“Mainstream” Archaeologists…?

Here’s a line I noticed on a mystery-monger site, posted by some well-meaning, if somewhat ignorant, significance-junkie.

“… the often ridiculously closed society of “mainstream” Archaeologists, who sometimes prevent truths from seeing the light of day in order to save face.”

Wow. Isn’t that statement just loaded with fallacious intent?

The term “mainstream” in common usage refers to the ordinary, the norm, what’s expected, and that which is generally the status quo. When those outside of science couple this term with a discipline of science, what they’re really saying is, “those people who actually *do* science.”

So a “mainstream archaeologist” is really just… wait for it… an archaeologist. You’re either an archaeologist or you aren’t. You’re either a surgeon or you aren’t (I’d be immediately suspicious of anyone offering me medical advice who uses the term “mainstream surgeons” to refer to those who do surgery differently then himself!).

It’s a bit like “independent scholar,” that loaded term used by those that don’t have training in academia or standing with any institution of higher learning, yet consider themselves “learned.” Perhaps they are. But, again, would you trust your medical advice to an “independent scholar” of medicine? I’d rather mine had her training supervised by an experienced and learned scholar of a recognized, accredited institution of higher learning, thank you.

What those who toss about “mainstream archaeologists” and “mainstream historians” would *like* to say is that they have a version of truth that exists which disagrees with science and reality, and they don’t consider scientific method a valid norm when it disagrees with their conclusions. They do, however, love science when it coincides with their notions.

Which brings us to the last part of the flip comment above: “… who sometimes prevent truths from seeing the light of day in order to save face.” For some -like those who find undo significance in the otherwise mundane; who hunger for mystery and dislike prosaic, rational explanations- “truth” is a term that is relative. You’ll hear them say it and read it in their writings: “truth depends upon the observer,” and “what is true for one person might not be true for another,” or “we are all entitled to believe what we want.”

The majority of these folk aren’t interested in finding any truth that doesn’t fit their pre-conceived conclusions. Whether it be Michael Cremo followers and their “out of place artifacts,” believers in ancient astronauts, proponents of high civilization in Yonaguni, Japan at 10 kya, or creationists who reject an earth that is older than 4 kya.

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About Carl Feagans 396 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

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