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Connecting a Global Flood with the Mystery of Mankind's Ancient Past (cont.)
By David Warner Mathisen

Like the conventional view of geology, this timeline of human history may be widely accepted, but it does not comport well with the evidence. What we find instead is evidence of extremely advanced scientific understanding as far back in human history as it is possible to see. Not only do we find evidence of precisely aligned megalithic structures, some of them with impressively joined stones of enormous size, but we also find evidence in both monument and myth of an understanding of astronomical concepts such as the precession of the equinoxes. Precession is a very subtle phenomenon: it takes 71.6 years to perceive even one degree of difference in the position of a star when the earth is at its exact same location in its orbit. To arrive at the understanding of precession, then, requires the ability to know when the earth is at its exact same location on its annual circuit from one year to the next. On top of that, it requires the ability to measure the location of stars and the ability to record their location accurately. It then requires accurate records for longer than a single human lifetime (because the motion is so slow that it only makes one degree of change in a span that is about as long as a human lifetime). Finally, it requires the analytical skill to observe that the records demonstrate this motion, a very subtle motion, and then the analytical skill to create a framework to explain that motion. These are not skills that hunter-gatherer societies would be expected to have the time or the resources or even the inclination or need to develop, and yet the very earliest civilizations of whom we have evidence have each left irrefutable evidence that they not only knew about precession but understood it at a very high level of sophistication.

Conventional history does not admit knowledge of precession until the time of Hipparchus of Nicea (c. 190 BC – c. 120 BC), whose work set the stage for Ptolemy (c. AD 90 – c. AD 168). Neither of these relatively late astronomers, however, came anywhere close to the actual constant of precession (which is one degree every 71.6 years) but instead appear to have fixed a lower limit (no slower than one degree every 100 years, with an indication that the actual rate was probably faster than that, but which they were not able to nail down with any greater precision). What, then, are we to make of the fact that the mythology and architecture of people who lived many thousands of years before Ptolemy and Hipparchus demonstrate knowledge of a constant of precession that is quite precise: one degree every 72 years? This and other evidence familiar to readers of Graham Hancock and other authors points to the conclusion that the ancient history of mankind was actually much different from the simplistic timeline that is taught in schools to this day.

One reason that catastrophic theories such as those involving a global flood are so threatening to the defenders of the conventional timeline is that these catastrophic theories threaten conventional frameworks of human history and even Darwinian biology (which has become something of a religious tenet in the past one hundred years). If we subscribe to a theory which requires millions of years to carve the Grand Canyon, then we can also support theories in which biological species evolve into their present forms over millions of years, and in which mankind follows a long but generally unbroken line from primitive ignorance to modern sophistication. This storyline is immensely comforting to many (it places us at the pinnacle of history, for one thing, and makes continued progress seem like our natural birthright and something we need not fear will ever be interrupted).

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