this is EXACTLY what the Ancient Aliens/Paranomalist people are complaining about: nobody takes them seriously and calls them "crackpots" and "fringe theorists," and their ideas get panned automatically even when they're RIGHT about things. In the public eye, and even among some scientists, labels are often more important than data.

You most definitely tried to undermine predictions/ideas/etc (just in case you want to go another round of semantic hair-splitting) by attacking the scientists expressing them - P Davies, for example.
Instead of attacking the arguments they made, that is.
First of all, this is an Ancient Aliens thread. The "don't mock people who don't know what they're talking about" train left the station two months ago.

Second of all, is this you concern trolling for P Davies, or is there a specific prediction he made somewhere that you think is worthy of closer consideration?
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Old November 18 2012, 05:57 AM   #412
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Re: Ancient Aliens

RAMA wrote: View Post
BTW Hawking can easily extrapolate what he sees in academia and labs as well as what's possible in infotech that we have the transhumanist future I've described.
So can I.

Interestingly, I have a degree in computer science. Last time I checked, Stephen Hawking does not. So which one of us, exactly, is "the guy without a diploma?"

Frankly I'd take my opinion as an interested layman more seriously than someone off the street who has never ventured into such topics if we asked them about it.
Frankly, it doesn't seem that you care much about the opinion of ANYONE who doesn't implicitly validate the senstionalist theories of Ray Kurzweil.

Food for thought: Kurzweil is an inventor and a writer, which means his primary skill sets are creativity and communications (not coincidentally, most of his inventions involve communications technology). His predictions appear to be based on that same creativity, what HE thinks should be possible with available technology... so how many of Kurzweil's predictions have actually come true?
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Old November 18 2012, 04:12 PM   #413
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
In which case, you concede the point: Stephen Hawking could make a patently absurd claim and have people believe him because He's Stephen Hawking, He Would Know. The basis of his prediction is almost immaterial; a complete nobody, making the same prediction, would be met with due skepticism even if his prediction had scientific merit. I'm actually surprised you have a problem with this, because this is EXACTLY what the Ancient Aliens/Paranomalist people are complaining about: nobody takes them seriously and calls them "crackpots" and "fringe theorists," and their ideas get panned automatically even when they're RIGHT about things. In the public eye, and even among some scientists, labels are often more important than data.
What exactly have they been "right" about?
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Old November 18 2012, 04:40 PM   #414
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Specific examples escape me right now, but I have seen a couple of their less exotic claims actually pan out upon closer examination (not the example I'm thinking of, but I've heard of at least one Ancient Alien theorist who published research that some ancient Peruvian tribes had surprisingly advanced understandings of astronomy and of the nature of the stars and planets centuries before the invention of the telescope; this turned out to be true, although his explanation of extraterrestrial tutelage still lacks corroborating evidence).
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Old November 18 2012, 08:01 PM   #415
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I don't know about Inca astronomy, but if it's anything like Mayan astronomy it's going to be pretty sophisticated. The Mayans did a far more involved and clever bit of astronomical story-telling than the Greeks. All their constellations are characters in their creation mythology, which is itself detailed and elaborate, but they went way beyond the Greeks by having the constellations positioned in sequence in right ascension along with the storyline in the Popul Vu. A Mayan priest can go out and tell the story of creation, pointing to the new characters rising in the east and explaining how they slay the characters setting the west, and he can do it for the full 360 degrees of rotation. They'd go out twice a year and spend all night to fully recount the stories. In a religion that was so all-encompassing that they'd carve out human hearts and wear the skins of their victims like cloaks, there was probably a lot of general interest in understanding the story in the sky.
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Old November 18 2012, 08:42 PM   #416
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
In that case, he would be an ABOVE AVERAGE archeologists.
Yep, this is true; the best kind IMHO.

Better question: what makes you think ancient diagrams or blueprints -- if they even ARE that -- would bear any resemblance to modern ones?
I don’t, in fact’ that’s my point. I was just using that as one example among many of the types of “documents” (which haven’t been recovered yet in any case) to illustrate the possible technical intricacies which might be encountered by archeologists for which they would be ill-equipped to handle.
But still, technical assistance during and after translation by an engineer or architect would help in correctly interpreting such “documents”.

Most of those descriptions are more likely to be pure text in a manuscript or an inscription than an actual diagram, and may involve measurements, units or allusions that you would have to know their cultural context to even understand.
Agreed, but the thing to remember in such cases is there’s a “chicken and egg” conundrum here; that is, what should come first? Was the cultural context used to interpret the evidence, or was the evidence used to establish the cultural context?

Since you brought up units of measure, and at the risk of opening another can of worms, let’s take Metrology as case in point;

Archeologists have generally assumed that because various ancient cultures used measures were named after parts of the human body such as “foot” and “inch” and so forth, that these measures were based on the literal length of some local kings royal foot or thumb etc. and this, supposedly, explains why there are so many different lengths for ancient measures called “foot” and “inch” etc. This made sense to Archeologists because that’s exactly the sort of thing people in that “cultural context” would do.

Metrologists -the ones most qualified to study such evidence- on the other hand, working both independently and jointly, actually studied the evidence and came to a different conclusion. They showed how all these different ancient “feet” etc, were not only related to each other by various mathematic ratios, but were also related to the circumference of the Earth!

What’s more, they found that the different lengths of “feet” and other measures were precisely related to the length of a degree of longitude in the region of the globe (North or South) in which that culture, which used that particular length of “foot”, resided. Therefore the reason why these measures are named after parts of the body is because the ancients saw the human body as a microcosm which reflected the macrocosm, in this case, the Earth; and used the average length of human appendages as a handy “rule of thumb” in ordinary everyday circumstances.

Now, who are we to believe; Archeologists, who imposed their “interpretive context” on ancient cultures and based their conclusion on little more than a “guess”, and which is perfectly immune being tested, verified, or refuted? A guess moreover, based only on an “interpretive context” which Archeologists were taught to apply in their training?

Or Metrologists; whose conclusions are based on math and known quantities such as the size of the Earth and the length of these ancient measures etc. and which anyone today, specialist or not, can therefore verify (or attempt to refute)? IOW, in this case, either the shoe fits “the foot” or it doesn’t.

Then an archeologist trained in engineering and/or reverse engineering would be an ideal candidate for that study.
Agreed.

The PURSUIT of those records is an important goal, though, since it yields information in the most directly available format.
True enough, I won’t bother to split the hairs or pick the nits on this.

What, then, IS it conducive to?
That IS the question, isn’t it? And it’s not likely to be answered by archeologists or archeology alone, IMHO.

I'm not able to find a post where I claimed that the pyramids "must have" been anything.
Not in so many words, but when you say things like “it's not really clear what else the pyramids could have been used for OTHER than that.” it leads me to understand that this is your position on the matter.

And in particular, the way you made comparisons with your family mausoleum –without batting an eye, as it were- leads me to conclude that you’re not thinking in any other terms?

In fact I'm pretty sure I suggested that the pyramids may have been part of Egyptian succession rituals and/or transfer of power issues.
Yes, I presume you’re referring to this; “…including some rather outlandish theories about Pharaoh's using them to fake their own deaths and/or pretend to be reincarnated in the personages of their offspring”, and this; “…Not much evidence for that, but I've heard that theory floating around before.”, When you put it like that, it reads as if you’re dismissing the idea?

When they themselves are the ones SUGGESTING alternate possibilities? That makes sense to you?
That’s your position, not mine, and you haven’t convinced me yet that they are!

Besides, even the relatively “benign” possibilities such as public work projects and the succession rituals you spoke of etc. were originally pitched by non-Egyptologists. So unless you want to cite at least one example, even an anecdotal one, in support of your contention, I’ll remain un-swayed from my position that they're not the ones suggesting alternatives, which is based on both direct and indirect evidence.

More importantly, much like the Ancient Aliens thing: it's one thing to have an alternate theory, but it's another entirely to have corroborating evidence. Do YOU have a specific theory about what the pyramids were really for, and if so, what is the basis for it?
Yes I do, or at least a working hypothesis, which fits the evidence better than the “tombs and tombs only” theory and others besides, IMHO.

But what difference would it make to you, since you’ve already decided I’m not a specialist and therefore not, as per your previously stated opinion, qualified to gather or interpret the evidence?

Have you ever actually MET Hawass and Lehner and spoken with them on the issue?
What difference does that make? Their positions are a matter of public record, why would they say one thing publicly, and the opposite thing privately?

I think it’s a safe bet they really believe what they say publicly. Are you suggesting otherwise?

If so, let me turn the table on you then, and ask; have you talked to them on this issue, did they tell you something different?

How many archeologists have you actually discussed this issue with?
A few, both personally and via internet correspondence.

Because I can say, despite the fact that a solid third of them really ARE just a bunch of closed-minded assholes in the habit of shouting down anyone with a different opinion, this does not appear to be the MAJORITY disposition.
Where are you getting your statistical data from to conclude a “solid third” are like this, if your going to throw out specifics like that, you better be prepared to back it up.

And just for the record, I never said every last archeologists to the last man and woman was like this, what I am suggesting is that, for all practical purposes, it’s the “official” stance of mainstream Egyptology that the pyramids were tombs and nothing else.

The most that is allowed, it seems to me, is that their construction may have had additional practical benefits, such as a public works project to help unify the country in a “team effort” of sorts. But nothing much beyond this is considered tenable.

And "several thousand years" is significantly too short of a timescale for a geologist to be able to pinpoint it with any degree of precision. We'd be talking hundreds of thousands to millions of years, at the very least.
NO, it’s NOT too short a time scale in this particular instance! and NO we’re NOT talking hundreds of thousands of years! You are wrong on this.

Please, if you’re going to take an opposing position in a debate, at least try to know what it is whereof you speak.

The region around North Africa and Egypt is a very unique environment; paleo-climatologist can show with a fair degree of certainty that there was a relatively abrupt and fairly rapid change from a period of abundant rainfall to the arid desert conditions that now prevail. And yes, Paleo-anthropology also helps with this determination.

By the time Khafre was supposed to have had the Sphinx/enclosure carved/built it is known that Egypt was already in desert conditions. Everybody is pretty much in agreement on this.

Geologist, (such as Schoch and other colleagues) can, by looking at erosion patterns on both natural and artificial objects, determine if there has been weathering by rain or wind (and accompanying desert sand), thereby dating these to either before or after the rather recent and sudden (in geological terms) climate shift.

The sphinx and its enclosure show unmistakable (to a geologist) evidence that it was eroded by significant amounts of rainfall since the time it was made. Therefore it could only have been made before the desertification of Upper Egypt!

Which, as I said, would put it at a bare minimum, several thousand years earlier than Egyptologist claim, but it could be upwards of ten thousand or more years older; though the jury is still out on his last part.


IOW, the rain erosion issue isn't all that informative unless it tells us that the Sphinx enclosure is GEOLOGICALLY ancient, like "built by early humans during their genocidal war against the neanderthals" ancient. Geology is otherwise not precise enough of a science to determine regional climate data with anything close to that kind of accuracy.
The geology of the rocks only comes into play in regards to the type of rock and its hardness etc. and this was taken into account by Schoch and other geologists. If you still disagree, then you’re not disagreeing with me –the messenger, but with trained geologists, so perhaps you should take it up with them?

More to the point, unless you are a geologist yourself, then by your own criteria, you are not qualified to refute their conclusions on the matter. IOW, it doesn’t take an expert to accept the conclusions of specialists in their respective fields, but it does help to be one if you’re going to contest them.

The salient point is, Upper Egypt had already become a desert by the time Egyptologist say the sphinx was carved and its enclosure built, therefore no significant rainfall (enough to account for the weathering evident thereon) could have occurred, and the only weathering we should see, if it was built when Egyptologists say it was, would be from wind and sand, which is not the case. Therefore it had to be built during the wetter period of pre-history; it’s a no-brainer really.

I don't know of many archeologists OR astronomers who make that claim.
I know of some who do. In fact the possible (even probable?) alignment of the sphinx to certain stars at certain epochs is routinely dismissed, based not on the amount or quality of the evidence, but by stating words to the effect that “people of that time were too primitive and disorganized to do anything like that”.

Actually, I have been reminded by researchers in BOTH fields that astronomy was an essential survival skill in the eons before humans developed maps; even ancient hunter-gatherers supposedly navigated by following the stars (this is based on the realization that isolated African and aboriginal tribes STILL navigate this way in the absence of other landmarks).
Sure, it’s accepted that certain bright stars were used by the ancients in this way.

But what I’m talking about is their knowledge of precession and their ability to track it and make predictions/calendars etc. or build monuments that not only demonstrate their architectural and engineering prowess, but are made even more sophisticated by being built and rebuilt (or added to) over long periods of time, maintaining alignment with specific stars as they slowly “shift”, such that the builders could not have avoided noticing precession, even if they didn’t know about it in the first place (when they or their ancestors first began building these monuments).

...ten archeologists working together will get a more accurate picture than a single one working alone. Add an astronomer and a translator to their team and that helps even more.
Agreed.

You know what WOULDN'T be helpful? If the one astronomer on the team goes off and puts together a NEW team consisting of a physicist, an historian, a folklorist and five grad undergrads with a lot of free time on their hands and tells them "I was on a dig with a bunch of other archeologists that one time and I saw lots of evidence that Atlantis exists! Let's go find it!"
Whatever; but I doubt an archeological dig would produce “lots of evidence” for Atlantis’ existence; maybe underwater archeology though?

The process we have right now works well enough: researchers share data in public, toss ideas back and forth, new ideas form, new evidence comes to light, rinse and repeat.
I realize there’s a lot of sharing of data, but disagree that it works “well enough”, besides my point is that there’s no systematic protocol for overseeing the collection, coordination and interpretation of data that spans multiple disciplines. It's a matter of missing the forrest for the trees.

The issue we're discussing is whether or not people OUTSIDE the discipline are really better equipped to researching a particular subject than the people INSIDE of it.
Uh, no we’re not? You may want to try to make it about that though?

I whole heartedly agree that people inside a particular discipline are best equipped to study that particular discipline, I never said different.

What we’re discussing, and I’m suggesting, is there are times when a specialist’s area of expertise overlaps with that of another, and this is when they should defer to the expertise of the other specialist, because that person and their discipline is best qualified to examine the evidence in such cases.

When this isn’t done, it can, and often does, lead to important clues and facts being misinterpreted, or completely ignored.

Perhaps an example will help to illustrate: the overarching paradigm, or at least guiding principle, in archeology has been Social Darwinism and the idea of infinite progress, which are not proven facts mind you, but just postulates, or “The myth of the given” as it’s been called.

Consequently, all data collected by archeologists is analyzed through that “lens”, and when it comes to ancient megalithic structures, archeologists tacitly assume that because they, as modern enlightened human beings, are so much smarter than the people and the cultures of the past that they study, then surely they reason, they should be able to figure out how these monuments were built, using the primitive methods that “they know” the ancients only had recourse to.

It never occurs to them to consult an engineer or architect about this because, “obviously” the ancients had no sophisticated methods or tools like the specialists in the above fields have today, therefore it wouldn’t be much help, and besides, how hard could it be?

So archeologists hypothesize about how granite blocks were cut with only copper chisels they found laying around, or pounded out with diorite balls (supposedly because its harder than granite and makes a good hammer stone), or how the ascending passage of the Great Pyramid was sealed only after the king was buried -by sliding a giant “plug” stone down the passage- since obviously, if the stone had been built “in situ” as the “tomb” was built, no one be able to enter to bury the king?

Then along comes a stone mason and says…
“There’s no way they cut granite with copper chisels, I use hardened steel in my work with granite and even these wear out in a short time” and diorite balls? How did they cut and carve the diorite in the first place when they wouldn’t even have been able to cut the (slightly) softer granite with the tools they supposedly had?”

Then along comes an engineer who adds…

“I see evidence that high-speed tubular drills and huge high-speed circular saws must have been used; see the marks on the stones left by the tools? These are just like what I see in my profession and it’s the tale-tell sign of what type of tool was used.

Oh, and that granite plug stone, it’s almost the same size as the ascending passage itself, In fact I measured it with my precision tools and there isn’t enough clearance for it to slide down the passage, so it must have been put there as the pyramid was being built to serve some unknown purpose? At the very least, this casts serious doubt that it was built as a tomb.”

To which an archeologists shrugs and says…

“Tsk tsk, if you were a properly trained archeologists you would “know” that your theories can’t possibly be right because the ancients didn’t have the technology you, in your ignorance of archeology, ascribe to them.

The foregoing is not meant to be “true to life” in every respect and in all cases, but does contain factual examples of real exchanges between archeologists and researchers in other fields; I use it merely to illustrate generally what I believe has happened and is happening in archeology and Egyptology.

The evidence has often been interpreted in the context of the paradigm rather than letting the evidence speak for itself. And in order for the evidence “to speak for itself” it needs to be examined by the experts most qualified to do so. Just because something is old and dug out of the ground, doesn’t mean archeology is automatically the only discipline that need apply.

And more to the point, sometimes it takes an ‘outsider” to see that “the emperor has no clothes”.

Which is fine to say, except that without an alternative source of information we're left with Herodotus whether we like him or not.
I didn’t say I didn’t like him, just that he’s not all that reliable in this particular instance, but who knows, he might be right after all?

Lack of contradictory evidence leaves us unable to determine to what extent the account is accurate, exaggerated, fictionalized or just plain wrong.
I disagree, there’s quite a bit of contradictory evidence to help determine to what extent the account is exaggerated, fictionalized and just plain wrong, we just need to avail ourselves of it.

Data obtained by either observation of experimentation.
But how would “experimentation” relate to what archeologists do? I know Nova once did an episode documenting Egyptologists attempt to construct a small pyramid with small blocks, in an effort to “educate the public” that it could be done with the primitive tools and techniques they believe were used.

They failed; and it’s perhaps telling that they didn’t have the intellectual honesty to admit this on camera, but instead, pretended as if they had actually succeeded, which they did in a way, but only after bringing in modern construction equipment to finish the job! The episode ended with Lehner stating (and I’m paraphrasing) “This just goes to show what the ancients were capable of with just simple tools and manpower” or words to that effect.

Keep in mind, if simple tools and manpower are not up to the task of building even a small pyramid with small blocks, how much harder would it be to build the Great Pyramid with its huge multi-ton blocks in this way?

This experiment was (independently) repeated by a Japanese company intent on making a documentary entitled “How the pyramids were built”. They too failed, and also had to resort to modern equipment to finish the job, but at least in this case, they were honest enough to rename their documentary “How the pyramids were not built”!

Which begs the question, did Egyptologist learn anything from these experiments that “falsify” their theories, like good empirical scientists should? Apparently not, since they still trot out the same old party line whenever the occasion calls for it.

For example: I put a measuring tape next to my son and I see that he is three feet seven inches tall. That's empirical data set (observed/measured data).
So you’re saying that just because archeologists can measure stones and bones that makes it an empirical discipline?

Contrast with a calculation in which I take my son's body weight, his shoe size, his displacement in water and then CALCULATE his height based on a model I devised; I would call that indirect evidence or just a calculation/theory/etc.
This is actually more like what Archeologists do, especially the "devised model" aspect.

Empirical data doesn't need to be "repeatable" as such. I can count the number of bones in a human body three seconds before I stuff that body in a woodchipper and grind him into pulp; no one else will be able to collect that data ever again, but I still have it and I still obtained it by observation.
Sure, but why should anyone else believe you? The whole point of repeatability is that everyone should be able to obtain the same results and compare data, allowing a consensus to be reached; otherwise its just hearsay.

Going by your logic, I could say a UFO landed in my backyard and I measured it, weighed, took pictures of it, and everything, but then the Men in Black came and chased it away and confiscated all my evidence, but nonetheless, you should accept this evidence anyway because I obtained it “empirically”.

And by your definition, you would. it's clear you haven't begun to think the matter through.

Archeologists tend to strive for the ideal. Not all of them -- or even most of them -- fall that far short of it. Plenty do, but this is not the majority.
I‘m sure they do, but many are guilty of unconscious bias and therefore practice “Quasi Science” not true empirical science.

What percentage though? Who knows? Unless you and I are prepared to compile and compare statistics to resolve the issue, this will remain a matter of personal experience and opinion for both of us.

I tend to think it's the other way around, personally, especially since anthropologists more often study cultures that PRESENTLY exist than ancient ones that no longer do.
Fair enough, and I meant to say “Paleo-Anthropology” which is more in line with what archeologists do, I suppose.

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Old November 18 2012, 09:08 PM   #417
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Re: Ancient Aliens

gturner wrote: View Post
I don't know about Inca astronomy, but if it's anything like Mayan astronomy it's going to be pretty sophisticated. The Mayans did a far more involved and clever bit of astronomical story-telling than the Greeks. All their constellations are characters in their creation mythology, which is itself detailed and elaborate, but they went way beyond the Greeks by having the constellations positioned in sequence in right ascension along with the storyline in the Popul Vu. A Mayan priest can go out and tell the story of creation, pointing to the new characters rising in the east and explaining how they slay the characters setting the west, and he can do it for the full 360 degrees of rotation. They'd go out twice a year and spend all night to fully recount the stories. In a religion that was so all-encompassing that they'd carve out human hearts and wear the skins of their victims like cloaks, there was probably a lot of general interest in understanding the story in the sky.
Kewel! I'd like to read up on this, if you have a source reference?

Actually what you discribe the Maya doing is very much like what the early Greeks did do? Have you read "Homer's Secret Iliad" by Florence and Kenneth Wood? it describes this very story telling technigue, stars, contellations and all.

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Old November 19 2012, 09:33 PM   #418
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Re: Ancient Aliens

TIN_MAN wrote: View Post
Not in so many words, but when you say things like “it's not really clear what else the pyramids could have been used for OTHER than that.” it leads me to understand that this is your position on the matter.
My position is that the pyramids were used as tombs, for one reason or another, and there isn't much to indicate what else they would have been used for OTHER than glorious monuments to the king and/or his family. Remember, the conventional wisdom isn't merely that they're tombs, but that the Egyptians believed their monarchs were almost gods themselves and that upon their death they actually ascended to become supernatural beings themselves; in that case, the Pyramids wouldn't be merely the TOMBS of the Kings, but their eternal dwelling places, where the people can go and venerate and worship them centuries after their deaths. In theory, all the later generations of a single dynasty would expect to be buried there and share in the deity, but even in archeology, forty years is a long time, the practice may not have held up as well the builders intended.

Like I said, there are plenty of other possibilities and archeologists have suggested a few. My favorite by far is that it's actually a giant landing pad for space ships, but the evidence doesn't seem to favor any of those theories.

Yes, I presume you’re referring to this; “…including some rather outlandish theories about Pharaoh's using them to fake their own deaths and/or pretend to be reincarnated in the personages of their offspring”, and this; “…Not much evidence for that, but I've heard that theory floating around before.”, When you put it like that, it reads as if you’re dismissing the idea?
I'm skeptical, again for the lack of corroborating evidence. In particular, there are some archeologists who believe that various pharaohs actually impersonated their parents to provide the illusion that the old king was actually still alive and running the country in a sort of "Dread Pirate Roberts" scheme. That makes sense on its face, but it strikes me as too specific a claim to make without some powerful evidence to back it up.

Besides, even the relatively “benign” possibilities such as public work projects and the succession rituals you spoke of etc. were originally pitched by non-Egyptologists.
That's news to me, but I suppose it's possible. Egyptology, however, is a niche field in archeology and I DO begrudge Egyptologists a monopoly on that particular subject.

Yes I do, or at least a working hypothesis, which fits the evidence better than the “tombs and tombs only” theory and others besides, IMHO.

But what difference would it make to you, since you’ve already decided I’m not a specialist and therefore not, as per your previously stated opinion, qualified to gather or interpret the evidence?
Because if I was looking for an EXPERT opinion, I'd be down at the public library looking for books or trolling my old professors over at UIC. Which I probably will, sooner or later, depending on how interesting this thread becomes.

But this IS a thread on a discussion board... why are ANY of us here?

What difference does that make? Their positions are a matter of public record, why would they say one thing publicly, and the opposite thing privately?
Reality is weird like that. Not everything is as cut and dried as can be expressed in a short news article or an excerpt from a book. Most intellectuals tend to be more nuanced than that.

Some of them aren't, of course. I do not rule out the possibility that they're a couple of assholes clinging to their own pet theory... but it's just as possible that they, perhaps, know something you don't, and have information that they haven't made public or that you haven't seen or heard of cited elsewhere.

I think it’s a safe bet they really believe what they say publicly. Are you suggesting otherwise?
I'm suggesting that your understanding of their positions may differ slightly from their actual positions. Hell, you and I have been corresponding for more than a week and you barely understand MY position.

I never said every last archeologists to the last man and woman was like this, what I am suggesting is that, for all practical purposes, it’s the “official” stance of mainstream Egyptology that the pyramids were tombs and nothing else.

The most that is allowed, it seems to me, is that their construction may have had additional practical benefits, such as a public works project to help unify the country in a “team effort” of sorts. But nothing much beyond this is considered tenable.
And depending on who you ask, you'll get one of three responses:
1) Derision and mockery a la "I've spent X number of years in this field, I know what I'm talking about, come back when you've got a degree"
2) There are other possibilities, but they're unlikely and here's why (insert brief archeology/egyptology lecture here)
3) There are other possibilities, and here's some evidence for them (insert brief archeology/egyptology lecture here).

NO, it’s NOT too short a time scale in this particular instance!
As I said, to short a timescale to be that precise.

See below.

The region around North Africa and Egypt is a very unique environment; paleo-climatologist can show with a fair degree of certainty that there was a relatively abrupt and fairly rapid change from a period of abundant rainfall to the arid desert conditions that now prevail. And yes, Paleo-anthropology also helps with this determination.

By the time Khafre was supposed to have had the Sphinx/enclosure carved/built it is known that Egypt was already in desert conditions. Everybody is pretty much in agreement on this...
And have, perchance, paleo-anthropologists come to a consensus about the average yearly rainfall in the Giza region during Khafre's reign?

Geologist, (such as Schoch and other colleagues) can, by looking at erosion patterns on both natural and artificial objects, determine if there has been weathering by rain or wind (and accompanying desert sand), thereby dating these to either before or after the rather recent and sudden (in geological terms) climate shift.
First of all, "Recent and sudden" in geologic terms is on the order of hundreds of thousands or millions of years, at least.

Secondly, Egypt may be a desert, but that doesn't mean it never rains.

Which, as I said, would put it at a bare minimum, several thousand years earlier than Egyptologist claim, but it could be upwards of ten thousand or more years older; though the jury is still out on his last part.
Geologically speaking, I think Schoch is taking the piss if he dates those structures at anything less than a few dozen millennia. Regional climate just doesn't shift fast enough to be statistically measurable on such short timescales.

More to the point, unless you are a geologist yourself, then by your own criteria, you are not qualified to refute their conclusions on the matter. IOW, it doesn’t take an expert to accept the conclusions of specialists in their respective fields, but it does help to be one if you’re going to contest them.
You opened by contesting the conclusion that the Pyramids are "tombs and tombs only." You've yet to explain why. And since nobody in this thread has any expert background, that "why" is all we really have.

Sure, it’s accepted that certain bright stars were used by the ancients in this way.

But what I’m talking about is their knowledge of precession and their ability to track it and make predictions/calendars etc. or build monuments that not only demonstrate their architectural and engineering prowess, but are made even more sophisticated by being built and rebuilt (or added to) over long periods of time, maintaining alignment with specific stars as they slowly “shift”, such that the builders could not have avoided noticing precession, even if they didn’t know about it in the first place (when they or their ancestors first began building these monuments).
Recognizing precession necessarily requires some fairly precise observational tools (e.g. telescopes) and a complex mathematical system for detecting deviations from a previous pattern of observed movement (e.g. calculus or something similar). It's not exactly willful ignorance to claim the Egyptians probably hadn't developed calculus or telescopes, so I'm with the Establishment on this one.

To say they lined up their monuments with their best reckoning of the stars or their patterns of movement, though, is not a possibility many would discard (in fact, some openly tout that theory even now). You don't have to be highly sophisticated to study astronomy, but some subjects in astronomy are highly sophisticated.

I realize there’s a lot of sharing of data, but disagree that it works “well enough”, besides my point is that there’s no systematic protocol for overseeing the collection, coordination and interpretation of data that spans multiple disciplines.
There IS a protocol for that. It's called "professionalism." You will notice that almost every instance of "missing the forest for the trees" usually derives from a part or the entirety of the team sliding into unprofessional behaviors, like pitching their own pet theory to the exclusions of all others, playing favorites among team members, or using the team's work to score political points and/or personal points for his own career.

What we’re discussing, and I’m suggesting, is there are times when a specialist’s area of expertise overlaps with that of another, and this is when they should defer to the expertise of the other specialist, because that person and their discipline is best qualified to examine the evidence in such cases.
So why is Robert Schoch -- a geologist -- not deferring to the expertise of the Egyptologists who dispute his theory?

You're making the direct implication here that a geologist/geophysicist is correct when all the archeologists in the same field are wrong. Why? Because as a geologist he sees something everyone else is missing or doesn't understand or doesn't want to know about? And you discard the possibility that it could be going in the OPPOSITE direction, that Schoch simply doesn't know enough about archeology to understand why his theory is flawed?

When this isn’t done, it can, and often does, lead to important clues and facts being misinterpreted, or completely ignored.
Who is more likely to miss or misinterpret important clues? A geologist at an archeological site... or an archeologist?

So archeologists hypothesize about how granite blocks were cut with only copper chisels they found laying around, or pounded out with diorite balls (supposedly because its harder than granite and makes a good hammer stone), or how the ascending passage of the Great Pyramid was sealed only after the king was buried -by sliding a giant “plug” stone down the passage- since obviously, if the stone had been built “in situ” as the “tomb” was built, no one be able to enter to bury the king?

Then along comes a stone mason and says…
“There’s no way they cut granite with copper chisels, I use hardened steel in my work with granite and even these wear out in a short time” and diorite balls? How did they cut and carve the diorite in the first place when they wouldn’t even have been able to cut the (slightly) softer granite with the tools they supposedly had?”

Then along comes an engineer who adds…

“I see evidence that high-speed tubular drills and huge high-speed circular saws must have been used; see the marks on the stones left by the tools? These are just like what I see in my profession and it’s the tale-tell sign of what type of tool was used.

Oh, and that granite plug stone, it’s almost the same size as the ascending passage itself, In fact I measured it with my precision tools and there isn’t enough clearance for it to slide down the passage, so it must have been put there as the pyramid was being built to serve some unknown purpose? At the very least, this casts serious doubt that it was built as a tomb.”

To which an archeologists shrugs and says…

“Tsk tsk, if you were a properly trained archeologists you would “know” that your theories can’t possibly be right because the ancients didn’t have the technology you, in your ignorance of archeology, ascribe to them.
That's a LOT of question begging for a handful of paragraphs. In particular, this is literally a juxtaposition of empirical vs. indirect evidence. The mason says "there's no way they used copper chisels" based on his own experience; he's already projecting his own values and judgements onto an ancient culture he knows nothing about. His objection to the diorite is based on his first assumption, which is simply this: "That would be really hard to do with ancient tools."

Same again for the engineer, projecting his own experience into a context he knows nothing about and makes reaching assumptions based on his own paradigm. A flawed assumption is the basis for new assumptions which are themselves equally flawed.

What you need is someone who specializes in ANCIENT construction techniques, someone who is actually familiar with the tools the Egyptians had and understands how they would have used them. Someone who doesn't simply cluck his tongue and say "There's no way they used copper chisels," but sits and asks himself, "If I had to do a job like this using only copper tools, how would I do it? What would the tools look like, and what kind of techniques would I use to keep them from wearing out?" Same for the engineer: instead of saying "This must have been made with a high-speed tubular drill!" the operative question is "What kind of tool would have been available to them to make these kinds of tool marks?" In both cases, if you don't have direct evidence for what was used, then you file that away in the books under "Things to look for at the next dig site" or even research into previous sites, looking for objects that were cataloged but not identified.

That was my point in saying that an archeologist trained in reverse engineering is better off than a simple archeologist. In his case, he's using his secondary skills to make his job easier; it helps him find clues to discover the truth.
This is far, FAR different from a mason, a geologist and an engineer moonlighting as archeologists and pitching bad guesses based on relatively limited background.

The evidence has often been interpreted in the context of the paradigm rather than letting the evidence speak for itself. And in order for the evidence “to speak for itself” it needs to be examined by the experts most qualified to do so.
And whether you like it or not, what we are debating here is whether or not the people most qualified to examine that evidence are people INSIDE or OUTSIDE of that field. You imply that people outside the field of archeology -- really, ANYONE outside of it -- would be better qualified to answer those questions. I, on the other hand, assert that even an engineer would need to expand his expertise to include archeology first before his engineering knowledge will be of any use to archeologists.

In other words, outsiders really AREN'T better at answering these kinds of questions. You're better off looking for an insider with a secondary degree or a diverse background in other fields that can help to broaden his horizons.

But how would “experimentation” relate to what archeologists do?
Generally it wouldn't, not unless the archeologists cannot obtain empirical evidence directly. The few exceptions would be the example I mentioned above -- one that has become increasingly common over the years -- where archeologists experiment with ancient tools and ancient building techniques to figure out which ones would most likely have been employed in a particular undertaking; in the case we're discsussing, that would involve a team of archeologists using various types of stone chisels and ramps to actually build their own pyramid and recording their observations about what techniques worked, what techniques didn't work, their perception of the process, etc. This would require a lot more time and energy than most archeologists are prepared to devote to any particular experiment, though, so it would have to be extremely well-funded and heavily staffed.

They failed; and it’s perhaps telling that they didn’t have the intellectual honesty to admit this on camera, but instead, pretended as if they had actually succeeded, which they did in a way, but only after bringing in modern construction equipment to finish the job!
Never seen that special, but that seems more like Television Fail than science fail. Realistically, that kind of project would take a team of several thousand people a number of years just to build something a quarter the size of the Giza pyramid.

Keep in mind, if simple tools and manpower are not up to the task of building even a small pyramid with small blocks...
They ARE up to the task, actually. That much is not really in dispute, considering the level of technology that went into the Great Wall of China.

It really isn't a question of IF the Egyptians used primitive technology to build the pyramids. Everyone's pretty sure that they did, not for any particular reason except that it's usually safe to assume that old technology is less advanced than new technology (e.g. nobody seriously wonders if that ancient Chinese emperor who strapped some rockets to his throne really made it to the moon). It's a question of HOW did they do it, how did they figure it out, and how much did it cost?

Which begs the question, did Egyptologist learn anything from these experiments that “falsify” their theories, like good empirical scientists should?
Yes they did. It was "The Great Pyramids were definitely NOT built by archeologists."

So you’re saying that just because archeologists can measure stones and bones that makes it an empirical discipline?
Pretty much, yes.

This is actually more like what Archeologists do
Only when empirical data is not available, which is distressingly often. They PREFER empirical data, obviously, but you make due with what you have.

Going by your logic, I could say a UFO landed in my backyard and I measured it, weighed, took pictures of it, and everything, but then the Men in Black came and chased it away and confiscated all my evidence
Then you no longer have that evidence and cannot show it to anyone. Someone else can testify that you did have the evidence, but then it's no longer empirical, it's indirect.

Of course, if you lose the evidence but still have the UFO, then the UFO is your evidence, even though you no longer have any data on it (until you measure it, that is). That can become troublesome if shortly after capturing the UFO and losing your measurements and photos, the entire object suddenly transforms into a blue police call box with a perfectly wooden door you can't figure out how to open. Now your empirical evidence is less direct, though in this case it is still empirical evidence.

Archeologists tend to strive for the ideal. Not all of them -- or even most of them -- fall that far short of it. Plenty do, but this is not the majority.
I‘m sure they do, but many are guilty of unconscious bias and therefore practice “Quasi Science” not true empirical science.

What percentage though?
As I said earlier, I'd guess about 30%.
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Old November 23 2012, 06:08 AM   #419
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
My position is that the pyramids were used as tombsand there isn't much to indicate what else they would have been used for…
Then I did understand you correctly, and this is essentially, your position after all. And that last part in particular is tantamount to saying they “must have been” tombs, regardless of whether you used those specific words or not. So your objection is nothing more than a quibble over semantics.

I'm skeptical, again for the lack of corroborating evidence. In particular, there are some archeologists who believe that various pharaohs actually impersonated their parents to provide the illusion that the old king was actually still alive and running the country in a sort of "Dread Pirate Roberts" scheme. That makes sense on its face, but it strikes me as too specific a claim to make without some powerful evidence to back it up.
So again, I understood you correctly and you do not really hold to this view after all, and contrary to what you just said previously, you personally, did not entertain this as a serious alternative possibility?

Both the above, taken together, along with your implicit comparison of pyramids with mausoleums, proves my point; you’re really not thinking outside the box on this one.

Reality is weird like that. Not everything is as cut and dried as can be expressed in a short news article or an excerpt from a book. Most intellectuals tend to be more nuanced than that.

I have several problems with this;

1) “Reality is weird like that.” Subjective, and doesn’t really answer my question, because, even if true, you’ve yet to show evidence that this is the “reality” in this particular instance!

2) “Not everything… can be expressed in a short news article or an excerpt from a book”. First of all, although you may rely on such sources for your information, you’re assuming -without any supporting evidence- that this is true in my case, far from it.

Secondly; When Hawass and Lehner state their position repeatedly over the course of their careers, in their own words in their own books and articles etc. (some of which I have read; have you?) and in public debates on the matter, it becomes a matter of historical record and qualifies as the only evidence we have, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, such as a public disavowal or a sworn avadavat to the contrary, it’s all we have to go on.

3) “Most intellectuals tend to be more nuanced than that.” It’s yet to be established that Hawass and Lehner are intellectuals, the jury is still out, but it doesn’t look good.

… but it's just as possible that they, perhaps, know something you don't, and have information that they haven't made public or that you haven't seen or heard of cited elsewhere.

Sure it’s possible, it’s also possible the lunar landings were faked and the moon is made of cheese, and we’re not being told the truth for some reason!

But on a more serious note, regarding the pyramids, there’s certainly no shortage of conspiracy theories out there. In fact, some people think that Hawass and other leading Egyptologists are lying for socio/political reasons, because they’ve uncovered the “Hall of Records” that prove the pyramids were built by Atlanteans and not native Egyptians; so it’s a matter of professional face-saving pride and political correctness, so the theory goes, that motivates them to lie.

But what counts is evidence, and there’s insufficient evidence to support either of the above scenarios, IMHO. In the case of whether leading Egyptologists are misrepresenting their opinions, the only evidence we have to go on is the testimony of their own words, which supports my position; all you have is your “possible” and “perhaps”.

We can play this game forever, and it’ll get us exactly nowhere.

I'm suggesting that your understanding of their positions may differ slightly from their actual positions.

You’re free to “suggest” anything you like, but again, where’s your evidence to back it up? I notice you conveniently failed to quote the part of my post where I asked you previously if you had talked to them about this! So I’ll take that omission as a ‘no’, and you don’t even have so much as a personal anecdote to offer up to support your ”suggestion”.

Hell, you and I have been corresponding for more than a week and you barely understand MY position.

I’ll let other posters decide whether this is true or not.

After all “more than a week” is such a looong time and we’ve exchanged so many hundreds of posts that there’s no way we could ever misunderstand one another, right?

Even If it were true that I don’t understand your position; after so much flip-flopping on your part, would it be any wonder? At least Hawass and Lehner have been consistent with their views over the years.

And besides, if you had even the merest shred of actual evidence that Hawass and Lehner’s publicly stated positions are not their true thoughts/feelings on the matter, you would have offered it up by now, and wouldn’t need to resort to underhanded tactics to “devalue” my position which is based on documented evidence.

Therefore I find your objections to be baseless and argumentative.

So, until you do come up with some evidence, I’m done discussing this topic with you.

And have, perchance, paleo-anthropologists come to a consensus about the average yearly rainfall in the Giza region during Khafre's reign?

If you had even the slightest clue about the subject you’re attempting to refute, you wouldn’t have to ask the question, whether rhetorical or not. And in any case, it’s not my job to spoon-feed you information, go do your own research!

First of all, "Recent and sudden" in geologic terms is on the order of hundreds of thousands or millions of years, at least.

Actually, no; this is more like the average time scales in geologic terms, especially the “millions of years” part. Here again you demonstrate your ignorance on the subject you’re attempting to discuss.

Secondly, Egypt may be a desert, but that doesn't mean it never rains.

I specifically stated earlier that there has not been enough rainfall since Egyptologists say the sphinx was built/carved to account for the weathering we see! Not enough means some and not none, does it not?

I don’t need to click on your link to know this because, aside from already being familiar with the fact that it does occasionally rain in deserts, I’m also familiar with this angle in this particular debate, pro and con, and it has certainly been taken into account by all; except those unfamiliar with the specifics, like yourself.

Geologically speaking, I think Schoch is taking the piss if he dates those structures at anything less than a few dozen millennia. Regional climate just doesn't shift fast enough to be statistically measurable on such short timescales.

You are speaking personally, not “geologically”. And besides, again playing by your own rules, you can’t speak for geology because you’re not a geologist!

And If you had bothered to do some research on Schoch’s (and his colleagues) evidence that led them to their conclusions on this, or just geology in general, you would (hopefully) know the difference.

So unless and until you get up to speed by doing that research, I’m done discussing this topic with you.

You opened by contesting the conclusion that the Pyramids are "tombs and tombs only." You've yet to explain why.

But the point is; you’re the one insisting on professional credentials as a necessary prerequisite to judge the validity of evidence and theories, so you’ve yanked the rug right out from under your own feet! Besides, not only have I said that some (Egyptian) pyramids were probably tombs; I have given several reasons why I believe certain others are likely not. I specifically explained that, based on my research;

a) the ‘evidence’ Egyptologists rely on is flimsy and insufficient at best, and is not based on any ‘hard’ evidence, not the least of which is, that no body period, much less the body of the pharaoh specifically associated with a given pyramid, has ever been found inside one!

B) There is, on the other hand, ‘hard’ observable and testable evidence to the contrary (I’m speaking of some cases), aside from the general statements I made about the interior design not being conducive to that purpose, I also gave a specific example, i.e. the aforementioned granite block that obstructs the “ascending passage” of the “GP” since the time it was being built.

There are also other examples –in other pyramids- I did not mention, like narrow vertical shafts rising from one horizontal passage (and chamber) to another that are twenty to thirty feet or more in length; which is hardly conducive to funeral processions, among other things.
And need I say that this is not, by far, all the evidence against the” tombs and tombs only” hypothesis.

So unless you bone up on the internal structure of Egyptian pyramids, further discussion would be fruitless, so I’m done discussing this topic with you.

Recognizing precession necessarily requires some fairly precise observational tools (e.g. telescopes) and a complex mathematical system for detecting deviations from a previous pattern of observed movement (e.g. calculus or something similar).

No it doesn’t. Here again it’s clear you haven’t even begun to research the matter, and don’t know enough about the subject to make an effective rebuttal.

Even if telescopes were needed, which they are not; there is evidence in Greek writings that the Druids used a device for which the description sounds suspiciously like a telescope, which allowed them to see the mountains on the moon, and know that Jupiter has four (big) satellites, etc.

And although we do not (yet) have evidence that the Egyptians used telescopes, there is the glass and quarts crystal lenses I mentioned on another occasion, which at the very least, shows they had the technology to manufacture the essential components of one.

There is a wealth of evidence both circumstantial and direct (the artifacts themselves) that the ancients knew all about the optical properties of glass and crystal convex and concave lenses, but here again, archeologists have generally not appreciated this because they don’t know the first thing about optics, and as a result, miss-identify and catalogue many ancient lenses as “jewelry” or “gems”.

It's not exactly willful ignorance to claim the Egyptians probably hadn't developed calculus or telescopes, so I'm with the Establishment on this one.

Actually, it’s pretty darn close, see previous reply.

And as for calculus and other “higher math”, it isn’t needed either, but new evidence is coming to light all the time, pushing further back in time the ancient provenance of this kind of knowledge. And this is largely because researchers, thanks chiefly to the internet, are finally gaining access to data that archeologists had long since collected and shoved on the back shelf (literally in some cases) because they, as archeologists don’t know pi from phi.

But anyway, traditionally it’s been the ethnocentric view of archeology that all such things began with the Greeks. Many people still believe, because they learned in school, that Hipparchus “discovered” precession. This, despite the fact, that he himself clearly said all he did was verify, by experiment, what he had read in the Library of Alexandria.

So he didn’t “discover” anything, he merely proved that pre-existing knowledge was accurate: and what’s more, he did it without telescopes or higher math!

So once again, unless you want to familiarize yourself with the pertinent facts, I’m done discussing this topic with you.

There IS a protocol for that. It's called "professionalism."

And, as I said, it doesn’t work “well enough” IMHO.

Besides, what I’m talking about is something more akin to an impartial peer review system where an interdisciplinary panel can weigh all the evidence, fairly and expertly.

You will notice that almost every instance of "missing the forest for the trees" usually derives from a part or the entirety of the team sliding into unprofessional behaviors, like pitching their own pet theory to the exclusions of all others, playing favorites among team members, or using the team's work to score political points and/or personal points for his own career.

This is, I believe, the rule not the exception, IMHO. And since you feel comfortable throwing out statistics without anything to base them on, allow me to do the same and say “a good eighty percent” of researchers behave this way.

So why is Robert Schoch -- a geologist -- not deferring to the expertise of the Egyptologists who dispute his theory?

Because, in this case, the shoe is on the other foot; the empirical evidence is on Schoch’s and his colleague’s side; the Egyptologists have none to support their own view. It’s the Egyptologists who need to explain why they missed that the weathering on the sphinx might be the key to dating the monument in the first place; and made do instead on indirect inferences (IOW they “guessed”).

And the reason is, of course, that they are not geologists, and as Egyptologist, have no “expertise” in such matters, and don’t know wind erosion from rain erosion, and doubtless couldn’t care less.

The better question is; what makes you think Egyptologists can’t possibly be wrong on this; or anything else, for that matter?

In science we should always be williing to re-evaluate theories, especially when new evidence comes to light, otherwise it ceases to be science we are practicing and becomes a matter of faith in dogma.

So let’s take a look at the “evidence” for Egyptology’s mainstream opinion. The “expertise” they rely on to date the sphinx boils down to the fact that, because the sphinx is surrounded by some temples from the period round about Khafre’s reign (no one disputes this) then the sphinx is “guilty by association”; this, apparently, is what passes for the all important “context” in Egyptology.

The problem with this conclusion is that, as everyone agrees, Egypt’s history spans several millennia, and we know monuments were built and rebuilt and refurbished over that long period of time. The sphinx itself is a case in point, there is written evidence to indicate that it was repaired about the time of Khafre reign. So there’s no reason to assume that its proximity to these other structures tells us when it was built; or that Khafre built it, for that matter (why would a new monument need repairs?).

But sadly, for Egyptologists’ reputations, the sphinx and the temples surrounding it are not even of the same architectural style or quality of work, the former uses megalithic blocks, the later does not. And most telling of all, the temples do not show the same degree of rain erosion that the sphinx and its enclosure do. And this by no means exhausts all the differences in this “context”.

So there’s really no “empirical” evidence for Egyptologists to base their “expert” opinion on; and as I said, they made little more than what amounts to as a guess, and not a very good one at that.

You're making the direct implication here that a geologist/geophysicist is correct when all the archeologists in the same field are wrong.

No, not “a” geologist, I’m saying all (or at least most) geologists agree that the findings of Schoch and other geologists who corroborated his findings by direct observation of the facts in evidence on site, are sound, and they practiced good scientific geology in the process.

This is against the official stance of Egyptology, not “all archeologists”, that are, as seems increasingly likely, given the accumulating evidence, wrong on this. How many archeologist hold to the official view of Egyptology, or have since changed there opinions on the matter due to the new evidence? I do not know, and neither do you, so perhaps you shouldn’t speak for them all, especially since you’re not an archeologist yourself.

And you discard the possibility that it could be going in the OPPOSITE direction that Schoch simply doesn't know enough about archeology to understand why his theory is flawed?

I don’t discard that he might be wrong, or at least, not completely correct, but there’s been no shortage of mainstream Egyptologists to “educate” him on this, and he’s stood his ground, which he should, because his is the stronger position, IMHO.

You, on the other hand, are discarding the possibility that it is Egyptology’s hypothesis that is flawed. You ignore, or are ignorant of, the meager amount of evidence they have for their position.

You tacitly imply that Schoch should acquiesce to the combined weight of the Egyptological and archeological communities’ reputations as venerated scientific institutions, instead of sticking to the actual facts in dispute.

Who is more likely to miss or misinterpret important clues? A geologist at an archeological site... or an archeologist?

In the case of the archeological site we are discussing, regarding the sphinx and its enclosure, I say an archeologist (or an archeologist calling him/her self an “Egyptologists”) for all the reasons previously stated, and then some.

And that does it for this topic, end of discussion.

The mason says "there's no way they used copper chisels" based on his own experience; he's already projecting his own values and judgments onto an ancient culture he knows nothing about.

First of all, who said he knows nothing about it? You ignore that I said this example was based on actual exchanges between Egyptologists and engineers and masons.

In this case the Mason (whose name escapes me at the moment) was the one who was in the Nova special working alongside Lehner to cut and move stones using the very tools specified by Egyptology!

Since they were using copper chisels to cut the relatively soft limestone they were using, Lehner actually asked him (off camera) how he thought the ancient Egyptians cut granite with only the copper chisels like those reproduced for the special (by experts, “who specializes in ANCIENT construction techniques, someone who is actually familiar with the tools the Egyptians had”). To which he replied, “There’s no way!” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it.)

So they proceeded, again off camera, to experiment with this; and the copper chisels just smushed right up, and became immediately useless. So this statement is not based on “projecting his own values and judgments”, and not even on his experience as a stonemason alone, but with actual, on site, experiments using reproductions of “the real thing” that Egyptologists had authenticated as such.

His objection to the diorite is based on his first assumption, which is simply this: "That would be really hard to do with ancient tools."

Not an assumption, see above

What you need is someone who specializes in ANCIENT construction techniques, someone who is actually familiar with the tools the Egyptians had and understands how they would have used them.

Like someone working under guidance from Egyptologists, see above

Someone who doesn't simply cluck his tongue and say "There's no way they used copper chisels," but sits and asks himself, "If I had to do a job like this using only copper tools, how would I do it? What would the tools look like, and what kind of techniques would I use to keep them from wearing out?"

Like someone actually experimenting with these techniques, see above.

Same again for the engineer, projecting his own experience into a context he knows nothing about and makes reaching assumptions based on his own paradigm.

This is what the archeologists are doing, not the engineer in this case.

…instead of saying "This must have been made with a high-speed tubular drill!" the operative question is "What kind of tool would have been available to them to make these kinds of tool marks?"

Which is exactly the question Christopher Dunn, the engineer in this case, asked himself, and the answer was; none of the tools Egyptologists insist were used.

That is, no modern Egyptologists anyway, but some of the founders of the discipline actually suggested this very "high tech" possibility (one of which was also an engineer) based on the same evidence Dunn eventually analyzed, but this was before it became fashionable to regard the ancients as “primitives”.

This evidence had since been ignored and forgotten, until Dunn revived it, to the chagrin of modern Egyptologists.

In both cases, if you don't have direct evidence for what was used, then you file that away in the books under "Things to look for at the next dig site" or even research into previous sites, looking for objects that were cataloged but not identified.

No, you collaborate with the experts in the most relevant field of expertise, in this case engineering!

That was my point in saying that an archeologist trained in reverse engineering is better off than a simple archeologist. In his case, he's using his secondary skills to make his job easier; it helps him find clues to discover the truth.

If you remember, that was originally my point; I, not you, introduced it into the discussion, and you already conceded that this would be Ideal; but we also discussed the unfortunate reality that there aren’t that many people cross-trained in the relative disciplines, so the next best thing is collaboration.

And whether you like it or not, what we are debating here is whether or not the people most qualified to examine that evidence are people INSIDE or OUTSIDE of that field. You imply that people outside the field of archeology -- really, ANYONE outside of it -- would be better qualified to answer those questions.

I suppose the distinction between outsiders and collaborators is too subtle for you to grasp? And I never implied that anyone would be better qualified, this is a gross misrepresentation of my position. In fact, I said just the opposite.

And you keep over-generalizing, I never said an “outsider” whether invited to collaborate or not, would know more about everything in archeology, just that they would be more qualified to analyze certain specific data pertaining to their field of expertise, and that aren’t really of an archeological nature, but which crop up in the course of an archeological investigation. Data moreover, that the archeologists would be ill equipped to analyze because it takes another set of skills and training than archeologists usually have.

The only time I conceded that “outsiders” have anything useful to contribute is that sometimes a different “fresh” perspective helps us to see something that “insiders” have become blind to due to “paradigm paralysis”, and these are the ones usually not invited to collaborate. But this is a side issue, and by no means my main point.

I, on the other hand, assert that even an engineer would need to expand his expertise to include archeology first before his engineering knowledge will be of any use to archeologists.

I recommend this as well! And just as good, or even better, what if, as I suggested before, the archeologists are right there collaborating with him along the way.

You're better off looking for an insider with a secondary degree or a diverse background in other fields that can help to broaden his horizons.

Once again, it was I who first suggested this.

Since you can’t seem to grasp the distinction about collaboration vs. “lone outsider” and other things besides, it’s useless to belabor the point. So I’m done here.

They ARE up to the task, actually. That much is not really in dispute, considering the level of technology that went into the Great Wall of China.

Other than the volume of stone that went into their respective constructions, we’re talking apples and oranges here; only some of the tools and techniques would be the same, because the individual stones in the Great Wall are not even as big as those in the Great Pyramid, and to my recollection, the “GW” doesn’t include granite blocks, and even if it did, they had iron tools by then, didn’t they?

It really isn't a question of IF the Egyptians used primitive technology to build the pyramids. Everyone's pretty sure that they did, not for any particular reason except that it's usually safe to assume that old technology is less advanced than new technology

And this is precisely the problem, and my point! The “myth of the given” is never questioned by most, even though, as you say, “not for any particular reason except that it's usually safe to assume”. I, on the other hand, say it’s never safe to assume, especially in science.

Yes they did. It was "The Great Pyramids were definitely NOT built by archeologists."

I doubt they learned that either, but that they did not build it is the main reason they have no more authority than anyone else in telling the rest of us how it was, or was not done!

Only when empirical data is not available, which is distressingly often. They PREFER empirical data, obviously, but you make due with what you have.

And it is for this reason that archeology is not truly an empirical discipline, like I said.

In other words, more often than not they have to “guess”, so we’re right back where we started with this line if discussion where I said as much as you just did in the above, yet you objected. We could have saved ourselves much wailing and gnashing of teeth if you had just agreed with me in the first place.

I also suggested that sometimes “empirical data” is available, but it is missed or devalued because it falls under the expertise of another discipline (like the difference between wind erosion and rain erosion) and is not recognised as the vital clue that it is.

Then you no longer have that evidence and cannot show it to anyone. Someone else can testify that you did have the evidence, but then it's no longer empirical, it's indirect.

So you’ve just refuted your own position! The whole point of rephrasing your definition –keeping only the salient part about obtaining evidence which subsequently disappears- that “empirical” evidence doesn’t have to be replicable; was to show the absurdity of your definition.

To demonstrate, let’s juxtapose your original example of “empirical” evidence against your reply to my rephrased version.

Empirical data doesn't need to be "repeatable" as such. I can count the number of bones in a human body three seconds before I stuff that body in a woodchipper and grind him into pulp; no one else will be able to collect that data ever again, but I still have it and I still obtained it by observation.”

“Then you no longer have that evidence and cannot show it to anyone. Someone else can testify that you did have the evidence, but then it's no longer empirical, it's indirect.”

And yet you accuse me of not understanding your position! Heck. You don’t even understand your own position from one post to the next!

Nuff said!

Last edited by TIN_MAN; November 23 2012 at 10:00 PM.
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Old November 23 2012, 09:22 AM   #420
Deckerd
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Re: Ancient Aliens

You two should really get a room.
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