SETI bioastro: CCNet LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR, 26 April 2000

From: Larry Klaes (lklaes@bbn.com)
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 14:15:04 PDT


From: Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>
Sender: HUMBPEIS@livjm.ac.uk
To: cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR, 26 April 2000
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 11:20:19 -0400 (EDT)
Priority: NORMAL
X-Mailer: Simeon for Windows Version 4.0.5
X-Authentication: none
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from QUOTED-PRINTABLE to 8bit by bur-po1.bbn.com id
GAA06432

LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR, 26 April 2000
---------------------------------------

(1) NOT ALL BRIGHT LIGHTS IN THE SKY WERE IMPACTORS: A CAUTION ON
    WORKING WITH ANCIENT EUROPEAN RECORDS, WITH SPECIFIC
    REFERENCE TO RECORDS FROM SUB-ROMAN BRITAIN
    E.P. GRONDINE <epgrondine@hotmail.com>

(2) MINOAN DOWNFALL
    Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

(3) AGAINST SIMPLISTIC ACCUSATIONS
    Phil Herridge <psh@observatorysciences.co.uk>

(4) EMPIRICAL APPROACH TO IMPROVED GLOBAL LIVING STANDARDS
    Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.edu>

===========
(1) NOT ALL BRIGHT LIGHTS IN THE SKY WERE IMPACTORS: A CAUTION ON
    WORKING WITH ANCIENT EUROPEAN RECORDS, WITH SPECIFIC
    REFERENCE TO RECORDS FROM SUB-ROMAN BRITAIN

>From E.P. GRONDINE <epgrondine@hotmail.com>

Hello Benny -

This note is on topics far different than those usually covered by my
notes, and the astronomers here can skip this one, as it is for those
who are now working through records from sub-Roman Britain looking for
remembrances of earlier impact events.
   
An important point needs to be remembered when working with European
records, and not only those from sub-Roman Britain: not all bright
lights in the sky were impactors. It must be remembered that a number
of ancient European religions (the Celtic Druidic religions and the
Greek mystery religions in particular) were based on the use of
hallucinogenic drugs, specifically the mushroom Amanita Muscaria and
various members of the atropa family of plants, and that among the
effects of these hallucinogens is the hallucination of a BRIGHT LIGHT
IN THE SKY.

All Conference participants are intimately familiar with the problem of
identification in modern anthropological researchers. The closest
example of the "logic" underlying identification, one we are all
familiar with, runs such: "I am like the people I am studying; they are
like me; I have not personally experienced an impact event; therefore
the people I am studying did not experience an impact event." Yet
another example of identification is: "I am like the people I am
studying; they are like me; I do not use hallucinogens; therefore the
people I am studying did not use hallucinogens." My caution to those
working through ancient European records looking for mentions of bright
lights in the sky is, "Don't make that assumption".

The item which primed me to write this note was the passing last week
of Hittite scholar Hans Guterbock. Many Conference participants will
remember my note on the tale of cometary impact recovered from
Guterbock's splendid translation of "The Song of Ullikummi". In his
last days, Guterbock was nearly blind, and had lost most of his
hearing, but having been assigned a manuesis, was still at work at
Chicago's Oriental Institute on the Hittite Dictionary. I recieved
comment that Guterbock's manuesis had spent the bulk of their time
together vigourously arguing with him that the hittite word "SIUNA",
the "soma" of the Rg Veda, the hallucinognenic mushroom Amanita
Muscaria, (see R.G. Wasson, Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality), was
not really eaten, as Guterbock continued to insist, but that instead
the Hittites had used the word figuratively. What a way to spend your
final days, nearly blind and deaf, and arguing daily that 2+2 does not
equal 5! It will be interesting to observe whether the Oriental
Institute's final Dictionary at least mentions Guterbock's reading, or
whether they will suppress this part of his work completely.

Supression of knowledge about the ancient Europeans' use of
hallucinongens extends far beyond far beyond Chicago, and far beyond
the times of the Hittites; in fact it extends to Britain, and
specifically to the times of Celtic sub-Roman Britain. The result is
that records from that period are poorly analyzed, and woe to the poor
paleo-ecologist working through them. As the British Archaeology
reviewer of Keys' book "Catastrophe" put it, "As for textual evidence,
pseudo-historical and historical material is intermingled, and few
specialists will accept that late medieval 'Arthurian' literature
contains any reliable information about the 6th century, the topic of a
whole chapter of this book." Or as the British Archaeology reviewer of
Baillie' "Exodus to Arthur less charitably put it, "Mercy on us,' wrote
Horace Walpole, on surveying the second volume of Archaeologia in 1771,
'what a cartload of bricks and ruins and Roman rubbish they have piled
together!" Bold words, consdering that the fault for this rubbish pile
lies with neither Keys nor Baillie, but with large segments of the
British archaeological and classical communities.

In "Exodus to Arthur" Baillie notes a division of historical records
around 650 AD in Britain and the lack of records from earlier periods.
While numerous early Christian remains have been found in Britain,
there is no literary remainder from these times, and this is not simply
an accident of histroical survival: the early Christians in Britain
were Pelagian heretics; with the arrival of orthodox Christians, and
their asscendancy to secular power, they suppressed the records of
these earlier heretics, who had been allied with earlier secular
powers. This suppression was and remains so complete that to this day
you can find entire books written about sub-Roman Britain without so
much as one single mention of Pelagianism.

Why were the Pelagians so vigourously suppressed? It is likely that
their religious rites included the induced hallucination of a risen
Christ, or "anastasis". Exhaustively setting out the evidence for this
is a very lengthy proposition, and not suitable for the Conference
Letters, but one or two points may serve here. If, for example, one
travels to London, and goes down to the British Museum, and carefully
examines the side panel of the Pelagian Christian mosaic from Hinton
St. Mary mounted on display there, one can see that the plants'
"leaves" are in fact two colored atropa pods.

Use of hallucinogens shows up not only in physical artifacts, but in
literary evidence as well, and it can throw the researcher off if he is
not aware of it. In "Exodus to Arthur" Baillie cites a passage from St.
Patrick on Satan, "who falls upon me like a great rock". That St.
Patrick also used "rock" or "stone" in a "symbolic" manner may be seen
by this statement of his, made when he was offered a cup of poison by
the Druid priests at Tara after he had confronted them:

"I take in ignorance, [Gaban anfis
I drink in ignorance, Ibui anfis
Long thirsty for your lamb, Fra sia uathib (var. "far from fear")
I drink the stone, Ibiu lithu
Christ Jesus, Amen." In Christo Jesu, Amen.]

- which of course is absolute gibberish unless you know that both
"lamb" and "stone" were used as "symbolic" homophonic code words by
the Pelagian heretics, that both the Druids as well as the heretics
used hallucinogens, and that these hallucinogens are fatal in slightly
larger doses. In the immediate example of Baillie's passage, St.
Patrick mentions the use of sacrificial "honey" before the "stone"
falls on him. Without further argument here, I am going to simply
assert that this early Christian heretical sect was a mystery religion
which concealed knowledge of its rite by using a homophonic word code,
and that researchers using documents from sub-Roman Britain need to
watch out for the use of this code any time they see a reference to a
bright light.

Thus ends my caution on dealing with mentions of bright lights in
records from cultures which used hallucinogens, and it should be
remembered that these cultures include not only that of the British
heretics, but also those of nearly all pre-catholic European cultures,
particulary those cultures with Druid priests, and those European
cultures which had mystery religions.

Yet another trap for those working with ancient records is working out
of context, which can lead to errors in working with inadequate
translations by earlier writers. For example, if memory serves me
correctly, "draigne", sometimes translated into Welsh as "dreic",
"dragon", is an early Anglo-Saxon title. Particular caution should be
made with mentions of dragons in the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth, a
Welshman with no knowledge of anglo-saxon, as may be seen from his
translation from anglo-saxon into welsh of "Brut y Brenhinedd". My
advice is to always go as close to the original source document as
possible.

Finishing with these two cautions, I would like to point those working
with documents from sub-Roman Britain to what I think is a more
positive direction. During my casual researches (1973-1975) on
sub-Roman Britain, I was particularly struck by Adomnan's "Life of
Saint Columba", which Baillie makes use of in "Exodus to Arthur". It
appeared to me that this work was assembled by Adomnan from an earlier
life of Saint Columba, eye witnesses, and most importantly, from the
annals of a monastery. (Reeve's translation of the "Life" struck me as
being the best at the time; I have not seen the Andersons' 1991
edition.) As Adomnan attributed the eye witness accounts he used, and
a version of the earlier life survived in a much corrupted later copy
(by the Four Masters, again if memory serves), it seems that by
removing these two sources, it may be possible to recover the annals of
a monastery from the "Life", and thus a detailed chronology of
sub-Roman Britain.

With apolgies to the Welsh Tourist Board, and to the rescue
archaeologists working in the south of the UK, the references to
"demons" and "angels" (Dumnonia and Angles) in the "Life" place
Arthurian events (Aedan Artur) in south-west Scotland. While Columba is
attributed to the monastery of Iona on Scotland's northern and western
coast, these references, along with the lack of remains in Iona from
before the 9th century, point to a location for the monastery of the
annals somewhere near Ayr, possibly somewhere around Girvan. If I were
looking for the methane hydrate explosion mentioned in the "Life", I
would look in pollen cores taken from areas off the shore of this area,
pollen cores in which the sudden stoppage of agriculture due to the
death of all the farmers by hydrogen sulfide poisoning should be clear.
I don't know if such a core is available, or the cost of taking and
analyzing one, but even without the danger of the loss of life from
another methane hydrate explosion, or the potential for commerical use
of a methane hydrate deposit, the information gained from such a core
may make it worth taking in any case.

In closing, one thing I have learned over the years is that there is
nothing like the mention of hallucinogens to make most anthropologists
run for cover. It is tempting to set up a fictional personna and write
a paperback attributing all ancient European mentions of lights in the
sky to the use of hallucinogens, as this most likely would quickly
drive the European anthropological community to completely embrace the
impact hypothesis in the shortest amount of time.

Best wishes -
Ed

=============
(2) MINOAN DOWNFALL

>From Timo Niroma <timo.niroma@tilmari.pp.fi>

Dear Benny,

In CCNet 19 April there was a letter titled "VOLCANO MAY HAVE BEEN
MINOAN DOWNFALL". However, the new more accurate timing measures has
made this most improbable.
  
What caused the Minoan downfall is really an old FAQ and long we had an
answer. Today we have no positive answer, only one in the negative
side. It has been repeated many times during the last 10 years, that
whatever it was, it was not the volcanic explosion of Thera/Santorini.

Why not?

Thera erupted 1628 BC. The Minoan culture survived that easily, or at
least survived. The grand time of Minoan Crete, the palatial period
lasted from 1900 BC to 1450 BC, Knossos itself a hundred year longer.
The Myceneans came soon after.

Timo Niroma

==========
(3) AGAINST SIMPLISTIC ACCUSATIONS

>From Phil Herridge <psh@observatorysciences.co.uk>

Dear Benny,

I'm not sure that I understand why you included the diatribe against
environmentalists by this "Interfaith Council for Environmental
Stewardship" in CCNet. Leaving aside its wooly thinking and adversarial
tone, the article added nothing new to any of the discussion strands
within CCNet. So a bunch of American evangalists think that we should
pay more attention to the world's poor when formulating policies, hmmm
bet we all disagree with that. The quote of the day was nauseatingly
simplistic and moronically erroneous. Maybe when she returns from
Planet Dippy she can think about the real causes for high childhood
mortality rates in India and elsewhere.

Most of the time (well almost all) I think that you get the content of
CCNet about right but that article was just twaddle and I don't think
that CCNet is the right forum for showing up the stupidity of American
religious "leaders" (or was that the point?).

All the best

Phil

===========
(4) EMPIRICAL APPROACH TO IMPROVED GLOBAL LIVING STANDARDS

>From Bob Kobres <bkobres@uga.edu>
 
Benny,

I was none too favorably impressed with the distress call from the
ex-military, right-wing-lauded 'nun' with a law degree you selected to
head the 4/19/00 CCNet mailing. This woman works with drug addicts in
Chicago. Does this qualify her for assessing environmental and health
problems in India?

http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives/Nov99/0332.html
http://www.heritage.org/views/99/ejf99-17.html

The problems faced by so called third-world cultures have far more to
do with local-government condoned corporate/private greed and
exploitation than with protests from people who react to the
consequences they see. Sure, some may protest further change in
general, which is futile and can be counter productive, but where do
you draw the line? For example a few weeks ago I was passed on an
expressway by a kid (young adult) driving a frigging Hummer (think
Desert-Storm) with a "MEAN PEOPLE RULE" bumper sticker plastered on the
back. If I'd had an obscenity seeking missile on my Volvo that
survival-of-the-fattest dude would have been deep fried in the fast
lane! Unfortunately flagrant unsustainable over consumption is not at
all hard to detect, particularly in the US.

http://www.autorevista.com/articles/hummer.htm
http://humvee.infa.net/hid/fuel/mpg.html

Human activity affects the biosphere either positively or negatively
and many big dam projects have ended up being good for certain
pocketbooks only. I favor the empirical approach to improving the
health of Life on this planet. The best solutions will vary from place
to place because conditions are not homogeneous throughout. Big
experiments can produce big messes! Theologically rooted consortiums,
like ICES, which laud corporate wisdom in a free-for-all market where
one dollar equals one vote are dubious champions of a democratic
approach to problem solving. We don't need another holy-high-roller
empire!

http://acton.org/publicat/books/duty/hmention2.html
http://www.stewards.net/CornwallDeclaration.htm

In the case of India there are examples of the triumph of good sense
over corporate dollars and elite sagest:

From:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/396603.asp?0m=-219

ALWAR, India, April 21 — Rippling streams and lush green fields are
hard to find in Rajasthan, a desert state in India’s northwest perhaps
best known as the site of the country’s nuclear test sites. A drought
here and in neighboring Gujarat state has caused a shortage of drinking
water and threatens six million people. Yet driving through the hilly
Alwar region, something of a miracle is evident. Here the wells are not
dry and women in traditional long skirts thresh wheat in the fields
green with life. [...] Alwar provides a lesson. But the secret of its
awe-inspiring feat is disarmingly simple. The government has not pumped
in vast sums of money. Nor are there large dams or irrigation engineers
pottering around..

The water revolution rejuvenating dead rivers, recharging wells, and
morphing the so-called ‘dark zone’ of the seventies into one of the
brightest spots on the map of India’s parched regions is a community
effort. The villagers did it themselves supported by a local volunteer
organization called Tarun Bharat Sangh (Indian Youth Association).

The change agents are the johads, small crescent-shaped earthen dams
used to harness rainwater and bring to life wells and rivers in this
parched land. Johad is basically a village water tank and was the
traditional system of water storage for lean periods in several parts
of India. They are erected and maintained by those who directly benefit
from them.

In Bhaonta and other villages, men and women still talk animatedly
about how each family worked from the early hours till dark to build
the small and medium sized dams which have transformed their lives.
Even small children helped. They carried bags of stones to the
construction sites. The villagers are so proud of the greenery around
that they socially boycott anyone caught felling trees or cutting
branches Johads had fallen into disuse for a variety of reasons.
However, the failure of more modern water-shed management has rekindled
interest in this traditional watershed practice of Rajasthan.

"Reviving the traditional systems including Johad has met with limited
success in other parts of the country, primarily due to resistance from
the entrenched bureaucracy. In the absence of a clear-cut policy on
traditional systems. Most efforts to rejuvenate them have been thwarted
by vested interests,” points out a report by the U.N. Inter-Agency
Working Group on Water and Environmental Sanitation which looked at the
revival of the johad in Alwar.

In Bhaonta-Kolyala, a neighboring village, Dhapa Devi, an elderly woman
breaks into a giggle talking about the changes in the family’s diet.
“Once, there is water, there is everything. This is the good life. Our
men stay with us and we eat tasty food.”

Earlier, a typical meal consisted of the traditional bread with just
chillies mashed into a pulp. Now, there is piping hot broth of lentil
and yogurt and vegetables. Fodder is not a problem any longer and
villagers say the milk yield of the cattle has gone up sharply. Dhapa
Devi proudly says her family eats as much yogurt and whey as they feel
like.

The village was recently in the news when Indian President K. R.
Narayanan honored it with an award instituted by the Delhi-based Center
for Science and Environment. Bhaonta and Kakdali Rampura are not the
only success stories. In village after village in Alwar, you hear the
same tales of the water revolution

The magical transformation of this arid landscape has become a talking
point among water experts and environmentalists in the country faced
with a looming water crisis and a population reaching the billion mark.
[..]

Rajinder Singh, a bearded man in his forties and the secretary of the
NGO Tarun Bharat Sangh, was the key catalyst in motivating villages to
renew their traditional water harvesting practice. Today, he says, the
villagers from Alwar are invited by residents of villages in other
water scarce regions in India to share their experiences.

But the road ahead looks rocky and success has brought in its wake its
own set of problems. “The increase in the groundwater table is
attracting industries,” says Singh. Recently, the central government
issued notices to all medium and major industries to relocate their
production units from the union territory of Delhi to decrease the
pollution level in India’s capital city. Alwar, about 150 miles from
Delhi, has emerged as the favorite option of many industries.. And more
are looking for land. Villagers say the price offered to sell their
land is often tempting but this can be only be ‘bad news’ feels TBS’
Singh. “The industries will provide very few jobs to the locals and
they will use up more and more water.” Currently, there is no law under
which the concerned village community can demand payment through
royalties or any other means.

Whole schmooze at:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/396603.asp?0m=-219
More @:
http://www.business-standard.com/00jan11/opinion1.htm
http://www.teriin.org/green-india/sum.htm
http://www.barefootcollege.org/html/environment.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From:
http://wild.allindia.com/case3.htm

Standing in a sun-scorched arid stretch of land he had newly bought,
Abdul Karim made himself a promise: "I will turn this ochre expanse
green."

Nineteen years later as he walks through that land, there is the
twitter of birds in the air scented with the fragrance of wild flowers.
Karim has kept his promise, creating a whole forest out of nothingness.
The rustic undergraduate, who had worked in a Mumbai dockyard and run a
travel agency, was 29 years old when he returned to his native Kasargod in
Kerala state. It was a call of the wild--he had always wanted to live in a
forest of his own.

Four years later, Karim dug a pond in his plot and the villagers were
amazed to find plenty of water in it. It was the first time someone had
struck water in that part of the village. But Karim knew, from his feel
for nature, that there would be water if there were trees. The
deciduous trees he grew were the kind that drank in water during the
rains and released it to the earth during summer. The leaves they shed
also helped replenish the ground water level.

Karim says it is the fallen leaves which were responsible for raising
the water table. "Even in reserve forests you will not find so much
leaf deposit since many people collect and sell the leaves as manure,"
he says. "But I don't allow a single leaf to be removed from here." The
leaves let rain water seep into the ground. Water rippling in the pond
encouraged him to buy more land, dig more ponds and wells and plant
more trees. By the end of the eighties he was tending 32 acres of
forests.

As the trees grew tall, birds began nestling in them. "Birds are the
natural carriers of many seeds and they dropped the seeds of many
varieties of trees and plants here," says Karim.

"Thus trees like sandalwood and ebony began growing here. If we respect
nature she shows us greater respect."

When the growth became dense small animals like the rabbit and the
mongoose, and wild hens made homes amid the thickets and shrubs. Karim
is trying to introduce the deer to this living forest.
To him, the forest is almost like a living being. He has never cut wood or
even broken a branch or killed any of the animals. They are guests in his
green shelter and he makes no money out of it. "This forest is not for
making money," he says. "I created it to enjoy living here."

Enjoying, certainly he is. Ever since he moved into the house he built
on the edge of the forest in 1986 the Karims and their seven children
have been living in nature's lap. They need no electric fan, the air is
refreshingly cool even when hot winds assail neighbouring villages.

The water is sweet, unlike pipe water, and the wells and ponds never
dry. Karim has not monopolised nature's reward--75 families in the
village depend on these wells and ponds which contain 1.5 lakh litres
of water at any time. "This forest is our greatest blessing," says
Rukhia Beevi, a villager. "It was only after Karim grew the forest that
water appeared here..."

The forest has also bestowed good health on the family. No one has
fallen ill ever since Karim moved house. "The natural environment
shields us from most diseases," says Karim. "Besides our daily walk
through the forest keeps the body fit." Shemim, his six-year-old son,
betrays no sign of fatigue after a several- hour-long trek. Unlike most
children of his age, Shemim is yet to go to school because his father
believes that schooling at a very young age will stunt the natural
growth of children.

For a living, Karim has a farm, a cashewnut trading business and a
shopping complex. He also builds houses near his forest for people who
want to live in communion with nature.

Five years ago, a forest officer gave him the application forms for the
Vrikshamitra award, instituted by the environment ministry. The forms
are yet to be filled. "Living happily in this forest is a reward in
itself. So why seek others," Karim says, his face breaking into a smile.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Basically these people are emulating the valuable role of beaver, a
truly laudable species we almost toppled due to the profitability of
headwear and other apparel constructed from their hides! See:

http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/beavlink.html
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/beavresu.html
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/beavwork.html

Might better we learn from the wise beaver spirit than from the wily
weasel's ways!/?

bobk

Bob Kobres
bkobres@uga.edu
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk
706-542-0583
Main Library
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

-----------------
CCNet-LETTERS is the discussion forum of the Cambridge-Conference
Network. Contributions to the on-going debate about near-Earth objects,
the cosmic environment of our planet and how to deal with it are welcome.
The fully indexed archive of the CCNet, from February 1997 on,
can be found at http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Wed Mar 28 2001 - 16:07:53 PST