Drawing from the Codex Vaticanus (one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible) showing 16 natives dragging a dead giant toward a fire.
By Thomas R. Horn
Picking up where we left off in PART 3 of this series, John Wesley Powell’s arguments against public documentation of the giant bones unearthed throughout the United States in the 1800s-1900s continue to show either ignorance or clandestine agenda. Just to touch on a few examples regarding his report’s conclusions, in the order he addressed them:
Picture-writings: Powell openly acknowledges that some of the pictographs drawn on surfaces in and around these sites are “less conventional.” Drawings of a small human next to a giant with six fingers and six toes or a mouth with two rows of teeth would certainly fit into this category. However, Powell’s take on these drawings are, put simply, that they are not proof of anything more than imaginative etchings by a people who were only just learning to document their lives through the process of primitive creative writing. He attests that, the conventional and the less-conventional writings appear side by side at times, that “perfect records were never made.”[i] In other words, there is no knowing what is imaginative, early, fictional “creative writing” versus what is historical documentation of the lives they lived and the races they interacted with. “Hence,” Powell says, “it will be seen that it is illegitimate to use any pictographic matter of a date anterior to the discovery of the continent by Columbus for historic purposes.”[ii]
At the onset, this is a valid argument. We can’t know whether the drawings in every case were meant to alert the world of a giant race that the Indians witnessed or mingled with. On the other hand, the question is easily flipped back on Powell. If we don’t know which were purely imagination and which were documentation of reality, then Powell hasn’t even a scrap of evidence that the drawings of giants were always only imagination, especially with the discoveries of the giant bones in the nearby Indian mounds. Powell was correct in saying that a perfect record was not made, but he was ill-informed if he assumed that anything outside his own limited worldview was the subject of fairy-tale fancy. Much to the contrary, every ancient culture we have ever studied at length havs left behind its stories in wall and rock drawings, and it is from this artistic documentation form that we have developed much modern understanding of the old world, its inhabitants, and the people groups they mingled with.
That Powell would say these images are “illegitimate…for historic purposes” challenges the historical and archaeological practices set in place by experts of his own field for hundreds of years.
Origin of man: For a moment, and only a moment, we see Powell’s attempt to broaden his perspective and release his mind from the bonds of circular logic when he says: “Thus it is that while the doctrines [of evolution] lead the way to new fields of discovery, the new discoveries lead again to new doctrines.”[iii] So, yay, right? He’s acknowledging that new discoveries could potentially wipe out everything we know of the evolutionary doctrine, or at least result in a revolutionary revision of it—which would be a justice to both religion and science if mankind genuinely wishes to be informed of truth.
Unfortunately, though, this moment of clarity results in a mere tease as we observe him using the very doctrines of evolution as a means to escape further study of it. Rather than to unearth and analyze the evidence that challenges evolution so our scientific database can expand, Powell states: “The truth or error of such hypothetic genealogy [referring to giant myths] in no way affects the validity of the doctrines of evolution in the minds of scientific men, but on the other hand the value of the tentative theory is brought to final judgment under the laws of evolution.”[iv] In other words, the theories presented by believers of the ancient giant races ultimately have to come under the final judgment of “the laws of evolution.”
Evolution is science, and therefore it trumps theory. Sure. But if those theories are not theories, but fact—which we cannot know as long as personalities like Powell continue to lock the evidence away under throngs of bureaucratic red tape—then in due course those theories would become the new law and trump, or revise, evolution as we know it.
I continue to grow more and more amazed at how much support Powell’s report garnered from what is supposedly the most prominent of scientific communities in the world. Unless, however, those scientists are also aware that there is something in those mounds they don’t want the rest of us to know about. But I digress…
He goes on describe how philosophy works, and how philosophy was developed from its faulty early stages to our current enlightenment. It is within these bits of text that a reader is inclined to ask why Powell has deviated from a discussion of the origin of man and into a diatribe regarding the history and development of the much-appreciated gift of philosophy. But then it is made clear when he reveals his motive with the following: “The method of reasoning in scientific philosophy is purely objective; the method of reasoning in mythology and metaphysics is subjective.”[v] Fancy that…Powell—one of the most closed-minded explorers of all times who consistently ignores objective evidence of a giant race found in the very land he’s exploring—is now celebrating scientific objectivity. Oh, but that he would really be as impartial as he claims in this moment! Nevertheless, it is clear that he is stating that anyone who entertains any plausible history story that scientific minds have deemed “myth” are subjective to foolish speculation. But if the proof the “myth-believers” seek is hidden in the mounds that Powell and others protect, then it becomes the “they” (Powell, scientists, Smithsonian, etc.) that continue to corral the public into the pit of ignorant subjectivity and foolish speculation—for there cannot be legitimate, scientific objectivity until the science is revealed in the first place.
Do you see how this just goes around and around and around? Powell’s chosen words continue to imply—though carefully and politely—that anyone who would be audacious enough to demand answers from the scientific community about why there are mammoth people buried in Indian mounds across the United States belong to the unenlightened minority. The un-philosophical. The time-wasters. The resource sponges. The disrespecters of sacred Indian grounds. The meddlers. Or, in current popular parlance, “the Fake News” reporters. In the end, no matter how he veils his arguments with diplomacy, the distinguished Grand Canyon explorer is giving a nod of approval to anyone who is willing to become a member of his mature and rational club, while casting the proverbial dunce hat on anyone who isn’t “intelligent” enough to dismiss the giant people as an irrelevant past quirk of regular-human biology. It’s condescension at its finest, and the public has to make the choice to challenge the eminent Major Powell while the scientific community represents them as whack jobs, or be brainwashed into his reasoning. Is this not effectively the opposite of the beloved objectivity Powell treasures?
The skill Powell is using in his report is older than dirt. Take a conflict on any subject and place an articulate spokesperson at the head of one side who confidently weaves intimidating and lofty words around his or her claims to make listeners feel stupid for not blindly agreeing, and it almost doesn’t matter what the claims are, so long as the public is barraged with fancy speech that leaves them confused about why they questioned anything to begin with. And remember that this report was written almost 150 years ago, when a far greater number of Americans were illiterate and even the most educated people could find this wordy piece above their level of comprehension.
The issue is not an argument about philosophy in any way. It’s really quite rudimentary. The public sees large human bones that represent a question science cannot and will not answer, so they speculate to ponder their own answer. Powell’s tactic to elevate the “objective” philosophers over the “subjective” philosophers is to redirect the case into a confusing textual sermon on his own secular and evolutionary worldview. Wouldn’t it JUST. BE. EASIER. at this point to bring out the bones and talk frankly about what evolution actually does say on the matter? If evolution is such a pet of Powell’s, why won’t he let evolution address it?
Mythology: The trail of circular logic is becoming exhausting at this point, so I will not spend a great deal of time on Powell’s assessment of mythology. However, because so much of his doctrine is built around grouping the giant theories into pure “myth,” the following statement by Powell begs to be shared briefly:
Mythology is primitive philosophy. A mythology—that is, the body of myths current among any people and believed by them—comprises a system of explanations of all the phenomena of the universe discerned by them; but such explanations are always mixed with much extraneous matter, chiefly incidents in the history of the personages who were the heroes of mythologic deeds.…
It is vain to search for truth in mythologic philosophy, but it is important to search for veritable philosphies…. No labor can be more fruitless than the search in mythology for true philosophy; and the efforts to build up from the terminology and narratives of mythologies an occult symbolism and system of allegory is but to create a new and fictitious body of mythology.[vi]
So ancient mythology, when entertained, begets a modernized version of the same primitive mythology. Agreed. To suggest this never-ending and complicated trail of discussion is vain and fruitless would be true if it weren’t for the fact that we’re still left with giant bones that nobody will answer for. Again, “giants upon the earth” is no longer purely “mythology” if we have giant bones—and we do. Conspiracy is not a “theory” when there’s proof. Some of the legend or lore surrounding giants might be mythological, but we won’t know what is or isn’t until the bones are addressed, and they can’t be as long as the Powells of the world stand in the way as keeper of the keys to the mounds, canceling out the resources to dive into true science on the grounds that it would only be to prove or disprove irrational conspiracy theorist’s mythological fables.
It’s not about mythology, and it’s not about philosophy. It’s about bones in the ground.
Powell refuses to appreciate this simplicity as long as his complicated lectures about largely unrelated subjects continue to herd people away from further investigation.
Policy of Exclusion
Through his posh and indirectly belittling double-speak report, Powell gained the support of Charles Doolittle Walcott, the chief executive officer of the Smithsonian, shortly after Powell’s death. Walcott hailed the report with such irrefutable and mesmeric magnitude that the Smithsonian executives deemed the document the “Powell Doctrine.” Powell’s smarter-than-you linguistic skills naturally fed the pride of many of his followers, which by extension lent itself to further brainwashing from the top rung of the Smithsonian and down. From 1907 to this day, the now-outdated Powell Doctrine has been the final word on the issue of giant bones, as well as ancient Indian culture. Powell was, himself, viewed as a great authority, but he was only one man. When Walcott rallied the rest of the Smithsonian superiors to embrace the Powell report, the rest of the world embraced it as well, because “they” said it was valid. As a result, then, the museum established the Powell Doctrine as a literal, official policy to exclude any and all alternative evaluations of the mounds, bones, pictographs, and human-origin hypotheses, regardless of evidence. Any perspective, no matter how scientifically sound, would be snuffed out under the suppressive abort button of the doctrine. After 1907, it would not matter what was found in the ground. The policy was solid. No opinion other than Powell’s would ever matter to the Smithsonian again.
And you can guess what naturally happens next: Under this administration, years of the institution’s time and money are placed into book collections, exhibits, staff training, and uncountable materials that support this doctrine as truth. The fortress built cannot easily be torn down, and its influence spreads.
Tragically, because of the weight the Smithsonian’s opinion holds to educational institutions across the United States, the Powell Doctrine policy of exclusion was also incorporated into the dogma of most major American universities, adding a behemoth layer of clout to Powell’s appraisal. Students of reputable colleges all across the country haven’t the slightest idea why they are being taught what they are, or that it all came from one man 150 years ago.
Much documentation has been collected that follows an unscrupulous trajectory from various archaeological digs to the Smithsonian as research teams are submitting their finds to the museum for study and/or display, and the trail goes dark at that point. The bones the Smithsonian is receiving are not making their way to the museum floor or laboratories, and nary is a word uttered that they were ever submitted after they were unearthed. Those who contribute the bones to the museum do so in naïve trust that the Smithsonian will appeal to the government for grants and additional research funds, but because of the policy, the buck stops there, and that in turn affects the budget allowance for universities to follow up with any kind of field study for tomorrow’s generation of scientists.
Despite this, well before Powell’s document, the world was aware of bizarre discoveries. Not limited to bones, this also included the strange astronomical and astrological building patterns surrounding ancient structures and monolithic edifices such as those in Baalbek, as well as enormous tools, strange drawings, and prevailing legend of primitive cultures all around the globe. The Smithsonian was not always involved in every discovery reported, which is why the public does not have to search far and wide into the archives of obscurity or conspiracy to be showered with visual evidence that something walked the earth in the old days we can’t explain away. And not every personality within the institution-of-the-final-word appreciated the deliberate blind eye.
In 1882, the same year as Powell’s published report, Powell appointed Cyrus Thomas to supervise the Division of Mound Exploration. Thomas was originally more than open-minded about the legends regarding an ancient and lost race of giants, as he had paid close attention to the reports concerning the discovery of gigantic human skeletons unearthed in and around enormous structures involving complex mathematics and astronomical alignment. But because he did not go around advertising his theories, there is much evidence that Powell would not have known Thomas was progressive in this “mythological” area when he chose him to oversee the mysterious mounds. Thomas would—at least initially—lead teams to document the discovery of impressive skeletons (though he steered clear of speaking of them himself). We’ll examine some of these documents in the next entry.