Last Updated on Sunday, 25 August 2013 15:47 Written by Gordon Kennedy Wednesday, 11 May 2011 14:07
ISOLATIONIST OR DIFFUSIONIST?
By Thor Heyerdahl-(1971) [with 30 photos at the end of the article]
The speculations as to contacts between the Old World and the New before the voyages of Columbus have never ended. In scientific terms, they have gradually hardened into two opposed schools of thought: Isolationism and Diffusionism. The Isolationists believe that the two main oceans surrounding the Americas completely isolated the New World from Old World contact until AD 1492; this school of thought allows for primitive food-gatherers to have passed from Asia, Europe, or Africa in pre-Columbian times. Extremists in both schools have one marked characteristic in common: little or no appreciation of such oceanographic factors as prevailing winds and currents. To them, oceans are dead, immobile lakes. The difference between them is that the extreme Isolationist believes that these dead expanses of water represent barriers to human movement in any direction, whereas the extreme Diffusionist considers them rather as open ‘skating rinks’ upon which aboriginal voyagers could travel in any direction as they pleased. This disregard for geographical reality has led Diffusionists to postulate frequently ill-founded migration theories, which have no other effect than to harden the attitutde of the Isolationists. At the same time, the dogmatic manner in which the Isolationists have defended their case–solely by passing the burden of proof to the Diffusionists–has caused equal resentment among the latter. Indeed, the Isolationists have never attempted to adduce direct proof for their case, considering their position to be sufficiently vindicated by the absence of proof for the Diffusionist position: lack of proof of contact, they regard as proof of no contact.
Everyone agrees that there are many–and often remarkable–similarities between the civilizations of pre-Columbian America and those of the Mediterranean world. The Isolationists believe that these parallels and occasional identities can be ascribed to independent evolution along parallel lines. This is based on the knowledge that the human mind is apt to react inventively in a similar way to similar environmental challenges on either side of the geographical barrier–in this case, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The identity or parallel occurence, therefore, of certain tools, ornamental design, customs, or other cultural traits might obviously be the result of independent evolution and is, accordingly, invalid as proof of contact or oversea migration. A great majority of modern scholars have accepted the logic of this reasoning, and with its acceptance fell a whole series of formerly convincing arguments for global migration produced by the Diffusionists. Ideas and inventions, such as pyramid building, sun worship, marriage between brothers and sisters in royal families, mummification, the wearing of false beards among priest-kings, trepanning, script, calendar systems, the use of zero, irrigation and terrace agriculture, cotton cultivation, spinning and weaving, pottery, fitted megalithic masonry, the sling, birdman deities, musical wind-instruments, reed boats, fish hooks, necropolises, mural painting, relief carving, adobe-brick manufacture, hierarchic society, paper manufacture, ceramic stamps, and wheeled toys, were all elements that could have been thought of twice and are therefore considered inconclusive as evidence, of trans-oceanic influence. Consequently, whenever Diffusionists emerged with a new case of Old and New World cultural parallels to include trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific contact, the argument was predestined to be labeled ‘non-proven’.
In spite of the setbacks that the Diffusionist movement suffered from the Isolationist doctrines, attempts to muster arguments in favour of cultural contacts across the sea never quite disappeared, and in recent years they have even gained momentum, not least in America, where resistance had for many years been strongest.
There can be but two reasons for this return of the pendulum towards Diffusionism. Either the Diffusionists’ arguments are beginning to convince an increasing number of scholars, or else the arguments of the Isolationists are falling short of being generally thought conclusive. It seems that the latter is the case, for since the Diffusionists’ evidence is sometimes vague, the comeback of their doctrine can only be due to the failure of the Isolationists to demonstrate the watertight validity of their own views. In a paper on ‘Theoretical Issues in the Trans-Pacific Diffusion Controversy’, D. Fraser clearly demonstrates how the available evidence can be interpreted either way and that what stands as valid evidence of diffusion for one scholar is interpreted in precisely the opposite way by another. He shows how the Asian game of parcheesi and the closely analogous Mexican one of patolli are used by both Diffusionist and Isolationist to bolster his own respective case. One camp argues that because of the similarity of these two games, links must exist, and it proceeds to search for such links; the other camp says that distance and other factors preclude relationship, and thus the existence of the game perfectly demonstrates the validity of the independent-invention doctrine. In the light of this example, one can see that the difference in opinion calls for cautious and fully unbiased attitudes from both sides and that the Isolationist should divide his efforts equally between the rebutting of the Diffusionist’s case and a search for positive evidence in support of his own views. Although it is often claimed that the burden of proof falls heaviest on the Diffusionist, it certainly does not fall on him alone, and until either side has conclusively proved the validity of its case, controversy is bound to continue.
An ever growing number of scholars, however, perhaps now even the majority, seems recently to have adopted a cautious middle course, not siding with either of the two extreme doctrines but admitting that ocean currents may have carried individual craft without surviving aboriginal crews to or from America, without this necessarily representing a population movement on a major scale. I will therefore use the term Diffusionist for one who generally favors human contact as an explanation wherever cultural parallels occur and Isolationist for one who dogmatically believes that the oceans surrounding the Americas were impassable before AD 1942.
Let us then look impartially at this impenetrable barrier that the Isolationists erect around America before Columbus. Without question, an ocean is normally more effective than a desert, swamp, jungle, or tundra when it comes to stopping the geographic progress of aboriginal man. But an ocean nevertheless has pathways of currents and winds that facilitate its crossing.
Continues on at Gordon Kennedys excellent research and book “The White Indians of Nivaria”.
Not one documentary on all of this on that Jew toiletvision. Anyone care to guess why? It isn’t credible? It isn’t important? It’s not interesting?
No, ehhh I’m afraid it makes Jews into the people they are (liars) and in that Jew media that is taboo. The truth is taboo on TV, so what is it you are watching? I even sound like a Jew asking such a ridiculous question.
Unfortunately Thor did not know the difference between Jews, Khazarians and Judahites (Israelites). This is always why the Bible is the ultimate map (on shore or at sea).