Michael Shermer debates Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson

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Joined: 6 Feb 2005
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17 May 2017, 9:11 pm

I had the opportunity to listen to this at work and was really glad that Joe Rogan was able to bring these guys together. A few additional commentators are called in later, Marc Defant who drafted an article critical of Graham, and Malcolm LeCompte who was leading research into a meteor/asteroid impact hypothesis based on platinum-class metals, magnetite, and nanodiamonds in the 10,900 BC soil layer of North America.

A warning up front Graham and Marc were a bit hard to listen to. It seemed like everyone got quiet when Randall chimed in and he seemed to do well at broaching common ground on the geological research. Shermer did with Graham Hancock what I think he's been learning to do with Deepak Choprah which is to frame the conversation to get at the core takeaways rather than getting hung up too badly on the specific details.

As far as Graham Hancock is concerned I don't necessarily think he's a crank, he might qualify that way if he were a trained archaeologist but he seems more like he's curiosity driven and trying to hold the archaeology community to account as to whether they've really chewed their present interpretation of human progress over thoroughly or whether they're still suffering from a hangover from 19th century colonialism. His theories have been bold to the point of not sitting well with the conservatism of the scientific community, but I think they were able to boil the ideas down to 1) North American impact 2) Open question of whether 10,000 BC was the agricultural revolution or a post-cataclysmic re-instantiation of agriculture - which at this point no one in mainstream archaeology believes there's enough evidence to consider the later too seriously.

My own takeaway - it's really early in our research of Gobekli Tepe, we've barely scratched the surface of the dig and there's apparently yet another similar mound of pillars that needs to be excavated in the area. It seems way too early to foist conclusions on what's there one way or another and a lot of the heated or passionate debate seems a bit out of place, that is unless you want to start a shouting match in hope that the surrounding controversy piques public interest, and perhaps funding, in archaeology and geology.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling