I’ve been enjoying books about bizarre ‘scientific’ beliefs lately. Blame it on Indiana Jones and his ‘creatures that travel between spaces’.
For fiction I’m reading Raising Atlantis, in which Atlantis is buried under the Antarctic Ice Shelves, and archaeologists have come in to help the United States Army rediscover it – we’ll see what happens!
For non-fiction I’m reading more of Discarded Science: Ideas that seemed good at the time, which J. gave me for Christmas. It’s a great book about different hypotheses that people claimed over time, and how they tried to support them with ‘science’. I got stalled in the section about the earth being round for a while, so I’ve skipped ahead to Lemuria, Mu and Atlantis now. They link in well with my interest in the development of Theosophy , an interest that stems from my time in Montana, when I lived near the ranch of the Summit Lighthouse, who’s beliefs stem out of Theosophy. The folks in Montana believe, among other things, in reincarnation (their founder was Noah, Longfellow, and Lancelot, among others), Atlantis, and that Africans were originally blue and purple aliens. Theosophy was developed by one of my favorite historical characters, Mme. Blavatsky (I WILL name a pet after her someday).
And on Friday my copy of Cult Archaeology & Creationism: Understanding Pseudoscientific Beliefs about the Past showed up, I can’t wait to read it. I’m particularly interested in this book because I have some pet peeves about how anthropologists (including several I know) respond to creationism. Since anthropology is the study of what makes us human, both biologically and culturally, we get put in an awkward position when it comes to dealing with beliefs about human evolution and history, and I don’t think many of us deal with it very well, or think about it carefully enough. While ‘Creation Science’ and I.D. are clearly not scientific systems, I don’t think telling people that any beliefs about the creation of the world that are non-scientific are wrong is okay either. Does that sentence have too many negatives?
On an related note, here are some interesting photos I took on my research trip over the weekend:
This is in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where the Wyandot lived until 1843, when they were removed to Kansas and later Oklahoma.
This is in Wyandotte, Michigan. The Wyandot also lived here for a while in the 1700s, near Detroit. The creators of this Totem Pole (which includes the family shield of Cadillac, how sweet) were good enough to point out on the plaque that the Wyandot never used Totem Poles, but that didn’t stop them from building this one in their honor in 1971. Well…in honor of them and the centennial of the Wyandotte Savings Bank. But whatever.
I’d be interested in other recommended readings on these themes if you’ve got them. Fire away!