Review of Magicians Of The Gods


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Magicians of the Gods

Graham Hancock
Coronet, 2015

Reviewed by Amir Fasad

Index Yes       Bibliography No       Reference Notes Yes

This is the latest installment in the ongoing series of works by British writer Graham Hancock, detailing his research into alternative history and related topics. Like many of his other writings, much of this book is an account of his STravels to various exotic locations, interspersed with commentary related to the subject matter.

Magicians of the Gods starts on a high note, with an impressive chapter about Gobelki Tepe, in Turkey, where Mr. Hancock convincingly demonstrates the immense age of the site, and the presence there of astronomical alignments which indicate a concern for the time period we are currently living in. A later chapter describes his travels to the scablands of Washington State (the name perhaps derived from the non-union labor used by geologists in their excavations), where he makes clear the impressive evidence for flooding on a far larger scale than "uniformitarian" history will allow. He later describes travels to Egypt, South America, Easter Island and other places, all to provide evidence of an advanced ancestor civilization, which seems to have left indicators of a perhaps impending cataclysm.

The author does a good job of showing that catastrophic events took place, he is in over his head in trying to describe what caused them. Mr. Hancock accepts the basic geological time scale, and inserts what he believes are scientifically acceptable "catastrophic" events in an attempt to explain the evidence he is seeing. This does not work, for a variety of reasons. Graham refers constantly to the "wisdom" of the ancients, but discounts the fact that those very same "ancients" believed that time could be reliably divided into cycles, which ended in periodic cataclysms.

The author refers only to one of those events, which he attributes to meteor impacts, perhaps from the Taurid meteor stream. He believes that these impacts, and ensuing geological effects, caused the "Younger Dreyas" ice age cataclysm which ended the advanced civilization responsible for the megalithic architecture and other evidence he has investigated.

This presents a number of problems. The random nature of meteor impacts would not cause a belief that time was cyclic. After all, a meteor can't hit the earth twice, and even if the earth passed through the same meteor stream repeatedly, the odds of any major damage during any given passage is quite low, due to the immense distances involved. It also ignores the fact that flood legends are universal, and have the same odd features, even in the southern hemisphere, where the effects of the impact Mr. Hancock believes in would be far less descructive.

Whatever has affected the earth in the past, and may do so in the future, must be far more reliable than the impact of a celestial body. One clue, which the author seems to have overlooked, is that ancient texts often described meteors as "thunderbolts". Mr Hancock repeatedly admits that no impact crater from his proposed meteor strike has been found. Is it not possible that, to paraphrase Freud, "sometimes a thunderbolt is just a thunderbolt?"

"Electric Universe" proponents would have no trouble explaining virtually everything Mr. Hancock is attributing to meteor impacts as being the result of immense celestial discharges, perhaps caused by the repeated passage (NOT impact) of a large celestial body. Such an electrical effect is far more likely, since it could happen reliably and predictably at intervals of many thousands of years.

This book demonstrates some of the other scientific limitations of the author. About the apparent sculpting of ancient megalithic structures in South America, has Mr. Hancock never heard of biotooling? Rumors have long persisted that the ancients used plant extracts to soften stones, so why does he ramble on about someone who thinks lower gravity was the explanation?

Mr Hancock tries to sit in the gap between standard and alternative archeology, and the fact that he tries to bring credibility to alternative ways of seeing human history by doing so is admirable, but he needs to deal with his blind spots, one of which regards monotheistic religions. His first book, "The Sign And The Seal", about his search for the Ark of the Covenant, was his best work, precisely because he maintained some semblance of objectivity about the various religions traditions of Ethiopia, where much of the book was set. For some reason, his attitude then seems to have changed, and because of this, some of his later works, while well written, lack the same even-handedness as "The Sign And The Seal."

He now makes no attempt to conceal his contempt for the "exclusivist" monotheistic religions, referring to early Christians casting their "beady eyes" on an important historical site. This seems rather inconsistent with his interest in the transmission of knowledge across time. If Freemasonry, which the author speaks of favorably in several of his works, has the right to preserve their rituals and beliefs intact for centuries, on the grounds that changes would cause the loss of important knowledge, do not the religious traditions he disdains have the right to do the same?

Why is such preservation "dogmatic" in some cases and admirable in others. Just like the Catholic Church, Freemasons, have any number of archaic rules and traditions, from the exclusion of women to the forms of their rituals. I could easily see Mr. Hancock attacking one and not the other.

All that aside, his evidence is impressive, and he is an excellent writer. This book is a good read for anyone able to look past the limitations to see the truths that Mr. Hancock has laid out for us.

so we have spaces between them.