Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Thursday, March 21, 2002
Plato said it, it must be true

Atlantis: No way, No how, No where: Kevin Christopher on the history of the Atlantis myth.

The enduring question, now two millennia old, is whether Plato's account of Atlantis is a description of an actual civilization that sunk beneath the waves, or a tantalizing tale that rose up wholly from the depths of the Athenian philosopher's imagination. In general terms there are three possible conclusions to be made for the Atlantis legend:

1. the account is entirely factual and inerrant;
2. it is a blend of fact, fiction, and error; or
3. it is entirely fictional.

Most cranks and all legitimate scholars alike have jettisoned the first conclusion. Unfortunately these cranks and several scholars agree on the second possibility, but the great pitfall is that each detail of Plato's Atlantis that is cast aside so that it will fit a theory weakens the very premise of having solved the question of whether Atlantis existed. Librarian Rand Flem-Ath thinks Atlantis is really Antarctica; Swiss geoarcheologist Eberhard Zangger thinks Atlantis is Troy. But the more that Plato's dates, location, and other details are changed, the less stands to be proven about the truth of Atlantis. It becomes as ridiculous as arguing that a missing Victorian house in Hackensack, New Jersey was really a Spanish Villa in Mexico City all along, QED.

[via abuddhas memes]

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