Monday, August 25, 2008

"First to Cross the Ocean"

As I was traveling by plane last month from New York City to home on a business trip, the National Geographic program playing in the built-in screen on the head rest in front of me was called "Naked Earth: Prehistoric Americans". If you have access to an archive of this show via your National Geographic subscription, I highly recommend it. Evidence examined in the last 20 years blows out of the water that antiquated and increasingly laughable notion that it was purely by the Bering Strait land bridge that only Asians arrived here and were the sole progenitors of the inhabitants found in 1492 by Columbus.

Another show along the same theme is scheduled to air on Thursday, August 28th. It is called "Naked Science: First to Cross the Ocean". My pet peeve about "establishment science" is that it is, perhaps unintentionally, condescending to ancient humans. It says that they were smart enough to do, think, and create many surprisingly sophisticated things, but not to lash together some logs and float across the ocean on currents. In "Prehistoric Americans", at least three probable routes were proposed for migration between oceans: Bering Strait, kelp "highways" extending along the coasts of the Pacific Rim, and a fishing route following the ice-to-sea interface of an ancient glacier in the North Atlantic.

Mormon scholars are often accused of a priori thinking based on inherent prejudices when forming conclusions about ancient history. It's true. We admit that. It's an inevitable part of human nature. But so-called "mainstream scientists" are no different in that they often fall prey to their own cultural biases.

According to establishment science, ancient humans were either stupid or blind. They were simply too primitive to have an original, inventive thought about anything. They had never seen a log float down a river and thought, "Gee, I wonder if I could sit on that and get from point A to point B a lot faster than walking." or "If I tie my cloak to a stick and spread it out, maybe I can use the wind to go even faster." According to the mainstream textbooks, the wheel didn't exist in America until the Spaniards brought it with them. Apparently, no ancient human living on the American continent had ever seen a rock roll down a hill and thought, "Hmm, if I carved that a bit and put a stick through it, like I do with arrowheads and obsidian clubs, I could wheel this pile of dirt on a platform easier than I can carry it in a basket."

If "First to Cross the Ocean" is as good as "Prehistoric Americans" at summarizing the latest research, I guarantee it will knock your socks off.