Graham Hancock Delivers TEDx Talk, Asks Fans to Watch Before He Is "Censored" Again
This week Graham Hancock posted video of a reading he gave at a local TEDx event about what he sees as epistemological problems with the “house of history.” TEDx events use the format of the well-known TED Talks but are organized by local groups and are not officially endorsed by the TED organization. In the video, Hancock reads from a prepared text because, he wrote on his blog, “my concern, with this one, was above all in getting the content right.” Hancock asked his fans to watch the video quickly, before the TED organization removes it as they did his last TEDx Talk, which was found to violate the organization’s standards for scientific accuracy.
The presentation began with a description of Plato’s Atlantis, just as it did for Ignatius Donnelly in Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, though Hancock takes a more moralizing tone. He emphasizes the role that income inequality played the divine punishment of Atlantis. He suggests that it was the “arrogance” of the Atlantean elite that led to the collapse of their civilization, an echo of his own liberal political ideology. He then notes that archaeologists do not take seriously anyone who believes in Atlantis.
From this Hancock tries and fails to describe what he calls “the house of history.” He alleges that history as we know it is based on a series of interlocking timelines crafted by historians to demonstrate “slow, steady evolutionary progress.” This view of history was proposed by Lewis Henry Morgan in 1877 when he claimed that societies progressed up a ladder leading from savagery to barbarism to civilization. This unidirectional and progressive view of civilization received challenge from Franz Boas in the early 1900s and has not been scholars’ model of historical development for more than a century.
Afterward, Hancock summarizes the main argument of his recent book Magicians of the Gods (2015), in which he argues that a massive comet collision wiped out a lost civilization. He is now a full Atlantis theorist and identifies the lost civilization as Atlantis and Plato as an accurate guide to its end around 9,600 BCE. Hancock tries to argue his point by analogy, claiming that the destruction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, in the K-T boundary event, proves that a cosmic collision could wipe out a civilization without a trace. The problem, of course, is that we have plenty of evidence for the existence of the dinosaurs, all of which survived the cosmic collision for us to find, while Atlantis left absolutely nothing behind.
Hancock emphasizes the skepticism that the claims of a meteor strike causing the K-T boundary event received until physical evidence emerged, and he uses that initial skepticism as an analogy for why his listeners should similarly reject skepticism over a comet collision at the beginning and the end of the Younger Dryas glacial period. He makes much of the scholarly dispute over the reality of such a collision, but he omits the key issue of logic: Proving the existence of such a cometary collision, and even the memory of it in mythology, does not logically imply the existence of Atlantis any more than the existence of the Titanic proves that the characters Jack and Rose from the movie Titanic actually existed.
That’s why it is so strange that Hancock devotes the entre central portion of his TEDx talk, the majority of it, to laying out the evidence—still disputed by different groups of scientists—that a comet hit during the last ice age.
It's rather striking, though, that Hancock’s argument is nearly point for point identical to that of Ignatius Donnelly in his sequel to Atlantis, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, although dressed up in more modern scientific clothes. But Donnelly faced the same problem: Even if we accept that stories of a comet impact were passed down from the Ice Age, how does that prove that a lost civilization had massive and wondrous cities before the comet hit? For a man whose TEDx talk focused on both Atlantis and a comet collision destroying it, the omission of Donnelly can only be intentional and designed purposely to avoid the criticism he fears will fall on anyone who dares speak the name of Atlantis.
Nevertheless, Hancock baldly states his belief (well, in rhetorical question form) that Plato’s dating of Atlantis’ destruction to 9,600 BCE must be a memory of “the precise date” when a comet hit North America and sparked a global flood. The problem here, which Hancock ignores, is that Plato never claims that Atlantis’ destruction resulted in a global cataclysm. The story he tells says only that the island of Atlantis sank beneath the waves—not that the ocean rose up and flooded it, and not that anyone else was affected. Indeed, his characters specifically state that Egypt was unaffected by the cataclysm and that Athens (which didn’t exist then but does in this story) continued on its merry way. Strangely, Hancock is happy to reject Plato’s plain statement in order to support Robert Schoch’s radical re-dating of the Sphinx, whose erosion Hancock now attributes to the heavy rains induced by the comet.
Hancock then swings to a series of claims centered on the 9,600 BCE timeframe. He alleges that Göbekli Tepe, the ancient carved megalithic temples in Turkey, emerged “out of nowhere” around this time, with no antecedent architecture. He alleges that the ancient site is a “transfer of technology” from Atlantis. He then claims that the people of Göbekli Tepe had agriculture brought from Atlantis and taught it to the surrounding hunter-gatherers, a claim he attributes to German scholars but with which I am unfamiliar. I do not know of evidence for agriculture at Göbekli Tepe, and I think Hancock is somewhat misunderstanding or misrepresenting the fact that the ancient site has upended traditional views about the origins of agriculture. Göbekli Tepe suggests that complex societies emerged before and led to the development of agriculture rather than agriculture leading to social complexity.
Historians and archaeologists, Hancock said, have so far refused to incorporate a comet collision into their models of Neolithic culture, which he says fatally undermine the “house of history.” “We are obliged to contemplate the possibility that everything we’ve been taught about the origin of civilization could be wrong,” he concludes. And yet the fact remains that there is no evidence for a lost civilization from before the impact—no ruins, no pollen from cultivated plants, no fossilized remains of the inhabitants, no trash middens of their refuse, no anchors from their ships, no carved megaliths—nothing. Even the dinosaurs left more behind, and the meteor that ended them was much more devastating than the comet Hancock thinks hit the Earth in 9,600 BCE. All he has is the story of Atlantis.
6/13/2016 12:13:12 pm
Plagiarism of Ignatius Donnelly's work aside, this latest bowl of alphabet soup from Hancock is pretty much what one could honestly expect. It comes from an admitted pothead with a 16 hour a day, twenty-plus year, addiction to pot (what he lovingly refers to as "the green bitch") and anything else he could smoke, snort, swallow or shove in any available orifice.
6/13/2016 03:17:19 pm
Meier, Caspi, Ambler, Harrington, Houts, Keefe, McDonald, Ward, Poulton, & Moffitt (2012) found that heavy use of cannabis leads to neuropsychological decline. The kind of heavy pot smoking, "16 hours a day for twenty years," has a permanent impact on he brains ability to process information and retrieve memory... no wonder the guys a wackadoo.
6/13/2016 05:37:48 pm
"show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife"
6/13/2016 10:54:18 pm
First of all, I was using that article to comment on the intellectual facilities of one specific Graham Hancock and made no mention at all of priests.
6/14/2016 01:55:49 am
" physiological condition that those who suffer from addiction have little control over."
Sick of Your Drivel
6/14/2016 04:50:47 pm
Whether trolling or genuinely ignorant your constant preaching is still preaching. As an atheist I have to wonder if you're some fundamentalist who gets off impersonating a non-believer.
6/14/2016 05:01:11 pm
6/14/2016 05:06:12 pm
See - atheists are just as angry towards drugs and religion as the believers in God. Both camps are wrong. The only way to analyse and study the Judeo-Christian religion is by finding out one fact.
What's your point?
6/13/2016 05:20:10 pm
So did Carl Sagan. I'm sure you worship him.
6/13/2016 05:40:14 pm
"smoke, snort, swallow or shove in any available orifice"
6/13/2016 05:42:27 pm
Seshat was the Egyptian goddess of cannabis.
6/14/2016 05:48:38 pm
In fairness I am an ancient historian who smokes a shot load of pot, it doesn't make you stupid unless you start out that way.
1/4/2019 07:57:08 am
Yes, note that the study states "from childhood," at least, as quoted above. Another study I have read of (sorry, no memory of provevance, so I expect no credibility to be attached to this memory, but it is sensible) showed possible brain damage among pre-16-year-old users.
6/13/2016 12:25:12 pm
A lovely fairy tale, which is par for the course when Hancock is involved, but while a comet or meteor strike might or might not have wiped out any trace of a small civilization, the impact itself would have left evidence of its own. As you, Jason, point out that is a controversial issue still hotly debated.
6/13/2016 12:58:36 pm
Jason, I do recall reading an article, I believe in Archeology magazine, mentioning evidence of agriculture in the area around Gobekli Tepe--but the article specifically stated that it dates from around the END of the time frame archeologists believe Gobekli Tepe was active and is part of the evidence that organization came first. And possibly belonged to the culture that came AFTER the site was buried. But it's possible that Hancock got the information from a legitimate source and misread or deliberately distorted it.
6/13/2016 02:12:47 pm
Yes, that seems about right. The argument is that DNA testing of wheat has pointed to south-east Anatolia as the likely ancestral home of wheat, c8,500 BCE.
6/13/2016 05:35:29 pm
Be very interesting to see what shamanic evidence could be found at Gobekli Tepe.
6/14/2016 03:10:10 am
Don't anybody mention Andrew Collins.
6/14/2016 03:10:50 am
6/13/2016 02:01:04 pm
And like every other believer in Atlantis he ignores that Athens was part of the story - but there is zero evidence for any Athens from 9600 BCE.
6/13/2016 02:22:31 pm
"He then notes that archaeologists do not take seriously anyone who believes in Atlantis."
6/13/2016 03:07:17 pm
"All he has is the story of Atlantis."
6/13/2016 09:57:39 pm
Clearly GH has not read the archeological summaries let alone the fuller published work on Gobekli Tepe (GT) for if he had, he would have seen that the currently excavated sites are proceeded by yet unexcavated portions that may date a few thousand years prior., which would place the origin of the complex before any supposed Atlantian influence.
6/13/2016 10:34:32 pm
Whether aliens or hyperdiffusion born of lost civilizations, none of these guys seem to believe ancient people were capable of doing anything on their own.
6/14/2016 12:54:37 am
GT seems to be the archeological Woo Site of the moment, much as Puma Punku was a few years ago, whereupon it was shabbily dated to 11,000 years ago by numerous fringe personalities. Over dated by some several thousand years. The mystic stonework being less mysterious when the nearby quarries of partially finished stonework reveals not lasers or power tools, but fine craftsmanship with stone tools and metal alloy chisels. Similar quarry sites can be found near GT.
4/8/2019 04:21:36 am
I guess now that the Hiawatha crater has been discovered and it's beginning to be understood as a crater related to the Younger Dryas, we can once again, assert there is substance to Hancock's reporting. And not merely, "a story".
4/8/2019 07:26:09 am
12,000 BCE? Seriously? If Atlantis was a civilization at that time, it must have been an exceedingly small one to have all traces wiped out by a single meteor strike in Greenland roughly two thousand years before the invention of pottery.
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