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am 28. April 2000
Maybe the reason why critical reviews have such a smaller "approval ratio" than adoring ones is that the people who look up a book on Amazon are more likely to be fans of it than bitter, twisted enemies, bent on revenge.
Oh, almost forgot to mention Fingerprints of the Gods. Well there's not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said. Hancock present to us a hugely diverse range of fascinating oddities, from all around the world, and attempts to link them together with the grandiose notion of a highly advanced civilization, about which we know virtually nothing because (wait for it)... any remaining evidence will be buried beneath miles of Antarctic ice.
Certainly there's lots to ponder over, but I'm afraid that Hancock's treatment of the evidence is sorely lacking in scientific rigour (for instance, many times we're told something along the lines of: Such and such a thing is an uncannily accurate and expertly crafted representation of X, but the people couldn't possibly have known about X unless blah blah blah, but the thing in question doesn't look very accurate or expertly drawn to me... maybe I'm just a philistine).
I don't doubt that we have a huge amount of explaining to do before we can honestly claim to understand how, say, the Egyptian pyramids came to be constructed - and this book certainly does a fine job of drawing this to our attentions. However, the links Hancock draws between the disparate trails of evidence are far too tenuous to justify his conclusions.
Still, it's great fun to read - just be sure to approach it with your skeptical hat on.
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am 15. Mai 2000
Although the book is an interesting read for the number of tidbits that the author reveals, I would like to warn anyone interested in this book about the pernicious absurdities that underlying this book, that seem to have been completely ignored by its critics. Although Hancock does not state it explicitly, he is trying to imply that edifices of the ancient Egyptians and South Americans were constructed according to knowledge imparted by Aryan survivors of Atlantis. This is a current theory in occult circles, which has been circulating since the sixteenth century, and was most clearly elaborated by H.P. Blavatsky, god-mother of the New Age movement. Essentially, this theory posits that the Aryans are the most advanced of races, and that they have been created by a race of divine beings on the continent of Atlantis. When the continent was destroyed, the Aryans fled, later conquering several civilizations, imparting the advanced knowledge they had rescued.
Hancock searches the mythology of the Egyptians and South Americans to find evidence of the colonization of white civilizers. These civilizations divided history among the rule of the Gods, the rule of heroes and the rule of men. The rule of the gods is thought to refer to the original Aryan colonizers. At one point, Hancock attempts to demonstrate that the South Americans had depicted a Caucasian in a blatantly ambiguous relief sculpture, whose only Aryan feature would be small beard. Hancock also goes on the present the worldwide recognition of a universal cataclysm, to refer to the period that these Caucasians or Aryans would have survived. Because astrology is one of the main aspects of what is thought be the Ancient Wisdom of the Aryans, finally, Hancock attempts to prove that the pyramids were configured according to astronomical data.
As acknowledged by occultists, the Ancient Wisdom is the Kabbalah, from which they have borrowed their fansical theories. However, the Kabbalah is not an ancient wisdom, but a Jewish heresy of the sixth century BC. This astronomical knowledge identified with the Kabbalah can also be demonstrated to have emerged in the same century. It has often been attributed to the Babylonians, who supposedly taught it to the Egyptians, or to the Indians who taught it to the Babylonians, but always back to the original Aryan conquerors. However, as Franz Cumont has pointed out:
"That Babylon was the mother of astronomy, star-worship, and astrology, that thence these sciences and these beliefs spread over the world, is a fact already told us by the ancients... But the mistake of the Pan-Babylonists, whose wide generalizations rest on the narrowest and flimsiest of bases, lies in the fact that they have transferred to the nebulous origins of history, conceptions which were not developed at the beginning but quite at the end of the Babylonian civilization. This vast theology, founded upon the observation of the stars, which is assumed to have been built up thousands of years before our era, nay, before the Trojan War, and to have imposed itself on all still barbarous peoples as the expression of a mysterious wisdom, cannot have been in existence at this remote period, for the simple reason that the data on which it would have been founded, were as yet unknown...
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am 3. Oktober 1999
It is not my intention to be rude or deprecating ... however, there are a few words I would like to say. This book makes a good read, in the sense that it presents the reader with some new and interesting ideas. However, one should read this book carefully.
If you are interested in archaeology, then this book is not for you. Mr. Hancock does not provide the reader with a solid basis of evidence. There is no difference whatsoever between data and the author's own interpretations.
Although some may find this book attractive, please note that this is NOT archaeology. Archaeology is very different.
I am not discouraging people from buying this book...far from it. However, it would be a good idea to check what archaeology has to say about the topics he discusses. Although archaeological evidence may seem less inviting and inspiring, please be aware that archaeologists can only try to interpret the data they find. Conjecture and story telling do not feature in archaeology.
Thank you for taking time to read this.
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am 4. Oktober 1999
Garbage! I'm embarrassed I didn't more carefully investigate this book before wasting my money.
Oh please, give me a break- a 2,000 mile shift of Antartica in a 11,000 year time period, isn't that like a geologic femtosecond? It must have caused some catastrophically enormous earth quakes. Why it is a miracle the earth didn't just blow up! Well, I'm no geologist (and neither was Albert Einstein, and by the way- what an appauling appeal to authority), but I do know there is a vast body of research literature (serious and peer-reviewed) about plate tectonics and paleoclimatology that could have, and should have been cited if this absurd hypothesis is to be taken seriously.
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am 22. September 1999
The man supports that Antarctica has shifted 2.000 miles in 11.000 years, yet here is a page full of "anti-conformists" ready to believe anything, EVERYTHING that contradicts established (as in scientifically proven) historian, geological, ethnological, and geographical research. These laughingstocks have obviously either read or heard about Galileo, and now they think believing every absurd self-contradictory "outcast" theory makes them year 2000's Galileos. If only they would research a bit before volunteering to have their minds "wide open" to every imposter's pseudoscience the world over.
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am 5. Februar 2000
Science is great. Except for one thing. It's too hard. The public won't buy it. But if you are a bit more motivated, go to any fine portal site and enter the keyword "Fingerprints of the Gods". You will find hundreds of very well-grounded criticisms.
FYI, they published its Korean translation in two volumes. Somebody would have to doubly waste his/her money.
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am 9. Mai 2000
Many readers find Mr Hancock's ideas exciting challenges to the established orthodoxy. Well I suppose they are, but for a new theory to overturn an old one, it is generally the case that the new theory encompasses established facts and includes new ones which are at odds with the old theory. The overturning of classical mechanics by quantum mechanics is the typical example here.
My problem with Mr Hancock's work is not that he challenges scientific orthodoxy, indeed anyone with the slightest acquaintance with science will know that such challenges are the very lifeblood of the advance of scientific understanding, but that there are glaring examples of his theory not accounting for facts perfectly adequately explained by existing theories. An example is the aging of Antarctic ice cores, Mr Hancock does not address the issue of how they can be so much older than would be allowed by his theory.
While Mr Hancock's research may be "brilliant", to quote other reviewers, it certainly is not exhaustive.
At the end of the day, Mr Hancock has presented a new theory, the onus is on him to show why it should be taken seriously. Making basic errors is not the way to persuade the scientific community.
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am 10. September 1999
Do not waste your money on this book. It is nothing but pseudo-science
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am 9. Januar 2000
I read this book when it was first published, back in 1995, and as a rather credulous 14 year-old, was captivated by the exotic locations, ancient structures, and provocative theories it featured. Hancock's writing style, though not in the least scientific, had such an energy and a genuine enthusiasm for even the most outlandish claims that I found myself utterly engrossed by the material.
Looking back some years later, after subsequent re-consideration, I have concluded that while my initial worshipful praise of the book was unmerited, neither does the volume deserve the reproof and utter condemnation accorded it by some previous reviewers.
It is certainly dangerous to uncritically accept many of the more improbable theories of this book, most notably the claim that Atlantis was in fact Antarctica, which itself (in an ice-free state) was home to an ancient and highly advanced civilization. The appeal here, as in many other instances, is to popular imagination rather than rational inquiry: the book is not written for specialists, but for the public, and as such Hancock can afford to spout baseless theories knowing full well that many gullible readers will be taken in. The opinionated attacks on so-called "orthodox" Egyptologists and the highly tenuous astronomical, mythological, and historical claims are not only irresponsible and unscholarly, they aid the spread of misinformation among a public that is obviously all too eager to absorb any new, enticing, "unorthodox" theory.
At its very core, however, the book is grounded in fact, and it is at this most basic level that the astute reader can glean some genuine insight. The chapter dealing with Giza, in particular, raises some perfectly valid questions about the building methods of the Egyptians. Why, for instance, are the pyramids of Giza totally unadorned? Not a single commemorative line, cartouche, or relief sculpture graces the inner chambers of what are reputed to be the burial places for three great Pharaohs of a prominent Egyptian dynasty. How where these great structures built, and why did the builders prefer cyclopean, 200-ton blocks to smaller, more manageable ones, which would have been perfectly adequate in terms of structural and aesthetic qualities? These questions, and many more (particularly those concerning the antiquity of the sphinx) are sound and thought provoking.
Despite some of the clear-headed logic that emerges in certain instances, the book often lapses into far-fetched theories on subjects as varied as Aztec mythology and Ice-Age climate. Hancock takes a valid point and carries it far beyond its logical conclusion. The book is at heart entertainment, and it is written to please the imagination rather than the intellect. We all want to believe in an ancient, highly-advanced civilization, a mysterious "Golden Age," lost in the depths of antiquity, during which humanity attained a godlike perfection. This desire (it unquestionably exists) is more the realm of psychology than history, and Hancock has taken it, as many of the myths he analyzes, far too literally.
So, if anyone has bothered to read this far, the book is an entertaining read which provides descriptions of some of the world's most intriguing and ancient structures: it simply does not provide believable answers to the questions it raises. Take what you can from its more lucid passages, and approach the rest with a dose of logic and measured skepticism.
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am 9. Januar 2000
I read this book when it was first published, back in 1995, and as a rather credulous 14 year-old, was captivated by the exotic locations, ancient structures, and provocative theories it featured. Hancock's writing style, though not in the least scientific, had such an energy and a genuine enthusiasm for even the most outlandish claims that I found myself utterly engrossed by the material.
Looking back some years later, after subsequent re-consideration, I have concluded that while my initial worshipful praise of the book was unmerited, neither does the volume deserve the reproof and utter condemnation accorded it by some previous reviewers.
It is certainly dangerous to uncritically accept many of the more improbable theories of this book, most notably the claim that Atlantis was in fact Antarctica, which itself (in an ice-free state) was home to an ancient and highly advanced civilization. The appeal here, as in many other instances, is to popular imagination rather than rational inquiry: the book is not written for specialists, but for the public, and as such Hancock can afford to spout baseless theories knowing full well that many gullible readers will be taken in. The opinionated attacks on so-called "orthodox" Egyptologists and the highly tenuous astronomical, mythological, and historical claims are not only irresponsible and unscholarly, they aid the spread of misinformation among a public that is obviously all too eager to absorb any new, enticing, "unorthodox" theory.
At its very core, however, the book is grounded in fact, and it is at this most basic level that the astute reader can glean some genuine insight. The chapter dealing with Giza, in particular, raises some perfectly valid questions about the building methods of the Egyptians. Why, for instance, are the pyramids of Giza totally unadorned? Not a single commemorative line, cartouche, or relief sculpture graces the inner chambers of what are reputed to be the burial places for three great Pharaohs of a prominent Egyptian dynasty. How where these great structures built, and why did the builders prefer cyclopean, 200-ton blocks to smaller, more manageable ones, which would have been perfectly adequate in terms of structural and aesthetic qualities? These questions, and many more (particularly those concerning the antiquity of the sphinx) are sound and thought provoking.
Despite some of the clear-headed logic that emerges in certain instances, the book often lapses into far-fetched theories on subjects as varied as Aztec mythology and Ice-Age climate. Hancock takes a valid point and carries it far beyond its logical conclusion. The book is at heart entertainment, and it is written to please the imagination rather than the intellect. We all want to believe in an ancient, highly-advanced civilization, a mysterious "Golden Age," lost in the depths of antiquity, during which humanity attained a godlike perfection. This desire (it unquestionably exists) is more the realm of psychology than history, and Hancock has taken it, as many of the myths he analyzes, far too literally.
So, if anyone has bothered to read this far, the book is an entertaining read which provides descriptions of some of the world's most intriguing and ancient structures: it simply does not provide believable answers to the questions it raises. Take what you can from its more lucid passages, and approach the rest with a dose of logic and measured skepticism.
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