Thursday, January 30, 2014

Evidence of an Ancient Global Civilization pt 2

On the very next page, we run into one paragraph that is so rife with errors and fabrications that it needs careful attention to figure out just how much flaws have been crammed in. The paragraph follows on Murdock's statement that contact between the Americas and the Old World had to have begun much earlier than conventionally accepted - this paragraph gives 'supporting evidence' for such a contention. The paragraph is as follows:
For example, in the Americas are found the Eden, flood and Jonah myths; the story of the sun standing still; the veneration of the serpent; the virgin birth; the crucifixon; the practice of circumcision; and ascetic monasteries and nunneries. As another example, natives of British Columbia called the sun/sky-god “Sin,” like the Old World god, and represented Sin’s mother as being married to a carpenter, who teaches his solar son his trade.* Furthermore, as Carpenter states: “The same legend of gods (or idols) being born in caves has, curiously enough, been reported from Mexico, Guatemala, the Antilles, and other places in Central America.”* Also, the natives of Florida at the time of the Christian invasion were allegedly discovered to chant “Hosanna.”* [1, p. 392 The text has been altered slightly - asterisks mark where references to sources were, the particular sources are not particular relevant for the first impression.]
I shall now investigate this paragraph almost sentence by sentence. We first notice the lack of sources for the statement that the entire series of Eden, flood, Jonah, the sun standing still, crucifixion, circumcision and monasteries are present in the Americas. I do not doubt the presence of circumcision there, but any single correspondence between two cultures does not make evidence of contact. If many of these happened to overlap, it would be more interesting, but we are given no such information to work with.
As another example, natives of British Columbia called the sun/sky-god “Sin,” like the Old World god, and represented Sin’s mother as being married to a carpenter, who teaches his solar son his trade. [1, p. 392]
Here, Murdock's obscurantism knows no bounds. The natives of British Columbia have more than two dozen languages today. Several languages of the area have probably also gone extinct. Obtaining dictionaries of these languages is difficult - might be reasonably doable if you live close to a university library in Vancouver (or maybe the other major cities of Canada). (For an overview of the languages, see this.) This makes verifying her claim way more difficult than it should be. This suggests to me that Murdock does not understand the idea of peer review or what it is for. If she has considered it at all, it seems she thinks it is a hurdle to be jumped - with , rather than a quality assurance device. The source she refers to - O'Hara's Sun Lore, does explicitly mention the name of the language - Haida. However, obtaining that source separately and then verifying the claim is more work than going directly for the source language. It turns out that in Haida, 'Sin' is rather a word meaning 'day' and the day sky, but also the name of the sun-god. However, this is distances away from any historically possibly relevant word - the Proto-Indo-Europeans called the sun by a word more along the lines of 'shuen' (pronouncing the s and h as separate sounds) and sohwl - shuen was basically the root for oblique forms, sohwl the nominative. Random similarities between languages do happen, though, so even then it is not  a significant piece of evidence.

(It came to my attention after posting this essay, that there was a Babylonian god by the name 'Sin'. He was a lunar god, however.)

In Haida Texts and Myths [2], a story that sounds like it might be the one O'Hara is referring to is given. It differs at key points from Murdock's report: Master Carpenter is the name of a particular supernatural being (who also goes to war against the south-east wind!), and this God nowhere teaches his 'solar son' any trade. Also, the boy is very clearly supposed to have become the sky in the narrative, which mainly seems to be a just-so story for the different colours and weathers the sky has, listing how the boy makes different clothing in different colours from a variety of pelts and furs.
Furthermore, as Carpenter states: “The same legend of gods (or idols) being born in caves has, curiously enough, been reported from Mexico, Guatemala, the Antilles, and other places in Central America.”  [1, p. 392]
Carpenter indeed states this, and provides for a source Carl Friedrich Phillip von  Martius'  Beiträge zur Ethnographie und Sprachenkunde Amerika's zumal Brasiliens. I looked it up, and lo and behold,  Martius' statement is as follows, significantly different from Carpenter's deceptive restatement:
Wie in Mexico und Guatimala sind auch in Aiti Höhlen die mythischen Geburtstätten oder Ausgangsorte der Völker (so die Höhlen von Cazibaxagua und Amaiáuna (P. Martyr 103, 107); und Götzenbilder in die Wände der Grotte von Donden(????) eingegraben (Charlevoix Hist, de l'Isle Espagnole I. 78) bezeichneten sie als einen heiligen Ort.[3, p. 758]
My translation: As in Mexico and Guatemala, also in Aiti caves are the mythical birth-places or origins of the peoples (such as the Caves at Cazibaxagua and Amaiauna), and idols engraved in the walls of the Donden(?) grotto marks it as a holy place.
 These caves are birthplaces of the peoples, not of the gods. Carpenter misrepresents his source significantly:
This same legend of gods (or idols) being born in caves has, curiously enough, been reported from Mexico, Guatemala, the Antilles, and other places in Central America. See C. F. P. von Martius, Ethnographie Amerika, etc. (Leipzig, 1867), vol. i, p. 758 [4]
As a third really flawed claim in the same paragraph, we get this pearl:
Also, the natives of Florida at the time of the Christian invasion were allegedly discovered to chant “Hosanna.” [1, p. 392]

As for this claim, Murdock quotes Higgins, who quotes Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico. As luck would have it, the particular quote he refers to is available online (the five pages subsequent to it seem unavailable though):
It is a certain fact, that many Hebrew words are scattered through the American idioms. A respectable writer says, that the inhabitants of Florida made use, in their religious songs, of the exclamation Hosanna, and their priests were named Jouanas....  [5, p. 71]
"A respectable writer" is about as helpful as "I have it on good authority that ...", or "Ancient alien theorists contend that ...". We should here also be vary about claims made by Kingsborough: he was convinced that the natives of the Americas were the lost tribes of the Israelites. His interpretation of evidence is often fanciful and he seems not to have been skeptical about any evidence that would have favoured his theory. He is mainly respected today as a collector of facsimiles of native American works, not as an expert on native American history.

Note - the above are all errors found in one paragraph. I will not claim I have exhaustively mined that paragraph for errors, even - there may very well be more of them.

We go on to find more bullshit, again not made up by Murdock, but still clear fabrications that she either unsuspectingly (and if so, stupidly) or knowingly (and if so, deceptively) repeats.
Furthermore, the Adam tale is found in the Chimalpopoca manuscript of the Maya, which “states that the Creator produced his work in successive epochs, man being made from the dust of the earth on the seventh day.” So remarkable are the similarities between the Mexicans and the Semites that not a few scholars and researchers have wanted to call the Mesoamerican natives “Jews” and to find in them (and others) a “lost tribe” of Israel.[1, p. 393]
The first mistake is pretty significant here. Codex Chimalpopoca is an Aztec manuscript, not a Maya manuscript. From such a mistake onwards, is there any credibility whatsoever to what Murdock reports about this codex? This demonstrates what I have previously said that her attempts entirely rely on second-hand readings of sources. It further turns out this particular example is good evidence regarding the flaws of her method, as her source has misunderstood the codex or is just fabricating claims about it.

As a rather relevant point, the Codex[6] does not state that man was made from the dust of the earth on the seventh day - in fact, there's only five "suns" listed in it. The 'people' of each sun eventually go extinct - the first are eaten by jaguars, the second get blown away by the wind and turned into monkeys, the third had fire rain on them and turned into turkeys, the fourth were drowned by a flood and turned into fish . There is a narrative that looks a bit like the Noah story - Tata, and his wife Nene are told to hollow out a cypress and survive the flood in it. Once the flood is over, they offend the gods, who punish them by cutting their heads off, attaching the heads to their rumps and thereby making dogs out of them (!). The only notions this shares with the Biblical story is that of rain killing earth's inhabitants and only a few being rescued, Tata and Nene. The end of the story is likewise a motif entirely lacking in the Biblical narrative. That motif is rather significant as it turns the story into a just-so story for the existence of dogs, as well as reinforcing the notion that right conduct with regards to the gods is important.

Then mankind is created during the fifth sun. The creation of mankind is thus: six gods mourn over the earth not having any inhabitants. However, Quetzalcoatl went to the Lord of Death to obtain the bones  (of the previous inhabitants of the earth?) and does so after some trickery had ensued. The bones were ground up, all the gods mourned over the dust and one god bled his penis onto it. And the Gods conclude by saying that mankind has been born.

The first four suns all lasted for centuries - the first four were 676, 364, 312 and 676 years (with an additional flood of 52 years), and the fifth sun is the one under which the author thought he was living. The 52 year cycle was important to the Aztecs and many other Mesoamerican peoples, as 52 years is the time it takes for their 260-day and 365-day 'years' to complete a full round, i.e. 52*365 is the least common multiple of 260 and 365. Thus we see another pattern in this story related to Aztec culture: the belief that the end of the cycle had to be properly observed lest calamities and downright complete destruction would befall mankind. The observations were, of course, proper sacrifices.
However, as we have seen, according to the Samaritans there were no lost tribes, and, racially speaking that relationship is not indicated, at least not between the natives of the past few thousand years. [1, p. 393]
The way this argument is presented suggests it is used to establish that no American tribes are lost tribes of Israel. (The line of reasoning being that since no lost tribes ever existed, none of them can have reached America?) This seems to be a rather convoluted line of argument - better arguments for the non-existence of the lost tribes can be obtained from genuine archaeologists of the Middle East and even biblical scholars, and arguing against the claim that some Native American tribes are Lost Tribes is not really even required - no good evidence in favor of such a hypothesis has been presented by anyone, and the burden of proof is on those who hold such a theory. Murdock, of course, muddies the picture by believing in a lot of shoddy evidence that would support such a contention, yet does not believe in the contention itself and favours equally unlikely scenarios.
But, in more ancient times there was indeed in Mesoamerica a race very similar to that of the Semites, i.e., bearded white men, resembling Phoenicians. In fact, there are purportedly Phoenician artifacts found in the port of Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian sites, suggesting that the Phoenicians, for one, did cross the Atlantic at least 1,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans. [1, p. 393]
No sources given - which artifacts does Murdock think are likely to be genuine out of place artifacts suggestive of transatlantic voyages? On which studies does she base her conclusion that these exist? Mere assertion does not cut it.

[1] D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy, 1999. Adventures Unlimited.
[2] Swanton, John. Haida Texts and Myths, 1905.
[3] von Martius, Carl Friedrich Philipp.  Beiträge zur Ethnographie und Sprachenkunde Amerika's zumal Brasiliens, volume I. 1867
[4] Carpenter, Edward. Pagan and Christian Creeds, 1920. Available at
[5] Lord Kingsborough, Edward King. Antiquities of Mexico. Available at
[6] Codex Chimalpopoca in translation -

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