You have several times attacked me on this message board for what you see as a covert lack of objectivity on my side and for the use of speculation.
In a posting on another thread I've pasted in a section from the Library Page of this website which sets out my position on these matters.
But when I look through our email debate a year ago I find that we touched on the same subject often. You won't allow me to publish your side of the debate but you have no objection to me publishing mine. So here below are some relevant extracts:
Hancock to Fagan 25 December 99: I agree that my claims are just as subject to testing as anyone else but I am still not obliged to use what you and your fellow academic historians define as ‘valid historical method’. This is why I keep on saying that I’m neither a historian nor a pseudohistorian. And its why I tell my readers up front that I see myself as an advocate for the possibility of a lost civilisation, not some sort of intellectual neuter who constantly professes ‘objectivity’. I wear my heart on my sleeve about these matters as you will see if you consult the following pages on my website: [www.grahamhancock.com] and [www.grahamhancock.com].
So since I actually state, publicly and in writing, that I see myself as an advocate of the lost civilisation hypothesis I feel that its rather unoriginal of you to accuse me of “advocacy for one particular view of what happened in the past’!
And by the way, Garrett, academic historians also advocate one particular view of what happened in the past – namely the view that there never was any lost civilisation. The only difference between us is that I accept and declare that I am an advocate for one side of the argument while you academics constantly try to fool the public into believing that you are objective and, in your own words, ‘look at all the evidence’.
But you don’t look at any evidence that contradicts (or even has the potential to contradict) your basic theory that there was no lost civilisation – for example the Orion correlation or the rainfall erosion of the Sphinx. Instead of running with this evidence, looking into it diligently and trying to see where it might lead, you devote all your resources and energy to trying to quibble it away or to crush it with appeals to your own authority – e.g. it cannot be so because we historians know it cannot be so.
Hancock to Fagan 25 December 99: I first started to consider the possibility of a lost civilisation because I was dissatisfied with orthodox explanations of the origins of certain ancient historical civilisations.
For example the precise observational astronomy used to align the great pyramid to true north is not well accounted for by Egyptologists. They suggest that the ancient Egyptians would have used astronomy to predict the seasons, etc ,etc and that this knowledge explains how they did such a good job on the alignments of the pyramid.
Yet a very rough acquaintance with the stars that rise helically at different seasons is all that farmers require to manage their crops. On the other hand to align the meridian axis of a six million ton 13-acre monument to within three-sixtieths of a degree of true north requires observational astronomy of an entirely different order of magnitude – and very long periods of time in which these skills could be refined. It therefore raises a big question in my mind as to the sort of background culture that we must envisage which would have needed to make such precise astronomical observations in the first place.
Not just an agricultural society, in my view!
Instead I suggest – and of course it is only a suggestion – that the kind of astronomy we see in ancient Egypt is more likely to have been evolved by a society that at one time was extensively involved with oceanic navigation (since accuracy to within three arc minutes matters when you are trying to plot a course at sea but matters not at all when you are trying to decide when to plant your crops). Accordingly I suggest that the ancient Egyptians inherited a seafaring and navigating legacy perhaps from an earlier culture not yet identified by scholars. This would explain why the great pyramid is aligned to navigational tolerances and also makes sense of the discovery at Abydos of a fleet of boats exhibiting “a high degree of technology combined with grace” (according to Cheryl Haldane, Texas A&M University). These boats date to the First Dynasty, according to David O’Connor (University of Pennsylvania) so I think its reasonable to ask how and where this ‘high degree of technology combined with grace’ was developed at such an early date?
At any rate, to return more directly to your point, I began my own inquiries, and eventually wrote my books, because I was dissatisfied with orthodox explanations of the origins of certain ancient historical civilisations. I was also dissatisfied with the way that the scholars automatically – and sometimes even furiously! -- ruled out the possibility of influence from a lost ‘pre-historic’ civilisation. This, I learnt, was a possibility that was simply not being considered seriously by any orthodox academic anywhere in the world. I felt -- and still feel -- very strongly that this is a mistake, because even if there is only a one per cent chance that there has been some sort of forgotten episode in human history it is still worthwile checking it out really thoroughly.
Doesn’t it seem strange to you that although this has only ever been done by ‘mavericks’ and ‘pseudo-scientists the idea still refuses to go away? You make a point earlier in your mail that I’m a kind of repetition of the Donnelly phenomenon. Sure, yes I am. And thank you for the compliment. And you suggest that the only reason the public get repeatedly seduced by these ‘refuted’ and ‘discredited’ ideas is because they are ‘unaware’ of the scholarly ‘debate’. It never occurs to you for a moment that the undying public interest in the idea of a lost civilisation (which by your own admission has now survived more than a century of hostile scholarship) may be a sign that there could, after all, be something worthwhile and resiliant in the idea itself.
Of course, you will proclaim, the general public are not qualified or competent to judge such matters – only academic historians may do that. But I think that this is an issue on which time is going to prove you wrong.
So, from the beginning, I found myself in opposition to the orthodox position on the lost civilisation issue and set out to strengthen and support this opposition in every way that I could. Since disagreement with the orthodox view is the essence of my case it does not – to answer your question – trouble me that wherever I step in the field of ancient studies people who have spent decades of their lives studying ancient Egypt or the ancient Maya, etc, etc, are unconvinced by that case.
It’s precisely because the orthodox scholars are so unanimous on the matter that I write my books – to put forward a well-reasoned alternative point of view so that the public can consider both options.
Another point you should take into consideration before trashing my research methods is that I make sure I visit and thoroughly explore the places I’m writing about, even though this sometimes involves taking frightening physical risks. Do you take physical risks, Garrett, in finding out all that can be known about what you’re writing about? Have you been shot at in the course of your research? Have you nearly drowned? Just how far are you prepared to go to get your story?
When it comes to library research my approach is not that of a specialist in one subject (that’s why I’m neither a historian nor a pseudohistorian) but rather that of a generalist and a synthesiser. I try to acquaint myself with as wide a range of material as possible that may be relevant to what I am writing about -- including, of course, the standard orthodox texts which constitute more than 90 per cent of my reading.
Of course I miss stuff! I’m not Superman! But you do me an injustice when you imply that I fail to conduct full research. Besides, isn’t this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? In my view Egyptologists are guilty of failing to conduct full research when, for example, they attempt to interpret the ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts without reference to astronomy, or when they claim to have fully understood the Great Pyramid while steadfastly ignoring its blatantly astronomical characteristics and neglecting to inform themselves about astronomy.
You next brand me with ‘inconsistency in applying logic and methods’ within my work and you elaborate on this a little later in your letter – so I’ll give you my response there.
Then you accuse me of using rhetoric to hide absence of supporting evidence – e.g. rhetorical questions to “suggest” solutions to claims I have no evidence for and profuse use of anti-establishment rhetoric to grab the reader’s allegiance.
But what’s wrong with rhetoric and questions – and even with rhetorical questions? I’m not an Egyptologist but a popular writer advocating a lost civilisation and conducting ideological guerrilla warfare against Egyptologists and other types of orthodox historians and prehistorians – the self-styled ‘experts’ and ‘authorities’ in the field I write about. They’ve had an unchallenged monopoly on society’s understanding of the past for most of the twentieth century and I don’t think it should go unchallenged any longer. So its my responsibility to question their findings and conclusions as effectively and as often as I can and to suggest to my readers that there are alternative ways of looking at the past. In particular I try to persuade them to consider prehistory with a spirit of generosity, rather than of quibbling mean-spiritedness, and to be open to the idea that orthodox scholars may have missed important pieces of the puzzle. That’s why, whenever I see an unanswered question, I ask it, rhetorically or any other way – not to cover up gaps in my own supporting evidence but to seize every opportunity to expose weakness and inconsistency in the orthodox view. Regarding the lost civilisation issue at the heart of my work, the most that I hope for is that I might persuade some readers to join me in asking “why should it not be so?” This may seem like a rhetorical question to you (to cover up a claim I have no evidence for) but to me it’s just common sense. Consider how little we know about what our species was doing during the last Ice Age, particularly on continent-sized landmasses now under water like the Sunda Shelf. The data on this episode in the human story is so fragmentary that I think its irresponsible of scholars to rule out as absolutely and as hastily as they do all possibility of a lost civilisation – particularly when it is clear that their reaction is driven as much by territoriality and sour grapes as it is by any kind of reasoning or logic. In my view the kind of scurrilous and unprincipled backlash that I was recently subjected to by an Inquisition of scholars on BBC television [Horizon] more than vindicates every word of ‘anti-establishment rhetoric’ that I have ever written.
ON ANOTHER RELATED POINT, GARRET, YOU ACCUSED ME IN OUR EMAIL DEBATE A YEAR AGO OF TWISTING THE STARS IN THE SKY ACROSS THE AGES AND FINDING SOME BUILDINGS THAT LINE UP TO CONJOUR AN ANCIENT DATE – A METHOD YOU DESCRIBED AS “RUBBISH”
HERE IS MY REPLY (20 DECEMBER 1999):
What you are proposing would indeed be rubbish, but what you are proposing is very far from what Robert Bauval and I are actually doing in the field of sky-ground correlations – which in no case rests on simple pattern-correlation alone. Both at Giza and at Angkor (see my later book, Heaven’s Mirror, where I argue that the principal temples of Angkor in Cambodia are laid out in the pattern of the constellation of Draco ) we have shown a rich context to the correlations including religious texts that specifically advocate the construction of temples on the ground that are ‘copies’ of particular groups of stars, and local deities specifically identified with the relevant constellations (e.g. Orion/Osiris, Leo/Horakhti, Naga/Draco). Moreover the primary correlation at Giza between the pyramids and the three stars of Orion’s belt is in our view enormously strengthened by the southern so-called ‘air-shaft’ of the King’s Chamber inside the Great Pyramid which was oriented directly towards the meridian transit of Al Nitak, the lowest of the three stars of Orion’s built and the Great Pyramid’s celestial counterpart in the Orion correlation. This alignment, it should be noted, occurred in the epoch of 2500 BC – precisely the epoch in which Egyptologists think the Great Pyramid was built. Finally we have the undisputed association of the god Osiris with the constellation of Orion and passages in the slightly later Pyramid Texts which tell us ‘this pyramid of the king is Osiris, this construction of his is Osiris’.
Since the pyramid is Osiris and Osiris is Orion are we not being invited, by direct association of images, to equate pyramids in some way with Orion? And how big a step is it from here to full acceptance of the Orion correlation theory.
When you consider that most of the work behind the Orion correlation theory had been done by orthodox Egyptologists and had long been accepted by them, it is really perverse that they have been so hostile to the theory itself. Step 1, the identification of Osiris with Orion, was entirely worked out by orthodox Egyoptologists long before Robert Bauval came along. Step 2, the alignment towards Orion of the southern shaft of the King’s Chamber had also long been accepted by Egyptologists (it was the work of Badawy and Trimble, as I’m sure you know). I am absolutely convinced that if an orthodox Egyptologist rather than Robert Bauval had been the first to take Step 3 -- noticing the strange similarity between the pattern of the three stars of Orion’s belt and the pattern of the three Giza pyramids – then the Orion correlation theory would have been accepted without demur by the majority of the profession. But because the discoverer was an outsider, Egyptologists rallied against him and sought either to sideline or to smear his theory, but not at any point to give it serious consideration.
What pathetic, closed-minded, low-class, dog-in-the-manger behaviour…
But no doubt you’ll contrive to put a positive spin on it somehow.
All the best, Graham
|Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||414||Graham Hancock||03-Dec-00 13:15|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||204||Garrett Fagan||03-Dec-00 15:48|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||156||Christophe L.||03-Dec-00 20:11|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||201||Haytham||03-Dec-00 21:00|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||184||Edwin||03-Dec-00 21:32|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||197||Christophe L.||04-Dec-00 12:30|
|Doesn't this Fagan guy got tenure to protect???||217||William John Meegan||04-Dec-00 21:04|
|RE: Hancock Fagan Objectivity Speculation||204||R. Avry Wilson||04-Dec-00 14:18|