walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Pyramid Quest_, Robert Schoch

Along with _The Hunting of the President_, this was one of two books I checked out of the library when I was weeding non-fiction months and months and months ago, before all the excitement. I was a volunteer (then a Trustee), so no fines for overdues and I just kept renewing them. When the new Director proposed a limit on renewals, guilt caused me to actually read both books, which was, in the case of the Clinton book, rewarding, and in this case, less so.

I occasionally read books in which people of varying degrees of credibility propose things about ancient civilizations that more typical experts on the subject find so implausible that the authors are unable to get their ideas heard in a more scholarly context. This is worth doing -- stuff like plate tectonics was unable to make any headway in journals, but was published by Wegener in a book which sat around for a while before people realized he was right.

Unfortunately, for every Wegener, there a lot more people who are just kinda wacky. I've gotten much better over the years at avoiding the truly silly (yes, I did read _Chariots of the Gods_ by Daniken as a teenager, but I did not take it particularly seriously, and it was very helpful for making sense of the origins of My Favorite Science Fiction Show, Stargate). I'd heard about Schoch's redating of the Sphinx etc. based on climate history and his assertion that some of the erosion was due to water NOT sand or wind.

And I think Schoch is probably on to something when it comes to the erosion stuff.

That said, a good half of this particular book goes off pretty far into la-la land, particularly with respect to the work at PEAR. That is _not_ what statistical significance tests are intended for! Geez. If anything, deviations don't show anything other than the not-completely-randomness of the random number generator. There's a whole bunch of stuff about Masonic societies and similar that I skimmed over.

Should you bother? Probably not.

Here's a quick link if you're curious about PEAR: http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/

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