In 1996 Kennewick man was unearthed in Washington State. This remarkably complete ancient skeleton, instead of thrilling the public and scientific community, almost immediately was converted into an inflammatory political litmus test.
The problem was that some researchers dared to entertain the unacceptable possibility that the individual might have been of some ethnic heritage other than of the tribes he was automatically assumed to be a part. Far-leftist activists quickly appropriated Kennewick man to convert into another of their causes célèbres, demanding that no DNA or other testing should be permitted by those whose profession it is to make those tests on ancient finds.
Twenty-five year ago, a progressivism lurching precipitously toward its current intellectual lockstep was already making it quite plain that scientific inquiry is absolutely disposable whenever far more important partisan orthodoxy is even questioned. Prehistorians held firm though; the important discovery was investigated properly and the results at present are that 9,000 year-old Kennewick man was very closely related to the Colville tribe of northeastern Washington.
Still, Kennewick man was only the opening salvo of the assault on anthropology and archaeology by forces eager to see those disciplines converted to Soviet-style think tanks with their conclusions rubber-stamped in advance. The same anti-science elements are even more strident now, demanding at present that their pure race theories override any suggestion of primeval European contacts of any kind, anywhere, ever, in the Americas.
Their current bete noire is the Solutrean hypothesis, which compares certain flint knapped spear points in both Europe and North America and notes significant similarities that indicate possible prehistoric exchange. It’s theorized that bands of Paleolithic humans, Solutreans from what is now France, might have made that contact by migrating to the New World during the last ice age, following an ice pack connecting Europe and North America at that time.
When Canada broadcast a television documentary exploring the premise on the CBC science show “The Nature of Things” in 2018 the far-left anti-science drumbeat hit crescendo level: “extremely irresponsible,” “racist,” “white supremacy,” “extremely irresponsible,” “crazy horrible.”
Such commentary, though, makes little sense when directed at the world-class archaeologists who deem the hypothesis at least plausible, among them Dr. Dennis Stanford, former Smithsonian Institution Director of Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program and Professor Bruce Bradley at the University of Exeter.
Leftist propaganda paints the potential drifting of bands of Stone Age wanderers as “white nationalism justifying colonialism.” Western University (Ontario) archaeologist David Norris’ opinion varies somewhat: “There’s good reason to consider the Solutrean hypothesis; we have to keep our minds open about human migration.”
Partisan activism has never rated open-mindedness too highly though. Even more incongruous is the idea that very much passing for certainty exists as concerns the prehistory of the Americas; such pretension is nothing short of absurd.
It’s been suggested, for example, that chickens were first brought to South America not from Europe but earlier via voyagers arriving on its Pacific coast from Polynesia. And, there are colossal stone faces carved on Olmec statuary in Mexico said to appear to have African features to some degree, despite who can or can’t see any resemblance.
The sketchily known 315,000 year old chronicle of Homo sapiens is a daunting puzzle far from complete, a dizzying collection of artifacts, bones, and other almost inscrutable clues, pieced together with painstaking detective work. There’s a far simpler and straightforward worldview however for those for whom politics overrides everything, unfortunately though it’s a belief system that is the antithesis of the scientific method.
Thousands of misconceptions, blunders and wrongheaded assumptions have plagued history and science, and it’s certain there are plenty more lurking beneath the supposedly inviolable current narrative outlining the entirety of prehistory. But to find them anthropologists and archaeologists have to look for them, and to search for them demands at least the freedom to think critically.
Kudos to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for having the courage to stand up for science — and to this news venue as well for refusing to knuckle under to the new inquisitors.
David Nabhan is a science writer, the author of "Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology" (2017) and three previous books on earthquakes. Nabhan is also a science fiction writer ("Pilots of Borealis," 2015) and the author of many scores of newspaper and magazine op-eds. Nabhan has been featured on television and talk radio all over the world. His website is www.earthquakepredictors.com. Read David Nabhan's Reports — More Here.
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