Yet, in todays 'modern' academic world, from which all our theories on the structure of the worlds cultures and economy come from, is heavily fragmented into specialized fields of knowledge. This leads to problems in comming to agreement about simple facts and theories making progress on the more intricate theories and studies almost impossible (except by a tiny group of degree holders which tend to be called 'alternative' and relegated to the edges of mainstream science and media).
During the renaissance the scholars studied every field of knowledge. In fact, major break-throughs in science tended to come from individuals not directly linked to science for most of the history of science. It was only when the math became so complicated that specialized mathematical skills were required that 'lay men's' theories about the specific implication of mathematical formula became useless. For contradicting religious doctrine many Renaissance age scholars learned the hard way to avoid to contradict the church and over time an agreement was reach between the church and the new form of specialized knowledge that came to be known as 'scientists'. The agreement was simple, scientists will focus on observable phenomenon and avoid studying matters of faith and religious belief. So the modern enlightenment, or reemergence of ancient knowledge, began crippled. It's why I think A. N. Whitehead, (Process and Reality, 1929), is right when he says that all of modern western philosophical thought is a footnote to the works of Plato."The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato". It had to be. Plato could consider fields of knowledge that became socially and culturally unacceptable from about the 1700's to today's extremely fragmented state of academia, creating a type of scholar which gives scholarship a bad name.
A better type of scholar for understanding the complexity of science and the connection between the various fields of knowledge is Leonardo Da Vinci. A genuine liberal arts education with accurate textbooks could help generate more such scholars in the long-term (needs to be combined with better media influence as well).
The video below is of an interview of a modern 'ethical' philosopher. It is obvious that he believes that only he can ask and ponder the questions he has even when Stephen Colbert (a non-philosophy or economics degree holder) makes a brilliant case for the inaccuracy in one of his theories. (Note: This overspecialization of knowledge, particularly the division of 'ethicality' from other aspects of knowledge is something that Robert Pirsirg ranted about in his book "Zen and The Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance" attributing this problem to Plato and Aristotle, which could very well be correct).
Note that Michael's question about why baseball players get paid more than teachers is something you could explain to a 10 year old. It is easier to teach little kids than it is to throw 100 mile per hour fast balls or hit these fast balls out of the playing field. If all teachers could compete with modern baseball athletes on their level ONLY then could such a question be valid. The simple reality is that the skill that is rare gets paid more for. This is simple demand and supply economics (as Colbert points out) - Also note that I have a degree (bachelors) in economics which gives my simple explanation more weight but I prefer to use links to authoritative information as I think every writer in any field of knowledge should. Also note that he simply ignores Colbert's accurate counter response hiding behind the degree by saying roughly. ' this is a question for ethical philosophy' implying Colbert can't understand this particular field of philosophy (after all, the argument is, 'I have a degree in this, you don't'). Its not Michael's fault he doesn't know economics. It's not a requirement for knowledge (specialization begins right at the beginning at college level education and school textbooks are grossly out of date), he is illustrating a symptom of a much larger cultural problem (fragmentation of knowledge) which must be addressed and is the main point of all my blogs (the idea being to combine news media and education to create larger perspectives on modern challenges).
One of the most fragmented fields of knowledge is the one of archeology. The skills of excavation (or more accurately, patience?) have reached a new high but putting together the finds in a proper theoretical framework based on all available evidence, that has been confirmed as reliable, has broken apart to such a degree that cults seem to have formed around different theories. This seems to have made the support of various archeological theories (and evidence associated with it) a political and religious issue.
Introduction to the modern archeology problem
The type of problems in archeology revolve around one group disbelieving in historical writings if they are from a book of scripture vs. literal interpreters of the Bible vs. the archeological evidence that is actually found. The following extract of a report on a recent discovery in Israel exemplifies this problem in analysis of archeological evidence.
In a region where history, belief and ideology play such an important role, the discovery is controversial. Other archaeologists dispute the significance of the find.
Professor Israel Finkelstein, of Tel Aviv University, pointed out that the remains are not evidence of a powerful biblical state.
He said: "We are not talking about some great empire ruled from a wonderful capital, the way we look at Assyria in the 9th century B.C., or even the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century B.C. We are here in a formative phase of the rise of Judah."
Finkelstein added: "Khirbet Qeiyafa does not make Judah a great empire with great armies."
Garfinkel argued that even if it was not the great empire of the bible, its existence is significant.
"What people try to do is say that the Kingdom of Judah didn't exist," he said. "What I am saying is that it existed. It's a small one, not so glorified as the Bible presented. But it doesn't mean there was nothing."
Here are a few extracts from websites of mainstream archeological theories about the age of civilization (not in line with Darwin's theory of evolution... please note that my visual explanation below of the variations of skull shapes and sizes nullifies much of the evidence cited by Darwinians. This does not mean that the theory is wrong, just that, like any scientific theory, it is a theory 'in the works' and does explain many natural phenomenon but not all archeological and observational evidence).
Website example 1: CIVILIZATION BEGINS: THE COPPER-STONE AGE, 3600-2800 B.C.
Website example 2: By 6500 B.C.E., humans secured for themselves a dependable food supply by planting crops and domesticating animals. As a result, the human population increased, food surpluses allowed for economic specialization and exchange, and the emergence of civilization was made possible.[The problem with the second theory statement is the large structures that have been found with no obvious settlement, i.e. large structures require a large population to make them. The idea of these structures being religious don't fit the evidence found thus far so shouldn't be put into that category - click here to read my theory]
The following is the more religious version of the theory of evolution (Christian source):
First, even though some people believe that evolution is correct, and that men evolved from animals, that does not make it right. People believe all kinds of things that are wrong. Humans did not "evolve," but were created specially by God (Genesis 1:26-27).
Second, the fact that a person lives in a cave has nothing to do with whether or not he or she is human. Saying that a man who lives in a cave is "half human" would be like saying a dog that lives in the house is "half human." The place where you live does not determine your "humanity."
Third, the Bible explains that people of the past lived in caves for various lengths of time, and for various reasons.
There are some attempts to bring together the religious idea of creationism with it's opposite, the theory of evolution. The basic theory tends to be along the lines of 'God create man with the capacity to evolve and change for various reasons and that is why we find so many variations of human beings in fossils'.
[Click here to read an excellent example of bringing together a faith based idea in-line with a modern scientific perspective]
Amongst some Christian religious scholars there is even an attachment to a literal interpretation of the meaning of the word "day" in the first two books of Genesis. Amongst the more reasonable and open minded this can be countered with a New Testament quote, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter 3:8
First set of evidence supporting the case that a PhD in the field of theoretical archeology is useless:
Here are some extremely strong pieces of evidence (some might say indisputable evidence) that the age of civilization being older than some would like to believe...
The following are extracts from a previous blog posts to show the various evidence there is that proves that civilization goes back further than school/college textbook...
"The so-called Harappa stage of the great cities of Mohenjo-daro, Chanhu-daro, and Harappa (c. 2500-1200/1000 B.C), which bursts abruptly into view, without preparation, already fully formed and showing many completely obvious signs of inspiration from the earlier high centers of the West (i.e. fertile crescent), yet undeniable signs, also, of a native Indian tradition – this too already well developed. As professor W. Norman Brown has suggested, a native Indian center (i.e., a mythogenetic zone) somewhere either in the south or in the Ganges-Jumna area would seem to be indicated, where the characteristically Indian traits, unknown at this time farther west, must have come into form. [Joseph Campbell -Primitive Mythology - Page 435]But that isn't the only evidence of a lost civilization. The following is an abstract of a study done by Japanese scientists about an underwater structure off the coast of Japan followed by hsome pictures that show that these structures are man made (the extract below indicates that these structures date back to at least 10,000 years ago, i.e. 8,000 BC).
Other interesting facts about the cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa is that the bricks used in making them are uniform, i.e. they had a system to measure and weigh stuff accurately. They had their own sewage system, public baths and the structure of the architecture suggest an egalitarian society, but there are no signs of architectural development. That means these cities arrived fully developed and then went into decline. There are no in-between cities or towns where the Mohenjodaro/Happan style of architecture is first used.
With the discovery of ancient cities off the coast of India, the sudden appearance of Mohenjodara and Harrapa makes more sense. Cities that existed before a rise in the oceans(that began at the end of the last ice age) would explain the sudden appearance of cities like Mohenjodaro and Harrapa;
"The carbon dating of 7500 BC obtained for the wooden piece recovered from the site changes the earlier held view that the first cities appeared in the Sumer Valley [in Mesopotamia] around 3000 BC," said B Sasisekaran of India's National Science Academy.
The images gathered over the past six months led to a surprising discovery - a series of well-defined geometric formations were clearly seen, spread irregularly across a nine-kilometre (five-mile) stretch, a little beneath the sea bed.
Some of them closely resemble an acropolis - or great bath - known to be characteristic of the Harappan civilisation.
The Gulf of Cambay is one of the largest tidal areas in the world - with a current of very high velocity - and so it is conceivable that the area may well have submerged an entire ancient settlement, Mr Ravindran said to the BBC.
Abstract;Submarine research surveys using SCUBA and sonic surveys reveal detailed topography similar to submarine, pyramidal features looking like a stepped pyramid off Yonaguni in Okinawa, Japan. The site is called Iseki Point(ruins site) as a leisure diving spot. Yonaguni Submarine Pyramid(YSP) is the major structure that stands under approximately 25 meters of ocean. Essentially, it has a cliff face like the side of a stepped pyramid, and dimensions of about 290m(length) by 120m(width) by 26m(height). Flat terraces, straight walls and its surface structure of walls with scars of tool marks driven in by a wedge on the structure are identified to be artificially fabricated. Appearance and size of YSP are similar to the biggest, ancient castles such as Shuri and Nakagusuku Castles in Okinawa Island, where they are called 'gusuku'. Roads associated with drainage canals were recognized, surrounding YSP, and that a retaining wall was found along a road. The southern point of the wall is composed of huge rock fragments. Stone tools and other artifacts were discovered from the sea bottom. Those evidence strongly shows that the YSP has not been manufactured by nature. It is identifie to be man-made. The formation age is estimated to be about 10,000 years ago based on 14C and 10Be age determinations. (author abst.)
Second set of evidence supporting the case that a PhD in the field of theoretical archeology is useless:
All ancient human classifications are based on a few fossils and the variations in skull shape and size seem to be within modern day variation of our species to some extant [there is also mention of a bone here or there which is supposed to be further evidence of an evolutionary change but the main arguments are based around the skull sizes and the size of the brain that these cranial cavities could hold]
"Archaic forms of Homo sapiens first appear about 500,000 years ago. The term covers a divers...e group of skulls which have features of both Homo erectus and modern humans. The brain size is larger than erectus and smaller than most modern humans, averaging about 1200 cc, and the skull is more rounded than in erectus. The skeleton and teeth are usually less robust than erectus, but more robust than modern humans. Many still have large brow ridges and receding foreheads and chins. There is no clear dividing line between late erectus and archaic sapiens, and many fossils between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago are difficult to classify as one or the other. "Here is a graphic example of this theory (the one on the right is supposed to be Neanderthal)...
Is there a scientific theory to explain the huge variation in skull shapes and sizes in ancient humans and modern humans (of the various races)?
Yes, for Neanderthals in particular but it applies to all theories connecting humans to apes and other species through skull sizes, for example: pygmies will have smaller heads than a gorilla but its doesn't mean a gorilla is smarter, ...
ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2007) — Chance, not natural selection, best explains why the modern human skull looks so different from that of its Neanderthal relative, according to a new study led by Tim Weaver, assistant professor of anthropology at UC
"For 150 years, scientists have tried to decipher why Neanderthal skulls are different from those of modern humans," Weaver said. "Most accounts have emphasized natural selection and the possible adaptive value of either Neanderthal or modern human traits. We show that instead, random changes over the past 500,000 years or so – since Neanderthals and modern humans became isolated from each other – are the best explanation for these differences."
Weaver and his colleagues compared cranial measurements of 2,524 modern human skulls and 20 Neanderthal specimens, then contrasted those results with genetic information from a separate sample of 1,056 modern humans.
The scientists concluded that Neanderthals did not develop their protruding mid-faces as an adaptation to icy Pleistocene weather or the demands of using teeth as tools, and the retracted faces of modern humans are not an adaptation for language, as some anthropologists have proposed.
Instead, random "genetic drift" is the likeliest reason for these skull differences.
Problem with this skull size and shape theory is that these variations occur even today, yet according to archeologists we are supposed to be one species of humans of different races while the humans of the past are supposed to look like apes.
Take a look at examples of individuals with different skull sizes, both in one race and accross different races. You can carry out these observations across many segments of modern populations and you will find these variations in skull size and shape are very common.
In the following video compare the skull size of the basketball player with his countrymen...
The following images show the same and different races side by side with the same basketball player showing clearly the variation in skull shape and size varies, that, according to some archeologist theories, should make these individuals of a 'different species of pre-historic, ape-like humans'.
Third set of evidence supporting the case that a PhD in the field of theoretical archeology is useless:
There is clear evidence of ritual in Neanderthal burial sites but even more fascinating is the ancient wooden spears that have been found. We all know that apes don't use spears or go on hunts, therefore the skulls etc. found from 400,000 years ago must belong to humans.
Video Evidence for Neanderthal Burials
About Neanderthal burial site: "the idea of the earth as mother and of burial as a re-entry into the womb for rebirth appears to have recommended itself to at least some of the communities of mankind at an extremely early date. The earliest unmistakable evidences of ritual and therewith of mythological thought yet found have been the grave burials of Homo neanderthalensis, a remote predecessor of our species, whose period is perhaps to be dated as early as 200,000 – 75000 B.C. Neanderthal skeletons have been found interred with supplies (suggesting the idea of another life), accompanied by animal sacrifice (wild ox, bison, and wild goat), with attention to an east-west axis (the path of the sun, which is reborn from the same earth in which the dead are placed), in flexed position (as though within the womb), or in a sleeping posture – in one case with pillow of chips of flint. Sleep and death, awakening and resurrection, the grave as a return to the mother for rebirth; but whether Homo neanderthalensis thought the next awakening would be here again or in some world to come (or even both together) we do not know." Joseph Campbell's Primitive Mythology page 66Evidence for ritual and hunting in ancient humans
More evidence for ritual in ancient humans
How artists perception influence their drawings of ancient humans (Neanderthal example)
[Note: If archeologists will stop calling ancient humans 'ape look alikes' then the artist drawings of ancient humans with ape-like feature will stop.]
More evidence for hunting with wooden spears in ancient times
Fourth set of evidence supporting the case that a PhD in the field of theoretical archeology is useless:
In my last post on archeologists, I suggested that petroglyphs of Mammoths could have been of actual observations (as even Native American tribes have reported sighting them). The following is more evidence of how animals can survive in small pockets into times when they are supposed to be extinct. The point here is that given that petroglyphs and eye-witness evidence archeologists shouldn't believe that mammoths definitely went extinct around 10,000 years ago as there is enough evidence to leave the extinction date for mammoths open ended as mammoths could easily have survived in the northern cold land mass of Canada into more modern times. The following are links to examples of animals thought to be extinct that were later found to be very much alive.
1. A "surprisingly healthy" population of rare snow leopards has been discovered in the remote northeastern stretches of Afghanistan, one of the few areas largely unaffected by the near decade-long war in the country.
2. Toad rediscovered
3. New Indian frogs and new species of amphibians
4. 14 species of rediscovered animals rediscovered that were thought to be extinct
[including a dwarf elephant!]
This is the end of this post on the fragmentation of knowledge, Or, The case against over-specialization in theory based academics.
Part 2 is here:
- Psychology: Fragmentation Of Knowledge 2 - [Or, The case against over-specialization in theory based academics]