Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Michael Cremo: "Forbidden Archaeology" | Talks at Google

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MALE SPEAKER: Thanks to all of you for coming to this talk

by Michael Cremo on forbidden archaeology here at Google.

So when was the last time somebody questioned evolution?

Do you know?

In your experience, any numbers?

I'm just trying to say how often it happens, somebody

questioning such a major theory as evolution.

Any guess?

I mean, before the talk.

Sorry?

AUDIENCE: It happens all the time in the US.

MALE SPEAKER: OK.

That's good.

That's good that people are aware of that debate.

Some people don't even know that it's a theory

and know it's being debated, and they just

take it for a fact as much as gravity.

That's good to know that you are aware of that.

So we have Michael Cremo here.

So he has a lot of extensive introduction

about how we got into this topic.

So I don't want to steal that as part of my introduction.

And so I'll just go over the introduction of him

as a person.

I've known him for more than 10, 15 years.

And he's a very thoughtful, methodical person

with extreme intellectual honesty.

And he expects that of others.

So that's where his research was born into this book.

So the scope of this talk is just

questioning the current theory and based

on the evidences available.

But he's not going to present an alternate theory in this talk.

We have to wait for a year for that

to happen if he have a job until then.

So now, the scope of this talk is questioning

the current theory based on the available evidences

from researched literature.

And the next topic he usually presents

is called human devolution, presenting an alternate theory.

So there are books for that outside.

So that's your only resource right now.

So with that, let's welcome Michael Cremo

to Google with a big hand.

[APPLAUSE]

MICHAEL CREMO: Thank you for the nice introduction.

And thank you, ladies and gentlemen,

for coming to hear a little something about the topic

forbidden archeology, evidence for extreme human antiquity.

So just to keep things honest, I'm

a researcher in human origins for the International

Society for Krishna Consciousness.

And my research is inspired by my studies

in the ancient Sanskrit writings in India,

especially the Puranas, the historical writings.

Now, for many today, those two things

would be complete disqualifications for me

to say anything about a scientific topic

in scientific circles.

However, quite surprisingly to me even,

there are people within the scientific world who

are interested in hearing what I have to say.

And I've been invited to present my ideas at some of the leading

scientific institutions of the world,

such as the Royal Institution in London,

the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow

Department of Anthropology, the Indian Institute of Science

in Bangalore, and many others around the world.

So the question I'm dealing with is

how old is the human species.

Today, the most common answer to that question

comes from the modern followers of Charles Darwin, who

propose that the first humans like

us came into existence less than 200,000 years ago.

Before that, they would say there

were no humans like us present on this planet,

simply more primitive, ape-like human ancestors.

However, the Puranas, the historical writings

of ancient India, give a different idea,

namely that humans have been present

for vast periods of time on this planet going back

many millions of years.

Now of course, in scientific circles,

I wouldn't expect anyone to take a statement

from some ancient writings as evidence.

So in the scientific circles where I'm invited to speak,

I do something else.

I make a prediction, namely if what the Puranas say

about human antiquity is true, there

should be reports of archaeological evidence

for humans existing much further back in time than 200,000

years ago, perhaps going back many millions of years.

So my method for testing that prediction

is to examine all archaeological reports from the time of Darwin

to the present.

And not just in English.

I have a reading knowledge of most

of the major European languages.

So when I speak about examining reports

from the scientific literature, I

mean two kinds of scientific literature, the primary

and the secondary scientific literature.

By primary scientific literature,

I mean original reports by archaeologists, geologists,

paleontologists, and other Earth scientists

reported in the professional, peer reviewed, scientific

literature.

By secondary literature, I mean things

that are based on the primary literature, such as textbooks,

for example.

So I had two principal findings.

The first finding is not so surprising.

There are no reports of evidence for extreme human antiquity

in the current secondary literature, textbooks,

survey studies, and things of that sort.

My second finding was a little more interesting.

There are many reports of evidence

for extreme human antiquity in the primary scientific

literature of past and present.

So I collected those reports and this book,

"Forbidden Archeology," which was reviewed

in most of the professional, academic,

and scientific journals that deal

with the question of human origins.

So this constitutes a kind of peer review.

Now, as you might expect, many of those reviews were negative,

some extremely so.

However, quite surprisingly to me even,

even some of my critics were able to point out

some positive aspects of the work.

For example, David Oldroyd, a noted historian of science,

in a 28 page review article about the book

asked the question, so has forbidden archeology

made any contribution to the literature

on paleoanthropology.

Our answer is a guarded yes for two reasons.

First, he said, much of the historical material

has not been scrutinized in such detail before.

In other words, as a professional historian

of science dealing with these particular questions,

he had not encountered any work which

had gone into history in such depth before.

And second, he said, the book raises, quote,

a central problematic regarding the lack

of certainty in scientific truth claims.

Now, after the book was published

and many of the reviews came out,

I began speaking about the topic of the book

at scientific conferences.

The first time I did that was in 1984

at a meeting of the World Archaeological Congress.

It's the world's largest international organization

of archaeologists.

I presented a paper there called "Puranic Time

and The Archaeological Record."

And that paper was selected for publication

in a peer reviewed conference proceedings volume called

"Time and Archaeology," which came out from Rutledge,

a major scientific publisher.

And subsequently, I've presented papers on my work

at many other meetings of the World Archaeological Congress,

and also meetings of the European Association

of Archaeologists.

And the reason I'm mentioning this

is just to show that the kinds of things I'm saying

are part of the scientific discourse

in the scientific disciplines that

are related to human origins.

Now, admittedly, it's not a popular voice.

It's an extreme minority voice limited maybe even

to a minority of one.

But still, surprisingly enough to many people,

it is a part of the discourse.

So one of the questions I had about the kind of evidence I'm

talking about is why exactly is it

missing from the current secondary literature

if it's there in the primary literature.

And I'm proposing it's because of a process of knowledge

filtration that operates in the world of science.

And here, I'm not talking about a Satanic conspiracy

to suppress truth.

I'm talking about something that philosophers

of science and historians of science

have understood for a long time, namely

that theoretical preconceptions can influence how scientists

may react to different categories of evidence that

come to their attention.

We can call the blue box the knowledge filter.

And what it represents is the dominant consensus

in the scientific discipline at a particular point in time.

And reports of evidence that conform

to the dominant consensus will pass through the knowledge

filter fairly easily, whereas reports

of evidence that radically contradict

a dominant consensus tend to be filtered out,

ignored, forgotten, set aside, dismissed.

And this was something that one of the reviewers of "Forbidden

Archeology" noted, the French archaeologist Marylene

Patou-Mathis noted in her review of "Forbidden Archeology"

in "L'Anthropologie."

"Cremo and Thompson have written a provocative work

that raises the problem of the influence of the dominant ideas

of a time period on scientific research.

These ideas can compel the researchers

to orient their analyses according

to the conceptions that are permitted

by the scientific community."

So it was interesting to me that an archaeologist

grasped correctly what the point we

were trying to make in the book and wasn't just dismissing it

as, oh, these are conspiracy theorists.

I'm now going to go over some of the kinds of reports

that I'm talking about.

This is Virginia Steen-McIntyre, an American geologist.

She was involved in dating an archaeological site

at Hueyatlaco in Mexico.

There, archaeologists had discovered projectile points

and other stone tools and weapons.

And they were, of course, interested

in how all these things were.

This is the excavation at Hueyatlaco.

And the artifacts were photographed intact

in the layers of rock in which they were found.

Virginia Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues

used four different methods to date the site.

Animal bones with butchering marks

were found in the same layers with the stone tools.

The geologists used the uranium series method

to date those bones.

They got an age of 245,000 years.

Above the layer with the stone tools

was a layer of volcanic ash.

The geologists used the Zircon Fission Track method to date

that layer of ash.

They got an age of 270,000 years.

Using all four methods that they employed,

the geologists concluded the site

must be at least 250,000 years old.

However, the archaeologists refused to accept it.

They said humans capable of making those artifacts didn't

exist anywhere in the world 250,000 years ago.

They hadn't evolved yet, what to speak

of being present in North America.

They considered the oldest human presence in North America

to go back only about 20,000 years.

So they refused to publish the age for the site

given by their own hand-picked team of geologists.

So Virginia Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues

were a little surprised by that.

So they decided to independently publish

the age for the site in a journal called

"Quaternary Research."

But when they did that, they experienced

an extreme negative backlash from their colleagues

in the scientific world because they

had dared to publish something like this.

Virginia Steen-McIntyre wrote to one

of the editors of the journal, "Not being an anthropologist,

I didn't realize how deeply woven into our thought

the current theory of human evolution has become.

Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists

because it contradicts that theory."

So some of the cases I'm going to be talking about

are from the more recent history of archaeology,

some from the more distant history of archaeology.

Some of the cases are going to be

closer to what the mainstream concepts allow.

And some are going to be further and further distant from what

current ideas would consider possible.

This is one of the founders of modern archaeology, Jacques

Boucher de Perthes.

And one of his excavations, Moulin Quignon near Abbeville

in Northeastern France, he found an anatomically modern human

jawbone.

He found it in the bottom layers of his excavation

with stone tools and weapons.

According to modern geologists, that layer at Abbeville

is about 430,000 years old.

It was quite a controversial discovery,

even in the 19th century.

Many scientists could not accept that humans

existed at that distant point in time.

So some of them proposed, well, Boucher de Perthes

must have been the victim of a hoax.

Somehow or other, someone must have

gone to some Roman cemetery, gotten a jawbone 2,000 or 3,000

years old and buried it in the excavation for him to find.

And that's actually the explanation

that we see in today's textbooks.

However, what we do not see in today's textbooks is

that after these hoax accusations came out,

Boucher de Perthes made additional excavations

at Moulin Quignon.

And these additional excavations,

in the same location he found over 100

additional anatomically modern human bones and teeth

in the same formation, which to me indicates

a human presence going back over 400,000 years.

And I reported on this case in this paper, which was later

published in a peer reviewed conference proceedings volume.

Recently, just last year, archaeologists

reported the discovery of footprints

at a place called Happisburgh in the United Kingdom.

They were found in a formation that

is at least 780,000 years old and is perhaps

up to a million years old.

The archaeologist who studied the footprints published

results suggesting they are consistent

with anatomically modern human footprints.

For example, they studied the foot index,

which is the width divided by the length times 100.

The average for all of the Happisburgh footprints was 39.

The average for living Native American Indians is again, 39.

The average for living Eskimos today, the foot index is 38.26.

And other features of the footprints

were consistent with those of modern human beings.

Now, of course they did not believe

that humans like us existed at that time.

They don't think Homo sapiens existed over 780,000 years ago.

So they attributed the footprints

to a species called Homo antecessor, an ape

man that they believe inhabited Europe at that time.

But from the evidence itself, they could just as well

have been made by humans like us.

And there is evidence that anatomically modern humans

existed at that time.

This is the Buenos Aires Skull, which

was discovered early in the 20th century in Argentina.

Researchers were conducting digging.

And they had gone down about 45 feet.

And they encountered a solid layer

of limestone rock locally known as Tosca.

And after they broke through that layer,

they found a human skull cap of an anatomically modern

human type in the [INAUDIBLE] formation,

which geologists consider to be 1 and 1/2 million years old.

This discovery was reported to the scientific world

in the primary scientific literature

by the South American scientist Florentino Ameghino.

I reported on this case and some others

in this paper presented at a meeting of the World

Archaeological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Many people have heard of Olduvai Gorge.

Many important discoveries have been made there.

Most people are not aware of the first discovery that

was made at Olduvai Gorge by the German scientist Hans

Reck, who reported on it in 1913.

He found a fairly complete, anatomically modern

human skeleton-- that's the skull cap of it-- buried

in upper bed II of Olduvai Gorge.

Upper bed II of Olduvai Gorge is between 1.15 and 1.7

million years ago.

It was a very controversial discovery.

There were decades of debate about it.

Many people thought the debates were finally

settled in the 1970s when a German scientist named

Reiner Protsch did a radiocarbon test on a fragment of bone

that he said was from Reck's skeleton.

And he got an age of less than 10,000 years.

However, I question the reliability

of that given that Reiner Protsch was removed

from his position at Frankfurt University

after an academic committee there found him

guilty of having forged dozens of radiocarbon dates

during his long career there.

Another report from the earlier history of archaeology,

the jaw, fossil human jar reported

by Doctor Robert Coliyer.

This anatomically modern human jaw

was found 16 feet deep in the Red Crag Formation in England

at a place called Foxhall.

The Red Crag Formation, according

to modern geological studies, is between two and three

million years old.

In 1979, Mary Leakey announced the discovery of footprints

at a place called Laetoli in the country of Tanzania

in East Africa.

According to her report, the footprints

were indistinguishable from modern human footprints.

Other scientists also agreed.

Paleontologist Tim White wrote, "Make no mistake about it.

They are like modern human footprints."

Now, neither Mary Leakey nor Tim White

believe those footprints were made by humans like us.

They propose they were made by some type of ape man

who lived at that time who just happened to have feet exactly

like those of modern human beings.

Actually, we have the skeletons of the ape men

that existed at that time in eastern Africa.

They're called Australopithecus.

And the foot bones of Australopithecus

have been discovered.

And their foot is not exactly like that

of a modern human being.

They have very long toes, sort of like short human fingers.

In other words, their feet were somewhat ape like.

Actually, the only creature known to science today

from skeletal evidence that has a foot exactly like that

of a modern human being is, in fact,

modern human beings like ourselves.

So what did Mary Leakey find?

I think we have to remain open to the possibility she found

evidence that humans like us were present

almost four million years ago.

The footprints were found in layers

of solidified volcanic ash that were dated

using the potassium argon method as being 3,700,000 years old.

I presented evidence on this case

at a meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

that was held in England.

Now, some people might say, OK, footprints

are perhaps a little bit ambiguous.

It would be better if there were human skeletal evidence

almost four million years old.

Such things have been reported in

the primary scientific literature.

For example, the Italian geologist

Ragazzoni reported finding human skeletal

remains at a place called Castenedolo in northern Italy.

They were found in layers of rock

that modern geologists consider to be

about four million years old.

I went to the village of Castenedolo.

I met this gentleman there.

And he gave me a copy of a very rare geological report dealing

with this discovery.

And from the information in the report,

we were able to locate the place where

the discoveries were made.

Now, the current explanation of these discoveries

is, well, it's not really possible

that you could have anatomically modern human skeletons

in layers of rock four million years old.

So the proposal is that maybe about 4,000 years ago,

somebody died on the surface.

His friends dug a grave and put the skeleton down

in that ancient layer of rock.

And that's why you think you have

a human skeleton four million years old.

Things like this can happen, technically.

It's called intrusive burial.

However, if you look at Ragazzoni's original reports

in the Italian language, which I did,

he says-- because even at the time,

he was a professional geologist.

He was aware of the possibility of intrusive burial.

He said, if it had been an intrusive burial,

the layers of rock above the skeleton

would have been undisturbed.

However, he found that the layers

of rock above the skeleton were all intact and undisturbed.

Actually, he said each layer has its own micro-stratigraphy that

was undisturbed.

So I take this as evidence for human presence going back

over four million years.

This is Carlos Ribeiro, who was the chief government

geologist of Portugal.

He found hundreds of human artifacts

in his country of Portugal.

He found them in layers of rock that date back

to the early Miocene Period, which

means they would be about 20 million years old according

to today's understanding.

He, as a professional geologist, he said they cannot have come

into those layers from any higher level through any

fissure, or crack, or all the usual kinds of counter

explanations.

He displayed the artifacts in the Museum of Geology

in Lisbon.

But if you go there today, you won't see them on display

anymore.

They're kept in the cabinets behind me.

But I was able to get permission from the directors

of the museum to study and photograph

some of these human artifacts from the early Miocene period.

I also carefully studied Ribeiro's original maps,

and field notes, and correspondence

of the museum archives.

And then I went into the countryside of Portugal

and I relocated some of the sites

where he made his discoveries.

This is the quarry at Murganheira.

And he found human artifacts there

in lower Miocene formations.

This is one of them.

It's a flint artifact.

It's interesting what happened.

When Ribeiro was alive, the artifacts

were displayed in the museum with labels showing a lower

Miocene age for them, about 20 million years.

After he died, his colleagues in the museum

did something interesting.

They left the artifacts on display,

but they wrote new labels for all of them.

This is the new label they wrote for the artifact I just

showed you.

Second line gives the age-- Paleolitico Superior,

Upper Paleolithic Period.

According to geologists today, that period in Europe

goes back about 20,000 years.

So it's interesting.

Ribeiro's colleagues thought 20 million years,

that's clearly impossible.

20,000 years, that sounds about right

for discoveries like this.

So they just wrote new labels for all of the artifacts.

Now, the next generation of officials in the museum

just put the entire collection away.

And I'm the first researcher to see these things in over 50

years.

I presented a paper on this case at a meeting

of the European Association of Archaeologists

that was held in Lisbon, Portugal in the year 2000.

That paper was later published in a peer reviewed

scientific journal from Europe, "The Journal of Iberian

Archaeology."

A case that's always fascinated me

has been the California gold mine discoveries.

Gold was discovered in California.

And miners went to places like Table Mountain

in Tuolumne County near Sonora.

Actually not too far from here.

And deep inside the tunnels, the miners

found human bones and human artifacts.

For example, they found many of these stone mortars

and pestles.

What makes them so interesting to me

is they were found in layers of solid rock

that date to the early part of the geological period

called Eocene, which means they would

be about 50 million years old.

Some of the details about the dating of the discoveries.

It was done in modern times using the potassium argon

method and analyzing the plant and animal

fossils found in those layers of rock.

These discoveries were originally

reported to the scientific world by Doctor JD Whitney, who

was the chief government geologist of California.

His report was published by Harvard University in the year

1880.

But we don't hear very much about these discoveries today

because of the process of knowledge filtration

that I mentioned.

This is the anthropologist William Holmes,

who worked with the Smithsonian Institution.

And he wrote in his report, "If Doctor Whitney had understood

the theory of human evolution, he

would not have published those discoveries."

In other words, he would've known that humans could not

possibly have existed at that time.

A few years ago, I was a consultant

for a television documentary called "The Mysterious

Origins of Man" that aired on NBC.

And the producer of this documentary

had read my book, "Forbidden Archeology"

and wanted to include some cases in the documentary.

I told him he should go to the Museum of Anthropology

at the University of California at Berkeley

because artifacts from the California gold mines

were still in that collection.

And the museum officials refused to allow

him to see the artifacts.

Anyways, we were able to get some photographs

of the artifacts that Doctor Whitney

had taken in the 19th century.

It was interesting what happened when this documentary aired.

Actually, many scientists were outraged

and they wanted the FCC to investigate NBC, censor NBC,

fine NBC millions of dollars for having aired this documentary.

And I'm happy to say the FCC didn't do any of those things.

But it was interesting that such attempts were made.

Later, I went back to the museum myself.

And I personally was given access to the discoveries,

and they are still there.

They also went out to Table Mountain near Sonora.

And we were able to relocate some of the old 19th century

gold mining tunnels where these discoveries were originally

made.

I reported on this case at this meeting of the World

Archaeological Congress that was held in Washington, DC in 2003.

So how far back in time can we go with evidence like this?

In 1862, a scientific journal called

"The Geologist" published an interesting report.

An anatomically modern human skeleton

was found 90 feet below the surface

of the ground in Macoupin County in the state of Illinois

near St. Louis.

According to the report, above the skeleton

was a thick layer of slate rock that was unbroken.

That's an important detail, because it kind of rules out

the intrusive burial hypothesis.

This report from "Scientific American"

tells of a beautiful, metallic-- whoops.

I wanted one more detail.

According to modern geologists, the layer

where the skeleton was found is about 300 million years old.

This report from "Scientific American"

tells of a beautiful metallic vase

that was found 15 feet deep in solid rock in Dorchester, which

is in the Boston area.

According to modern geological reports,

the age of a formation at that location and depth

is about 600 million years from the Cambrian Period.

Now, I could actually keep you here for days, and days,

and days because there are hundreds

of reports like this in the primary scientific literature.

I'm not going to do that.

But I'll make some concluding remarks.

The significance of this evidence

would be that it would contradict

the now dominant ideas about human origins.

And this was actually recognized by one

of the architects of the current paradigm, Doctor William

Howells of Harvard, who wrote to me after he

read "Forbidden Archeology."

And he said a few things about it.

He said, "'Forbidden Archaeology' represents much

careful effort in critically assembling published

materials."

I thought it was nice that he recognized that.

And then he said, "Most of us, mistakenly or not,

see human evolution with man emerging rather late."

And that's the actual fact.

Most scientists actually do see things that way.

And he went on to say, "To have modern human beings appearing

a great deal earlier would be devastating to the whole theory

of evolution."

So that's what he saw as the impact of this kind of evidence

if it were to be taken as genuine.

Now, not everybody is willing to do that, admittedly.

Now, another interesting statement

about "Forbidden Archaeology" was

made by archaeologist Tim Murray in his review published

in "British Journal for History of Science."

Now, Murray is one of my critics.

And still, even though he's not really prepared

to accept my conclusion, he has some interesting things

to say that I think are worth repeating.

He said, "'Forbidden Archeology,'" quote,

"provides the historian of archaeology with a useful

compendium of case studies in the history and sociology

of scientific knowledge, which can be used to foster debate

within archaeology about how to describe the epistemology

of one's discipline."

And that's actually what I was trying

to do in putting that book together, to foster debate

within archaeology about the epistemology of the discipline.

And to see this acknowledged in the professional literature

was kind of interesting.

Now, he went on to say, "'Forbidden Archaeology' is

designed to demolish the case for biological and cultural

evolution and to advance the cause of a Vedic alternative."

Now, I plead guilty to that indictment.

And it's at this point that many in the world of science today

are really going to have strong objections

to the kinds of things that I do.

This mention of Vedic alternative, in other words

some alternative that has its roots

in some religious or spiritual idea.

According to many in the world of science

today, this is completely verboten.

That's why I called the book "Forbidden Archeology."

But it's interesting what Tim Murray had to say about that.

He said, "The 'dominant paradigm' has changed

and is changing.

And practitioners openly debate issues

which go right to the conceptual core of the discipline.

Whether the Vedas have a role to play in this

is up to the individual scientist's concern."

And I think that's an enlightened attitude

that I can support.

No ban, but it's just up to each individual

to make up their mind whether or not

they're going to try to do something like I'm doing

or agree with it.

Gets you into a whole discussion about religion and science.

Now, I'm going to close with some of my experiences

in presenting this kind of thing at university

audiences around the world.

I've spoken at hundreds of universities around the world.

My books are now in about 25 different languages.

One of them is Russian.

So I've lectured at a lot of universities in Russia,

from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg.

And usually, the lectures go fine.

At this particular university, the Tyumen State University,

there was a little bit of a problem.

Some professors there had invited me to speak.

And a lecture was scheduled.

But when other faculty members found out

that I was being invited to speak,

they approached the administration

of the university and said, we can't have this.

We shouldn't allow this person to speak at our university.

First of all, he's contradicting a dominant theory.

And second, and even more damningly,

he's doing it from some Vedic spiritual kind of perspective.

So the president of the university cancelled

the lecture.

The professors who invited me and wanted to hear me speak

went to the president and tried to get him to change his mind.

But the pressure from the other side was just too big,

so the lecture was cancelled.

So then, the professors who invited me

went to the local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

And they spoke to the director there.

And he said, OK, if they won't let

him speak at the university, he can speak here

at the Russian Academy of Science building.

So they had buses bring students and professors

from the university to the Russian Academy of Science

building.

And the professors who invited me said, more people came then

would've come if the lecture had been held at the university.

And then the next year, something interesting happened.

I went back to the same university,

and I was able to speak at the biology department

there no problem.

I guess they just thought, better let him talk

and let people just make up their minds about what

he's saying.

They're intelligent.

They'll be able to figure out if they can agree or not agree.

It's not going to be the end of the world if he talks.

These are some of my works-- "The Forbidden Archaeologist,"

"Forbidden Archaeology," "Hidden History of the Human Race,"

"Human Devolution," "My Science, My Religion."

Some contact information.

And if you do like the kinds of things you've heard today

and are interested in hearing more,

you may want to come on this cruise

where I'm the speaker in June, 2015.

Go up and see the glaciers and hear some weird stuff.

So I have ended five minutes before I intended to.

[APPLAUSE]

I did want to leave some time for questions.

MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.

We'll start from here.

AUDIENCE: So I was also hoping to get your point of view

from Vedic or Purana on the how old is humanity,

and what did you find there.

Because I think in the talk, somebody

replied that you would also come to know about religious books,

like Ramayana or Mahabharata, how much of that

is true based on the archaeologic [INAUDIBLE].

MICHAEL CREMO: Well, it depends upon what kind of circles

I'm speaking in.

For example, if I go to Rishikesh or Haridwar

in the Himalayan mountains and sit around

with a bunch of Vedic scholars who accept statements

from Vedic literature as evidence, then,

well, I can say in the Bhagavad Purana,

there are statements that humans were existing

during the [INAUDIBLE] Period, which

is in the first part of the Culpa, or the day of--

and they'll understand what I'm saying.

And they'll accept that as evidence.

If I'm at a meeting of the World Archaeological Congress,

or speaking at Google headquarters,

my audience is not necessarily going

to accept a statement from the Bhagavad

Purana or the Mahabharata as evidence.

So it's like if you go to a baseball game,

you have to play by the baseball game rules.

And one of the rules is that you can't use a statement

from a spiritual text as evidence.

Now, you can.

So for the people who do-- I get questions like yours

from many people.

They want to say, OK, you've given

all this archaeological evidence that you

say is consistent with Vedic texts, which talk,

according to you, in a general way

about extreme human antiquity.

But what do they actually say, the Vedic literature

themselves?

So for such people, I'm writing a book

in which I will collect all those Vedic statements.

And then they can see.

But that's not the audience that I am presented with today,

that I'm presenting to today.

It's not the audience that I get at universities.

It's not the audience that I get at meetings

of the World Archaeological Congress or European

Association of Archaeologists.

A good question.

And I'm writing a book to answer it.

AUDIENCE: Could you say more about the actual contradiction

between the extreme antiquity of humans and evolution?

Because in my mind, it would just seem,

well, the evolution theory could just

be oh, you just have to push it back a few million years

and it could still hold up.

It's just that it happened a lot earlier than people thought.

That seems like a simplistic resolution.

But is there something else that's

constraining the timeline which makes it really inconsistent?

MICHAEL CREMO: Well, it's a good question.

I'll refer you back to the statement of William Howells,

who said, if the kind of evidence that I'm talking about

is consistent, it's inconsistent with the general theory

of evolution.

Because he said-- I didn't quote everything

he wrote to me in his letter.

He said, but you're putting evidence

for an anatomically modern human presence

before the known presence of even the most simple apes

and monkeys, which would be our prospective ancestors.

So you could conceivably come up with another version

of the evolutionary theory, but it

would be quite different from anything

that's being proposed today.

So that would be one possible response,

to do something like that.

And if you feel inspired to do it, then right on.

This

AUDIENCE: So you talked a lot regarding your critics throwing

out the archaeological evidence based on it just

being out of their paradigm, filtering it away, and so on.

But some of the critics who've truly engaged your work,

has it been just that, or do they

have valid, scientific reasons why

they're refuting your evidence?

MICHAEL CREMO: Normally-- I mean, everybody's

going to have to make up their own minds about these things.

What I try to do in "Forbidden Archeology"

was provide in each case all of the different opinions,

all sides of the question, and leave it up

to the reader to make up their own mind whether they

think it's valid or not.

Typically, the reactions are to suggest

first of all, it's old evidence.

In other words, but this is very selective.

It's the idea that-- kind of like a milk

carton, scientific evidence got an expiration date.

That any science conducted before midnight,

January 1, 1900 somehow has expired.

But I noticed that those who make that type of criticism

are applying it very selectively,

because the standard textbooks of archaeology

are full of discoveries that were

made in the 19th century, early 20th century.

So it can't just be that just because something

is from the earlier history of archaeology,

it has to be wrong.

Another category of objection has

to do with lists of ways in which something could be wrong.

It's possible there was a hoax.

It's possible it could've slipped in through a fissure.

It's possible that the original investigator made a mistake.

It's possible this, it's possible that.

My general response to that category of criticism

is everything is certainly possible.

But if you're going to proceed in a scientific way,

you should be able to show that in this particular location,

there was a fissure.

There were artifacts on the surface that

resemble those that were found at that level.

And there definitely was a way they could have got down there.

So that's another category of objection.

And of course, I'm willing to engage on that level.

And it's one of the things I hope

to accomplish with the book is to have a second look at some

of these things.

And if there are objections, raise them.

AUDIENCE: My question is you mentioned

about a guy that in 19th century found a jawbone in a layer that

was 400,000 year old.

How did they knew in 19th century

that this particular layer was that old

without any dating methods?

MICHAEL CREMO: OK.

It's a good question.

What I said, if you listened carefully,

was that according to modern geologists,

the layer is a certain number of years old.

At that time, they characterized things in another way,

not using necessarily years, but characterizing

things as early Pleistocene, early middle Pleistocene,

and things of that sort.

So if you translate those terms to the modern dates that

are attached to those terms, it works out.

So they would have said, that jawbone

was found in an early Pleistocene layer, which

would mean it would have to be several hundred

thousand years old at least.

That's why I went by the modern.

To give an age in years, I went by the modern geological

dating of those layers at Abbeville.

For example, Ribeiro, he would've

said these stone tools are early Miocene.

Now, in the 19th century, the conception of the Miocene

was there.

But it wouldn't be exactly the number of years

that we now attach to it.

But still, it was considered to be very old

in terms of the succession of geological layers.

But just for current reference, I give the estimates in years

that modern geologists have determined for these layers.

The same with Doctor Whitney's report.

He would have said, these layers are from the Pliocene Period,

which is an old geological period.

Now, the layers that he considered Pliocene

are considered to be Eocene.

And the age for them is between 30 and 50 million years.

In the 19th century, they wouldn't

be using the same number of years that we do.

But they had a concept still that, in terms

of the system they were using, it was older.

They expected human beings like us

to appear only in the very latest, very recent Pleistocene

Period.

So if it was from the middle or the early Pleistocene,

that would be anomalous for them.

Is that helping?

AUDIENCE: Let's say it's 19th century.

We dig a hole in the ground and we find few layers.

And they somehow decided, oh, this layer is younger,

this is older based on the depth.

But then they put some dates to it.

And I think it's almost the same as right now.

We also have layers and they have dates attached to them.

And my concern is that maybe we just attached the dates badly.

How do you know exactly?

Just like they might be wrong about the dates

in 19th century, they might be wrong about the dates

right now.

MICHAEL CREMO: I'm prepared to accept

that if we want to say we don't know how old anything is,

really, and all the dating methods are unreliable,

we could certainly do that.

That's one approach to take.

The approach, however, that I've taken

is you have to have some kind of framework

for discussing things.

And I'm addressing an audience of geologists, archaeologists,

paleontologists.

And my way of creating a frame of reference for the discussion

is to say, according to methods that you consider

reliable-- radiocarbon dating, potassium argon dating, uranium

series dating, zircon fission-track dating--

these layers belong to this geological period,

which you consider to be millions of years old.

Now, if you want to take the approach that, well, nothing

is reliable and we don't know anything

about the real age of anything, that's

certainly an approach that could be taken.

And some out in the world-- say if you're a young Earth

Christian creationist who believes that the Earth is

no older than 10,000 years, you're

going to be very critical of all the different dating methods.

And that may be the way that such a person

would approach this.

The Vedic time scales are more or less

consistent with the modern scientific time

scales for the universe, and the Earth, and things like that.

So perhaps I'm not motivated sufficiently

to try to dismiss all the different scientific dating

methods.

AUDIENCE: Are there cases where the age

of the layer and the dating, some kind of scientific dating,

of the actual bones, say, is the same and is very ancient?

MICHAEL CREMO: Well, there are-- if we're talking about bone,

there are only a very few methods

that can be used to directly date bone.

There's the radiocarbon method.

But that works only back to about 50,000

or 100,000 years at most because it's

based on the decay of carbon-14, which

has a half life of about 5,000 years.

And after about 20 half lives, there's

nothing left to measure.

There's the uranium series method,

which is based on the decay of uranium

to different daughter isotopes.

And by measuring the ratios of those isotopes

and making certain assumptions about intake and outflow

of ions, you can date bone going back

a few hundred thousand years.

But if we're talking about the formations that

are millions of years old-- say early Pleistocene formations,

Pliocene formations, Miocene formations,

there's no method that will allow

you to directly date the bone.

Now, let's look, for example, at the Castenedolo discoveries

from Italy, where Professor Ragazzoni found human bones

in layers of rock from the early Pliocene

Period, or middle Pliocene Period.

There were attempts about 40 years ago to date

those bones using the radiocarbon method,

and a young age was obtained.

Now, the problem with that is if you

have a bone that really is, say four million years old,

and it gets contaminated with the least

amount of modern carbon-14-- which

can happen in numerous ways through the groundwater,

through just even a scientist touching

the bone it can contaminate it with recent carbon.

Then even if the bone really is, say, four million years old,

if it's gotten contaminated with the least

amount of modern carbon, which can take place through bacteria

infiltrating it, through any number of methods,

it will show an age of 100,000 years or less.

So each case has to be looked at very carefully.

So there are cases-- but as I said,

the methods that you can use to directly date bone

are limited to bones of, say, a few thousand years old or less.

For many the cases that I'm talking about,

the appropriate method is to date

the age of the formation at which the bone is found

and show it's not intrusive.

AUDIENCE: But you could say, OK, well this layer is more

than 300,000 or 400,000 years old,

and the bone is shown to be greater than 300,000,

something greater than 300,000.

But are there any cases like that, then?

MICHAEL CREMO: I can't think of any right offhand

because usually the attempt is to show the bone is,

in the kinds of cases that I'm dealing with,

there are attempts to show that bone is not

as old as it's purported to be.

Undoubtedly, there are cases like that.

But I can't-- I'm not able to give you one right off the top

of my head.

AUDIENCE: I'm curious whether, from your perspective,

the scientific evidence is sufficient to convince you

by itself.

And if it is sufficient to convince you by itself,

then why refer to the Vedic texts at all?

Is there something special about the Vedic texts

that mystical texts from other cultures lack?

MICHAEL CREMO: Yeah.

It's a very good question.

And I am open about what my epistemological commitments

are.

And if we study the Vedic epistemology,

it tells us there are different ways of getting evidence.

There are different categories of evidence.

They're called pramanas.

One is called the pratyaksha pramana.

That means sense evidence, things

we can touch, see, measure.

Then there's anumana, which means logical inference.

If it's like this and this, then it must be like that.

These methods for getting knowledge about-- especially

about things that are beyond the range of the senses,

like what was happening millions or billions of years ago,

they become problematic.

And therefore, according to the Vedic epistemology,

one can rely upon another type of evidence-- testimony.

It's called the sabda pramana, which

is based on the idea there is some kind of higher

intelligence that is aware of these things

and can communicate information about them.

And that's considered to be a higher kind of evidence.

However, as I said, that is not the epistemological assumption

that's dominant today in the world of science.

If you actually go back in European science,

even to 300 or 400 years ago, you'll

find that many of the scientists had

similar epistemological commitments where they were--

I mean, even, say, somebody like Michael Faraday, a physicist

who did a lot of the work that unified electricity

and magnetism.

He worked along with Maxwell to come up

with the electromagnetic field equations.

The reason why he started looking for unity

was because he was a member of a Christian sect called

the Sandemanians, who had the idea that all energies are

unified in God.

So based on his spiritual conviction

that energies are unified, he was

inspired to do the work that led to his integration

of electricity and magnetism.

And he also tried to bring gravity into the equation.

It's something that's still troubling physicists today,

how to bring gravity into the whole picture.

But I understand that's not the dominant epistemological

position today.

So I put that aside.

But you're asking me why.

Say if-- so my position is I'm going

to represent an idea from the Vedic text

if there is any evidence that can be used to justify it.

If there were no evidence, then I

wouldn't have anything to say about it in scientific circles.

On my own, I might still have the conviction

that that's true.

But I might stop trying to represent that idea.

Say if somebody could convince me that there is absolutely

no archaeological evidence for extreme human antiquity,

I would still believe in extreme human antiquity for the reasons

that I stated.

But I might stop trying to talk about it to audiences that

don't have similar epistemological convictions.

MALE SPEAKER: Cool.

I think with that, we will end the session.

And we'll thank Michael Cremo for visiting Google once again

and giving us this wonderful talk.

The Description of Michael Cremo: "Forbidden Archaeology" | Talks at Google