Occam's Razor Cuts Both Ways
c copyrighted By J. M. Cornwell firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1970 Erich Von Daniken published his theories that Earth had been visited and populated by aliens -- extraterrestrials -- who left their mark on history and seemingly vanished, leaving behind tantalizing traces and myth-obscured tales. His theories were eagerly embraced until the scientific community came out full force to destroy his specious claims by pointing to his checkered past and lack of educational and scientific background. Von Daniken further discredited himself by manufacturing evidence to bolster his claims in order to hang on to the only success in his life.
When PBS's investigators for NOVA confronted Von Daniken with the potter who manufactured his "ancient" proof, Von Daniken replied his deception was justified because some people would only believe if they saw proof.
What kind of proof would it take to convince the scientific community of extraterrestrial involvement in our evolution and that they have visited our world for countless centuries?
Zecharia Sitchin, born in Russia and raised in Palestine, is a respected member of the scientific and academic communities. He knows modern and ancient Hebrew, as well as other Semitic and European languages. He is well versed in the Old Testament and the history and archeology of the Near East. He graduated from the University of London, majored in Economic History, attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, and he is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Oriental Society, the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and the Israel Exploration Society, in addition to being a world renowned journalist. His credentials are impeccable and his scholarship unparalleled -- and he agrees with Von Daniken. Sitchin's proof lies in the ancient Sumerian clay tablets that have been unearthed and deciphered from archeological digs in what is now the Middle East.
Occam's Razor states that, all things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the right one. Scientists and scholars have cut down their opposition with Occam's Razor, calling their conclusions and suppositions fantasies, but the blade cuts both ways.
Sitchin believes that what the Sumerian documented in cuneiform writing and preserved in dried and baked clay tablets is not just myth but truth, that the ancient drawings and accounts of astronauts are exact representations of the beings who colonized our planet over 430,000 years ago and created the life forms from which we evolved. It is the simplest and most direct answer -- believe what is written.
In 1976 Sitchin published the translations and his theories, based on the combined efforts of many scholars, in his book THE 12TH PLANET. He proposed that by taking the Sumerian tablets at face value and comparing them with the various mythologies of later civilizations you could see the evolution of our current beliefs. The animal-headed gods of Egypt were not the anthropomorphization of a civilization trying to bring the world around them to life and understanding, but were a continuation of beliefs fostered in Sumeria and born thousands of years before them, even before the Great Flood. Greece, Rome, and many later civilizations interacting with the Assyrians and Egyptians, and having access to the Sumerian writings, were later attempts to contemporize ancient beliefs, making them accessible to their own culture.
Each civilization created their beliefs from older knowledge, translating the names and places of the gods they worshiped -- putting their spin on ancient tales -- but they never changed the essence, much like modern day writers taking outdated fairy tales and histories and giving them a new life and accessibility. The Bible, founded on the Hebrew Torah, is just another example of adopting another belief system, changing it to fit your needs and making it the basis of a new religion.
The first archeologists used, and continue to use, the Bible to lay the foundations for their historical time lines for Egypt and other civilizations by using the Hebrew histories and chronologies of the Old Testament. They believed what was written. Heinrich Schleimann adopted the same technique, using Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY to trace the whereabouts of ancient Troy. He believed what was written; it paid off.
When you look at the Bible in terms of its predecessors, and ultimately the Sumerian tablets, you find it is a sort of Reader's Digest condensed version of ancient history as recorded by the Hebrews. Sitchin uses the deciphered Sumerian tablets in much the same way, taking the writings at face value and building on the ancient past.
Sitchin outlined his proof in a series of books -- THE EARTH CHRONICLES -- and followed the series with GENESIS REVISITED, written in 1983, 15 years after THE 12TH PLANET. In GENESIS REVISITED he pointed to NASA's findings, and the continuing work by astronomers world wide, as well as the leaps in medicine and genetics that have since followed. It has all been done before.
The Sumerians knew about Pluto and the rest of our solar system more than 5,000 years before unmanned probes, like Voyager and Galileo, gave us visible proof. How could the Sumerians know that Pluto existed, or that there was an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter? How could they have known that Uranus had rings like Saturn that tilted up or that Neptune was a watery world? How could they know how many satellites each of the planets had, or their various characteristics, from just gazing at the sky from atop their ziggurats? How could they know the composition of planets we, with our vast and powerful technologies, are just beginning to discover? Consider the distance between us and Pluto and check your answer.
The only difference between what the Sumerians knew and what we are finding is that they knew it, and wrote about it, from Pluto inward, not from our world out, and they formed their history of the universe in that manner. How is that possible without having been outside the solar system and traveling toward Earth?
We can accept that the ancients possessed knowledge we are just beginning to rediscover, and that they evolved rapidly from hominids to a high level of technology, science and medicine alone without any more intervention than God's inspiration, and yet no missing link between modern man and the hominids has been found despite continuing research. We know these advanced civilizations fell from dizzying heights, and many without the simple aid of a wheel, to end in obscurity, their monuments and cities and monoliths, so amazingly constructed, reclaimed by the jungles and sands of time. We can't even begin to duplicate their efforts and we certainly have no clue as to how such early civilizations accomplished the impossible, but scientists are more willing to believe that we blossomed, flourished and died without help, falling back into barbarism, more readily than they will believe we have been visited by extraterrestrials who gave us an evolutionary boost.
Occams' Razor is a two-edge blade. The simplest answer is usually the right one. Sitchin and Von Daniken, as different as their backgrounds are, agree with the proof set before them. Sitchin didn't create his proof, other archeologists dug it up and deciphered the wedge-shaped marks baked into the clay. Scientists believe the accounts of the Sumerians' every day life, but not their claims of living with the gods and having been created by them. They persist in believing the tales to be myths based on their wide-eyed imaginings as they attempted to make sense of their place in the universe. Sounds like they need to check Occam's Razor and see which edge of the blade is pointed towards them.
All things being equal, the simplest answer is usually the right one.
c copyrighted J. M. Cornwell email@example.com
1. Zecharia Sitchin, THE 12TH PLANET
2. Zecharia Sitchin, THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
3. Zecharia Sitchin, THE WARS OF GODS AND MEN
4. Zecharia Sitchin, WHEN TIME BEGAN
5. Zecharia Sitchin, GENESIS REVISITED
6. Zecharia Sitchin, DIVINE ENCOUNTERS
7. Erich Von Daniken, CHARIOTS OF THE GODS?
A Thousand Thank Yous, to my special friend Jackie for her article submission!
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