Graham Hancock is still busy promoting his recent book Magicians of the Gods, and in a new interview, he discussed the main ideas of his book. There wasn’t much new in the discussion, but it did highlight the fact that for all his claims to be investigating the “truth” about ancient history, Hancock hasn’t yet mastered elementary logic.
In speaking to New Dawn magazine, Hancock reiterated the major claims of his book, notably that emerging scientific evidence suggests that the Earth received devastating impacts from a comet on either end of the Younger Dryas period, both initiating and terminating an Ice Age with devastating climate change and floods. This is not yet proven, but even if we assume that it is true, Hancock’s second claim does not follow:
I would say more than 13,000 years ago during the Ice Age there was a much more advanced civilisation on this planet, than is given credit for by historians and archaeologists. It is remembered in myth and tradition all around the world, and it’s increasingly supported by recent striking archaeological discoveries such as Göbekli Tepe.
Such claims are problematic for a number of reasons. The first is a matter of simple logic: The impact of a comet does not imply the existence of a prehistoric advanced civilization, no more than a thunderstorm implies the existence of an helicopter. There is simply no logical connection between them. The second is that Göbekli Tepe dates to after 10,000 BCE and therefore does not necessarily imply the existence of an advanced civilization prior to the Younger Dryas, which began around 10,900 BCE. This is not limited just to a chronological question since Göbekli Tepe certainly does not exclude such an interpretation on calendar grounds, but rather because Göbekli Tepe shows no evidence whatsoever of the kind of “advanced” civilization Hancock proposes—one with complex social hierarchies, dense populations, and above all agriculture. There is nothing there that hunter-gatherers could not have done given time and motivation.
Hancock believes that Plato’s fictional account of Atlantis is key evidence that a state-level civilization existed prior to 9,600 BCE.
Despite the disconnect between the facts and Hancock’s claims for them, he asserts that it is “academics” who are hidebound in their adherence to dogma and refusal to accept new evidence. “When new facts emerge that don’t fit the reference frame, they find it difficult to adjust to them, and the first step is the attempt to discredit those facts.” But Hancock isn’t content to leave it at that; instead, he adds that world governments may be working to suppress the truth about prehistory for reasons he doesn’t quite explain: “There appears to be a kind of directive operating at governmental level, not to say things too alarming.”
Hancock claims that he does not want to suggest that a conspiracy is afoot, just that he’s willing to suggest them even though he admits that he has no evidence: “There may be a conspiracy. I have to contemplate this possibility a little bit in the book. I don’t like conspiracy theories – it’s an area of enquiry where facts get thin on the ground and speculation gets very thick and long.” He never quite explains why anyone would want to engage in such a conspiracy, but to that end he seems to imply beneath the surface that there is an effort to hide from the public the danger that a comet is about to wipe out our own civilization. “There is a threat, there is an ongoing danger. Most responsible and serious astronomers would absolutely agree with that.”
He concludes the interview with the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s famous line about how quickly our difference would vanish if we were facing an alien threat, arguing that we spend too much time “fearing and hating and suspecting one another” to take action against meteors, asteroids, and comets. How this fits in with the coordinated global effort to suppress the truth, one can only imagine. Consistency, after all, is the hobgoblin of mediocre minds.
The weird thing is that Hancock’s dire warning that humans are turning away from the spiritual and are blind to the coming disaster resembled nothing so much as creationist Ken Ham’s Twitter rant this week against “secularists” who made fun of his life-sized, taxpayer-funded Noah’s Ark replica and theme part: “Secularists mock at @ArkEncounter because they want to suppress the wickedness of man and that we’re all under judgment by a Holy God.” Ham’s Flood is also Hancock’s Younger Dryas—and both find common ground in Edmund Halley’s rationalization in the late 1600s that a collision with a comet caused Noah’s Flood. The words change but the underlying concern doesn’t: Somehow, global catastrophe is assumed to throw into relief the sins of humanity, whether these be sex stuff like Ham asserts or selfishness as Hancock believes. In either case, destruction is for them a purgative.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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