Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 2.23

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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19 Comments

  1. If you liked Bob Park’s seven warning signs, you’ll also like his weekly “What’s New” column. It’s a very quick read that comes out every Friday night, and a good percentage of it is short comments on the latest stupid mis-uses of science. Bookmark it, or sign up for an e-mail subscription:

    http://www.bobpark.org/

    (Bob Park was the chairman of the Physics Department at the U. of Maryland when I was a student there, so I’ve always been a fan.)

  2. That Atlantis is paltry. Use Google to take a look at the ocean that lies to the west of Ireland. There’s an underwater grid the size of Poland with streets that are several miles wide! I’m going to call it Super-Atlantis. Also, northeast of Finland is another city that I’ve named Mega-Atlantis 3000. I just wanted to get these claims out there before someone else discovers them.

  3. Hypothesis 1. Each Atlantis had its own ‘Atlantis’ legend, which, of course, was true. They stretch back to the dawn of time.

    Hypothesis 2. Atlantis was not a city or island, it was at least a globe-spanning civilization. Surely, when we have Google Moon, and Google Mars, we’ll find more of them.

  4. Charles Orser, who is egregiously misquoted in the article, is a colleague of mine (at the New York State Museum, not SUNY as they say…couldn’t even get that right I guess). Here’s his unedited take on the Atlantis story:

    Hi Sean:
    Yeah, these people are crazy. Here’s the real story:

    I learned about the image from the Sun reporter, who called and asked whether I’d seen the picture. I said “no I hadn’t,” so she said she’d send it to me and she’d then call back to see what I thought of it. She e-mailed the image and when she called, I told her that I was not one of the those people who think that Atlantis was a real place. I told her that my understanding was that the story was a morality tale invented by Plato, who never actually finished the story. I told her that believers in Atlantis point to the area of the Canary Islands because Plato said Atlantis was beyond the Pillars of Heracles, but that it was really Ignatius Donnelly who made this part of the fable popular. I also told her that to me it looked like the feature was an artifact of the mapping rather than something real on the ocean floor. She asked me whether I thought it deserved investigation and, as a scholar, I said “yes.” Of course, I meant that we should find out whether it really is a feature of the mapping! She replied, “Well, we are a tabloid, so . . .” I took that to mean that they would write whatever they saw fit to write.

    As for being “a world’s expert on Atlantis,” I’ve read a lot about it, written one short article about Donnelly, and am working on a book about how Donnelly made Atlantis a real place. I taught a course called “Fantastic Archaeology” for many years in which I lectured about Atlantis, but demonstrated why I believe it is not a real place. The object of the course was to teach students how archaeologists gather and evaluate evidence.
    Chuck

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