There is a secondary message that's being promoted by Mr. Shermer's article. This message demonstrates to me that the almost universal human desire and striving for fame & fortune knows no bounds. It's my opinion that Mr. Hancock has dreamed up some very good fiction (which I'm sure at some level he knows to be complete nonsense), a la L. Ron Hubbard, for the single purpose of promoting in such a way as to make himself wealthy and famous. For the purposes of obtaining said fame & fortune, the human ego knows no bounds in its infinite capacity for deception: of self and of large numbers of others at the same time. "Let the buyer beware" and "there's a sucker born every minute" have never been truer maxim's to guide us through such archeological balderdash.

Expand full comment

"He is not the deluded wackadoodle pseudoscientist his critics portray him as"

but see:

"that in my view the science of the lost civilization was primarily focused upon what we now call psi capacities that deployed the enhanced and focused power of human consciousness to channel energies and to manipulate matter"

Come on, man!

And defenders of Hancock seem to conveniently ignore his entire book about the civilization that was present on Mars that he claims influenced Egyptian culture.

Expand full comment

There should be no apostrophe in your title “its”.

Expand full comment

Please lose the apostrophe in the title.

Expand full comment

I predict many readers discontented with the apostrophe in the title ;-)

Expand full comment

Oh ffs everyone shut up about the apostrophe. What a bunch of lame grammar police. This is a great article and I appreciate the fairness that you treat the subject and Mr. Hancock . Your appearance on Rogan did not go well and you were honest about that previously. I think it’s a compelling theory that lacks substantive *positive* evidence but the way the mainstream archaeologists have treated him has caused a Streisand effect. The management of the serpent mound in Ohio not even letting the man in to make his movie is case in point. Normal people look at these actions as the behavior of people insecure and scared of honest scientific debate.

Expand full comment

I've had similar problems with Hancock's theories all along, mainly cherry-picking, confirmation bias, and ignoring contra-evidence.

Expand full comment

Mr. Shermer,

My biggest concern with Hancock is that his claims rob indigenous peoples of their heritage and accomplishments, i.e. monumental architecture, cultural achievements, etc.

He does this by saying things like, "Think about it: Could those farmers, who archaeologists tell us never built anything bigger than a shack, really have achieved all this?"

First, archaeologists aren't saying that at all. Quite the opposite. We say the people farming in Malta *absolutely* built the very monumental architecture and temples he insists they were unable to.

Second, Hancock's insistence that they were built by an earlier, "lost, advanced civilization" includes the implication that they were incapable and too primitive. He also says there are no good radiocarbon dates when there are (along with OSL dates), giving him a reason to date them earlier because that's when his "civilization" existed.

I don't believe Hancock is a racist. Not at all. But his conclusions align very nicely to racist ideas and notions. It's no coincidence that most of the media that give Hancock's recent docuseries favorable reviews are also venues for extreme right, racist, and bigoted views. Denying indigenous people their heritage allows voices with extreme views to marginalize the people and their achievements.

Hancock's Ancient Apocalypse isn't dangerous just because he's irritating archaeologists, though we we should consider every opportunity to minimize science and those doing it a threat. Archaeologists, who are also generally anthropologists (especially in the U.S.), see rhetoric that minimizes native voices as dangerous because nationalist archaeology has a long, sordid history of being used to marginalize entire groups of people to control resources like land, minerals, water, etc. This is a large part of what motivated the SAA to release their open letter to Netflix.

I'll close with what I think is a positive note that shows archaeology's never-ending quest to find more information about the human past. You mention above that there's no evidence that anyone lived at Göbekli Tepe and that it was just a ceremonial site. Recent excavations are finding features that do, indeed, have evidence of being roofed, domestic/habitation structures. I've been writing about pseudoarchaeology in blogs, forums, and other internet places that come and go for over 15 years and I'm every year I'm amazed by new data that helps us continually revise and improve our ideas about the human past.

Expand full comment

Very fair analysis. But how did that apostrophe get into < It's > in the title?

Expand full comment