Friday, March 14, 2014

Evidence of an Ancient Global Civilization, pt6

Anyone who has actually read the book will notice that my overview of this particular chapter is particularly thorough - there's very little material that has been omitted. This is justified in part because of the sheer frequency of errors in it - the error rate is not far from one per paragraph, possibly even more than that. This will be the last running commentary on the text. I will wrap the review up in a separate post that gives a shorter overview of the problems facing this particular chapter.

Of the global culture, Keel says:
It probably reached its zenith before the Ice Age ten thousand years ago, then deteriorated in the wake of the geological calamities. That early culture mapped the whole planet, and fragments of those maps were handed down over the centuries until they reached Columbus. [1, p. 401]
This ascribes a weird knowledge to Columbus that we can be fairly certain he actually lacked. Columbus sailed westward to reach India, in the belief that the world was smaller than it in fact is. He was convinced, for the rest of his life, that he had, indeed, reached East Asia. Had he seen maps indicating there was a continent in the way, he would probably have picked a different course or made different claims about his accomplishments. Keel really loves him some conjecture, speculation and baseless assertion.
Of the global culture, Keel says:
The giants, who once tossed huge blocks of stone around and built the puzzling monoliths that still stand on every continent, gradually reverted to a fierce, uncivilized state, driven by the urgent requirements of survival. 
[1, p. 402] 
Here we have reached some kind of zenith of weirdness: all the baseless conjecture adds up to giants. Murdock should understand that authors who believe in the existence of giants are as credible as authors who believe in fairies. She was willing to ridicule believers in alien life ("X-philes"), now she uncritically accepts beliefs that are just as zany.
Regarding these “Maps of the Sea Kings” made famous by Charles Hapgood, Zecharia Sitchin adds: 
Indeed, by now a surprisingly large number of maps from pre-Columbian times have been found; some (as the Medicean map of 1351, the Pizingi map of 1367, and others) show Japan as a large island in the western Atlantic and, significantly, an island named “Brasil” midway to Japan. Others contain outlines of the Americas as well as of Antarctica—a continent whose features have been obscured by the ice covering it, suggesting that, incredibly, these maps were drawn based on data available when the icecap was gone—a state of affairs that existed right after the Deluge circa 11,000 B.C. and for a while thereafter.
 [1, p. 402]
Hy Brasil was an Irish myth - an island in the Atlantic that intermittently disappeared and reappeared. It is not South America/Brazil, nor do the similarities in names really signify anything, as Brazil was named a while after its discovery (for information on the name Brazil, see [2]),. Also, the Deluge now? When did Murdock start pandering to the interests of the Creation Institute?

In general, I recommend reading up on these ancient maps from a more reasonable source [3]. An important reason why the "ancient maps theorists" succeed at finding America and Antarctica in ancient maps is their method: they feel free to claim there is distortions, mistakes in scale, mistakes in orientation, mistakes in location, etc and thus permit themselves to correct pre-modern maps freely. This is of course a problem for their hypothesis - that an ancient advanced civilization accurately mapped the world. They have a simple yet so fantastically fanciful solution to it that anyone should realize the problem: the copies we have of their maps have gone through generations of copyists, who all have introduced errors. They do not keep to one map at a time either - they mix and match bits of one map and another (and there are any number of premodern maps full of imaginary islets, continents and land bridges), reorient and readjust bits from each until they get something that resembles the real world. Turns out you could take a map of any coastline, and using these kinds of transformations turn it into a map of any other coastline.
Evidence of Cataclysm
Throughout this demonstration of a global civilization has persisted a recurring theme, found in fact and in legend: cataclysm. The ruins scattered about the planet serve as evidence enough of a variety of catastrophes, such as flood, fire, earthquake, vulcanism, mountain-building, pole shifts, crustal displacement, and comet or meteor strikes. In fact, altogether these calamities have struck innumerable times throughout the history of the planet. During the Quaternary Period (2.5 million to 10,000 years ago), when man allegedly made his appearance, one-fourth of the land’s surface was purportedly under ice, which certainly would have destroyed nearly all traces of any number of advanced cultures. [1, p. 402]
Pole shifts (also known as Crustal Displacement, although both terms are somewhat ambiguous in that they can refer to a different set of real phenomena as well) is a catastrophy-theorist mainstay of the last century. It is not the same as geomagnetic reversal, a phenomenon whereby the magnetic poles interchange every million years or so, nor is it the same as plate tectonics. Geologists have pretty good evidence that magnetic reversals do occur, and these days we even measure continental movement with GPS. The phenomenon to which Murdock is referring is rather less scientifically established, and in fact essentially rejected. Hapgood and a few other theorists believed that as ice amassed on the polar caps, the increased weight destabilized Earth's axis. Instead of the entire Earth getting into a weird orbit due to the destabilized axis, the ice was pushed towards the equator by the rotation, bringing the crust with it, while other parts of the crust were pressed towards the poles. This theory has been entirely discredited, and Murdock should probably have learned not to trust discredited theories, at least not without remarkable evidence in their favour. Genuine plate tectonics happens at the staggering rates of meters per millennium. Sure, even with these rates, earthquakes and tsunamis occur, but the kind of worldwide cataclysm that Hapgood's theory would have indicated probably is pretty far from the truth.

The end of the paragraph - the part that I've italicized - is essentially true, but it is also an excuse for wild, unfettered speculation! The fact that little evidence remains does not make every claim about what went on before the glaciations true, something Murdock seems not to understand.
Quaternary brought tremendous upheavals, with enormous floods produced by the melting of the glaciers, such glaciers and floods carving the earth’s face like a clay sculpture and crushing life around the world. [...]
Berlitz relates the words of oceanographer Dr. Bruce Heezen regarding this tumultuous period:
Eleven thousand years ago the ocean level all around the world was perhaps three hundred feet lower than it is today. The eastern coastline of our United States, for instance, was some one hundred miles farther out in the Atlantic Ocean in that bygone era.
Then, suddenly, above eleven thousand years ago, the Ice Age was over . . . billions of gallons of ice and snow poured into the sea. The result was a dramatic, sudden, and terrifying rising of the sea level all around the  world—an inundation which we have verified by half a dozen different types of research available to us today.
The rise undoubtedly caused the flooding of many low-level seaside communities where primitive man had chosen to build his early towns and cities. [1, p. 402]
This is indeed very possible, but even when the surfaces rose the fastest - during meltwater pulses - it still was on an order of just a few cm per year. Meltwater pulse 1A is estimated at most 6.5 cm ( 2.5 inch) per year, during a 200 year span. That particular pulse may have lasted over a 500 year period instead in which case less than 3cm per year would have been the rate of sea level rise - and it is by far the strongest of the geologically recent (last 20kys) meltwater pulses. The rise was not entirely uniform around the world, and therefore it may have varied from place to place and year to year by a millimetre or two for some short durations within that timespan.

Having looked at what differences 10 or 20 meters does at the application available here [4] within the span of [-120, 0] or so meters (which is roughly what the sea levels have changed since the last glaciation) it is fairly clear that even a ten meter rise does not shift the coast lines significantly - certainly tens of miles in places, though. Even ancient people could have outwalked it without any hurry. This is not to say that sea level rises are not worrisome, but rather that an ancient advanced culture should have been able to outrun it without any significant problems. The quotes overstate the "dramatic, sudden and terrifying" aspect of it - yes, coastal flatlands would turn into brackish marshes, and within years into shallow littoral. But it would not have been an overnight calamity. These cultures would have had decades to move out, and they would have seen what was coming ahead of time.

Some places might be hit quickly due to increase in erosion or sudden bursts, but if these cultures were capable of mapping entire oceans, you would expect them to have more than just one or a few towns along some coast somewhere - their civilization would probably stretch a fair bit inland.

We would be justified in expecting more evidence of their existence if they existed.
Another aspect of the mythos seems to record a “derangement of the heavens,” as in Hebrew mythology the god El is both the sun and the planet Saturn (the “Father on High”), a fact demonstrating that there were two “suns” in the ancient world’s mythologies: The day orb and the “eternal” or unmoving pole star, around which all other celestial bodies appear to rotate. [1, p. 403]
Hold your horses! Throughout the book, all the evidence for the contention that El is both the sun and the planet Saturn is assertion without sources or even any argument in the favor, or alternatively in one case a rather tenuous etymology. Further, even if Murdock's arguments were sound - they aren't - this would only demonstrate it as far as a subset of Semitic mythologies go - far from this holding true for the ancient world's mythologies in general.

The planet Saturn was considered “the Heavenly Father” because it was the most remote of the inner planets and was thus viewed as being the overseer or parent. Velikovskian David Talbott says Isaiah “locates the throne of El in the farthest reaches north,” i.e., El/Saturn is the pole star. When Saturn was no longer the “central sun,” “El” became the daytime solar orb; hence, El/Saturn was both the planet and the sun. This change in the heavens could reflect a pole or axial shift.[1, p. 403]
For Saturn to have been anything like a pole star, the solar system has to have been entirely different from what it now is. Such a solar system is even quite likely impossible - you'd have to have a static Saturn somewhere above the sun - or orbiting an empty spot in a plane parallel to Earth's orbit. Alternatively, Earth's orbit would have to be convoluted and weird, in a way that I also find fairly impossible - Earth being in a sort of weirdly locked orbit - continuously orienting its north pole towards Saturn is just an inconceivable thing.
As to the possible age of human culture, Albert Churchward makes this surprising assertion:
The Solar Cult lasted about 100,000 years and the Lunar before this about 50,000 years. The Stellar Cult was anterior to these, and lasted at least 300,000 years; how much longer it is impossible to say, but from remains found of the Stellar Cult people in Pliocene Strata formations they were in existence at least 600,000 years ago.
 [1, p. 404]
It is well worth noting that Churchward's claim is an unfounded assertion - he goes to no effort whatsoever in demonstrating any evidence for this claim, except vaguely mentioning "remains found of the Stellar Cult people in Pliocene Strata". For a fuller evaluation of Churchward's claim, let us look up what he actually says (note: Google's scan partially cuts off some words at the right-hand edge of the page, any interpolation is marked by italicized letters):
"The height of the pyramid multiplied by 10^9 (1,000 millions) equals the distance of the Sun or 91,837,3?? miles, which is apparently the mean of all the measurements that Astronomers have arrived at after numerous expeditions to observe the transit of Venus, and is probably the true distance. The estimated weight of the Pyramid is just one billionth the estimated weight of the Earth, roughly 6,000,000 tons." Colonel Green gives "the time of building from these observations as 2170 B.C."
But he must go back many thousand years before  this; as I read the evidence, it was built during the Astronomical, or Stellar Cult.
The Solar Cult lasted about 100,000 years and the Lunar before this for about 50,000 years.
The Stellar Cult was anterior to these, and lasted at least 300,000 years; how much longer it is impossible to say, but from remains found of the Stellar Cult pople in Pliocene Strata formations they were in existence at least 600,000 years ago." [5, p. 148-149]
In this, Churchward does not provide any sources for these finds in Pliocene Strata formations; nor were radiometric dating used when he wrote it. Simply put, these claims are impossible to evaluate, except that we can be pretty sure they are not based on any evidence. That strongly implies they are unreliable and unlikely to be accurate.
Based on archaeological, anthropological, astrological and mythological evidence, A. Churchward claimed that modern humans must have existed at least 2.8 million years ago. While Churchward wrote several decades ago, and would thus seem to be outdated in the face of so many scientific discoveries and conclusions since then, his arguments are compelling.
Presenting Churchward's arguments as compelling is pretty much a distortion of the facts. His argument is as follows:
[...] The same imagery was carried across to America. In the Chimalpopoca MS. it states that the Creator produced his work in successive epochs, man being made from the dust of the earth on the seventh day.
Here again man is created, or comes into existence, on the last of the seven periods, which is one day in the Book of Genesis, and 3,690 in the Astronomical or Stellar Cult, or 25,827 years as the one Great Day. In all versions of the seven creations, the creation of man was last; and this is repeated in the seven stations of the celestial heptanomis, because the first seven "ending of times" were totemic, or of zootype forms, and therefore pre-human man had not been imaged until the compounding of the seven into one, which in the Egyptian was the eighth. How many cycles of 25,827 years had elapsed before the one when man was "created" is impossible to calculate. It may have been observed through seven cycles first, and as we know that the Stellar Cult was in existence 600,000 years ago, it is possible that the date would be about 800,000 years ago, when the old Stellar Cult people commenced to reckon time by the observing and recording the precession of the Pole Stars. Man must have been in existence 2,000,000 years before that to attain the evolution that we find. Two cycles of 25,827 years at least must have been observed and recorded before the old Urshi could formulate and blend all the powers of the divinized totemic souls into one of "Man." [5, p. 343]
The flaws in Churchward's reasoning are fairly obvious. However, an explicit listing can do no harm:

  1. He assumes that the seven days in the creation narrative in Genesis actually encodes some relevant information about mankind's early history.
  2. The claim regarding Codex Chimalpopoca stating that creation lasted seven periods is wrong. According to Codex Chimalpopoca, mankind was created during the fifth sun out of five this far, as previously established. The suns' length is not uniform, and the function of the concept is quite different in Mesoamerican cultures.
  3. Some of it really looks like word-salad. "this is repeated in the seven stations of the celestial heptanomis, because the first seven "ending of times" were totemic, or of zootype forms, and therefore pre-human man had not been imaged until the compounding of the seven into one, which in the Egyptian was the eighth." Heptanomis or "seven nomes" (a nome being an administrative subdivisions of Egypt) was the designation of one of the regions of Egypt. Thus, in the celestial version of this region this creation in seven days is repeated (I guess he means this is a reflection of it), and the first seven "ending of times" somehow were in the forms of animal (how's an ending of a time an animal?) and must therefore somehow have been pre-human? Compounding of the seven into one? This is all very fanciful YET MEANINGLESS. No matter how I try to read this in a way that would assign some reasonable meaning to it, I fail. 
  4. By what evidence can we know the Stellar Cult had been counting for at least seven cycles? This is entirely unjustified in the text, yet it does seem as though Churchward believed it logically followed from something he already had presented, yet it seems no such evidence is forthcoming, and his way of writing really does not lend itself to following his argument with any ease whatsoever. 
  5. By what ratio of evolution does he conclude two million years must have passed to "attain the evolution that we find"? From what starting point does he count? This kind of also admits that homo sapiens must have evolved quite a bit during these two million years. From what I can see here, it seems Churchward did not understand evolution.
  6. Why did the "Urshi" have to observe two cycles of 25,827 years to mumbojumbo into "Man"? Goddammit, where's any evidence that isn't just far-flung conjecture regarding the existence of these "Urshi" - Mystery Teachers, Watchers (p. 90, Churchward) in the deep past?
Other weird, downright stupid claims appear in the book - just by casually browsing, I found the claim that writing goes back to the Stellar Cult (thus at least 150 000 years old!) [Churchward, p. 90]. A wider sample would probably quite convincingly display just how out of touch with reality Churchward was.
This estimation may not be so farfetched, in any case. In fact, in seeming accord with the Hindu chronology, which goes back millions of years, Keel reports that, “Human footprints and man-made objects were repeatedly turning up in coal mines and geological strata dating back millions of years.” [1, p. 404]
Now, during the rather early days of this review-blog, two fans of Murdock's contended that Murdock does not express sympathy with Churchward's claim. It should be pretty clear from what Murdock says here that she indeed supports Churchward's claim and does not just report them.
Keel also states, “Our planet is at least three billion years old and there is growing evidence that great civilizations existed here while our ancestors were still climbing trees.”
According to the current paradigm, the modern human only came into being 100,000 years ago, a figure that keeps being pushed back; however, for some reason, humans did not develop significantly for 70,000 years, when they began to paint beautiful images in caves, among other things. Nevertheless, if the human species can progress as far as it has in the past five hundred years, there is no reason it could not have done so tens of thousands of years ago. In fact, it makes no sense at all, if homo sapiens appeared 100,000 years ago, that it only reached an advanced degree of culture in the past 6-8,000 years.[1, p. 404]
Actually, there are good reasons to think it makes sense. Initially, populations were smaller and food production had little surplus. Thus, the number of people who could devote time and effort into developing cultural innovations was smaller. Further, the small number of people means actual geniuses would be few and far between, and the chance that several of them would ever be able to collaborate, or even have their ideas passed from one genius to the next was infinitesimal. As populations grew and as an increasing number of ideas made lasting impacts, population growth finally got rather fast roughly from the times of the neolithic revolutions in Mesomerica, Peru and the Middle East. From then, chances stacked increasingly in favor of progressive development of technology, culture and philosophy. It very much makes sense that homo sapiens has had advanced culture for less than a tenth of its existence.
The Evolution of Religion
However old it is or came to be here, the human species has a common culture going back many thousands of years. This culture included a religious and spiritual tradition that was simple and uniform, although highly detailed, because it was based on the complexities of nature.[1, p. 404]
It would seem some aspects of human culture do go so far back into the past that they may in fact originate when mankind still could maintain some kind of relatively similar customs over its entire area - headgears as a sign of authority may be such a thing. However, some of these may be examples of convergent evolution as well. We do know contact between the two hemispheres was limited in extent until the Columbian contact - and we may even be pretty sure the Kamtchatkans were likewise isolated for quite a while. The main evidence of this is immunological - the diseases the colonists and conquistadors brought with them decimated the population of the Americas more so than guns.[1491]
Had there been more contact, disease almost certainly would have decimated the population earlier, or if the contact had happened early enough and been maintained, there would be immunity - the diseases would have hit much less hard after the Columbian contact. Our cultures may have a few really ancient shared traits, but most similarities probably have appeared through the cultural analogy to convergent evolution or by diffusion in modern times.

It was not, however, founded on the complexities of human beings, i.e., racism, sexism, general bigotry, warfare, etc., until humans brought themselves into it and imposed themselves on it. The proto-religion focused its attention not on any person, prophet, savior or saint of a particular ethnicity or gender but upon the “Architecture” of the Grand Architect, the Vault of Heavens and the Pillars of Earth. The Grand Architect was not only Father but the “Great Mother . . . the primeval waters and source of creation,” a common theme in mythologies and cosmogonies worldwide, as is the idea of a self-generated male/female entity that separates itself into “the heavens and the earth.” [1, p. 404]
Although we probably can be fairly certain that early religion was based on nature, there are multiple ways in which any natural phenomenon can be interpreted. Ancient Finnic peoples interpreted lightning as the sky god having intercourse with the ground goddess; consequently, the stones used to light fires were given a vulva shape, in order to imitate nature: a vulva would attract the firey power of the god's penis. It is easy to conceive of other, drastically different interpretations of lightning - the thunder god riding over the sky being one example.

Even these interpretations ascribed human behaviours and desires to the gods, thus making it hard to imagine a time when "the complexities of human beings" were not part of such a religion. We also know warfare occurs among some of the great primates, so it is not unlikely early man had it with him from the onset.

Since the proto-religion, even if based in nature, still was a human construct, it's difficult to see how it could exist without humans bringing themselves into it and imposing themselves on it. If they did not, it is hard to imagine the religion being understandable for them. And since humans were involved with human religion from the very get-go - anything else is clearly preposterous - this religion was not an idealized platonic perfect religion, it was a human religion with all the flaws religions have.

Murdock's description of the proto-religion is excessively idealizing.

Essentially this entire chapter is mostly a restatement of similar catastrophist pseudohistory, with a few quirks to separate it from other similar theories.

[1] Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy
[3], but see also

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Evidence of an Ancient Global Civilization, pt 5.

We now reach a topic on which tons of delusional literature has been printed. The pyramids. From there, we go on to the topic of pre-Columbian transatlantic contact and American civilization in general.
In studying the architectural remains of ancient civilizations, one category is particularly striking: The pyramid. As Keel says in Disneyland of the Gods: We know that pyramid building was once a universal practice throughout the world. Over six thousand years ago unknown peoples were assembling great pyramids in Mexico. Gigantic man-made mounds were constructed in China, Great Britain, North America, and on remote Pacific islands while the Egyptians were still living in mud huts along the Nile.[1, p. 398]
The pyramid is somewhat striking, but on the other hand it is also quite natural: hills and mountains are obviously somewhat impressive natural formations, and emulating those formations may be a fairly natural idea. Secondarily, pyramids are easier to build than many other shapes, simply due to physics.

As for the quip about the Egyptians still living in mud huts when mounds were being built elsewhere, it is helpful to note that most Egyptians probably did live in mud huts for quite a while even after the pyramids were built, on account of mud huts being quite an affordable and durable solution to housing in general in that area with the technology of the time. Essentially, her phrasing makes it sound like mound building elsewhere around the world predates Egyptian pyramid building by significant time spans, without her actually making that strong a statement. Mound building on remote Pacific islands definitely does not predate the earliest pyramids of Egypt, as they were only being settled at about the time the first pyramids were completed. Unless Murdock means something less than 'remote' by 'remote'. Other than that, the claim of mounds having been built about 6000 years ago seems somewhat more likely to be accurate (e.g. Watson Brake, 5,500 years ago in Louisiana, among other mounds both earlier and later in the Old World).

Which particular pyramids of Mexico are referred to as being 6000 years old would also be interesting - there are quite a few pyramids, so please don't leave us hanging. I find no pyramid supposed to predate the Pre-Classical period, which spanned roughly 2000BCE-200CE. Murdock not only wants us to think those earliest Pyramids were built at the onset of that period rather than the middle or later parts - she wants us to think they stem from 2000 years earlier.

Murdock goes on with this fantastic 'fact':
During World War II pilots flying “the hump” reported seeing one or more massive pyramids standing silently in isolated Himalaya valleys.[1, p. 398]
This indeed is what her source, John A. Keel reports, but he, in turn, gives no sources. For the record, it is worth mentioning that John A. Keel was a UFOlogist with no scientific credentials whatsoever. He seems to have been a contrarian with regard to science in general - if scientists believe a thing, they must be wrong.
Of the ubiquitousness and similarity of pyramids, David Hatcher Childress states:
Mayan pyramids are found from Central America to as far away as the Indonesian island of Java. The pyramid of Sukuh, on the slopes of Mount Lawu near Surakarta in central Java is an amazing temple with stone stelae and a step pyramid that would match any in the jungles of Central America. The pyramid is in fact virtually identical to the pyramids found at the ancient Mayan site at Uaxactun, near Tikal.[1, p. 398]
At this point, making statements like "that is like, ... just your ... opinion, man" starts almost having an academical tinge of respectability. The Sukuh pyramid was built well within historical times, by a literate, well-understood Asian society, there are no major mysteries to it. The similarities also appear to be rather superficial: Candi Sukuh has a clear huge doorway, and the external stairways do not extend to its top platform, whereas Uaxactun seems to have had a separate temple built on its top platform. In fact, the more I look at images of the two pyramids, the less similar they seem.
In speaking of the global civilization, Keel elucidates the weaknesses of the current archaeological paradigm:
All these things seem to be interrelated, as if they were once part of some great civilization—a common culture that spread throughout the world and then died. . . . We have a reasonably complete history of the past two thousand years, and a half- baked archaeological reconstruction of the past five thousand years. But there are so many gaps in our knowledge that most the popular archaeological theories really have very little merit. Indeed, we can’t even be sure that the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid . . . [1, p. 398]
Funnily, several of the given examples actually are from within the past two thousand years, which Keel admits to being fairly well understood; this includes Chichen Itza (up to 1700 years ago), Sukuh (about 500 years ago), Tiwanaku (up to 1300 years ago) and thus within the time span that Keel admits to being well understood. Besides, as a non-historian (and indeed with no formal education beyond high school) his opinion on the field of history is but that of a high school student.
In fact, the Great Pyramid is admittedly much more ancient than the Egyptians of history, as Hotema relates:
 When the most ancient Egyptians first saw the mysterious Sphinx and the great Pyramid of Gizeh, only their tops projected above the wind-blown sand of the desert. They knew no more about the purpose of these structures, their builders, or when they were built, than we do. . . . [The Great Pyramid] could not possibly have been the work of the Egyptian natives, nor has any one ever claimed that it was.[1, p. 398]
A primary source for this Egyptian 'admission' would be interesting. The source, Hotema, was an intriguing person. No biography is available online, but fans of his on various fringe fora seem to express a great admiration for his weird beliefs:
Who is Hilton Hotema & where did he learn all that stuff? This extensive book of Hotema published in 1963 is definitely one of the most drastic revelations of the 20th century. Among other fascinating concepts the author brings up is that humans evolved from a superior race of space aliens; that originally there was only one sex, that women still possesses latent the capacity for virgin birth. He became a prolific writer during the '50s and the '60s eventually publishing more 40 different books, and lessons. He is regarded as the greatest authority of the 20th century on human, mystical, and religious analysis and interpretation. Born in 1878 was a Clergyman, Naturopath, chiropractor, writer, Mason, musician, and manufacturer of violins, among other things. although I personally, in no way, a fanatic of traditional dogma, warn the reader regarding Hotema's opinions, assumptions and conclusions which are rather incompatible with the teachings of established religious doctrines (Meaning Christianity)The book is highly illustrated with unusual drawings on the occult, anatomy, physiology and archeology which makes it more interesting. In 1979 at the ripe age 92, Hilton Hotema finally advanced into higher planes of existence., but see also
An admission from such a peculiar new age kook probably cannot be taken as serious evidence regarding anything.
In the word “pyramid,” Anderson has detected “pyr-a-met,” which he translates as “grand central fire.” The pyramid is the celestial “altar in the midst of Egypt.” The pyramid, thus, was a worldwide symbol of an altar, being an encoder of “sacred knowledge.” [1, p. 399]
Here, Murdock definitely is misrepresenting her source. I was inclined to think 'ah, but Anderson is but a 19th century kook', but in this case, Murdock's misrepresentation makes him appear all the kookier than he genuinely is. Looking up what he actually wrote gives this:
Its four angles on the due north and south, east and west points, its apex, crossed X and the sun when at its meridian height at the longest day resting in glory upon it, it is truly a pyr-a-met, or grand central fire, enlightening the south, east and west sides, and leaving the northern side in shade or darkness, for the sun in our hemisphere never goes to the north of the ecliptic. [2, p. 8]
Anderson seems rather to be making a pun than an actual claim there. His claim about the north side of the pyramid is also mistaken - it is in fact illuminated by the sun from sufficiently high an angle that the sun in fact shines on all four sides of it when at its zenith for a large part of the year.

So, a bogus etymology, not even presented as an etymology by its source - an astrologer of the 19th century - has some value in trying to figure out ancient symbolism on a global scale? There is too much iffy stuff about this particular bit of reasoning. Even further, how does 'grand central fire' translate into 'encoder of sacred knowledge'? Further, the term pyramid is a Greek word for what the Egyptians called something along the lines of mr (we don't know the vowels of Old Egyptian). Why would the Greek word for something the Greeks encountered in Egypt tell us anything about the pyramids' meanings in other parts of the world? Why is not the Egyptian term - or other terms used by regular pyramid builders discussed? Is it because to the conspiracy theorist, everything is connected?
Although such a date is not allowed by the current paradigm, which places all civilization after the time of the Sumero-Babylonian cultures, the pyramid at Cuicuilco, Mexico, is evidently at least 2,500 years older than the earliest known Sumerian finds, as the Mexican structure was apparently unearthed under a lava field created by a volcanic eruption 8,500 years ago. [1, p. 399]
Was it? Sources please? No reason to believe the lava field is 8,500 years old is provided. Is there laboratory work that demonstrates its age? Where can I find this? Sources? It is interesting that the most bold claims are given no backing evidence whatsoever, despite Murdock boasting how well-sourced her books are.

Apparently, there is an outdated scientific claim to this effect from before radiometric dating became commonplace. The method that reaches the date Murdock claims introduces a lot of uncertainty into the dating, but as she made no reference to the scholar whose estimate it was, the reader will not be aware of this. See
Notice that this source - Philip Coppens - was somewhat of an alternative author. He seems to have been the only alternative author with a sense of scholarly caution I have yet come across, though, which in my eyes fully redeems him for having been a regular talking head on Ancient Aliens.
The city of Tiahuanaco on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia is one of the most enigmatic and stunning places on Earth. Lying in a desolate spot some 12,500 feet above sea level, Tiahuanaco has astounded and perplexed travelers for centuries. Although orthodox scholars deem this megalithic mystery an Inkan construction, the Inkas themselves insisted it existed long before their culture came into being. The city is dated by the orthodoxy to no earlier than the 5th century CE, but unorthodox scholars have opined that it may be as much as 15,000 years old. [1, p. 399]
Orthodox scholars do not deem Tiahuanoco an Incan construction - the dates would not add up if it were: the Incas started expanding in the 14th century according to orthodox dates, and Tiahuanoco is dated almost a millennium earlier and is outside of the Incan homelands. A remarkable claim like 15,000 years requires quite a bunch of backing data, none which is provided here. (Not even a reference!)

Murdock should have provided a more clear reference to some of these 'unorthodox' scholars. The main claimant seems to be Posnansky, whose claims have been thoroughly rejected by astronomers and historians alike, on account of resting on mistaken assumptions of what astronomical conclusions can be drawn from the existing evidence. [David H. Kelley, Eugene F. Milone Exploring Ancient Skies A Survey of Ancient and Cultural Astronomy, Second Edition 2011.pdf]

Now Murdock shifts the focus from the pyramids and the dating of ruins onto unusual objects from the past.
The Ashoka Pillar in India is an enormous lingam made of iron and “expertly welded.” Of the pillar, Jochmans says, “The mystery is that any equivalent mass of iron, subjected to the Indian monsoon rains, winds and temperatures for 1,600 years or more would have been reduced to rust long ago.” [1, p. 399] 
Firstly, a minor correction: the Ashoka Pillars are an entirely different thing. The thing Murdock speaks of is the iron pillar of Delhi. The reason it has not rusted seems understood today, but the fact that some ancient smiths knew how to achieve this effect (quite likely without understanding how it works), is impressive. Impressive is a different thing from mysterious, though. (Yes, there are mysteries to it, but these mysteries most likely have solutions that will fit the current consensus view of mainstream historical scholars).
From a shipwreck in Greece of the first century BCE comes a navigational device or “astrolabe,” which “calculated the annual movements of the sun and moon.” Miniature model airplanes have been found in both the “old” world and the “new,” and legends of diverse peoples speak of “flying machines.” [1, p. 399]
The antikythera mechanism is genuinely an interesting device, and it has indeed caused serious scholars to adjust their view on the sophistication of mechanical devices in antiquity. However, the technology needed for it was reachieved in medieval times. The antikythera mechanism is somewhat mysterious as well, but there is no need to posit the ancients were in possession of remarkable technology due to it: gears and arithmetic is roughly what you need to construct it, in addition to someone having a spark of genius. Also, Murdock should have provided more sources - she does not even provide us with the name of the device here.

As for the "miniature model airplanes" and "flying machines", those found in South America resemble fish, and were found among other things that resemble other kinds of animals. As Murdock does not tell us which finds she is referring to, the critical reader again is left to do all the scholarly work for her.
There are also the fabulous drawings at Nazca and elsewhere that can only be seen from above. [1, p. 399]
Indeed they can only be seen from above, but making them does not require seeing them - relatively straightforward geometry is all that is needed.
Also in Peru have been found 50,000 engraved stones that “show people, extant and extinct animals, star maps, the star ring of the zodiac, and maps of unidentified land areas. The people are shown hunting or struggling with a variety of monsters that resemble brontosaurs, triceratops, stegosaurs, and pterodactyls, which properly belong to the Mesozoic era [225-65 million BP]. Even more surprisingly, human beings are portrayed as having domesticated animals that appear to be dinosaurs and are using them for transportation and warfare. People are shown using telescopes, looking at the stars, and performing surgery.” Although these baffling stones have been attacked as modern frauds, which some admittedly are, mention was purportedly made of their existence by a 16th century Spanish priest who sent some of them to Spain. [1, p. 400]
Here, a reference to the priest in question would have fit well. As it stands, this claim is not verifiable. I have not been able to obtain Berlitz's Atlantis: The Eighth Continent, which is the source for the quoted segment. Its name does not inspire confidence, nor does Berlitz' name either - he was one of the main proponents of Atlantis for quite some time. These stones have a name, and I am left to wonder whether Murdock omitted mentioning them just to make it more difficult for the critical reader to find them! Their usual designation is 'the Ica stones'.

Of the allegedly 50,000 engraved stones few have ever been seen by anyone else than the main claimant. Here, we hear the hoax warning bell tolling if it ever did. For more on these Ica stones, see

In addition, the oxidation of the engravings would appear to demonstrate that many of the stones are at least several centuries old, dating to a time when neither native Americans nor anyone else were supposed to know about such things. [1, p. 400]
Please give a reference already, Murdock. Where can I find a report on the lab work regarding that oxidation? It seems - as per the Skeptical Dictionary referred to previously - that exposing the stones in a chicken pen for a while is enough to provide a nicely oxidated surface.
In Central America, another technological anachronism appears in massive spheres almost perfectly round. [1, p. 400]
Apparently, the claims to 'perfection' is a result of people misunderstanding the imprecision of the measuring method used by the only scholar to have carried out such measurements.
In another apparent anachronism, pictures of horses and asses are frequently found in Mexican hieroglyphs, even though the Americas were wiped clean of such fauna 12,000 ago. [1, p. 400]
Do we know for certain these hieroglyphs predate the Spanish invasion? Such an assumption would almost look like the expectation that all skills were lost as soon as transatlantic contact was made. Even the editor of Higgins' Anacalypsis figured the presence of the horse indicates more recent vintage for these pictures, which indeed is the natural assumption - any counterclaim needs backing evidence.
The Enigma of North America
In the analysis of the ancient advanced global civilization hypothesis, North America still seems to remain part of the old paradigm with few signs of any advanced culture or outside influence, other than in legends. However, this perception is incorrect, as, in reality, North America was inhabited by one or more advanced cultures who did indeed leave their traces, traces sometimes so obliterated that they are certainly of a very profound antiquity. In actuality, it will come as a shock to many that the United States has numerous ruins and earthworks so old that the natives encountered by Europeans had no idea who built them. As Keel relates:
[The experts] tell us that North America was uninhabited by anyone except Indians before the Europeans arrived. They overlook all the stone towers and structures found all over this continent (including miles of paved roads) when the Pilgrims arrived. 
[1, p. 400] 
Funny how Keel does not accept the idea that the Indians could have been clever enough to build paved roads, stone towers and other structures. The arguments presented in the sources basically assumes that the scientific consensus is very static about where native American tribes have been located, that a tribe has inhabited its area since basically the days of the Clovis culture - it is pretty clear now that some tribes did move around, and into places with clear traces of previous tribes. What is more, a lot of such migration seems to have occurred in the disease-induced collapse that occurred after Europeans reached the Americas.

Murdock would have benefited from reading up on recent developments in the archaeology of the Americas. Turns out the Indians indeed had quite large cultures, which alas were hit very hard by smallpox and other diseases that were brought to the new world by the Europeans. It would seem it is possible that a majority of the native American population perished in the decade after contact due to disease. Traditions and ways of life were lost, societies crumbled. I would recommend every reader of this blog, as well as Murdock herself, to read Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. In fact, his overview of early scholars' hostility to the native Americans finds strong echoes among the sources Murdock quotes here - they just refuse to ascribe agency and any ability to innovate or to organize themselves to the native Americans.

A large part of this chapter originates with Charles Fort. Alas, no direct reference is made to where in his work these claims are made - neither in Murdock's sources nor in her own material. Thus tracing these claims to their original sources is essentially impossible, without reading the huge corpus of texts Fort left behind. Of course, reading his four published books would be a good start - but ... that should not be the responsibility of the critical scholar.
Fort catalogued all kinds of metal objects from swords and axes to coins that have been found and dated as pre-Columbian. Somebody was mining ore and coal in this country, and pumping oil in Pennsylvania before Columbus set sail. [1, p. 400]
Certainly a closer source for this statement would be more than justified, it is almost necessary. Further, Fort had no or nearly no interaction with academia, the chance that he got any of his coins or axes 'dated' by any credible method is pretty goddamn low. It would be interesting to know how far radiometric dating methods had been developed by the time of his death, but in light of his refusal to accept any validity of science whatsoever suggests to me he would not have used any scientifically accepted methods anyway.
Rather than tussle with the problem of identifying those mysterious North Americans, the archaeologists have chosen to ignore these artifacts. J. Churchward relates the writings of Kentucky historian George Ranck as saying that under the modern city of Lexington is the “dead metropolis of a lost race . . . that these remains of a great city and a mighty people did exist, there can be not the shadow of a doubt. . . . Here they erected their Cyclopean temples and cities, with no vision of the red men who would come after them, and chase the deer and the buffalo over their leveled and grass-covered walls. Here they lived, and labored, and died, before Columbus had planted the standard of old Spain upon the shores of a new world; while Gaul, and Britain, and Germany were occupied by roving tribes of barbarians, and, it may be, long before imperial Rome had reached the height of her glory and splendor.” [1, p. 401]
Spanish and French chroniclers who had travelled in North America do describe native American cities and mound-building. Anglophone chroniclers seem not to have been travelling far into America, thus not seeing what the Native Americans were up to, until centuries later when it was essentially too late, due to the disease-induced collapse of native American populations. At this point, credulous, racist idiots like Ranck and Churchward made up any amount of bullshit; to them, it was inconceivable that the native Americans could have done anything that required an ability to organize or indeed anything that required intelligence. I do not doubt that Ranck further had such a disdain for the native Americans that he felt justified in making stuff up that would show the native Americans were not the first inhabitants of America - in many people's minds that is essentially the same as reducing their claim to legitimate claims on the land, which I do not doubt he thought he had achieved.
In addition to the stoneworks in North America were the astonishing earthworks, some a mile or more long, constituting geometrical images such as circles, ellipses, octagons, rectangles and squares, as well as serpents and other animals, some of which were purportedly extinct by the time of humans in America. [1, p. 401]
And as pointed out, Spanish and French chroniclers even witnessed some mound building, thus positing any excessive ancient age to them is not needed. Which particular ones depict extinct animals? SOURCES. PLEASE.
Like the Great Pyramid, various edifices of North and South America were not built by the later cultures but either acquired by force or inherited by default because the buildings had been abandoned by earlier cultures. [1, p. 401]
It is intriguing how the buildings that Murdock here refers to never are specified. Which particular buildings are those? How do we know that they were inherited or acquired by force? Is it because some 19th century racist posited it?
In fact, although Egypt is often given the honor of being the originator of much human culture, the Egyptians themselves recorded that they were the inheritors of a great civilization that came from elsewhere. Indeed, the Egyptian culture seemingly appeared out of nowhere at a high level of development, as did the Sumero-Mesopotamian and South American. This fact is explainable if the civilizers were advanced groups coming from elsewhere, from lands that had been destroyed by climatic change, war or other cataclysm. [1, p. 401]
Where did the Egyptians record such a tradition? SOURCES. PLEASE. Further, Murdock seems to be contradicting herself: "Indeed, the Egyptian culture seemingly appeared out of nowhere at a high level of development" vs. "Gigantic man-made mounds were constructed in China, Great Britain, North America, and on remote Pacific islands while the Egyptians were still living in mud huts along the Nile". Two statements that just do not add up.

We further have pretty clear evidence of a progression from less advanced to more advanced societies in the Middle East, Mesoamerica, the Inca homelands as well as elsewhere.

[1] D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy, 1999. Adventures Unlimited ltd.
[2] Karl Andersson, Astrology of the Old Testament