Apr 10, 2020, 3:23 PM
—“Curt, What do you think of Graham Hancock?”—
If I’m sympathetic: I think he is honest about what he does. He makes up, or promotes, myths to inspire and entertain people – to restore wonder to their lives. yes some of what he harps about has a grain of truth in it. I’m charitable because it’s good for us to look back into the past with wonder, the same way we teach children fairy tales so that they will eventually mature into reading history.
If I’m charitable, the world needs a few of these people so that we make sure wacky stuff doesn’t get overlooked, and the wrong story entrenched (geology in the past and mathematical physics in the present are the best examples).
If I’m doing my job: he’s using pseudoarchaeology (pseudoscience) to get attention, and it’s been a profitable career for him. and given that his stuff is pretty hard to believe I suspect he’s helping us find suckers, catch them, and reeducate them before they do something harmful to themselves or others. Of all the kind of sucker-magnets in the world he’s the least harmful.
If I want to correct him, and the audience, it is all but certain that Doggerland, isn’t alone, and the black sea the persian gulf, the red sea, the mediterranean, and the lost lakes and marshes of the south of africa, and various other coastal areas, now obscure much of our long, early, glacial and pre-glacial development with flooding. We may be living in a period of extraordinary technology, but the first five thousand years of chasing the glaciers back north, in doggerland, on the shorts of the black sea has to be about as close to paradise as hunter-gatherers can discover.
That said, there is no evidence whatsoever of anything pre-glacial but animals, and nothing obscured by post glacial flooding that gave hints to what is necessary for the evolution of man: fire, metal, and pottery. Yes, people do lose technology (austronesians). Yes people do mature into depth rather than neoteny (equatorial africans). But in general, the long graudal line of history up until the 80-40k, and 40k-10k, and 10k incremental explosions, and the past 400 years of european explosion of knowledge, is so regular in retrospect it looks ordinary.