The Fall of Atlantis

The July 12, 2004 edition of “Coast To Coast AM with George Noory” focused on Atlantis. Like many other speakers before him, guest Michael Tsarion suggested an alternative history kept secret from the majority of humanity by powerful secret societies, governments, and the religious and scientific mainstream. His ideas are based on a literal interpretation of Celtic texts, legends, and mythologies, as well as alleged similarities to other historical documents.

The occult perspective draws a line of destiny from every individual to a much larger picture. It tries to explain the mysteries of good and evil and the unexplained. In one sense, the power of the occult is meant to inspire awe and provide a sense of place in the universe, but in another sense the occult compartmentalizes and categorizes all the vagaries of human existence. “Yes, of course!” one thinks when hearing about the occult. “That explains everything!”

Unfortunately, reality is much too vast to fit into such small spaces. The occult explains nothing. Like religion it is better at providing a sense of comfort than actually explaining reality.

The “evidence” sited in occult studies generally consists of two types: anecdotal and interpretive. Anecdotal stories provide little or no physical evidence of an occult incident, and are fraught with the subjective errors of the witness. Interpretations of sacred texts, images, and other apparent mysteries in various media can often be explained away with apophenia (the human propensity to see patterns where there are none).

Good science demands verifiable physical evidence and the reproducibility of results. Such strict demands ensure the fairness and objectivity of the process, traits that are unforgivable to pseudoscientists, occultists and the faithful. The occultist I would truly respect and hear would be the one who admits that he has no physical evidence and only a theory but is in the process of trying to gather such evidence. He would emphasize the subjectivity of his ideas, articulate his passion for his ideas but also his strict adherence to the scientific method, and make no promises regarding the outcome of his work.

In the movie “Contact”, Jody Foster’s atheist scientist demands empirical and reproducible data before supporting a particular theory or idea. Reluctantly, her character admits in public hearings that she does not believe in God as there is little or no scientific data to support the existence of such a being. At the end of the movie, after her experience with wormholes and aliens, when questioned as to whether or not the events actually transpired, she falls back on faith, stating that everything that makes her human convinces her that she actually met with aliens. This is the one fatal flaw in a movie I otherwise highly recommend. While she knows the events to be true, she provides no evidence other than her gut reaction. The movie tries to placate this betrayal by revealing a government cover-up of real evidence that she did in fact make a trip through the universe and met aliens.

Perhaps, as Mr. Tsarion proposes, aliens fleeing persecution on their home planet did settle on the Earth, create the city of Atlantis, and started a hybridization program with the locals to ensure their survival. However, such a theory demands real proof, not the interpretation of the world’s sacred text as clever metaphors created to hide the truth, not the gut reaction that tells the theorist he is right, and not the manipulation of human emotions and expectations in which all good occultists excel. Science intentionally embraces reason and logic and holds human emotions at a distance. While some may describe such a tool as cold and unfeeling, science includes checks and balances the likes of which no other human tool can claim. Those who relegate science to bolter their own submission to faith and fantasy admit their extreme disinterest in reality. For them the comfort of fantasy supplants the human desire to know the truth.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.