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Cracked's headline, 5 Baffling Discoveries That Prove History Books Are Wrong, supports what I was saying the other day about "experts". We question expertise only when we want to. I highly doubt that too many "history books" directly said anything opposed to the findings in the list, like "The consensus among archaeological experts is that Egyptians never snorted cocaine or smoked cigs prior to mummification." So, it's not that they were necessarily wrong as much as incomplete.

Of course, Cracked is a comedy site, so we don't hold them to a very high standard. But this is exactly the king of thing "serious" scholars like Howard Zinn do. They make up arguments for past historians and then take them down. Or, worse, they ascribe bad history to patriotic conservatives when it was really progressives who got it wrong in the first place.

Anyway, I'm sure you're not interested in another one of my sermons. Nor are you ambitious enough to click the link. I'll truncate the list for you:

Quote


#5. Cocaine Discovered in Egyptian Mummies


So the German scientists did what anyone trying to protect their reputation would do -- they had an independent lab test the mummies themselves. They found the same dope. The Germans then went to work testing hundreds of ancient mummies, finding nicotine in a third of them. Not only that, but actual tobacco leaves were discovered in the guts of Ramses II (of Exodus fame, maybe). And among those leaves, an actual dead tobacco beetle was found, which means that some ancient Egyptian just smoked the hell out of his cigarettes.

#4. Ancient Hebrew Inscribed on a Rock in New Mexico

Yet when a modern geologist examined the inscriptions and compared them with carvings nearby, he concluded that the scratchings could be between 500 and 2,000 years old. And that's as much as we'll presumably ever know -- by this point, too many people have handled the artifact for dating tests to get any kind of accurate results.

#3. Ancient Roman Statues in Mexico

So how did it get there? No one knows. But another discovery might shed some light on the mystery.
In 1982, an underwater archaeologist discovered a buttload of third century Roman vases in the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. A little more digging around led to the discovery of two rotting Roman-style ships, which were then promptly buried with sand by the Brazilian government. Apparently Brazil hates adventure, and also the idea of anyone messing with their version of history, which was that their land was discovered by the Portuguese, not the Romans. Seems like it'd be cooler to have been discovered by the Romans, but whatever.


#2. A Norse Coin in Maine

... but when they did, the evidence was pretty conclusive. Not only was this an ancient coin minted during the reign of Norse King Olaf Kyrre, but the window of its production was pretty limited: 1065 to 1080. That's 15 years, for those of you too lazy to bother with rudimentary math. This coin must have been made within those 15 years, and in Norway. And it was found in Maine, USA, 5 inches beneath the surface of the earth, among 30,000 genuinely Native American artifacts found during the dig.

#1. Ancient Japanese Speakers in New Mexico

OK, maybe the Zuni people aren't speaking Japanese-Japanese, but there are enough similarities between the two languages that a few experts are spooked. The theory of a Japanese/Native American connection came about when graduate student Nancy Yaw Davis took an anthropology class on Southwestern Native American culture. She noticed that some Zuni words sounded a hell of a lot like Japanese words, and at a rate way above random chance. For example, the Zuni word for "clan" is "kwe," while in Japanese it is "kwai." The word for "clown" is "newe" in Japanese and "niwaka" in Zuni. "Priest" is "shawani" in Japanese and "shiwani" in Zuni.

And then there was the whole syntax thing -- both languages use the verb as the last word of a sentence, a feature only 45 percent of languages share. That may not seem like a lot, but considering the Zuni language is nothing like the languages of the people who surround it, it's a pretty odd connection.

So then Davis really started digging, and that was when she discovered all kinds of spooky crap -- like that both the Zuni and the Japanese share frequency of Type B blood, a rare kidney disease and specific oral traditions about their origins. So her theory is that sometime around the 12th century Buddhist missionaries made it all the way to California and traveled inland. Somehow.
If Davis' theory is true, the Zuni walked away from the deal with Japanese genes and some kickass stories -- which is a whole lot better than, say, smallpox. So it could have been worse.


Are they lying? They're not experts, so they must be.

My Mind is Clean
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11 Comments On This Entry

I've heard of the Hebrew inscriptions before. Here's an article from a religious site that mentions them. No matter what anyone's feelings on the subject are, it's a fascinating read.

http://www.triumphpr...omon-fleets.pdf

I also remember reading articles in Readers Digest publications about strange things that were found in coal mines years ago, items like metal urns and gold chains actually buried within the coal seams. Truth? Fiction? I don't know. If they were real, and not just planted there by hucksters, it would mean that the post-Darwin theories of the age and origins of Mankind are flat out wrong. If that is true, it would also explain why such finds become "lost" or simply ignored. But of course, that would mean scientists have an agenda to protect, and we KNOW how absurd that notion is, right? :whistling:
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JimNEPA, on 23 April 2012 - 06:50 PM, said:

I've heard of the Hebrew inscriptions before. Here's an article from a religious site that mentions them. No matter what anyone's feelings on the subject are, it's a fascinating read.http://www.triumphpro.com/america-before-chris-solomon-fleets.pdfI also remember reading articles in Readers Digest publications about strange things that were found in coal mines years ago, items like metal urns and gold chains actually buried within the coal seams. Truth? Fiction? I don't know. If they were real, and not just planted there by hucksters, it would mean that the post-Darwin theories of the age and origins of Mankind are flat out wrong. If that is true, it would also explain why such finds become "lost" or simply ignored. But of course, that would mean scientists have an agenda to protect, and we KNOW how absurd that notion is, right? :whistling:


I always think of it as Ripley's Believe it or Not kind of stuff, but I wouldn't be surprised at the end of it all to find out that some of the stuff the "experts" said was impossible turned out to be true.
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Like the "experts" who said there were no such things as mountain gorillas, to name one set of "experts". Or the "experts" who claimed there was no such thing as a vacuum.


Time, as they say, will tell.
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Or "experts" on history and religion like, say, Robert Spencer ?
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Adam Smithee, on 24 April 2012 - 05:52 PM, said:

Or "experts" on history and religion like, say, Robert Spencer ?

Exactly. Who cares what he knows? He doesn't know the secret handshake.
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Mr. Naron, on 24 April 2012 - 06:13 PM, said:

Exactly. Who cares what he knows? He doesn't know the secret handshake.


In a manner of speaking, true.

In the fraternal world if a complete stranger walks up to me and purports to be a fellow member then knowing the 'secret handshake' would be the BARE MINIMUM that it would take for me to give that person the initial benefit of the doubt that maybe they are who they say they are.

In the professional world, "credentials" serve the same purpose; the secret handshake, as it were. Of course credentials don't necessarily prove that a person is an expert, any more than knowing the handhake proves that a person is a 33rd degree whatever. But I would expect it as a bare minumum, and NOT having the credentials would create a doubt that would be 10X as hard (but not necessarily impossible)to overcome.

Sadly, too many seem to be able to pass themselves off as historians or other experts these days without even that bare minimum. Most people wouldn't even consider going to a church where the pastor wasn't ordained, or to a doctor without a medical degree... yet seem perfectly willing to listen to historical 'experts' with diddly for credentials... IF that person knows how to say what they want to hear.
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Ugh, as if I didn't see this garbage enough on ATS...

Cocaine mummies: Yes, there are traces of cocaine and nicotine on the mummies; they were curio pieces, a little bit of exotica that you would have in your library or sitting room, or wherever it was that you and the other chaps donned your fezzes and sipped cognac while reminiscing about Tripoli. As for the "tobacco" leaves in a mummy's gut? The Nicotiana Genus is worldwide, including several African species. Calling them "tobacco" is a bit of a stretch, but they do all have varying amounts of nicotine... and they can all have useful preservative properties. Which is helpful when you're cramming a bunch of herbs in your god-king's eviscerated abdomen in an effort to keep his body whole and pure for all eternity lest he be devoured by... uh... I forget the name of hte crocodile-hippo god.

"Ancient" Hebrew: Easy one; Mormons. See, the early Mormons had this unpleasant habit of defacing Native American ruins and rock art during hteir move west and expansion. The crux of that belief is, of course, that Jesus and the ancient Israelites were present in the Americans way way way back when, and htne evil savage Indians came and killed 'em all. Stock "frontier massacre" garbage given a new polish by a weird Christian cult. Anyway, so they went around and defaced this stuff, usually by carving the Ten commandments into it (In english, in Hebrew, in Aramaic, whatever they felt like) and hten pointed and went "Look! The Book of Mormon is true!" 'Cause you know, Ancient Israelites who found themselves transported to medieval-era America wouldn't have anything better to do than climb a rock wall and carve out the ten commandments, as ordered and enumerated by the King James Bible, in scholastic Hebrew.

Roman stuff in the Americas: This one... I honestly don't have too much trouble with. It's certainly not the least bit impossible - or even improbable - that some trading triremes got blown off into the Atlantic; them African hurricanes can be tricky little devils. However, ahd there been anything resembling regular trade routes, the Romans would have let us know... And really, wouldn't a voyage to lovely Rio have been preferable to fighting the barbarians of Germania? I think so.

Norse coin in Maine: Another easy one. The Greenland Norse colony. The Norse established a colony in Greenland in the late 900's, and an abortive colony in either modern Labrador or Newfoundland ("Vinland") shortly after. The Greenland outpost kept contact with Europe until the mid-1300's (the last known contact was actually a tithe shipment to the Bishop in Oslo, consisting of walrus ivory and polar bear hides). Since coins were kept in circulation until they literally fell apart, it's not hard to imagine that some of these things were in the hands of the Greenlanders. How it got to Maine could be any number if possible routes; perhaps it just fell out of the pocket of a norse guy looking for a tree to chop. More likely it was an item of trade (or plunder) acquired by the Innu of Greenland, and passed hand by hand down into the Abenaki people in Maine.

Japanese speakers in New mexico: First off, the whole "these words sound every-so-slightly-similar, and have sorta-similar meanings!" idea is bunk. F'rinstance, English and German both have an identical word, gift. But... you don't want to announce you're giving a gift to the chancellor of Germany. It means poison. it's sort of like the linguistics version of phrenology. As for the physical traits? Uh... yeah. Native Americans hail from the same ancestral stock as Siberian Asians - as do the Japanese and Ainu, and Koreans, and Mongolians, and Tibetans.

And the Zuni "language is s nothing like the languages of the people who surround it?" Well, yeah, the Zuni territory is actually inside the Navajo reservation. And the Navajo are an entirely different ethnic / linguistic group. The Zuni - like their immediate neighbors, the Hopi - are a Pueblo people. The Navajo, along with the Apache, are Athapascans; their ancestors migrated from western Canada in the 1300's, invading the Pueblo territories. There are also the Utes to the north, who are speakers of yet another linguistic family, Uto-Aztecan. Basically, the Suthewest US is a lot like the Near East in Asia; pretty much every people on the continent have passed through there at least once and left their own mark.
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...All that said? Yes, history books are often screwed up. But these aren't the reasons for it. (I have yet to find a history book that doesn't point out hte Norse thing, at least.) These are just things that get kicked around the internet like a hackey sack at Burning Man, usually by people who are about as intelligent as... people kicking a hackey sack at Burning Man.

"Like, dude, woah, I just like, woah, man, what if like, there were like, you know, Jews and like the desert they were wondering in, yeah? What if, you know like, that Desert were totally right here man? Right here! Think about it... doesn't that like... just... blow your mind?"

For those curious about the wall-banging stupidity of our history textbooks, I suggest Lies My Teacher Told me by James Loewen. it'll tell you more than Cracked.com, if nothing else :)
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Scootaloo, on 25 April 2012 - 02:32 AM, said:

...All that said? Yes, history books are often screwed up. But these aren't the reasons for it. (I have yet to find a history book that doesn't point out hte Norse thing, at least.) These are just things that get kicked around the internet like a hackey sack at Burning Man, usually by people who are about as intelligent as... people kicking a hackey sack at Burning Man. "Like, dude, woah, I just like, woah, man, what if like, there were like, you know, Jews and like the desert they were wondering in, yeah? What if, you know like, that Desert were totally right here man? Right here! Think about it... doesn't that like... just... blow your mind?"For those curious about the wall-banging stupidity of our history textbooks, I suggest Lies My Teacher Told me by James Loewen. it'll tell you more than Cracked.com, if nothing else :)

Good lord. I was with you all the way to that last sentence. Let me tell you, I work with a PhD assistant principle who would end an interview with any prospective history teacher who mentioned that book. And he's a self described socialist. It's a perfect example of pop history BS. And Loewen isn't even a historian, if we're still caring about credentials. Personally, I could care less about his bona fides. My problem is with the total lack of objectivity in a book purportedly about the truth. Plus, he seems to know next to nothing about the historians he's lambasting or the context in which they wrote. My socialist colleague just rolls his eyes when he hears young history teachers parrot that crap. I breathe a sigh of resignation.
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Mr. Naron, on 25 April 2012 - 06:58 PM, said:

Good lord. I was with you all the way to that last sentence. Let me tell you, I work with a PhD assistant principle who would end an interview with any prospective history teacher who mentioned that book. And he's a self described socialist. It's a perfect example of pop history BS. And Loewen isn't even a historian, if we're still caring about credentials. Personally, I could care less about his bona fides. My problem is with the total lack of objectivity in a book purportedly about the truth. Plus, he seems to know next to nothing about the historians he's lambasting or the context in which they wrote. My socialist colleague just rolls his eyes when he hears young history teachers parrot that crap. I breathe a sigh of resignation.


Well, while you're telling me, let me ask a question; does your purported "socialist colleague" wear birkenstocks and quote Marx endlessly? Bonus points if he's balding with a ponytail. 'Cause swear to god, it seems like these are the only "socialists" conservatives ever meet. I figure i have to ask, y'know, see if the trend continues.

While we're on what your Che-shirted, Free-Mumia-Screaming colleague, what authority does his purported socialism grant him when discussing Loewen's book? I mean Lowewn's introduction does go into how Hellen Keller's own radical feminist socialism gets washed off of her when she appears in textbooks, But socialism and leftist theory doesn't really figure into the book.

And third... It's pretty clear you haven't read the book. If you had, you would understand that, in addition to having pretty much nothing to do with socialism, it is not a history book, nor is it intended as one. it's a broadside criticism of history textbooks in primary schooling and the processes by which htey are approved. You would also understand that he doesn't lambaste the historians behind those books; maybe it's a recent addition to the 2nd edition, but he actually speaks with the (living) writers of these textbooks... who, as it turns out, are basically having their names syndicated by the publishing houses, while underwriters and textbook approval committees have all the say in what appears on the pages (often to the point of absolutely identical passages between publishers.)

(Also, don't critique someone's objectivity while sporting a link to World Net Daily in your blogroll, chief. It's like questioning someone's sanity while linking to Alex Jones :) )
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Scootaloo, on 27 April 2012 - 11:58 PM, said:

Mr. Naron, on 25 April 2012 - 06:58 PM, said:

Good lord. I was with you all the way to that last sentence. Let me tell you, I work with a PhD assistant principle who would end an interview with any prospective history teacher who mentioned that book. And he's a self described socialist. It's a perfect example of pop history BS. And Loewen isn't even a historian, if we're still caring about credentials. Personally, I could care less about his bona fides. My problem is with the total lack of objectivity in a book purportedly about the truth. Plus, he seems to know next to nothing about the historians he's lambasting or the context in which they wrote. My socialist colleague just rolls his eyes when he hears young history teachers parrot that crap. I breathe a sigh of resignation.
Well, while you're telling me, let me ask a question; does your purported "socialist colleague" wear birkenstocks and quote Marx endlessly? Bonus points if he's balding with a ponytail. 'Cause swear to god, it seems like these are the only "socialists" conservatives ever meet. I figure i have to ask, y'know, see if the trend continues.While we're on what your Che-shirted, Free-Mumia-Screaming colleague, what authority does his purported socialism grant him when discussing Loewen's book? I mean Lowewn's introduction does go into how Hellen Keller's own radical feminist socialism gets washed off of her when she appears in textbooks, But socialism and leftist theory doesn't really figure into the book. And third... It's pretty clear you haven't read the book. If you had, you would understand that, in addition to having pretty much nothing to do with socialism, it is not a history book, nor is it intended as one. it's a broadside criticism of history textbooks in primary schooling and the processes by which htey are approved. You would also understand that he doesn't lambaste the historians behind those books; maybe it's a recent addition to the 2nd edition, but he actually speaks with the (living) writers of these textbooks... who, as it turns out, are basically having their names syndicated by the publishing houses, while underwriters and textbook approval committees have all the say in what appears on the pages (often to the point of absolutely identical passages between publishers.)(Also, don't critique someone's objectivity while sporting a link to World Net Daily in your blogroll, chief. It's like questioning someone's sanity while linking to Alex Jones :) )

Actually, my favorite socialist colleague is a cowboy boot wearing, truck driving Kentucky boy by way of Texas. He's almost as big a college football fan as I am.

His socialism doesn't make him an expert on Lowen's book, his PhD in History does.

I never said it had anything to do with socialism. I mentioned my AP's political leanings because he's not a right-winger who hates that book.

And I have read the book, and I don't know how you get that it's not a history book. It's not a survey or a monograph, but it's about history.

I also have The New Republic and Dailkos in my blogroll. They're also not objective like Alex Jones.

And next time, if you read this, don't wait two days before you respond. As soon as I put up a reply, you get on it right away, you hear me? Don't let this happen again.
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