The fundamental seductiveness of the conspiracy theory
April 14, 2015 7:42 AM   Subscribe

In [Anatoly Fomenko's New Chronology] , the events of the New Testament precede those of the Old Testament—and in any case, most of the stories are concocted to reflect later incidents. Joan of Arc was a model for the biblical character Deborah. Jesus Christ was crucified in Constantinople in 1086. Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece were fashioned by Renaissance writers and artists (the time of the Pharoahs, Fomenko suggests, may have lasted into the 1700s). Aristotle instructed Alexander the Great, who was a tsar, in Moscow in the 1400s.
Is Ancient History Completely Made Up By 'The Man'? (Previously)
posted by griphus (111 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
Previously (2004 post with surprisingly little linkrot).
posted by misteraitch at 7:46 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep, I just alerted the mods to add it to the post (and also fix that typo.)
posted by griphus at 7:46 AM on April 14, 2015


This verifies a lot of what Mr. Dunniston, the little tophat wearing man who lives in my mirror, whispers to me at night. I gave him a pen to write down his theories a few weeks back, but all he did was scratch the eyes out of every picture in the house.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:47 AM on April 14, 2015 [52 favorites]


[Fixed typo, added link.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:48 AM on April 14, 2015


I don't know if sitting down to a conversation with Fomenko would be entirely fascinating or maddening. I don't think it can be both, at least the longer the conversation unfolds.
posted by Atreides at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2015


Is Ancient History Completely Made Up By 'The Man'?

Well duh. That's why it's called history.
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


*watches clock until "mystery is my story" comment*

Damn!

*slinks off, ashamed*
posted by Wolof at 8:01 AM on April 14, 2015


I cannot even begin to express the joy I get from pretending that vast swathes of history are just made up - were just made up wholesale by monks, even! It's an excellently SFnal backstory. Also, perhaps we could pick and choose - like, the Emperor Hadrian was real (I like Hadrian) but Charlemagne is just a story; the peasants really won the peasant revolts of the German 15th century, etc. Could we sub in other, better history, eg the unicorn tapestries show real unicorns which have since died out?
posted by Frowner at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


Whenever I read smart things that Garry Kasparov says my mind adds the same "but but but...new chronology!" footnote, just can't square that away.
posted by Cosine at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the way Wikipedia judiciously suggests that this is "regarded by the majority of the academic community as pseudohistory" as though there were a sizeable minority which endorsed it, or thought it was worth a look, or something.
posted by Segundus at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


* Clears throat, looks around furtively *
My Amazon history shows I ordered the first volume back in August 2004. Although I read through it at the time, I never got any of the other volumes. I'd like to, though, but it seems I never have time to read these days.

And wow, has it really been 13 years since I ordered Dark Moon?
posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:03 AM on April 14, 2015


I get the premise. I work in a historical society, and repeatedly am confronted by the fact that history -- even very recent history, which is easy to research -- is a collection of fabrications, inventions, and urban legends. Any time I sit down to examine a local history story, it falls apart in my hands.

I think there is some validity to the idea that the timeline of history is wrong and that much of it was fabricated. I'm not sure the answer is coming up with a Timecube-like counter fabrication.
posted by maxsparber at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


I don't believe a word of it, but it sure has style. I consider this theory to be the gold standard of crankery.
posted by thelonius at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


Although I read through it at the time, I never got any of the other volumes. I'd like to, though, but it seems I never have time to read these days.

That's because most of your days are just copies of earlier days.

But then again, there is also the possibility that the other volumes are just inaccurate copies of the first volume.
posted by sour cream at 8:08 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Could we sub in other, better history, eg the unicorn tapestries show real unicorns which have since died out?

I've yet to see convincing proof this isn't actually the case.
posted by griphus at 8:09 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's because most of your days are just copies of earlier days.
That's what I was thinking...

But then again, there is also the possibility that the other volumes are just inaccurate copies of the first volume.
Truly a conundrum for the ages.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:09 AM on April 14, 2015


Ken Hite talks about this at length in the latest Ken and Robin talk about stuff.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


While there's certainly plenty of good reason to support the general idea of history being wonky, the specifics of this particular publication reek of rather disgusting bias:

the events of the New Testament precede those of the Old Testament

Hmm... I wonder why anyone would want to do that....

And I'm sure there's nothing at all to read into the idea that all of written history just so happens to begin at exactly the same time as Russia.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Why, this groundbreaking horoclastic work could ussher in a whole new era of chronocological understanding!
 
posted by Herodios at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure the answer is coming up with a Timecube-like counter fabrication.

There seems to be a weird phenomena where Russians, having lived for a long time with untrustworthy institutions and actual for real conspiracies, somehow deal with that by being utter suckers for any and all conspiracy theories.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


Ha! Suckers! There is no such thing as Time, so OF COURSE history is bunk, just like Henry Ford said.
posted by briank at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2015


Does "previously" even make sense in context of this post?
posted by librosegretti at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


Furthermore, this "Fomenko" person is clearly an invention of Griphus.
posted by librosegretti at 8:19 AM on April 14, 2015


This theory reminds me of the bit in Thief of Time (GNU Terry Pratchett) in which many of the inconsistencies and repetitions of history are explained as repairs from when all of time was broken.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Right. So, if we ignore all the primary sources, call every scientist who has carbon dated an object a liar, pretend that there is no correlation between stated events in early history and the physical world (i.e. all archeologists are also liars), assume that even the early secondary sources are written by liars, then this might be true. I'm not going to claim that the histories we have are 100% true, but they are far more factually correct than this blatant revisionism.
posted by Blackanvil at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


And wow, has it really been 13 years since I ordered Dark Moon?

Please tell us you don't that crap. This was just a youthful indiscretion, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aristotle instructed Alexander the Great, who was a tsar, in Moscow in the 1400s.
Well. Isn't that convenient.

You've gotta admit, tho: a multi-volume historical text dedicated to demonstrating the unreliability of all historical texts is a pretty good gag. I can hear the giant sucking sound from here.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Could we sub in other, better history, eg the unicorn tapestries show real unicorns...

I'm with you!

which have since died out?

And... You lost me.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The fact that our discussion of this pseudohistory begins with the rediscovery of a forgotten discussion from eleven years ago is just delicious.

A proper conspiracist would of course prove, using Google caches and web.archive.org, that the 2004 discussion was a fabrication produced by misteraitch in the four minutes following griphus's post, and that this material is actually new and interesting.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, at least, if Jesus was actually born in 1053, it makes it pretty unlikely that he was friends with a dinosaur.
posted by nicolin at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, I mean, we don't have to assert that the unicorns have died out. I personally have never seen one, but then I have never been to France.
posted by Frowner at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Dinosaurs became extinct in the mid-1800s due to inhospitable climates caused by rapid industrialization.
posted by griphus at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Historical pareidolia.

And Eco: "The lunatic on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars…"
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2015 [34 favorites]


Dinosaurs became extinct in the mid-1800s due to inhospitable climates caused by rapid industrialization.

True, but dinosaurs were extirpated in Eurasia in the thirteenth century due to predation by dragons. Illustration from an illuminated manuscript.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


fantabulous timewaster—I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids… Seriously though, the article in the post’s second link is fascinating, and covers a good deal more than just Fomenko’s ideas.
posted by misteraitch at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER: I've yet to see convincing proof this isn't actually the case.
posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2015


I don't believe a word of it, but it sure has style. I consider this theory to be the gold standard of crankery

He'd have to work pretty hard to top the late Edo Nyland, who postulated that Basque was the language of the pre-historic Saharan Empire, and every language except Basque (and maybe Chinese) was invented from the ground up by Benedictine monks during the Middle Ages.

Nyland'w work was the ultimate expression of Engineer's Disease.

His site is down, but here's the Wayback version.

More links.

His book, Lingustic Archaeology. You want to study academic quackery, read this book.

"There's no need to feel alone here in the New Age, Truth-seekers; there's a Seeker born every minute."
 
posted by Herodios at 8:46 AM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Seriously though, the evidence that the FACTS exist is overwhelming. Thomas Jefferson's signing of the DOI is difficult to refute. There is room for leeway, however, in determining what the facts signify. Historians are always publishing books that try to cast history in a different light. Take, for example, the question "Was the American Revolution radical?" Traditional teaching of American history posits that it was. Later on, some historians dwelt upon the fact that Jefferson, Washington, Adams, etc. were all members of the landed gentry and that it shouldn't even be called a "revolution" at all. Eventually, Gordon Wood comes along and says that, yes, it was radical. The basic facts were still the same. The problem I see is that we now have so much data, that we can pick and choose the facts we need in order to support our arguments. Today, we have so many options for verifying historic events that the facts approach indisputability. But, the farther we go back in time, facts become murky. In these cases, I believe, we need to depend on hard sciences. One example is the great pyramids at Giza. We had traditionally been taught that they were built by slaves. Later it became populat to refute this notion. True nutjobbery would argue that the pyramids were built by people from Finland. Or aliens. Or Jimmy Carter.
posted by rankfreudlite at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The 2004 post has a link to some of Fomenko's art; if you want to see some more, I heartily recommend leafing through this book on topology he illustrated and co-authored (topology is his day job). Not usual fare for a mathematics text!
posted by topynate at 8:52 AM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


I haven't said to my daughter that unicorns don't exist. I might pretend, once in a while, that the meat we're about to eat is unicorn meat. That's an easy way to keep the world a marvellous place.
posted by nicolin at 8:52 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Speaking of carbon, don't bother relying on carbon dating or other "scientific" chronological methods, Fomenko says: They are premised on the "old" dating system, and hence thoroughly corrupted.

I'm amused by his little hand-wavy dismissal of something fundamental that blows away his whole premise. Carbon dating is based on basic principles of physics, not on 'old' dating systems, whatever the heck that means.
posted by eye of newt at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]



WITH THE METHODS OF MODERN MATHEMATICAL STATISTICS and vast COMPUTER CALCULATIONS
Sign me up, where's the koolaid table? Over there? Thanks.
posted by ethansr at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's hard to really get on with this sort of thing if you've grown up in a small Devon village that's in the Domesday Book, with a Norman church from not long after that, and a graveyard full of dated ancestors of families whose latest generation you went to school with. The older the gravestones, the thicker the lichen and the more antique the typeface. But your mate Harry Singer in 1974 links back, measured hop by measured hop, to John Singer in 1674... so how did all that happen other than the obvious way?

History isn't the big stuff. If left alone, it gently accumulates in the same place, layer after layer, and you can't edit it on the ground without it showing.
posted by Devonian at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


Hardouin "only declared, elliptically, that when he died the reason would be found written on a piece of paper the size of his hand. The reason, unfortunately, was never found."

"I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain."
posted by iffthen at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2015


Can we add the Bible in the same category as a bunch of stories made up by bored Jewish shepherds with to much time on their hands?
posted by robbyrobs at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thomas Jefferson's signing of the DOI is difficult to refute.

And yet, on what date did he sign it?

That's right. August 2.

How many are sure that it was July 4?
posted by maxsparber at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2015


We had traditionally been taught that they were built by slaves. Later it became populat to refute this notion.

Slaves working with poured concrete. Take that Jimmy Hoffa-tet!
posted by rough ashlar at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2015


Can we add the Bible in the same category as a bunch of stories made up by bored Jewish shepherds with to much time on their hands?

In 1856 apparently.
posted by Naberius at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


the pyramids were built by people from Finland. Or aliens. Or Jimmy Carter.


Jimmy Carter--wasn't he a nuclear something or other, specializing in submarines, who sold peanuts to support his habit? I might warm up to this theory if he were some sort of engineer. I'm going with the Finns theory on this one. I used to know some Finns when I lived in Massachusetts. Given half a chance, this is just the sort of thing they'd do.
posted by mule98J at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's because most of your days are just copies of earlier days.

I suppose next you'll tell me Groundhog Day isn't a REAL holiday and that it's only a movie.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2015


....comes along and says that, yes, it was radical. The basic facts were still the same. The problem I see is that we now have so much data, that we can pick and choose the facts we need in order to support our arguments.

When studying history, I try to keep this perspective:

Those of us alive today, witnessing current events, cannot entirely agree about what is happening.

What happened on 9/11/2001 and why? Did Russia invade the Ukraine last year? What's the matter with Kansas?

Even if you could live the dream of many an historian* and actually travel back to the days of Caesar, to witness history unfold in first person view, you still couldn't be sure what was really happening. And if you were, the person standing next to you might entirely disagree. Uncertainty about history is only partly due to it being so long ago.

Oh, for the chance! I've got a bone to pick with Cicero.
posted by General Tonic at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


Different flavor- http://www.thepeggproject.com/discovery.html

I have enjoyed this guy's time conspiracy, especially since he shows the Golden Plates of Utah fame, as Memorex gold discs in a wooden box, in the hands of 19th century elders of the.church.

If an organization came into posession of future proof, then might they hoard that understanding?
posted by Oyéah at 9:14 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Fins have nothing on the Bosnian's and their hidden pyramids.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Carter--wasn't he a nuclear something or other, specializing in submarines, who sold peanuts to support his habit? I might warm up to this theory if he were some sort of engineer. I'm going with the Finns theory on this one. I used to know some Finns when I lived in Massachusetts. Given half a chance, this is just the sort of thing they'd do.

It's not Jimmy Carter, it's James Carter, which is a corruption of James Carville, who fought off the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1812, then married an elephant.
posted by Atreides at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


There is no question that "human history is a fiction assembled to serve the powerful". We accept that "History is written by the victors" like Winston Churchill, George Orwell, etc. have all said. We know our authorities lie all the time, both because people have always known this, and because modern technology makes outing those lies easier.

I donno if I'd buy his specific assertions though :

Joan of Arc's story might've revived interest in, and inspired modifications to, the story of Deborah. All historical accounts are pastiche, including Deborah, but the question is : Was more of that pastiche assembled before or after Joan of Arc

Jesus' story was again a pastiche compiled from many different myths, maybe simply a creation arising from the horror of the Roman practice of execution by torture. There were possibly interesting crucifixions in Constantinople in 1086, but monks could've simply embellished an earlier pastiche with new astronomical details too.

Isn't it perfectly believable that : Rome went on a several hundred year rampage of public murder and torture, including crucifixions, largely targeting the politically inconvenient. All this injustice and horror created a pastiche of the most interesting victims' already fictionalized lives. Constantine abolished crucifixion based partially upon this fictional pastiche, which represented popular opposition to the practice. At the same time, Constantine rewrote the same story at the Council of Nicaea to consolidate power, make Rome into a more war-like Sun god worshiping state, etc. Any crucifixions after Constantine could've still found their way into the Jesus pastiche, but so could unrelated astronomical events.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't get me started on Kansas.
posted by Oyéah at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's the matter with Kansas?
posted by Atreides at 9:19 AM on April 14, 2015


Look I've said it before and I'll say it again: outer space is a hoax!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:20 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even if you could live the dream of many an historian* and actually travel back to the days of Caesar, to witness history unfold in first person view, you still couldn't be sure what was really happening. And if you were, the person standing next to you might entirely disagree

I seem to keep coming back to this point of late. There's a reason why History is classified as an art. It's an argument that never resolves. And I view this as a feature, not a bug.

Keep on arguing.
posted by philip-random at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Believe me, if Jesus debated the devil for forty days, it was at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, where American Generals offered him the kingship of the world. Then he said. "Get thee behind me Satan;" when he really meant, get back out in front of me. He returns to Nazareth and opens a fish and bread place, when he understands what his teachings ultimately do to the cultural landscape of time. Even the fish and bread stand gets mangled historically.
posted by Oyéah at 9:25 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's the matter with Kansas?

It doesn't exist, for starters. Why do you think Dorothy said: "there's no place like home"?
posted by ennui.bz at 9:25 AM on April 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Joan of Arc's story might've revived interest in, and inspired modifications to, the story of Deborah. All historical accounts are pastiche, including Deborah, but the question is : Was more of that pastiche assembled before or after Joan of Arc .

Jokes aside, the story of Deborah in the Bible is older than Joan of Arc. We have extant copies of the Bible that are older than Joan of Arc. Don't start actually believing the conspiracy theories.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:29 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's a reason why History is classified as an art. It's an argument that never resolves. And I view this as a feature, not a bug.

Careful there, that's a bit close to making it science.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The egomania here too is just how western centric these ideas tend to be. Look at the guy who said we made up Charlemagne and about 500 years, the phantom time hypothesis. Are we to expect everyone from China and India to Africa just to put time on hold too?
posted by Carillon at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The egomania here too is just how western Russia centric these ideas tend to be.
posted by Cosine at 9:33 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am sure there are hard and fast rules for time tourism. The guides have to have a sort of celebrity, so they are expected in the historical record. Richard Brautigan, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, it didn't work out so well for Marie Antoinette's deluxe tour, it's not like she left her heart in San Francisco.
posted by Oyéah at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


So much unnecessary complication. Anyone with half a brain would apply Occam's Razor and recognize the simplest explanation: "Reality" is a simulation running in a virtual machine that booted fifteen Planck-seconds ago. But please feel free to carry on inventing new pseudo-histories to replace the old pseudo-histories. If your new theory is good enough, you might even get your own VM to try it out!
posted by b1tr0t at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like trying out this becoming pseudo history in my own VW.
posted by Oyéah at 9:38 AM on April 14, 2015


nicolin: Well, at least, if Jesus was actually born in 1053, it makes it pretty unlikely that he was friends with a dinosaur.

I, for one, await the theatrical release of Beowulf II: Grendel vs. Jesus. Or I guess that would work better as a prequel.

Is that too much to ask?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


My Amazon history shows I ordered the first volume back in August 2004

Of course, Amazon would like you to believe that.
posted by RogerB at 9:40 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


The past is a foreign country.


Like Belgium.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh my God, Kasparov? I had no idea. It makes his anti-Obama rants a little easier to take, though.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:55 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beowulf II: Grendel vs. Jesus

The winner going on to face Mothra in the final.
posted by sobarel at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


there is also the possibility that the other volumes are just inaccurate copies of the first volume.

It's said that the full set of volumes, much larger than the seven commonly known, contains the true story of your life - and innumerable false ones.
posted by echo target at 10:02 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


And yet, on what date did he sign it?

That's right. August 2.

How many are sure that it was July 4?


that's because it was hot as hell in philadelphia
posted by poffin boffin at 10:03 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Everyone should check out the topology text (14Mb pdf) with Fomenko's illustrations that topynate linked to. I recommend pages 9, 51, 75, and 126.

For those who quit math around the time you reached calculus, those hermetic-looking formulas in the text are bog-standard math, and not the ravings of a madman.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


also why was this vitally important kasparov previously not listed in this post

(actual video)
posted by poffin boffin at 10:08 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


We have extant copies of the Bible that are older than Joan of Arc. Don't start actually believing the conspiracy theories.

You think we do, but what if we don't?


It's impossible to know anything, everything is unknowable, vote putin
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:08 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh my God, Kasparov? I had no idea. It makes his anti-Obama rants a little easier to take, though.

I mean, if I thought Obama was literally the same person as James K. Polk, Jomo Kenyatta, and Liliʻuokalani, I probably wouldn't want him ruling the US, either.
posted by Copronymus at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2015


(actual video)

I believe this video is the true historical basis for the event commonly claimed to be an "apple" falling on "Isaac Newton's" head.
posted by griphus at 10:16 AM on April 14, 2015


poffin boffin: Actual video.

HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS EXISTED?

Waaaaay better than what I was going to leave here, but hey, relevant: Footage of Buzz Aldrin punching the moon landing conspiracy guy.

Previously.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:16 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Wasn't that in the time of Bo Jangles Khan's rule of South Phila Delphi uh? They never did make music like that.
posted by Oyéah at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2015


🍌🍌🍌
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:24 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyway everyone knows that the Roman Empire never ended, and everything between the 70 CE and 1974 was just spurious time inserted by the agents of the Black Iron Prison. Like, duh.

I read this guy's stuff and I'm all "do you even information rich pink laser beam from God, bro?"
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:44 AM on April 14, 2015 [16 favorites]


Footage of Buzz Aldrin punching the moon landing conspiracy guy.

I've always loved that Bart Sibrel is trying to get Buzz Aldrin to "swear on the Bible" that he walked on the moon. As if that would make a difference.
posted by chavenet at 10:54 AM on April 14, 2015


We have extant copies of the Bible that are older than Joan of Arc.

Can't you see you're playing right into the hands of Big Carbon Dating?

In all seriousness, while there's a morbid fascination whenever a brilliant mind goes paranoid, I have to wonder whether some of this specific brand of paranoia mightn't be brought upon by Stalin's forceful rewriting of history during his day. This does look at first blush like a particularly Russian delusion.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2015


I stumbled across a nutty website which posited that the Earth was created in 1688 (or thereabouts). Germany invented the printing press a few weeks later, and proceeded to write all of history as we know it. It was magnificently nonsensical.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:01 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whenever I read smart things that Garry Kasparov says my mind adds the same "but but but...new chronology!" footnote, just can't square that away.

I suspect that a lot of elite skills are more the result of monomania than a well-rounded critical mind. See also Derek Jacoby's adoption of the Oxfordian hypothesis.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:07 AM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Previously (2004 post with surprisingly little linkrot).

That is because this thread is actially taking place in 1243, so those links haven't even been made, much less had time to decay....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:08 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


There seems to be a weird phenomena where Russians, having lived for a long time with untrustworthy institutions and actual for real conspiracies, somehow deal with that by being utter suckers for any and all conspiracy theories.

Or, in academic-speak:
It can be postulated that there may exist a sociological link, a habitus in the
Bourdieusian sense of the term, between these nationalist sorts of alternate histories and
the former Soviet intelligentsia, those middle classes with a tertiary education whose social
status, material as well as symbolic, has fallen apart. In these histories such individuals
find a form of symbolic compensation for their loss of values, of status, and of
Weltanschauung, as well as reassuring explanations which stage the individual and collective
drama in an objective form. In reading alternate history, readers engage in a performative
act, reproducing the prevailing ideological ideas.
Marlene Laruelle looks at the interest in alternate histories in post-Soviet Russia, with a focus on Fomenko, in Conspiracy and Alternate History in Russia: A Nationalist Equation for Success? [pdf] (The Russian Review, 2012)
posted by Kabanos at 11:08 AM on April 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


I discussed all this with John Titor a few days ago. He completely agreed with Fomenko.
posted by rdone at 11:16 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Once I picked up a volume for $2 or so that was entitled The Secret History of the English Language. I didn't really browse it, so I was unprepared for the level of batshit that it entailed. Amongst the author's claims was that English was not a Germanic language, but a Romance language, only Latin didn't actually exist, you see, because . . . Well, the next time I moved, I didn't give the book away, I threw it away. The book is supposed to be satirical, I think, in the same way that The Room was supposed to be a comedy. Still, I wouldn't want unprepared people tripping over those ideas.

I also started reading The 10,000 Year Explosion from the library, right out in public, which is embarrassing in a literate, multiracial city. I was later aghast to realize that I could have saved myself the trouble by noticing that it was blurbed by John Derbyshire.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:24 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also started reading The 10,000 Year Explosion from the library, right out in public, which is embarrassing in a literate, multiracial city.
This is precisely why the kindly Gray Aliens gave us Kindles.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I notice no one has mentioned Last Thursdayism yet, the ne plus ultra of this line of thinking.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Last Thursdayism sounds like something Douglas Adams would have come up with.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


History isn't an art or a science. It's history, which has its own standards of evidence and methods for constructing knowledge.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2015


This just reads like weird phantom time hypothesis fanfic to me.
posted by Zarkonnen at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2015


THERE IS NO LIFE ON THIS PLANET! ALL LIFE WAS REPLACED BY MACHINERY FIVE CENTURIES AGO! THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION WAS JUST ANOTHER HOAX AND WE ALL FELL FOR IT BECAUSE WE WERE PROGRAMMED TO!
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


BUT THAT MEANS I'M THE ROBOT [world ends in messy explosion]
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Marlene Laruelle looks at the interest in alternate histories in post-Soviet Russia, with a focus on Fomenko

That was fascinating, thanks for sharing it. I've got a bad feeling about this part, tho.
"Fomenko has thus made his own customized version of the Eurasian tradition. In it, he denounces the West, embodied by Germany, as the fundamental historical enemy."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on April 14, 2015


[sputtering gesticulations]
posted by clavdivs at 4:32 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's all a bunch of cobblers. I applied precise scientific calculations to the clock in my virtual Unix box and determined that 0 falls around January 1, 1970, plus or minus a few bits. Therefore any "history" that claims to document events earlier than that must have been fabricated.

Since I *distinctly* remember watching the Moon Landing on July 21, 1969 as a child in New Zealand, this shows how unreliable eyewitness accounts are.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 5:16 PM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


No way Jesus tried to score beer from da Gamas phonecian sailors in Caeseria.
posted by clavdivs at 6:56 PM on April 14, 2015


It's all a bunch of cobblers. I applied precise scientific calculations to the clock in my virtual Unix box and determined that 0 falls around January 1, 1970, plus or minus a few bits. Therefore any "history" that claims to document events earlier than that must have been fabricated.

The Negatve EPOCH is a primordial nightmare of monsters and ghosts, we do speak of it.
posted by Artw at 6:59 PM on April 14, 2015


I hate Periodization as much as the next person but coins? The concept is derived primarily from authoritarian power, coins, wine dockets, Stella and scrolls. We have clay and marble, wood and Formica. All tell a story which is different then chronology. Chronology is compliation of past chronologies. And then Newton came along, made things have meaning, confusing really.
posted by clavdivs at 9:55 PM on April 14, 2015


He'd have to work pretty hard to top the late Edo Nyland, who postulated that Basque was the language of the pre-historic Saharan Empire, and every language except Basque (and maybe Chinese) was invented from the ground up by Benedictine monks during the Middle Ages.


Eerily enough, this theory and Formenko's theory seem to be utterly compatible.
posted by sour cream at 10:04 PM on April 14, 2015


I for one have no trouble accepting this. Big Timekeeping would have you believe that that I'm in my late thirties and my son about to enter elementary school, but that can't be true; I remember my twenties, and his birth, as if they were yesterday. The implications for history as a discipline are obvious and will be reviewed at length in my forthcoming monograph What do you mean Harrison Ford is 70? That can't be right.
posted by No-sword at 10:04 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Frowner: Could we sub in other, better history, eg the unicorn tapestries show real unicorns which have since died out?

My money is on Elasmotheria - the somewhat plus size - but real - unicorn substitute.
posted by rongorongo at 12:11 AM on April 15, 2015


Unicorns are perfectly real and have all kinds of interesting properties, but not the property of existing.
posted by thelonius at 2:47 AM on April 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


blackanvil: So, if we ignore all the primary sources, call every scientist who has carbon dated an object a liar, pretend that there is no correlation between stated events in early history and the physical world (i.e. all archeologists scientists are also liars), assume that even the early secondary sources are written by liars, then this might be true.

This is a very accurate description of the world of climate science contrarianism. "You're just running from the debate!" I just spent several days (I can be a bit slow sometimes) talking to someone whose world view is defined by this sort of complete and unassailable filter bubble.
posted by sneebler at 6:48 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


rankfreudlite: Thomas Jefferson's signing of the DOI is difficult to refute.

This is a very evocative choice for me, because of a story a friend told me some years back.

This friend was in his 50s at the time -- it was probably c. 1998 or so, so in referring to his childhood he's probably talking about 1958 or thereabouts. He said that as a boy, in the late 50s, he'd known a man whose grandfather had lived through the Revolutionary War.

That sounds kind of preposterous on its face, but think it through: This fellow was quite old at the time (90s as my friend recalls); he came from one of those families where men keep marrying and fathering children late in life. So this fellow had grown up hearing stories from a man who remembered when the United States wasn't a country. So my friend heard stories about the early 19th and late 18th century from a man who had them only second-hand.

I am reasonably certain, though, that Fomenko would be unimpressed. And after all, as everyone knows, the entire United States is actually the size of New Jersey. There's just a conspiracy to make us all think it's bigger.
posted by lodurr at 11:41 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


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