Yet Another Bogus Theory

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Since the Ra expedition in the 1970’s, there have been crackpots who have been trying to prove that some people went to places around the world where there has been and is no proof that they did. The Ra expedition tried to “prove” that the ancient Egyptians went all the way to the Americas. There has never been evidence even circumstantial that they did. Now yet another crackpot is trying to prove that somehow the Aymara in Bolivia or other peoples in South America could have gone through the Pacific islands and to the coast of Australia. Phil Buck will lead an expedition on a large Aymara reed boat christened the Viracocha III in February of next year. His goal is to prove that such a boat can go from South America to Australia. At least he did not state that the ancient peoples of South America did go from South America and through the Pacific and into Asia. The man who tried to “prove” that the ancient Egyptians could have crossed the Atlantic, Thor Heyerdahl, believed that this was not only possible but that it happened. Heyerdahl’s crackpot ideas were based on diffusionism—the theory that great civilizations somehow influenced directly or indirectly other civilizations even over great distances.

Well, all nice and good, except that this theory simply does not hold water in this case. We have no evidence of any kind that the ancient mariners who went through the Pacific islands started from the Americas. They gradually moved from the Asian continent over centuries through the Pacific islands; eventually reaching the furthest point known today as Easter Island. Although that is only a little over 2,000 miles from the coast of South America, there is no evidence that they went any further than that point. Likewise, there is no evidence that any of the indigenous peoples from South America ever went to Easter Island. Easter Island, like most islands in the Pacific, were populated by Polynesian peoples who for centuries had used the stars to guide their vessels to the islands most now inhabit (including Easter Island). This island hopping took centuries, and in of itself is an amazing accomplishment of humanity. No one great civilization did anything like this—no Chinese from China, no Japanese travelers, no Korean or Southeast Asian explorers. Likewise, no great Native Amerindian civilizations like the Aymara or Inca sailed through the Pacific islands either. I had hoped that legitimate archaeology would have taken over from the crackpot ideas and bogus claims of Thor Heyerdahl. Apparently not. We now have a whole new generation of crackpot idealists.

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