Native Americans, Ice Ages and Legends:
The Credible Science In Those Legends

 

GENESIS AND ICE

      Out of Africa & Age of Civilization

      Ice Ages

LEGENDS

 

 

             GENESIS AND ICE

 

                               Out of Africa and Age of Civilization

Let's give our intellects and imaginations some room to "soar." Let's wander "outside the box" for awhile.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Native Americans may have occupied parts of Arizona some time before 16,000 B.C. A number of native American myths and legends describe "the people from below," "the people from above," the time when night prevailed, huge green mountains of roaring water and giant creatures in the sky with long glowing tails and feathers shooting out in all directions. Are these just legends and myths that were the product of wild imaginations? Or, using language and descriptive techniques that help us to visualize, are Native Americans describing the activities and consequences of catastrophic events that their ancestors observed and experienced?

Is there any evidence that contradicts the out-of-Africa theory, indicating that the Native American birthplace may be some place else? This topic is discussed more in detail in the section on LEGENDS. However, recent findings with respect to early Homo sapiens in China (see Science, Vol. 326, pp. 655-656, 2009) are placing more doubts in the out-of-Africa theory. The recent Chinese findings indicate the possibility that Homo sapiens (50,000 to 200,000 years ago) migrated from Africa and interbred with humans they met on other continents, including Asia. And to make matters worse for the out-of-Africa adherents, DNA experts Svante Pääbo's and Johannes Krause's analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of a 40,000 year old finger bone (found in Russia) provides strong support for a third human lineage that is not modern human and not Neandertal (Science, Vol. 327, pg. 1566, 2010).  

What is interesting is that the Western world's views of archeology, paleontology and anthropology are often biased by and based on the Genesis inspired out-of-Africa hypothesis and a very constrained migration and evolutionary pathway dogma. However, Asian science is not burdened by concepts that are locked in with any biblical bias or evolutionary constraints. The Asian culture and mind set is free to explore all possibilities and options concerning possible multi-regional human origins.   

Is there some evidence that Phoenician, Scandinavian, Celtic, African, Asian and Semite people mingled with the indigenous Native American population hundreds or thousands of years before the time of the Christ? Strange as this may sound, is there any evidence that some form of civilization existed one hundred thousand years ago? - - - a million years ago? Apparently, the answers are: Yes! Yes! and Yes!

                                                   Ice Ages 

Some anthropologists state that we are "what we are" because of ice ages. Over the past 2 million years, there have been more than 20 "long" ice ages. The 12 February, 2010 issue of Science has a commentary and research paper on "Ice Age Rhythms," and evidence of rapid melting and accumulation of ice at the beginning and end of the last long ice age (~ 80,000 to 100,000 years ago). In one of my books, Isaiah's Leper: A Spiritual Odyssey (iUniverse, Inc., New York, NY and Bloomington, IN (2008)), I 

discuss the impact of an ice age on certain social settings, culture and organized religion. In the book, I mention the kind of behaviors that can occur in the harsh conditions imposed by an ice age, and how the dictates of religious belief can produce these behaviors. However, let's take a look at this topic from the standpoint of science and conflicting scientific viewpoints. And while doing this, we might be able to see how politics and economics can sometimes drive scientific thought and scientific methods of inquiry. 

The Little Ice Age (LIA) occurred in the time period between the mid 14th and mid 18th centuries. think about the effects of an ice age on social systems, cultural attitudes and traditions, religion, spirituality, agriculture, commerce, economics, travel, health (- - - any positive effects?), politics, migration, development of technology, evolution, warfare (often referred to as "no regrets" strategies), etc. What usually happens just before the onset of an ice age? What kind of events have the ability to feed the birth and initial growth of an ice age? (Hint: Don't let the words "ice" or "cold" affect your thinking.) What produces severe changes in climate? We could consider combinations of : 1) Accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, etc. (greenhouse gases), 2) Solar cycles, 3) The Solar System's position in the spiral arms of our galaxy and the galactic plane, 4) Cyclical variations in cosmic ray flux, 5) Impact from extraterrestrial sources, 6) Periodic supervolcano activity, 7) Variations in the Earth's axial tilt or inclination, 8) Dust and aerosol accumulation, etc. 

On the Antarctic continent, pools of melt water have been observed on the Larsen Ice Shelf. Antarctica appears to be losing almost 40 cubic miles (~ 80 billion tons) of ice per year. In a decade or two, Mt. Kilimanjaro could lose its entire ice and snow field due to climate change and atmospheric aberrations (one theory involves dust accumulation). In the Arctic, data from NASA satellites indicates that multi-year ice cover (representing approximately 30% of total ice volume) has been decreasing by approximately 60,000 square miles per year and maximum ice coverage appears to be decreasing by approximately 17,000 square miles per year. In an August USA Today article, Charles J. Hanley reports that in July of 2009, the polar ice cap shrunk by approximately 41,000 square miles per day. And in the Arctic shore settlement of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories; on one fine July day, the temperature reached 86 degrees Farenheit. The coastal waters warmed up and Native Inuvialuit kids were seen swimming in the Arctic Ocean. There is a lot of open water in the Beaufort Sea, polar bears are struggling to survive and much of the ice in the Arctic appears to be thin newly formed ice.

And yet, on Greenland and the Antarctic, ice is thickening. Temperatures within the interior of the Antarctic continent are becoming colder. The Nisqually glacier on Mt. Ranier is now undergoing a period of glacial thickening and possible glacial advance. More than 50% of the mountain glaciers being monitored are experiencing glacial advance. Annual temperature declines have been recorded in the Alps and Scandinavia.

And one of the most convincing research reports indicating that we are at the edge of a long period of time that will involve significant decreases in average temperature is a paper entitled "The Last Glacial Termination (Denton, G.H. et al., Science, Vol. 328, 2010). In their Figure 2 (A & B), using oxygen isotope data from remnants of certain unicellular species in ice cores, they show approximately 100,000 to 125,000 year intervals of ice age recurrance with warm periods ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 years and severe cold periods ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 years. From their data, it appears we are at the peak of a 12,000 to 14,000 year warm period and have anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand years left before the onset of the next long cold spell.    

Shall we place our bets? - - - Global Warming? - - - just typical variations and deviations? - - - nothing to worry about for now? - - - ice age? - - - all of the above?

A 2007 report by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning the claim that the Earth's temperature is on the rise has drawn quite a bit of criticism from many scientists and climatologists. If one accounts for alleged trickery with calculating slopes, elimination of certain temperature extremes over many centuries (i.e. the medieval warm period and the mid-20th century cooling period), underestimating carbon dioxide levels in the past, manipulation of mathematical averages, concentrating on carbon dioxide accumulation and ignoring the effects of water vapor accumulation, ignoring tree ring data that contradicts the global warming hypothesis, etc.; the 2007 IPCC report would appear to support a global cooling hypothesis. Also, any trends associated with global warming are predicted to be reversed within 10 to 20 years according to Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh, of Ohio State University (Chemical Innovation, Vol. 31, 2001).

There has been great concern about recent ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica and their impacts on raising ocean levels. But data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites provides some clarity with respect to the real meaning of the 47 to 267 gigatons of Greenland ice loss per year. Over the time period of 1993 to 2007, this amount of ice mass loss contributed to roughly 0.13 to 0.74 mm of sea level rise per year (Science, Vol. 326, 13 November, 2009). Over a 100 year time frame, at those rates, the ocean level rise would be approximately 0.5 to 2.9 inches (1.3 to 7.4 cm) due to Greenland ice loss alone. Using radar data from the European Earth Remote Sensing satallites, Canada's Radarsat and Japan's Advanced Land Observing Satellites, NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs and UC Irvine Scientists estimate that Antarctic ice loss is catching up to Greenland ice loss (to almost 200 gigatons, plus or minus 92 gigatons, per year) potentially impacting ocean level rise by approximately 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) per year (Science Daily, January 24, 2008 and National Geographic News, January 14, 2008). Over a 100 year time frame, the Antarctic ice melt would contribute another 2 inches (5 cm) rise in ocean levels. These figures do not support theories or fears of catastrophic increases in ocean levels over the next 100 years. 

The IPCC people are a curious bunch. As indicated previously, after correcting some arithmetic and statistical errors, some of the data they use appears to point toward a global cooling trend. But the basic message in many of their publications supports the view that global warming has been taking place. The February 16, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal suggested that the IPCC needs much more rigorous scrutiny of its so-called "indesputable settled scientific claims" that now appear to be the result of "shoddy sourcing" and the production of  "sloppy political (or politically driven) documents." Apparently, IPCC  claims of Amazon rain forest destruction were based on a report from the World Wildlife Fund that had misrepresented a study from the journal Nature. The IPCC apparently misrepresented Himalayan glacial melting trends and the effect of global warming on water resources. It appears that certain individuals in the IPCC may have "cooked the data," and that practice caused a number of IPCC scientists to turn on each other as "Climategate" became much more embarassing.

Cooking the data is not something new in science. In his book, The New Revelations, Neale Donald Walsch states that "beliefs create behaviors." That statement is soooooo true. In science, we accept the data that will match our scientific beliefs. The data that does not match or blend in with our established science is often thrown out or denied. We are constantly selecting, adjusting and cooking data to forcing information, results and conclusions to fit our scientific beliefs.    

Commentaries and interviews by Campbell Brown and Brooke Baldwin on CNN (December 7 and 8, 2009) have been very revealing with respect to the clever "trickery" and book cooking that may have been involved with supporting the global warming hypothesis. Dr. Keith Briffa of East Anglia University in the UK has tree-ring data that provides global temperature estimates from as far back as 1400. In 2000, Briffa presented tree-ring based data that indicated a global temperature decline. Many global warming adherents stated that the tree-ring data did not correlate with actual temperature measurements and that the tree rings were somehow affected by the warmer temperatures, drought stress, increased winter snowmelt and ozone effects. However, it turns out that the tree-ring data may be a more accurate representation of global temperatures and the actual temperature measurements may be innacurate because of a number of spurrious effects in the measurement set-up and protocol including the heat island effect where temperature sensors near high density growing urban areas and regions that have been deforested are yielding high readings that are not representative of or correlated with average global temperatures. The October 27, 2009 e mail from Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia University (U.K.) to Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University is disturbing. In that e mail, Jones states "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." (bold letters are mine for emphasis)

Dr. Briffa's data appears to have been smoothed out and forced to be made compatible with recent data that supports a global temperature increase. But untouched, Briffa's data supports a global temperature decrease. And the words "trick" and "hide the decline" appear to support the fact that data not agreeing with the global temperature increase hypothesis is being hidden or thrown out.

In Campbell Brown's CNN interviews on "Global Warming: Trick or Truth," one of the global warming adherents she interviewed stated that it would be impossible for thousands of scientists involved, with a system of checks and balances, to perpetrate a global warming fraud of this scale. That was one of the strangest comments I heard in the interview. In truth, it is very easy for thousands of scientists to perpratrate a fraud knowingly or unknowingly. Funding for scientific research is often directed toward proving or supporting a particular hypothesis. Up to 2009, there have not been many funding agencies and political entities willing to support scientific research in global cooling. And have we forgotten the thousands of accountants, financial experts, CEOs, etc. who were quite aware of the apparent book cooking that was going on during the 1990's and early 2000's with Enron, Worldcom, McKesson, Sunbeam, Cendant, Banker's Trust, Dell (more than 585 companies from 1978 through 2002) and the many banks seeking TARP money in 2009? During the 1930's and 1940's millions of people perpetuated a monstrous fraud in supporting a movement that used encampments such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor to take care of a "Jewish problem." When you combine self-deception and denial with self-interest; perpetuating a massive fraud with thousands or hundreds of thousands of people is surprisingly easy to do.

But I digress - - - .             

The global warming enthusiasts keep pressing onward. In 2008 and 2009, the mass media (including the BBC) reported rapid retreat of Himalayan glaciers due to global warming. Some of the 2007 IPCC data was quoted to make this point. But it appears that the Himalayan glacier retreat figures were derived from just a few of the roughly 10,000 Himalayan glaciers in India. Apparently, satellite and ground measurements do not support the glacial retreat claim (Science, Vol. 326, 13 November, 2009). 

I must admit, the Antarctic ice core data reported in 2009 (Science, Vol. 326, 4 December, 2009) can be a bit unnerving when one focuses on the data; forgetting about subtle changes in the earths orbit that affect climate (apparently the earth's orbit around the Sun changes from circular to elliptical every 100,000 years); and forgetting about geologic, ocean and atmospheric feedback processes that affect climate change. For example, Antarctic ice core data shows cyclical 100,000 year variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the past 1.4 million years. About 1.4 million years ago, peak atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were at 345 parts per million (volume). Those peak levels decreased to 285 parts per million (volume) about 100,000 years ago. However, peak atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased to 380 parts per million, and some evidence indicates that current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are continuing to increase each year. Russian Vostok ice core data indicates that ice ages occur periodically every 100,000 years with warm interglacial periods of 12,000 years. Toward the end of the warming period, temperature increases occur which drive COout of the ocean and into the atmosphere. Apparently, the atmospheric CO2 increase is a natural cyclical phenomena, caused by the warming period that occurs just before an ice age. The relationship between CO2 and temperature has been debunked by many as contrived physics laced with fudge factors. Whether the physics is fudged or not, the Vostok data (published in Nature in 1999) shows CO2 levels rapidly rising approximately 800 years prior to the ice age that follows. Essentially, what Vostok is telling us is that global warming and CO2 increases are a natural occurrence that signal the beginning of the next ice age.  

If temperatures in the northern latitudes were to increase significantly, and massive amounts of fresh water from ice melt poured into the Atlantic Ocean, the global warming effect would be short lived due to the effect of fresh water on thermohaline circulation. Many of the Atlantic Circulation models appear to overstate the effect of melt water on thermohaline circulation (see comment by Clarke, et. al, Science, Vol. 325, 2008). However, the effect of increasing  levels of greenhouse gases on global warming would eventually melt enough ice to have significant effects on ocean salinity, resulting in a shut down of thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic, and plunging Northern Europe and North America into an ice age. These kinds of atmospheric and oceanic feedback mechanisms provide a certain amount of regulation, but they can also promote significant cyclical changes in climate.

One of the most interesting commentaries concerning the battles over the scientific credibility of the global warming hypothesis was written by Martin Enserink (Science, Vol. 328, pg. 151, 2010), where he showed graphs provided by the former French Science minister Claude Allègre (who presents a scathing attack against global warming in his book) and Swedish paleoclimatologist Håkan Grudd (who refers to Allègre's work as "misleading"). Misleading or not, both graphs show a general decline in global temperature over the past 1,000 years. 

Between the years 2005 and 2009, conflicting views on climate change, average global temperature change, ocean surface temperatures, shifting ocean currents, sea salinity, etc. have produced a number of different views climate change and temperature change trends in various scientific journals such as Nature and Science. The concept of global warming is now firmly entrenched in our culture, the bulk of our scientific reports and in our minds. However, over the next 125 years, it appears that we will experience the confluence of three well recorded cyclical climate-temperature reductions. Like it or not, and contrary to a lot of commentary we have been hearing for some time, what is approaching fast is another ice age.

With respect to information from the Pentagon's DOD planning documents, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Sweden's International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, UNAM of Mexico, the CIA, Canada's Bedford Institute of Oceanography and the National Academy of Sciences; when might we expect to see the the first signs of the next ice age? The answers to that question vary somewhat. But the simplest answer appears to be, "We saw the first signs of an on-coming ice age more than 75 years ago. And depending upon which combination of models or collection of data one decides to use, as the on-coming ice age progresses in severity, the next ice age peak could occur  approximately 135, 700, 800, 5,000, 11,000, 50,000 or 80,000 years from now." One would hope for the 135 year or 700 year time frame. However, climatology studies indicate that ice ages are more common and have longer durations than warm periods. So a longer ice age time frame appears to be the most probable.

As interesting as all of this material on global warming and ice ages may be, you might be wondering, "What does this all have to do with Native Americans?" The answer is "- - - a lot." Native Americans are descendents of the people who lived through a number of ice age events. Their stories give us clues about how they survived. Some of the so-called myths of the indigenous people from North America to Scandinavia provide a significant amount of information concerning the impact of ice ages and what they had to do to survive. We enhance our own peril by ignoring the myths and legends these people have given us. 

                LEGENDS

Certain legends reveal interesting details about the creation of the Native American people. In fact, some Native American creation legends appear to have a much stronger scientific basis than the myth of Genesis or the Single-Origin hypothesis. Native Americans maintain that they were created by the Great Power in a unique way, and they were not simply the result of African, Asian and European migration. Many Native American creation beliefs are not bound by time or location. They are not constrained by unhealthy concepts involving the fall of man and original sin, and they are much more in harmony with the entire ecosystem. 

From the standpoint of evolutionary, biblical or pre-biblical belief systems; could certain races and cultues have different origins? Could we consider the possibility of multiple creations? Some would say, "Nonsense! The Out of Africa hypothesis and Recent Single-Origin Hypothesis (RSOH) hypothesis are rock solid." Well, if they are so rock solid, why is the word "hypothesis" still being used? Could a creation event, where the evidence has been obliterated by glaciation, flooding, massive fires, interbreeding and multiple migrations in many directions over tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of years have occurred in certain parts of the Americas, or in other parts of the world?

The Out-of-Africa and RSOH hypothesis could reflect the effects of several cataclysmic volcanic eruptions (such as the Mt. Toba eruption in Sumatra that apparently occurred approximately 73,000 years ago) where the only ones left may have been approximately 5,000 people, in a few isolated locations, who survived the effects of starvation conditions, poisoned air, poisoned water and harsh cold weather. The survivors could have inspired some of the Sumerian, Hebrew, Scandinavian and Native American creation stories.

From the biblical standpoint, since the claim is made in Genesis 2: 21-24 that God made woman out of a rib of the man; could God Almighty take a body part (or two), or just use simple Divine intervention, and produce the same creation effect on different continents? Please pay attention to the word "Almighty." Consider our known universe, and recognize the implications of that very important word, "Almighty." 

If we look at this question from an anthropological standpoint, could Homo sapiens have several roots? Ignoring the distinct possibility of interbreeding, there are a number of human evolution "trees" that show a neat and fairly organized progression from the split between Homo antecessor/mauritanicus and Homo erectus (~1.4 M years ago). From the Homo antecessor/mauritanicus group there appears to be a split between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo rhodensiensis (~700,000 Years ago). Homo rhodensiensis appears to develop into Homo sapiens sapiens (Cro-Magnon) approximately 250,000 years ago and then into modern man (~50,000 to 110,000 years ago).

But that particular sequence appears to be over-simplified. Archaeologists have found evidence of Homo sapiens fossils dating as far back as 195,000 years ago and evidence of sophisticated tools and sophisticated stone knapping (for spear points) dated as far back as 278,000 years ago (American Scientist, Vol. 99, March-April, 2011).  

The Vedic literature of India indicates that many of the above human-like and ape-like creatures co-existed for long periods of time, and interacted. What do they mean by "long periods of time?" Well - - - maybe the time frame was "really long."  In North America and Europe, coins can be found at the 114 to 125 foot level, which would indicate that the coins are 200,000 to 400,000 years old! But that is not the whole story. At the 300 foot level, statues have been found, which would indicate those statues are 2 M years old. Again, that is not the whole story, it gets better yet. In deep mine shafts, metal tools have been dug out of coal deposits and rock, which would indicate those tools are 9 M to 55 M years old. Ignoring fraud, quackery and the possibility of inverse percolation (which can occur in semiconductors, emulsions and earth & atmospheric phenomena), what is going on here? 

In the Bible, there are a number of books that describe dragons or dinosaurs (i.e. Daniel: 14-dragon, Job: 40, 41-behemoth-leviathan). Is the Bible giving us fairy tails about big fairies? Hang on. These may be some of the more credible "myths" in the Bible. Yek'wana (Venezuela) Yaqui, Pima, Illini, Hoh and Sioux Indians provide drawings and legends of really big birds. Ah well, what they have drawn or described appear to be more than just "big birds." Their descriptions and drawings match the physical profile and size of a pterosaur - - - very large Pteranodons or bigger yet, the Quetzalcoatlus! (Karns, H.J., Unknown Arizona and Sonora 1693-1721, 1954). Pterosaurs were supposedly dead and gone 65 M to 140 M years ago. What were these creatures doing flying around in North and South America less than 200 years ago? Some Native American Indian petroglyphs show very clear drawings of stegosaurs (Canadian National Parks), brontosaurs (Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument) and Triceratops (Black Dragon Wash, Utah). In Peru and in the Badlands of South Dakota, some native petroglyph artwork seems to be describing a mix of dinosaurs including raptors, Triceratops, Allosaurus and/or T. rex! In 1915, a German U-boat (U-28) reported sighting a 60 foot long plesiosaur in the Atlantic. In 1934, a South Dakota farmer claimed that his tractor was forced off the road by a giant four legged reptile near Lake Campbell. Was this man drinking? Was the entire German U-boat crew on drugs? Were all of the Native American petroglyph artists high on peyote or some kind of "local" weed? Or, as some claim, did the Native Americans produce detailed dinosaur drawings on rock using fossilized bone remnants as their only artwork model? This is what the conventional wisdom wants us to believe, because these recent native experiences do not fit with our conventional models, sense of time and preconceived notions. 

And what about the 1990 Montana State University finding, where it appears that they unearthed a T. rex that had not been completely fossilized? Apparently, the bones contained what appeared to be blood cells and hemoglobin-derived peptides. Looking at where they were found, those animal remains cannot be 65 M+ years old. Creationists love this stuff. But I think the Native North and South American petroglyph artwork, legends and the 1990 Montana State University T. rex results may be indicators of something more profound and complicated than either creationism or the accepted models for evolution will allow.       

Large segments of human anthropological evolution trees are based on small bone fragments. In some cases, radiocarbon dating (Carbon 14) has been used. But this technique has a host of reference and calibration problems; and there is some evidence concerning events that may have produced inconsistencies in levels of Carbon 14 during the time period of interest. Also the upper limit for radiocarbon dating is approximately 60,000 years.

Isn't it strange that we have better preserved bone fragments from alleged 65 M+ year old dinosaurs than we do of our alleged 1 M to 3.2 M year old hominid-human ancestors? Can we "back off a bit" and think about our creation, origin, evolution, time-scale, life processes theories from the standpoint of a different attitude and a different "altitude?" (See: Lyle's Law of Altitude, The Bent of Tau Beta Pi, pp. 50-51, Winter, 2009) 

DNA is often advertised as the means that can be used to give answers concerning our origins. However, there is much controversy over DNA evidence; especially with respect to the impact of just a few generations of "mixing" and DNA viability. As remarkable as the science of molecular biology is, DNA evidence has not removed the word "hypothesis" from "Out of Africa" or the "Single-Origin" belief systems.

So, assuming that the races and cultures have intermingled and engaged in in-breeding for 250,000 years, 500,000 years or more, is there any reason that multiple creations and/or multiple origins cannot be considered for different people such as Native Americans, Africans, Asians and Europeans? Is a multiple creation or multiple origin concept any more hair-brained than our current Adam and Eve, Out of Africa or single-time-and-place concepts of human origins?

We still have much to learn.

Before we go on with this, it might be a good idea to read parts of Vine Deloria's well written books, God is Red (Fulcrum Publishing Co., 1992) and Red Earth, White Lies (Scribner, 1995). Deloria's books are full of interesting information and some surprises with respect to the way science is often forced to blend in with our preconceived notions.

 

© George D. O'Clock, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011