But check out how Curran, in discussing a 2007 claim that a comet hit North America, explains his research methodology in his Hancock website article (with original capitalization):
Fall of a Thousand Suns: How Near Misses and Comet Impacts affected the Religious Beliefs of our Ancestors touches on the scientific evidence that supports the scientists’ claim, but doesn’t get into the minutiae. It would be a book of its own, and probably a pretty dry one.
Curran, though, seems to feel that we should accept his word that the impact actually occurred, but I’m not willing to extend that level of trust to a TV producer. His use of support from ancient history is similarly shallow. The evidence he gives to his Graham Hancock readers is ripped right from Ignatius Donnelly: He argues that Plato’s account of the fall of Phaethon, the son of the Sun who drove the solar chariot to a fiery crash, recounts the fall of a comet. Donnelly did it first in Part III, Chapter V of Ragnarok, albeit with more from Ovid’s version than Plato’s:
The cause of the trouble is a something which takes place high in the heavens; it rushes through space; it threatens the stars; it traverses particular constellations; it is disastrous; it has yellow hair; it is associated with great heat; it sets the world on fire it dries up the seas; its remains are scattered over the earth; it covers the earth with ashes; the sun ceases to appear; there is a time when he is, as it were, in eclipse, darkened; after a while he returns; verdure comes again upon the earth, the springs and rivers reappear, the world is renewed. During this catastrophe man has hidden himself, swanlike, in the waters; or the intelligent children of the earth betake themselves to deep caverns for protection from the conflagration.
How completely does all this accord, in chronological order and in its details, with the Scandinavian legend; and with what reason teaches us must have been the consequences to the earth if a comet had fallen upon it!
It’s not entirely and impossible idea on the surface, but there are many problems with accepting Phaethon as a comet or even a meteor. First, it suggests that ancient people could not tell the difference between the sun and a comet. Second, it asks us to accept Plato’s rationalization of the myth in a highly unusual way. In the Timaeus Plato makes an Egyptian say that the myth is symbolic and related to astrology: “Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around Earth and a great conflagration of things upon Earth, which recurs after long intervals” (trans. Benjamin Jowett). This “declination” (or “shifting”) of the heavenly bodies ties into the old belief, preserved in the fragments of Berossus and the Life of Adam and Eve, that fire and water took turns devastating the earth. We know that Plato’s version can’t be a tsunami-generating comet as Curran believes because of what Curran left out with strategic ellipses: “At such times all they that dwell on the mountains and in high and dry places suffer destruction more than those who dwell near to rivers or the sea.” The fire might come from the sky, but it doesn’t create tsunamis! In the passage, Plato was drawing a contrast to his own discussion in Laws 677a and 677b where he specifies that floods destroy everyone not on a mountain. Therefore, with fire and water being opposite, the destruction of fire must therefore kill those on mountains. Failure to note context leads to incorrect conclusions.
Curran’s argument is also somewhat illogical in describing why we need to believe his assertion that ancient myths describe the impact of comets:
We’ve simply foolishly dismissed their ancient end of the world stories as religious fiction or moral cautionary tales. They tried their best, without science, to describe what they witnessed. One thing is clear. If we continue to ignore the first-hand accounts of our ancestors, then one day we’ll turn on FOX News, CNN, BBC, NHK, or the Ryan Seacrest News Network and see satellite pictures of our soon-to-be murderer.
The problem is that Curran is partly right even in being mostly wrong. While there is no evidence that the Great Flood ever happened, much less that a comet caused it, the ancients certainly did observe comets and saw asteroids and meteors fall to earth. Some of these even influenced ancient myths and cult practices. But Curran goes far beyond the evidence and then expects us to look the other way when the details don’t add up. That’s why it is ironic to read his in his book description, “Hopefully, Fall of a Thousand Suns will inspire readers to turn off the premiere of Cajun Hoarder Swamp Truckers on History Channel, research some actual history, and continue to explore this strange and fascinating subject.”