Sunday, April 04, 2004

Arrogance in Archeology

This excerpt from Cremo's Forbidden Archeology, p. 198, is but one of many illustrations of counterproductive conservatism in science, specifically in the field of archaeology. His book is a veritable treasure trove of such evidences of the frequent refusal of scientists to consider data hostile to the preferred paradigm in an objective and professional manner, even when the quality and quantity of the evidence is overwhelming.

"The following arguments in favor of this theory were published in the popular science magazine, Discover, in June of 1987: "at excavated Clovis sites, conclusive evidence for artifacts made by other peoples has been found above but not below the level with Clovis tools; and there are no irrefutable human remains with irrefutable pre-Clovis dates anywhere in the New World south of the former Canadian ice sheet. Mind you, there are dozens of claims of sites with pre-Clovis human evidence, but all are marred by serious questions about whether the material used for radiocarbon dating was contaminated by older carbon, or whether the dated material was really associated with human remains, or whether the tools supposedly made by hand were just naturally shaped rocks. In contrast, the evidence for Clovis is undeniable, widely distributed, and accepted by archaeologists" (Diamond ~987, pp.84, 86).

"To put this theory into perspective, we should note that before World War II, anthropological authorities insisted that human beings first entered America 4,000 years ago. Their initial reaction to the Clovis hunter theory was summed up by the anthropologist John Alsoszatai-Petheo (1986, pp.18-19): "For... decades, American archaeologists would labor under the view of man's relative recency in the New World, while the mere mention of the possibility of greater antiquity was tantamount to professional suicide. Given this orientation, it is not surprising that when the evidence of the antiquity of man in America was finally reported from Folsom, Clovis, and other High Plains sites, it was rejected out of hand by established authorities despite the clear nature of the evidence at multiple locations, uncovered by different researchers, and seen and attested to by a large variety of professional visitor/observers. . . . The mind set of conservatives of the day left no room for acceptance."

"Alsoszatai-Petheo argued that the history of the rejection of the Folsom and Clovis discoveries is now being repeated as conservative archeologists of the present day staunchly reject evidence for pre-Clovis man in America."

(Emphasis mine.)

Copyright 1993 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Reproduced with permission.

  • See Cremo's reply to a critic here.

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