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Monday, 26 August 2013

"The scientific consensus" -- the last resort of the charlatan?



 HH Thomas -- the man who single-handedly invented the scientific consensus about the Stonehenge glacial erratic theory being "impossible"


In the context of an interesting exchange of messages with a good friend, I was struck by one of his comments about the glacial erratic theory and Stonehenge.  I'll quote his words:  "........ to be honest, I thought that this had been knocked on the head decades ago."

When I had calmed down, I got to thinking about where these myths come from -- and of course I recalled that the scientific establishment has been using this sort of argument for years, as a means of eliminating dissent and silencing mavericks.  What it does is to simply say "Well, it is scientifically accepted that ....."  or "........ the scientific consensus shows that......." without ever giving us chapter and verse.  And having said it once, you repeat it over and again until it becomes a sort of mantra.  Others pick it up and do the same.  If you repeat a falsehood often enough it becomes accepted as the truth.  The Royal Society does it.  They all do it -- including the archaeology establishment.  So my friend clearly genuinely believes, on the basis of chats with his colleagues, that the glacial erratic theory has been "disproved" years ago.  By whom?  Nobody quite seems to know........ so it is assumed that it has been disproved by "the scientific consensus"  -- a faceless and anonymous phantom.

When you look at it in detail, what is this "scientific consensus" on the glacial erratic theory being knocked on the head?  Well, it is not a consensus at all.  Who are the key players?  They are HH Thomas, Atkinson, Scourse and Green.  One geologist, one archaeologist, and two geomorphologists who are often mistakenly referred to as glaciologists.  I have repeatedly shown that their evidence is as flawed as their arguments.  On the other hand, those who have argued for the glacial theory include Jehu, Kellaway, Williams-Thorpe, Burl, and yours truly.  And if you look at the manner in which the evidence on the ground is interpreted, there is even less of a consensus.......

So, if anybody out there is listening, and if you hear somebody trotting out the nonsense that there is a "scientific consensus that the glacial erratic theory is dead",  just challenge him or her by asking what the basis of that so-called consensus might be, and by asking for the evidence upon which it is based.

11 comments:

Myris of Alexandria said...

Ah but you fail to tell us what Jehu et al are by trade.
What is Burl's special expertise? or OWT only Dr John has expertise here.
M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Jehu and Olwen Williams-Thorpe are geologists, Burl is an archaeologist, and I am a geomorphologist. Different skills and different opinions on all sides -- no consensus.

Phil Morgan said...

I feel that for compleeness it should be pointed out that Burl states on page 38 of his book Prehistoric Stone Circles, "Certainly a complete body was interred there at the time when Beaker people, intent on erecting Stonehenge's first stone circle, transported scores of bluestones all the way from Wales".
People transport, not ice.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Was that written early in his career, before he found enlightenment?

Phil M said...

Before he found enlightenment or before he was led astray? :-))

BRIAN JOHN said...

My impression is that Aubrey Burl was very much his own man -- I don't think there was anybody around at the time he was writing to lead him astray!

TonyH said...

Indeed, Aubrey Burl must have been very much his own man...he singlehandedly visited virtually every known stone circle in the United Kingdom.....rather similar, in his singlemindedness, to Leslie Grinsell, former Curator of Bristol Museum, who allocated numbers to most of the prehistoric barrows he tracked down throughout Southern England, having visited them on foot and without the benefit of a car.

TonyH said...

Some day, hopefully quite soon, Brian will write the definitive publication on how the HH Thomas Myth was finally laid to rest by a bunch of persistent, singleminded nonconformists who refused to accept the received wisdom which turned out to be just like the Emperor's Clothes: non - existent.

Book title? How about "Guerillas in the Myths".

Myris of Alexandria said...

What about Olaf Swarbrick visiting every standing stone in mainland GB.

I have always wanted to give a lecture on Mesopotamian metallurgy entitled. "The ores of Babylon"

M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- that sounds interesting! For a small fee, I might be encouraged to make space available.....

TonyH said...

Ah, Myris, I remember the Song well, thus versified [to the tune of The Old Hokey Pokey]:-

Oh.h h... old Olaf Swarbrick!!!
Visited every standing stone in mainland GB!!!