Feb 23 2009

Google Atlantis

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Comments: 28

Atlantis is one of those enduring myths that is so tenacious it provokes speculation about what is it, exactly, that makes it so irresistible. It certainly appeals to the imagination – wondering what an ancient yet advanced civilization might have been like. It also appeals to the little explorer in each of us. At a time when we can go on the computer in our living room and see high quality satellite images of the entire planet it may seem like there is nothing left to explore – no edge of the map beyond which there be dragons. A little mystery can be fun – perhaps there are hidden archaeological and historical treasures to be found, at the bottom of the ocean or under Antarctica, whatever your preference.

Ironically, Bernie Bamford, an aeronautical engineer from Chester, UK, claims he found an aerial map of Atlantis on Google Earth. What he found was what appears to be a atlantis-googlegrid-pattern of lines covering an area about the size of Wales about 620 miles off the coast of West Africa (here are the Google coordinates: 31 15’15.53N 24 15’30.53W. Bamford is quoted as saying that the grid pattern “must be man-made.” Some reports characterize the pattern as “perfect.”

Certainly perfectly straight lines and right angles are not features common in nature and they do indeed suggest a human technological origin. If you look closely at the photo you will see that the lines are not perfect – but to be fair they are close enough that the non-natural argument still holds.

What, then, are the possibilities? The standard archeological approach to an aerial photo of a potential site is that on the ground (in this case on the sea floor) confirmation is always required. This is because it is very difficult to identify objects from far above. Such images are notoriously susceptible to optical illusions and pareidolia (see the Face on Mars). A legitimate archeologist will not publish that they found X until they have gone to the site and confirmed X.

Further, it is important not to jump to the sexy explanation based upon flimsy data. There is no reason to think that this grid of lines is Atlantis specifically. In fact there is no reason to think that it is anything until the nature of the data itself is examined. Before we begin speculating about what the grid pattern is we need to ask – is it real or is it an artifact of the data. For example, if one finds a blob of light on a picture, before speculating about what phenomenon is in the picture a photographic artifact must first be ruled out. Also conspiracy theorists are fond of zooming in on NASA photos of the surface of the moon or mars and then declaring that the straight lines they find must be artificial and not natural. However, they are just looking at pixelation artifact from digital photos.

In this case the apparent grid pattern does not survive this first test. Google has made an official statement that the grid pattern is indeed an artifact of data collection. They used sonar images from boats mapping the ocean floor – boats following a grid pattern. The lines represent the paths the boats travelled while mapping and is simply an artifact in the resulting composite image.

So it turns out the grid pattern was man-made – it was made by the path of sonar-mapping boats.

Of course, there are many other reasons why the Atlantis hypothesis was highly unlikely. It is clear, for example, that Plato (who first wrote about Atlantis) invented Atlantis as a literary device and was not claiming that it actually existed. Atlantis was the evil empire, enemy of Athens, the shining virtuous city. Atlantis fell into the ocean due to its moral decay. This was a philosophical discourse – not an archaeology lesson.

And of course efforts to find even the slightest evidence of Atlantis have completely failed. The surface of the earth is finite, and as Google Earth shows us, it has been extensively mapped and explored. The absence of evidence for Atlantis (a highly dubious notion to begin with) at this point is more than sufficient to conclude (to the extent that science can draw any tentative conclusion) that it simply does not exist. I think it is also fair to say that it would be folly to invest further resources into looking for Atlantis.

The Google grid pattern, however, is likely to make its way permanently into Atlantis lore. Those who cling to belief in Atlantis as a real place are likely to be more compelled by their imaginations of what the grid pattern may represent than the logic and evidence that tells us it is nothing but artifact.

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28 responses so far

28 Responses to “Google Atlantis”

  1. Steve Pageon 23 Feb 2009 at 10:34 am

    Google has made an official statement that the grid pattern is indeed an artifact of data collection. They used sonar images from boats mapping the ocean floor – boats following a grid pattern. The lines represent the paths the boats travelled while mapping and is simply an artifact in the resulting composite image.

    That’s just what they want you to believe. If you zoom right in, you can see a sasquatch with a snorkel, sat atop an amphibious unicorn. :)

  2. delaneypaon 23 Feb 2009 at 11:32 am

    Go just a little north on Google Earth from “Atlantis” and you’ll see the Azores. The largest island has a bunch of lines extending from it (mostly west and southwest). Clearly this impies that the Azores is the landing spot for our alien visitor, who then use seafloor-based transportation system to wreak their havoc all over the planet.

  3. delaneypaon 23 Feb 2009 at 11:35 am

    Also look at the Barents seafloor (altitude of about 150miles)….more mysterious lines, akin to those alien drawing in the deserts of South America.

  4. medmonkeyon 23 Feb 2009 at 12:05 pm

    When I was in high school I heard Donovan sing about Atlantis. He seemed to know a whole lot about it! Maybe he’s a prophet of the Atlantian gods? I bet Riki Tiki Tavi & the Hurdy Gurdy Man lived there.

  5. HHCon 23 Feb 2009 at 1:12 pm

    delaneya, I agree the Azores’ formation and geological history may be connected to the mysterious island west of Gibraltar(Atlantis). Plato’s ancestors were Greek seafarers. Some anthropologists have shown that travel in and around the oceans of the world was very possible even in primitive boats. Though the islands were officially discovered in 1427 by a Pprtugese pilot, local inhabitants to the region were probably familiar with the nine volcanic, quaking islands. Since the Greeks were seafarers and traders, word of these islands could have spread to Athens.

  6. HHCon 23 Feb 2009 at 1:15 pm

    The islands have been under the domination of Portugal.

  7. Skepthinkon 23 Feb 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Fellow skeptics,

    When I was still too young, immature and clearly unable to do such research, I once wrote a not particularly brief essay on the myth of Atlantis.

    Having read Plato’s dialogues, I couldn’t find that Atlantis was clearly depicted as an “advanced” civilization. Powerful, sure. Rich, doubtlessly. “Advanced”? I don’t think so. Even Plato himself, due to his wish to present Athens’ political system as superior to that of Atlantis, is likely to have been reluctant to give an image of Atlantis as more “advanced” than Athens, since his belief in philosophical advancement would surely have prevented him from considering a politically less advanced society a more advanced society overall. And anyway, I don’t think there was much idea of “advancement” in ancient cultures, other than having more or stronger horses. Technical improvement was still not particularly esteemed, given that inborn characteristics still made for most of social value.

    Therefore, I would say the image of Atlantis as “advanced” is a result of posterior mythical re-elaboration by conspiranoics of different fields.

    On the other hand, and again based on Plato’s writings, lack of evidence is in this case compatible with his original account. If we take the literal myth, Atlantis (a whole island, most likely an entire subcontinent) would have sunk in one single night. The class of cataclysms that would allow for that is not the class of cataclysms that leave a lot of evidence behind. If the account were true, most evidence of it would have been gone after the reported facts. So, even if Atlantis ever existed (doubtful as this already is), proving it directly is probably empirically impossible.

    Something REALLY interesting as regards this discussion, though, is what happened when the Spaniards discovered America. Seemingly, they were taken by the native Americans to be their long-awaited gods, last recorded to have left the premises :-) . But why somebody coming from the East was thought to be a god instead of simply another person? What probably contributed to it was the fact that, according to their own mythology, Aztecs come from “Aztlan”, an island which some locate to the East (or Plato’s West, namely, in the Atlantic Ocean).

    I’m copying here the first reference I found in Google:

    “Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples. In their language (Nahuatl), the roots of Aztlan are the two words: aztatl tlan(tli) meaning “heron” and “place of,” respectively. (…) The connotative meaning of Aztlan, due to the plumage of herons, is “Place of Whiteness.” The mythical descriptions of Aztlan would have it to be an island.”

    This is at least very suggestive, if obviously not proof of the existence of Atlantis. Unsurprisingly, no single conspiranoic theory on Atlantis that I’m aware of has ever mentioned this fact. (though they all pretty much agree Atlantis had time-warping technology ;-)

    Cheers,

  8. mike Don 23 Feb 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Looks to me like an intoxicated crop-circle artist missed the mark…

  9. TheBlackCaton 23 Feb 2009 at 4:21 pm

    The class of cataclysms that would allow for that is not the class of cataclysms that leave a lot of evidence behind.

    The class of cataclysm that can sink an entire large island into the sea are the class of cataclysms that leave a massive amount of evidence behind. A volcanic and tectonic event of that scale would leave unmistakable traces in ice and sediment cores world-wide, as well as sudden massive die-offs of land life in Europe and western Africa dating to that time. Not to mention that it would require a massive and obvious undersea volcanic system. If it was an entire continent disappearing, we would easily be looking at a mass-extinction level event. The last time there was a volcanic event anywhere approaching that scale about 90% of the species on the planet went extinct.

    But why somebody coming from the East was thought to be a god instead of simply another person?

    Because they had beards. Their god supposedly had hair on his face.

  10. PaulGon 23 Feb 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I’m disappointed… isn’t pec going to chime in and tell us all how we’re all extremely poor skeptics for not accepting that the human mind has created Atlantis, because that’s where our consciousness go’s when our brains die?

  11. Skepthinkon 23 Feb 2009 at 5:19 pm

    “The class of cataclysm that can sink an entire large island into the sea are the class of cataclysms that leave a massive amount of evidence behind.”

    Complete agreement. I was talking about the buildings, not the actual land. Any cataclysm of that magnitude would probably have erased any proof in the form of buildings or any other evidence of human civilization (tools, pottery, ships, etc.), and would probably not leave behind the nice road system that was allegedly reported to appear in those Google maps. Buildings collapsing and stones falling apart all over the place, together with volcano explosions, water and the like would probably leave at least discontinuous lines, rather than those nice straight lines in the map. What did the neighboring streets look like after the World Trade Center collapsed? Perfectly tidy and clean? I doubt it. And, as some others have already pointed out, each of those supposed “streets” would be longer than entire islands. Romans too built very long roads, but theirs are not even visible when looked from the same distance as those supposed streets of Atlantis. Did people from Atlantis drive Hummers?

    “Because they had beards. Their god supposedly had hair on his face.”

    True and agreed again. In fact, as you may know, the full story, according to the Aztec myth, says that their god Quetzalcoatl a) had a bear, b) was white (and, as my quote above said, the mythical Aztlan is also referred as “place of whiteness”) and c) left long ago, towards the East (i.e. Atlantic Ocean).

    Interesting. Of course you may ask why their gods had hair on their faces or were white in the first place. Perhaps some previous contact with the vikings? I suppose there is no way to tell.

  12. TheBlackCaton 23 Feb 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Perhaps some previous contact with the vikings?

    Vikings almost certainly never got as far south as the U.S., not to mention Mexico. I would caution you not to ignore the possibility that it was a total coincidence, if the story was true at all (which is not at all certain). Quetzalcoatl was also supposed to have arisen out of, or been, a giant, green, feathered, flying snake. There have been many cultures with many different gods with many different characteristics. Having a few that, just by total coincidence, happen to have properties that match the people and/or god of another culture is not at all surprising.

  13. Skepthinkon 23 Feb 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Yeah, you’re right, it might all be a coincidence, I surely didn’t intend to rule anything out when I put forward an hypothetical viking contact as another possible explanation. I was just exploring different alternatives.

    However, and though I would normally agree that vikings would have been unlikely to get as far south as Mexico, I am not sure we can reliably discuss the issue (due to lack of substantial evidence) and, on the other hand, I would in principle see no problem in the idea of a viking ship following the coastline. Also, for people used to raid entire European villages as their way of life, native Americans wouldn’t pose that much of a strategic threat. Or they could always hunt down and bake a few crocodiles, if hungry enough (they were vikings!). In some sense, it would seem easier to get to America, disembark, resupply and come back, than a round trip without setting foot inland.

    And from the point of view of mere likelihood, I think it is far more likely that a bunch of intrepid vikings got down there than the fact that Aztecs, by coincidence, a) happened to have a human-like image for their main god b) who happened to be white c) and happened to have a beard d) and happened to have left before towards the East and e) happened to be the god of people who happened to posit the existence of an island also to their East f) which happened to be called “Aztlan”, g) which in turn happens to be extremely close to the name of the island which happens to be talked about by Plato in his works and h) which happens to be reported to be to the West and i) to have disappeared.

    Too much of a coincidence, in my opinion. At least, insofar as you regard coincidence as weak and as little convincing an explanation as I do.

    Naturally, I am not saying that there was anything such as Atlantis as it has been depicted by modern new age mythology. But it wouldn’t be totally far-fetched to say, given that ancient native American cultures are in fact already known to have built big cities in the middle of large swamps, that some such city might have ended up being told to be an “island” (the same as a castle with a moat, after a few thousand years of oral transmission ridden with errors or mere linguistic change, would surely end up being an “island”) and that some relatively intense earthquake (or similar disaster) might have sunk it, such that the idea of the “island sinking” arose and then spread due to sporadic cultural contacts between sailors, explorers and some other such once-upon-a-time visitors.

    I wouldn’t have a terrible problem with that notion. I do have a problem, as I’ve said, with claims according to which Atlantis had time-warping technology ;-) Not even Google has that.

    Cheers,

  14. TheBlackCaton 23 Feb 2009 at 9:10 pm

    a) happened to have a human-like image for their main god

    Almost every religion has this.

    b) who happened to be white

    This is debatable. The pictures I have seen of him don’t look very white. Although, considering he is associated with the dawn and light I don’t think this fact would be surprising.

    c) and happened to have a beard

    This is really the only surprising thing here, but not that much.

    d) and happened to have left before towards the East

    Not at all surprising for a deity associated with the dawn and the morning star (i.e. venus at dawn, at that time they thought venus was two different objects, one at dawn and one at dusk).

    e) happened to be the god of people who happened to posit the existence of an island also to their East

    There is an island to the east of Mexico, in fact there is a whole bunch of them. There is no “happened to”, the Caribbean is not that far from Central America. It would be more surprising if they said he went to the west, because there are no major island chains for a long way in that direction.

    f) which happened to be called “Aztlan”

    “Aztlan” does not sound at all like “Atlantis” to me, besides the fact that they both start with an “A”. What it does sound like, however, is “Aztec”, which isn’t surprising because that is what the civilization was named after. Considering it is supposed to be their ancestral home, yet Atlantis supposedly had considerable contact with Europe, funny that there is no evidence of any gene flow between Central America and Europe for a very, very long time. I am also not aware of any mention of the Atlanteans being of a completely different race.

    h) which happens to be reported to be to the West

    The east was pretty much controlled by Persia at that point, the south by Egypt and other Mesopotamian cultures, the North by the rest of Greece. That left the west. Even if you just leave it to chance it is still 1 in 3.

    i) to have disappeared.

    The Aztecs obviously didn’t think that it disappeared if they thought their god was going to return from it.

  15. TheBlackCaton 23 Feb 2009 at 9:17 pm

    ut it wouldn’t be totally far-fetched to say, given that ancient native American cultures are in fact already known to have built big cities in the middle of large swamps, that some such city might have ended up being told to be an “island” (the same as a castle with a moat, after a few thousand years of oral transmission ridden with errors or mere linguistic change, would surely end up being an “island”) and that some relatively intense earthquake (or similar disaster) might have sunk it, such that the idea of the “island sinking” arose and then spread due to sporadic cultural contacts between sailors, explorers and some other such once-upon-a-time visitors.

    It wouldn’t be totally far fetched, but it would be very, very, very far fetched. After dismissing the coincidences regarding Quetzecoatl, your story requires a large number of far less plausible coincidences itself. So what do you think is more plausible, that all of those coincidences just happened to coincide, or that Plato told a story to illustrate a political and philosophical point?

  16. TheBlackCaton 23 Feb 2009 at 9:36 pm

    According to wikipedia, Aztlan is thought to be to the North, if it existed at all, not the east.

  17. llewellyon 23 Feb 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Skepthink:

    “Aztlan is the mythical place of origin of the Aztec peoples. In their language (Nahuatl), the roots of Aztlan are the two words: aztatl tlan(tli) meaning “heron” and “place of,” respectively. (…) The connotative meaning of Aztlan, due to the plumage of herons, is “Place of Whiteness.” The mythical descriptions of Aztlan would have it to be an island.”

    This is at least very suggestive, if obviously not proof of the existence of Atlantis.

    Look at a map. There is no shortage of known islands east of what was once the Aztec empire. Herons inhabit a number of those islands. In fact – trade goods from those islands occasionally reached the Aztec empire. Any of which could have inspired the myth of Aztlan.

    Unsurprisingly, no single conspiranoic theory on Atlantis that I’m aware of has ever mentioned this fact. (though they all pretty much agree Atlantis had time-warping technology ;-)

    Did you try google? I get a number of Atlantis-woo hits when searching for ‘Aztlan Atlantis’. AMERICAN EVIDENCES OF INTERCOURSE WITH EUROPE OR ATLANTIS. is the second hit.

  18. Skepthinkon 23 Feb 2009 at 11:16 pm

    TheBlackCat,

    “a) happened to have a human-like image for their main god
    Almost every religion has this.”

    Yes, I was not asserting the unlikelihood of this particular point, but of the whole chain of coincidences and, implicitly, something I judged strange, namely: most cultures have their gods, and probably none more anthropomorphic ones than the ancient Greeks did, but I’m dubious that even the most credulous Greek would take a foreigner to be a god just because of looking like a human or having too much facial hair. If the native American did, their mythical bias, that is, the relative importance they gave to the beard (or to whiteness), had to be as strong as whatever feature would make an ancient Roman to believe another person was a god. And you know what it took Jesus to be so considered: reportedly walking on the waters, healing the sick, rising from the dead, etc. How come having a beard is equated with being born from a virgin? That’s why I think that, in the case of Aztecs, anthropomorphism would seem to have been more important than it was for Greeks: for Greeks, gods seem to have been anthropomorphic by default (i.e. having two arms was not a feature of divinity), whereas for Aztecs, some traits usually associated with anthropomorphism were indeed a sign of divinity. I think it makes a difference, and an interesting one. You know, no matter how anthropomorphic, Greek gods didn’t look like, say, Asian or black people, but as Greeks, whereas this particular Aztec god going to the East looked precisely like a viking. I still deem it as intriguing, but it’s just a personal opinion, you don’t have to agree on that, of course.

    “b) who happened to be white
    This is debatable. The pictures I have seen of him don’t look very white. Although, considering he is associated with the dawn and light I don’t think this fact would be surprising.”

    I suppose it depends on the accounts. I found some which claimed that, and I see no more reason to doubt this than the assertion regarding the beard, which those accounts also contained. In fact, I’ve been doing some research and it seems that the whole story of the Spaniards being confused with gods may be not quite right.

    “c) and happened to have a beard
    This is really the only surprising thing here, but not that much.”

    As I said before, it’s as if Greeks had Chinese-looking gods before they had contact with them. Not that much surprising? The standard of surprise must have somewhat increased lately.

    “d) and happened to have left before towards the East
    Not at all surprising for a deity associated with the dawn and the morning star”

    A deity associated with the dawn going TO rather than coming FROM the East? That’s exactly the opposite direction. The Sun comes from the East, not the West. If a sun god is told to go towards the East, that’s most probably not by virtue of his sun-like nature.

    “e) happened to be the god of people who happened to posit the existence of an island also to their East
    There is an island to the east of Mexico, in fact there is a whole bunch of them. There is no “happened to”, the Caribbean is not that far from Central America.”

    But there is only one mythical island not accounted for. Any island Aztecs were able to set foot on would have been unlikely to be told to be a mythical primordial place such as the “place of whiteness” in the myth. Otherwise, Aztecs would have had remarkably falsifiable myths ;-) But I think we would agree myths are not usually renowned for their falsifiability. So, I don’t think the myth refers to any of those actual islands the Aztecs may be aware of, but rather some other unaccounted (=mythical) island.

    “It would be more surprising if they said he went to the west, because there are no major island chains for a long way in that direction.”

    It would have been surprising, wouldn’t it? And that’s exactly the case for Plato’s account. Surprised? Why would he postulate the existence of an island in the middle of an unexplored ocean? There were also “a bunch of islands” in the Aegean Sea. But, you see, having a bunch of islands is not enough to have a myth for those islands.

    “f) which happened to be called “Aztlan”
    “Aztlan” does not sound at all like “Atlantis” to me, besides the fact that they both start with an “A”.”

    Only because you choose to, I suppose, and because you ignore the Latin term (identical in the Greek original), “Atlas” (with a final “n” which gets phonetically assimilated to the “s” because of both being alveolar sounds), genitive -antis. Do you think Aztecs spoke English? Sure not, but it would seem they did speak ancient Greek after all. Of course, you’re free to dismiss it as “does not sound at all like”, but I’m not sure whether that would be because you’re a skeptic or rather merely a denier. It can still be a coincidence, but if you you’re trying to play it down as such just the same way you’ve tried with all previous points, I would be naturally inclined to ask you for more convincing arguments.

    “Considering it is supposed to be their ancestral home, yet Atlantis supposedly had considerable contact with Europe, funny that there is no evidence of any gene flow between Central America and Europe for a very, very long time. I am also not aware of any mention of the Atlanteans being of a completely different race.”

    This goes beyond my knowledge and my material time to discuss the issue. In principle, though, I don’t see why you should expect gene flow. According to Plato, people from Atlantis did not seem particularly willing to interact with outsiders, not to mention having intercourse with them. Would you expect a lot of gene flow between Germans and, say, British, during World War II? That kind of data may be dependent on cultural factors. Marital life is not a scientific endeavor, as far as I can tell.

    “h) which happens to be reported to be to the West
    The east was pretty much controlled by Persia at that point, the south by Egypt and other Mesopotamian cultures, the North by the rest of Greece. That left the west. Even if you just leave it to chance it is still 1 in 3.”

    “Left it” for what? Do you think the fact that there were Persians to the East would have prevented Plato from delivering them a full-blown myth, tailored to both Greek political arrogance and Persian lust for power? I really see no reason why. Actually, Greeks saw Persians as barbarians and the same political points Plato may have wanted to make based on the myth of Atlantis could have been equally well made based on factual information on the Persian, with no need of myths whatsoever. But obviously, Plato might have had lots of authorial reasons to place a politically corrupt city here rather than there, which is why speculating on the actual narrative motivation of the myth is amounts to discussing whether the Confederation Headquarters is well placed in San Francisco in the Star Trek saga. But I’m open to discuss that, if you want ;-)

    “i) to have disappeared.
    The Aztecs obviously didn’t think that it disappeared if they thought their god was going to return from it.”

    Yes, sorry if I wasn’t clear, here I was referring only to Plato’s myth (and to the fact that we can’t find proof of that civilization due to the cataclysm). The “coincidence” here would be the very bad luck of having the relevant city wiped out by some tidal wave of sorts and having us having left with no evidence for the civilization, that, according to the tale, would have left behind no evidence whatsoever (you know, it would have been less of a coincidence if “Aztlan” had referred to a city we had called “Atlas” but which had not disappeared due to some natural disaster and for which we could therefore establish some facts).

    “It wouldn’t be totally far fetched, but it would be very, very, very far fetched. After dismissing the coincidences regarding Quetzecoatl”

    I think I’ve just shown that most, if not all, still hold.

    “your story requires a large number of far less plausible coincidences itself.”

    Like what? Vikings? They’re no coincidences, they are actual people. Food in the Americas? I’m sure there was some when the vikings arrived. Some cultural contacts as a result? You can’t prevent those from happening whenever two people cross their paths. I really don’t see all those “less plausible coincidences” you reproach me. But of course, I’m open to more substantial criticism.

    “what do you think is more plausible, that all of those coincidences just happened to coincide, or that Plato told a story to illustrate a political and philosophical point?”

    First, you’re missing a very important point: the story Plato tells precisely accounts for a remarkable number of those coincidences. So, the coincidences would not only have obtained (strangely and unlikely enough), but part of them would have also been reported in a coherent fashion, which seems simply more than mere coincidence to me. Second, there’s definitely nothing strange in Plato’s writing a tale. He wrote a handful of them. The problem is that, in his books, when characters speculate, he clearly says so and uses words such as “Imagine that…”, “Hypothesize that…”, etc. The myth of Atlantis, however, is not presented as any such psychological experiment, but as actual facts reported to his family by means of the travel and education of Solon in Egypt, from which he himself learned that myth. Plato, who wrote lots of myths when he saw it fit, would probably have had no problem to acknowledge to be so doing also this time. If he didn’t, that’s another weird fact you must account for and which adds another “coincidence” to the “all is false” version.

  19. DarwynJacksonon 24 Feb 2009 at 12:58 am

    I’m surprised people haven’t claimed this aberration to be an advancement of alien crop-circle technology. Only an advanced race could leave such “perfect” lines upon the surface of the ocean to make contact (assuming there are no better modes of contact) with us. This seems more defensible a theory than Atlantis… but perhaps not by much.

  20. Skepthinkon 24 Feb 2009 at 3:52 am

    TheBlackCat,

    “According to wikipedia, Aztlan is thought to be to the North (…) not the east.”

    Yes, you are right and I now acknowledge my mistake. I also realized this part of the argument was becoming too central, so I too carried out a more thorough study and, after checking all my sources, I saw virtually all of them place Aztlan to the North of the relative position of the Aztec geography. So, my reference was grossly wrong and I wonder where I learned that from (some alien memory implant, most likely ;-)

    Though it might still be remotely the case that I had come across a source that took some other point as spatial reference, or according to which Aztecs had come from the East as part of some previous migration, these are mere speculations and any such explanation would require far more evidence to be true than it takes to simply accept this commonly agreed version of the myth. It seems definitely more likely that I confused the stories of Aztlan’s location and Quetzalcoatl’s return from the West.

    So I wish to withdraw my statement that Atlantis’ position was somewhere to the East or in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to give up the corresponding “coincidence” in my equation.

    Even though, I think there are still a non-trivial number of interesting facts unaccounted for as regards the whole story (namely, the rest of the coincidences in the equation).

  21. eiskrystalon 24 Feb 2009 at 5:02 am

    White is often used as a sign of purity.

    In hot countries pale skin implies status (not working in the hot sun all day).

    It would not be surprising therefore to have a “white” god.

  22. sonicon 24 Feb 2009 at 5:30 am

    It is correct to say that talk of ‘Atlantis’ is premature from photos like the above.
    I think that what Bernie is engaged in is a method of getting funds to do further investigation.
    You might get a bit of cash going out to look into the ‘straight lines’, but you’ll probably get a lot more to ‘find Atlantis’.

    To quote Nietzsche
    “Do you believe that the sciences would have arisen and grown up if the sorcerers, alchemists, astrologers and witches had not been their forerunners… Yea, and that infinitely more had to be promised than could have been fulfilled?”

  23. Skepthinkon 24 Feb 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Eiskrystalon,

    “White is often used as a sign of purity.
    In hot countries pale skin implies status (not working in the hot sun all day).
    It would not be surprising therefore to have a “white” god.”

    Certainly that wouldn’t be impossible. But, you must also consider that there was one single god, Quetzalcoatl (and the relevant one, in the sense that it was the one coming from the East), who was white. Why all other gods were not as characteristically white? Did they have a “lower” status? Were they not gods?

    And what do you make of the beard, in that case? If they were mimicking their own experience as regards how people look, what were they mimicking as far as the beard is concerned? I think beard was not a particularly common feature in the body appearance of indigenous Americans.

    Plus, I don’t know if there was enough variation in the melanin levels of indigenous Indians to make them think of some of their own as “white” (they’re already pretty dark, and maybe need not be more to be able to endure exposure to tropical levels of sunlight). In fact, I think there’re no “white Indians” recorded anywhere. So I wonder where did they get the idea from. Plus a beard at the same time? Even if white is a sign of purity, what is white plus a beard? A sign of “hairy purity”?

    Consider also that the same applies to almost any society anywhere: a Greek villager was probably also tanner than a Greek philosopher or a Greek priest. However, I think they had no distinctively white gods. And what about Egyptians? Any white gods? They had the falcon god and the dog god but, I think, no particularly white gods, not even any salient such god. Perhaps they didn’t get pale when avoiding exposure to sunlight, but that would be an even stranger explanation.

  24. Basayevon 24 Feb 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Here are some of the funnier reader comments from the Sun article:

    “Maybe some remains of man-made structures would be found??? The Titanic wreckage was in excellent condition after 80+ years. Maybe a Star Crystal will be found????” [I mean, yeah, 80 years, 9,000 years, what's the difference?]

    “… it’s an abandoned undersea ufo base – it was only a few fathoms down before the last polar shift – atlantis is off the coast of cuba …”

    “Troy was a myth too at one time. People should not be too hasty to dismiss these claims until they are proven false. ” [People should be more open minded to works of fiction. I'd like to see one person who has proven Hogwarts isn't real.]

    “With a name like Atlantis it’s pretty obvious it would be in the Atlantic and not the Pacific.” [Oh yeah, the Greeks spoke English and called every body of water by its modern English name. They didn't call it Pacifis, dammit!]

    “I believe that the description of the Beast from revelations is a perfect match for Atlantis as it rises from the sea. if you check the geology of the Atlantis plate you see heads and heads with horns. 666 is part of the date of the resurfacing. Just as it was sunk by an asteroid/comet, it will resurface by a asteroid/comet.”

    “Atlantis was in war with Mu [basically the Atlantis of the Pacific] and they destroyed each other in high-tech war. It is described in bible as the great deluge (Noah – 8 000 years before Christ). … Than we have Men in Black, secret organization that destroys every strange evidences because they are elite, and they enjoy privileges in this kind of civilization where they can exploit Earth. They don’t want us to know about UFO or existence of Atlantis, because we could revolt against common thinking.”

    And my favorite:

    “first of all,I think that Darwin was very wrong in saying we have evolved from monkeys. The monkeys are still monkeys, but humans are moving at an almighty pace toward self annihalation” [Yes, for some reason, that was on an article about Atlantis.]

  25. HHCon 24 Feb 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Atlantis, logically, would be the Azores. There are no UFOs only a U.S. Air Force base there. The only beasts which existed were the secret police from Portugal.

  26. maximus-primuson 26 Feb 2009 at 8:19 am

    It just proves Atlantis had advanced technology, i.e. sonar.

  27. DevilsAdvocateon 28 Feb 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Whiteness as a sign of purity… and of veneration and wisdom, an allusion to the white-haired elders of a culture.

  28. HHCon 28 Feb 2009 at 1:30 pm

    maximus-primus, I think King Neptune traded in his trident to the U.S. Navy. The Navy has sonar.;^)

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