I know, the title is a bit of a mouthfull, but I did not find any shorter, or more striking headline for my post.

What is the difference between religion and conspiracy theories?

Recently I have run into a number of wild and even wilder conspiracy theories. As I have previously stated, their lure lies in, that the world is actually full of conspiracies. Big and small conspiracies are made by actual people to achieve a goal. “Conspiracy theories” however, are not conspiracies. They are the products of paranoid imagination. Attempts to guess what is behind this, or that complex phenomenon. They are most often precisely nothing but, wild guesses and poor methodology at trying to examine the reality.

Many of the wildest conspiracy theories are motivated by the need people have for safety. For example the people who claim, that there actually are no nuclear weapons, or the people who claim that there is no global warming going on. Both of these groups of people have chosen to live in denial of an unnerving fact, so they do not need to fear, or do anything against a threat in front of wich they feel totally powerless. The denial springs forth from the fact that they have no means to evaluate wether the phenomenon in question is a fact, or not. (Even though they think they can.) The view on the matter is chosen intuitively by being motivated by fear and all the subsequent argumentation and attempts at rationalization are only put forth to support this presupposed position.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle nuclear blast

There are also those conspiracy theories, like the flat earth theory, or the moon landing denialism, to wich it is a bit more difficult to point out some pre-existing motivation. A nother reason why they are so popular is that they seem to provide explanation. Simply because of various reasons the theorist has come to suspect what has been told to them, they jump to a seemingly convinient alternative explanation. We humans are curious animals who want answers. Knowing about things is also a method to provide us with a sense of security. Because knowing gives us an edge to prepare ourselves. We fear nothing like we fear the unknown. Especially so, if the basic sense of security has been shaken. Wich it often is, if the person in question has poor methodology to evaluate reality. If they have been originally indoctrinated to simply rely on authority, and then it is revealed to them, that not all auhtorities are reliable, what then? What is clear, is that the people who have such misunderstanding of the reality around them, is that they have a very limited ability to evaluate the anything beyond their immidiate grasp. I see this mainly as a failure of the school system. In that the schools have traditionally taught kids what is true and what is not, much more vigorously, than how to find out what really is true and how to make the distinction.

There are of course various reasons why people believe what they do. If someone believes in the holocaust denialism, their motivations to fall for this trap are most likely political, but such political views come from a pre-existing misunderstanding of the world and history. Not to mention the methods of how history is studied, or how we know – really anything. Political views are a result of values we hold, but most people do seem to have a certain set of values because they have inherited a set of values from family and surrounding culture. Not so much since they have analytically evaluated various sets of values and chosen one by virtue of the kind of world that one tries to sell them. Even of those few who have, some have fallen for a trap of world views that sell their particular group of people some form of priviledge, instead of a world where we would all share and be equal. Most often people are taught, that such priviledges belong to them by mere birthright. Being born with a certain colour of skin, certain nationality, certain economic class and so forth. In the wide world any such group can hold on to this sort of priviledge for a while, but because it is based on nothing real, such structures are under constant change. Conservatism seems to come from the need to keep to the particular priviledge of the current generation.

How do religions differ from conspiracy “theories”? Religions are the result of ignorant people trying to guess and explain reality around them with poor methodology. You could claim, that this applies to all the other religions, exept yours, but then you should be able to explain how yours is different in this respect. Can you?

Religions often give us the guessed end result first, not unlike conspiracy “theories” and they seem to provide an explanation to the unexplained, unexplainable and the univestigated. From the history of religions we do know, however, that when we have a better explanation than the guess that there was some supernatural causation behind some extraordinary event, the supernatural explanation loses it’s significance. The question is why should we pay any attention to any supernatural explanation, because not one of them has ever been verified on any even remotely reliable level? The reason why people do this, is naturally the cultural tradition behind such a behaviour model, but it is only a part of the actual problem, wich is that people do not even know how to evaluate the truth of things beyond their immidieate grasp.

The most widespread conspiracy “theory” is creationism. Or if you please, Intelligent Design. The latter refers to a seemingly sciency version of superstitious belief, wich people mostly believe, because it supports their pre-existing belief in a divine and benevolent designer parent character. To cope with their fear of dying, wich has been extended from it’s natural form to elaborate measure by fairytales, that are virtually empty threats of eternal punishment they feel they need this parent figure, as if they were not adults at all. Do you see how the motivation for this belief is not so different from the climate change denialism, or nuclear weapons denialism? In fact, many of the people who belive one of these things also believe the other. They have the same very limited skills of evaluating reality and facing reality.

Religious beliefs like conspiracy “theories” often also come from our base values. The things we value, have been taught to value, and as such concentrate to a world view and eventually politics. Politics affect other people and the rest of the ecosystem. In my many encounters with religious people I have learned, that they are sadly often not unlike the conspiracy theorist, statistically illiterate, ignorant of history, physics, biology, geography, cosmology, and without the means, or even will to find out about the truth. They both, the conspiracy theorist and the Theist, have decided about the “truth” in their own subjective mind and are not even interrested about any objective investigation. Any “investigation” only exists for them to provide confirmation bias.

Are there no differences between conspiracy “theories” and religions? Yes there are. For example religions are by far more authoritarinistic, than the conspiracy theorists in general. The conspiracy theorist wants to reveal the truth hidden by the authoritities, while the religious person believes in some specific authority blindly and teaches the next generation, that this blind faith is a virtue. The conspiracy “theories” rather rarely include any supernatural explanation, but at least try to explain the complex reality within the limitations of observable, material reality of the universe. In that sense the average conspiracy theorist does not leap as far away from what could be verified to wild guesses about what can never be verified. It is just that their ability to investigate the reality is impeded.

There is one more major difference between religions and conspiracy “theories”. It is that because of our cultural history, religions are such a widespread cultural sets of beliefs, that no matter what science, be it about physics, biology, history, sociology, or any other field of study says, religions may not be mocked, are not mocked, as the average tin foil hattery even though in a sense they are even more removed from reality by appealing to unnatural causation.

There are and have been a lot of conspiracies in the real world. Because the conspiracy is something secret it is often hard to prove, or disprove.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle new york skyline 2000

Some of the most extreme conspiracy theories have captivated the minds of millions. Some are so ingraned to society, that they are not even discussed when examples of conspiracy theories are presented.

Examples of typical conspiracy theories are the ideas, that the US officials knew before hand about the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbour, or the terror attacks in New York and Washington in 2001. Both of these conspiracy assumptions represent deep distrust a large part of the US citizens have for their government. They also represent the fact the US citizens who pay dearly as taxpayers for an ultra expensive military and extremely secretive agencies – both of wich have been found red handed in ethically questionable actions – do not feel safe. The blatant disregard for legality, or ethics these powerfull institutions have shown, does not make people feel any safer, nor the fact that these very expensive institutions are caught with their pants down. The average person likes to think they are safe and that is the main reason why they agree to big spending keeping such institutions costs. However, when something surprizing happens, that shows how woulnerable people are, they find their previous misplaced trust hard to accept, and try to look reasons for having been wrong from elswhere. Like that they had every reason to believe they were safe, exept for this conspiracy theory.

One major conspiracy theory in this same category is the Nazi hatred of the Jews. As the Germans could not accept their loss in world war I, they had to find a scape goat. Someone to blame that the promised victory never came. Racism is a similarly unfounded prejudice as the idea that a big military will keep your country safe and you personally out of reach of violence. Usually the effect is contrary, since a big military is often used for unsavioury actions to “protect the intrests” of the country, or more likely the corporate capitalism, or some obscure political ideology. This is prone to create enemies, who in face of overwhelming military power need to form conspiracies of their own to fight their oppressors.

However, if you thought any of the abowe were wild and implausible conspiracy theories, there are some that are by far even more ludicurous. For example a couple of surprizingly popular and mad conspiracy theories, that have the same roots and often the same believers are the climate change denialism and evolution denialism. Both are based on a claim that the scientific community has a major conspiracy going on.

Climate change denialists state, that the entire climate change is a hoax and even if it is not a hoax, but true, the change is not a bad thing, nor is it a human caused phenomenon. One of the climate change denialists is the new president of the USA a nation that is responsible for a very large portion of pollution. He has stated in his campaign, that it is a conspiracy by the Chinese to undermine US economy. His main advisor in environmental issues has claimed (while on the payroll of Exxon), that it is a conspiracy by the EU. I am curious as to wich one they are going to settle between them as the purpetrator of this conspiracy. This is a demonstration why conspiracy theories are not just us laughing at the stupid mentally disturbed individuals who think the world is secretly led by lizard people. Ignorance that leads to such nonsensical conspiracy theories is dangerous for the entire world. They make people distrust science and turns them to hand power over to self interrested authoritarianistic demagogues.

Just as with the climate change denialism, the evolution denialism starts with the assumption that the entire scientific community is in conspiracy, a secret pact, to lie to people contrary to their better information. The problem is how to prove such a conspiracy. The scientific method after all is the best method we have to evaluate reality as objectively as we possibly can and the scientists supposedly involved in this conspiracy are the ones who are best equipped to research both evolution and the climate. It would be ridiculous, if it was not so serious, that for these conspiracy theories to propagate themselves, they do not need to be investigated. People take them as true without the least bit of effort to investigate them, or precisely because they are ill equipped to investigate reality. They are most often believed by people who have been from childhood taught and indoctrinated to belive, that faith is a virtue. That their gut feeling is the best judge and somehow in more or less direct connection to some ultimate moral arbitrator creator entity – That in turn has never been falsified to exist on any level of reality. That means these people are effectively adults, who are totally subjected to their prejudices.

If the believer in any wild conspiracy theory is prejudging the reality around them according to some arbitrary tribally moralist ideal, be it something like a religion, or nationalism, they are helplesly biased. For example, to think they have every right to own a big polluting car, as the car is part of their identity, way of life and a continuation of their sexuality and self image. Or for a nother example to think, evolution must be untrue, as it challenges the fairytale they think is the ultimate truth from some god they worship, and feel as a base for their morality and sometimes even the justification of their very existance and possibly a redeemer of their guilt from the evil they have done because of their arbitrary understanding of morality.

As with everything else, the time to believe in an extreme conspiracy is when the evidence is presented, and the evidence is achieved by using the scientific method, as it is the only even remotely objective way to achieve reliable information. In addition, the more extraordinary the claim for a conspiracy is, the more extraordinary should the evidence be.

It seems to me, people believe the most extreme things when they are ill-educated, ill-informed and when the theory supports their preconceptions. Did I get this right?

When we observe dogs, or horses, we percieve obvious differences between various races of these domesticated animals humanity has selectively breeded for thousands of years. A dog is a dog, it is within the distinct species type, wether a chihuahua, or a great dane.

Are humans any different? No. We are biological entities as much as our pets and beasts of burden. There seems to be these distinct differences between human races alike as there are for example between different breeds of cows. Some are bigger, some have darker skin colouring than the other and so on and these are easily recognizable features.

Or are they? We have stereotypes of racial human features, but even though a vast majority of people may fall under those types, at least in some outside features, what is the actual difference? What about all the people who do not fall under this or that stereotype? Whose stereotypes should we abide to and why? These stereotypes are very much the product of our subjective and sometimes collective minds. The expectations loaded to these stereotypes are also often very unfair towards any individual at all and filled with tribal selfrighteousness, by assuming the features shared by the person holding a specific stereotype are seen as virtues by themselves and any differences as symbols of some sort of defincency. In addition the idea is so muddled, that the cultural aspects of our heritage get confused with what is genetical all the time. Further more, these cultural constructs are equally confused with not just percieved races, but to genders age groups and indeed social groups as well.

Studies of varying social groups and selecting correlative information from those to the ethnic heritage of some groups tells us absolutely nothing about race in reality, but it is often enough used to confirm biases of the existing stereotypes. However correlation does not mean causation.

Realistically speaking, race stereotypes assume all sorts of evolutionary (or unnaturally created) differences between stereotypically nominated groups of people, that can not be demonstrated by any scientific methodology. There exists this ridiculous missunderstanding about evolution, that it causes all things change towards some specific goal and at an equal speed at that. So, that if hereditary groups of people have varying skin colours, their intellects should vary somewhat equally and if these groups are found to have a difference in their economical situation or how often  these groups of people living nominally within the same culture end up in prison, that would somehow indicate some genetic causation to the group ending up in criminal careers (or at least being caught at doing the thing against the social norm of a society). In reality, we do know that powerty and social segragation based on an imaginary stereotype of race or an imaginary stereotype of the poor people do cause crime, while we have absolutely no show that any specific genetics of people with certain kind of perplexion was any cause at all to criminal behaviour. Evolution pushes for change by the simple logic of positive mutation to be more likely to survive long enough to produce the next generation. Nothing more. When a species spreads to new environment for wich it was previously adapted it picks up some mutations that benefits that goal. Perplexion may change over generations according to how much sunlight is awailable to better adapt the new environment, wether the skin needs to protect itself from overt sunshine, or alternatively does it need to let more of sun radiation through from a very limited amount of the sun light awailable in the environment. Human brains have had no such dire demands from varying environments. It seems quite obvious that the brain, is our most adaptive organ as it is, without any major change. There is no soul, we are our brain and it is the same regardless from wich population group on the planet we are descended, since it evolved to be as it is today within a very small group of people who were the ancestors of all of us on the planet today who call ourselves human.

I write this as a “white”, middle aged, male and having lived my entire life in the rich western world. I am painfully aware of my priviledge to even be able to write about this and other issues in my blog, that could be deadly dangerous to other people elswhere.

Realistically speaking race is an issue in societies with history of abuse of people with different perplexion from the ones who held power. Or a cultural norm used when ignorant people get scared of different looking people who come from outside of their very limited cultural experience world.

I find it annoying how loosely the term of race is weilded about in western and especially in American culture even today. For example, in science fiction the imaginary intelligent species originating from various different planets are referred to as “races”. Even if these characters were played by actors wearing mere green rubber mask to make them different enough from humans of planet earth, they most certainly would not be just of different “race”. The products of a completely different ecology and evolutionary trail, separated by the void, would not share none what so ever genetical similarity to us humans and should not be called a “race” under any pretence. This may seem harmless fiction of the most imaginative and farthest from the reality we do live in, but the stories deal often enough with very human problems and they are watched because the audiences can relate to the stories however fancy they are. Hence, implying that there are races and that race differences are an issue may be harmfull. Sure, it may also be a beneficial way for the film makers to remind us about how artifical the entire concept of race is. Yet, when “white”captain Kirk kissed his “black” crewmate in the sixties TV-series Star Trek, it was both a brave step forward by the film crew and a sad show of the racial prejudices of the surrounding society as Kirk had allready kissed green alien “women” and it had been seen as OK, as long as the actor was a “white” woman.

Even today the stereotypes of race are there hidden in plain daylight. When the issue of race comes up, it is about the people of colour or in other words of people of different race, than some race normative people, that is the so called “white” people. More seriously, than in popular culture, though not necessarily any more effectively, these ideas are everyday confused in politics. I just read about two lady candidates in some election in California where it seemed to be an issue that for the first time there were two women candidates and that they were “people of colour”. One had Indian heritage and the other Latin heritage. Neither looked anything but “white” to my eyes, even though I come from Finland where on average there are more of us blue eyed blondes, than in most other countries.

It would be ideal, if it was not an issue at all, that these candidates were “people of colour” or that they were women. However, it remains an issue for as long as such a pervaisive amount of racial and gender stereotypes affect the thinking of the people. It seems the stereotypes need first to be turned, before they can be erased.


A new Finnish parliamentary representative of The Finns Party (formerly known aslo as The True Finns Party) Laura Huhtasaari has come out as a creationist. It remains to be seen how this affects her political career, but I did not know people in Finland could be this ignorant. I am not only referring to her, because a single idiot, religious extremist, or other tin foil hattery are not so rare anywhere. Rather I refer to the voters. Granted she did not campaign on this subject, but over 9000 people voted for her. Were they ignorant of her ignorance, or only concerned about the issues she capaigned with, wich were basicly education, keeping the roads in her voting district in good condition and getting more severe punishments to the sexual offenders?

It is surprizing, to say the least, that such a person with these very limited skills in evaluating reality is actually a professional teacher. How did she pass the university? It would be ridiculous, if we were not talking about such a serious matter. Her being a teacher of course explains why she lists education as an important issue. I wonder how she, or more importantly her voters now feel about her, when she has exposed herself to have such a limited understanding on science, and as the government part of wich her party is, has been cutting with a heavy hand from the funding of education, wich pretty much equals to pissing in your pants when it is sub zero. It might save you some money now and make you feel less cold for a second or two, but quite soon you are going to feel the sting of the cold. Especially this is so to a small nation like Finland, that has no other natural resources, than the high rate of education of it’s citizens.

She has since defended her views on evolution, though she first claimed not to comment the subject any further, no doubt in the fear that she actually could not defend such a ridiculous position. However, now as this made some headway in publicity, she made the effort to say, that even if she was not a Christian, she would find it hard to believe, that a man and an ape share common ancestry and that even science grows through doubt. Indeed, it does. Yet, the way she has expressed her reasons not to believe in evolution demonstrate how poorly she has understood the arguments for evolution. She has not put up a single scientific reason why evolution might not be true. She is simply referring to the small number of early human fossils, as if that had anything to do with the theory of evolution in grand scale not to be true. Why is it, that the creationists have so hard time to understand, that the evolution is not something that exists just for the human being to appear? That we are just one more by-product among so many others. Is it because their religious values set humans at the center of “creation” that they have developed this andropocentric and egocentric view?

It shocks me how such a person who has this bad skills in evaluating reality might be there to decide over national issues. This is not the only field where she has shown total and utter lack of understanding and knowledge. She has also claimed that the Roman empire fell because of decay of moral values. Famous pagan writers Cato and Tacitus who lived centuries before the fall might have agreed with her. Is she perhaps referring to the fact that the Roman empire had adopted Christianty as the sole religion just prior to it’s fall? Of course not, she is a devout Christian herself.

Laura Huhtasaari has also suggested brilliantly, that Finland should house the Finnish prisoners in Estonia. Apparently she thought this might be more economic, than to house them here. How shipping prisoners to across the sea would save any money and what the Estonians might think about this quite original suggestion had not crossed her mind before she went public with it.

This bright new political talent has lived in the US and clearly she has absorbed quite a lot from the political and religious life there. Sadly, it seems, only from the stupid end. It did not take long for the Finnish media to name her the Sarah Palin of the Satakunta  – the area from wich she was elected from. (Just for curiosity sake, Satakunta is an ancient name referring to the stora hundare – a hundred and twenty, or so, men of the voluntary leidang fleet of the early Swedish kings). This was not so much in admiration as it was about Sarah Palin seen as a symbol of political right wing stupidity and ignorance.

I guess, this goes to show that not all evolution, is for the better. It is the survival of the “fittest”, not the best. Even in social and cultural respect of the word and not only in biological. She is clearly not the best choise for a parliamentary representative, but I guess she fitted well to her voters…

Iran has now the permission to enrich uranium. How much is limited by a treaty with the countries, that had sanctioned embargoes on Iran because of the suspected nuclear weapons development program.

Israel maintains, that this treaty does not include them, and according to Israeli minister of defence Naftali Bennet they “have the right to defend themselves”. Now, is there some nation, that does not have the right to defend themselves? Propably according to the Israelis the Palestinians, but that is a nother ball game.

What does self defence mean? That Israel has the right to have a nuclear weapon, but Iran does not? How did Israel deserve that right? Perhaps, by not being led by religious and nationalistic fanatics like Iran? No, that can not be it, because by what sort of politicians is Israel led by?  Or does Israel not have the A-bomb? Why is there a scientist sitting indefenetly in an Israeli prison for saying that they have, if it is not true? Is lying such a major crime?

Does pre-emptive strike mean, that a country, that suspects it is going to be attacked by a nother country, has the right to attack the suspected would be attacker? Is Iran then justified to attack Israel. For Israeli politicians have long speculated and even demanded that they should attack Iran.

Self defence is reactive, not proactive. It is not self defence to attack someone making threats. Especially, if both sides have made threats.

Recent history seems to teach countries like Iran, that only if they posses the nuke are they safe from an attack by the one and only superpower. It did nothing for the government of Irak, that they told everyone they had disposed of their chemical weapons and asked international inspectors to confirm this. The Western military powers attacked them anyway. The very same Western military powers that had sold Saddam his chemical weapons in the first place and idly watched by when he used them against the Kurds.

Iran has oil, wich will eventually run out. Where should such a big nation get energy after that? Now that they still are able to sell their oil, they could fund lots of different energy projects like harness the wind and the solar power, but they have chosen to research into nuclear power. Why?

While the western governments invest more on nuclear power, than any of the alternative sources, they are being a bit hypocritical about the Iranian nuclear power. But a treaty neede to be reached and I for one am happy, that one has been reached. The embargo on Iran only works to segragate it further from the progress of the rest of the world. Innocent Iranians are suffering from such sanctions on a daily base.

Both Israel and Iran are led by religious and nationalistic fanatics. There seems to be very little doubt about that. In both countries the belligerance of the other country is used by their own fanatics to frighten the ignorant general population into tribal moralism. This serves the fanatics to hold political power as freightened people rather seldom make good decisions. However, an action should not be determined good by who is acting, but by what is actually being done.

Ultimately the really sad part of this is, that when a nationalist populist gets the power by appealing to the lowest echelon of human emotions like fear and hatred, they easily become the victims of their own propaganda. They might even start to believe in it. They will transmit such ideology to the future generations. In the process it will far too easily get more aggravated, and then they have allready become the prisoners of the policy they set. Such political leaders may actually believe in the evil nature of their respective counterparts, because it is in the human mind to see oneself as the good guy wich in turn means, that ones own lies start to seem as truths. And when reaction follows reaction the escalation of hatefull policy sometimes leads to violence.

If the Iranians are forced to be inspected for nukes developing facilities, then so should the Israelis. Right?

This is my post number 100. As I look back at my previous posts one thing, that seems to be the unifieing theme is historicity. Or even more so, the problems resulting from the lack of historical perspective.

My father taught me, that we cannot understand the present, if we do not understand, or even know the past, that led to where we now stand.

Time to take a look back.

Time to take a look back.

You may be justified in thinking, you do not need to know every detail about the medieval times to understand modern society, but if you hold fundamental misunderstanding of even such a distant past, it might influence seriously and harmfully your world view and even interaction with other people.

For example, if you have the general understanding, that the people of past times were ignorant brutes, you might be inclined to think it was a result of their culture, and that might lead you to percieve your own culture superior to any other cultures past and present. A sort of confirmation bias producing an illusion of superiority. A dangerous misconception of the world.

If you hold a misconception, that the past primitive people in antiquity were simple minded fools, you might come to conclude that a god had to give these ancient simpletons fairytale like stories instead of universal and scientifically verifiable facts. And that might cause you to give credence to an old book as some sort of source for morals even when you yourself can very well by reading them come to the conclusion, that they do not represent a very desirable morals in them.

For a person to aquire a moral standing, it is more important to understand why ancient people believed as they did about morals, than to simply join their vision of it in blind faith.

The world is full of demagogues ready to use the ignorance of people as a tool to lead people for purposes questionable. If a politician tells us, that a nation has no right of independence because they have never before held an indipendent, or legal position among the nations of the world, it is either a terrible misunderstanding of historical legacy of nations, or an incredibly arrogant attempt to lead people astray and segragate an entire nation into a pariah class. An expression of out right imperialism. And you can run into such claims by politicians even today.

Over romanticizing the past is a nother folly. We should be able to recognize the actual weaknesses of the past generations and learn from them. To understand, that though the ancient people were not idiots, they had no way of knowing for example, that natural catastrophies like tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis are not the result of divine wrath from beyond the material universe. Nor did they have any way of even suspecting, that such things as mental illnesses were not the result of spirits, demons, nor anything else supernatural, but the rather a direct result of our human condition as part of the evolution of living organisms. No divine inspiration explained them, that this is not the case, but even today in highly literal civilized nations where all the scientific knowledge and understanding is awailable, we have great number of people unable to grasp the reality of this.

Romanticizing the past may lead us to a path on wich we please ourselves by thinking, that allready our ancestors were the smartest, or most divinely favoured and therefore most moral and superior people. This sort of segragation between the “us” and the rest of humanity leads to terrible deeds. People may start to think they are entiteled to a lot of stuff the “other” people are not. That will lead to the misery of all. Not only those who are regarded as not worthy will suffer, also a lot of those who think themselves of deserving, who have not gotten what they think they are entiteled will be miserable. In addition those who have somehow aquired more than others and think there are historical reasons for them to have more in the future will ultimately suffer, from their own lack of conpassion. And it has, in history, often enough, led to the most terrible violence imaginable.

Do you see my point?

A relatively new hypothesis has been presented by a pair of archaelogists. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter have suggested, that it might be a possibility, that the early ancient American culuture we call the Clovis was formed by a sort of a migration from Europe by the ice age hunter gatherers of the so called Solutrian culture. They base their idea on the fact that these two cultures separated by thousands of kilometers of ice and sea of the Atlantic ocean (and a few thousand years) had a very similar stone working technology. The Clovis spearheds and those of the Solutrean resemble each other much, but are not quite the same and their ages overlap only in the extreme marginals as the Solutrean culture thrived from 21000 to 17000 years ago and the Clovis seems to have appeared only some 13000 years ago. Some new finds from the eastern coast of the North America seem to be from between these ages and it has been claimed by these two archeologists mentioned earlier that they have found an actual Solutrean spearhed from the America.


The Solutrean spearheads are made in distinctive leaf-like shape.

It is a revolutionary idea not without problems. One of the main difficulties facing this hypothesis, is that the locations where the ice age people living along the coastlines of both Europe and the North-America are sunken beneath the seas, since the sealevel has risen dramatically from the last ice age. If a Solutrean spearhed is found by a deep sea dragnet from the coastal area of the northen Americas, it really yeilds very little information how it got there, even if the same drag could have pulled up mammoth bones, that we know were the prey both Clovis and Solutrean cultures were capable and specialized to hunt. In fact that similarity in diet might as well go to explain the reason of similar technology. But for all we know the spearhead could have ended up there by number of means including somebody just tossing it there from a boat in modern times.

To me even more interresting similarity is the cultural aspect of making caches of spearpoints both of these cultures seem to have been engaged in. Now, a traditional easy way out in archaeology is to explain something strange the ancient people did as religious behaviour. It is an easy but also frighteningly frequent human behavioral model, that when we humans engage in something completely senseless, it is because we think it is demanded by the supernatural. However, the supernatural traditions of human populations often enough also have a beginning in something that made perfect sense within the cultural context that gave birth to a particular religious way of thinking. Therefore, it might be that the cache makin is somehow connected to the lifestyle of the big game hunter using particular type of spearheads. And equally it is possible that later generations of them simply developed it into a ritual of some sort, that finally no longer had any practical application. Because of this we cannot know wether the similarities of these cultures actually speak of any connection in a way of a direct link between them.

For generations we were told that the Sumerians were the ones who invented the wheel. They did indeed, but the Chinese and even the Incas had invented it also. Only the Incas did not have any practical use for such a device in their mountainous land,  so it can only be found in their childrens toys. And further more we use the wheel despite if we are the direct decendants of Sumerians, ancient Chinese, or the Incas. That is exactly the point. For similar uses and problems it is often that similar solutions are invented on completely different sides of the planet and they are adopted from completely different cultures. The proponents of the so called “Solutrean theory” have fallen into a bit of a pitfall, in claiming that since none of the Siberian, or Alaskan pre-historic cultures and predecessors of the Clovis culture have nothing similar as the Clovis and Solutrean cultures had, the Solutreans have had to give this idea to the Clovis culture. It might be true, but it does not require any sort of migration or even any bigger population movement into this or that direction. Even one skilled person could be enough to transfer a functional idea. And functional ideas have a habit of being invented again and again around the globe.

On the other hand it is not totally unfathomable, that few small groups of people crossed the icepack of the Atlantic and brought the idea of certain kind of stone tool making to the America with them, but the likelyhood of a mass migration not to speak of continous contact both ways as suggested by Bruce Bradley is not very probable, or even needed.

The Clovis culture and the artifacts they left behind are concentrated in inland areas near the Appalachian mountains where the particular type of flint needed in their advanced type of stone crafting is awailable in nature and also in areas where the big game they hunted with their efficient stone tools was grazing. This is similar to the Solutreans culture in Europe, but it is also obvious that these cultures concentrated around the areas of their source material for tools, and that when they travelled away from the main source areas they made caches. Hence, it is very difficult to assume anything of their migration routes or origin of their cultural skills.


Clovis spearheads are made in similar technique as the Solutrean ones, but their shape is completely different, from them.

The fact that the two archeologists have gone as far with their claims as to suggest a mass migration based on an evidence of possible cultural lone, has had ugly side-effects. Allready there are racists claiming that this possible discovery is not only absolutely true, but also that it somehow justifies what the immigrants in early modern days and the government of the United States have done to the Native Americans. There are people in the internet who preach that the Clovis culture was racially European and that the Native Americans wiped it out and that the Europeans conquering and exacting genoside on the Native Americans was a mere revenge and they went there to take their land back. This is of course absurd, even if this hypothesis could be more firmly established. First of all general Custer and friends had no idea of the Clovis culture, nor had any actual justification for any sort of revenge. Second the Native Americans who fell as their victims had no part in any genoside of the Clovis culture. It is very hard to find living guilty parties when we are talking about possible events that might have happened some 10000 years ago.

How have these racial bigots come to the conclusion that the Clovis culture was wiped out by the Native American cultures? Well, the DNA of the Native Americans has no real indication of anything, but Asian origin. This is very hard to research, because the Europeans and Native Americans have been interbreeding now for centuries. However, there is the mystery of the haplogroup X, wich has its origins in the Asia-Minor (wich is actually in Asia, not in Europe) and in the Native Americans of the eastern North-America. Could that be explained by common ancestry as far from almost 20000 years ago and connection across the Atlantic. Not very likely. There are several different sub divisions of the haplogroup X and it would seem that the Native American one is completely separate from the others. As with the particular stone crafting skills it could have been developed indipendently as it is not exactly the same as the other. In any case it is quite a distance from Asia-Minor to southern France and the Pyrenees where the Solutrean culture thrived and that distance was far longer in the ice age. Though, not impossible to cross.

It is quite possible, that some of the Solutreans actually were forced to abandon their big game hunting life style in Europe and become seal hunters and even that they made it all the way across the Atlantic to the North-Americas and somehow influenced the stone working techniques of people there. There is no evidence that the Solutreans (or the Clovis people) ever hunted seals, or anything exept the big game, but that evidence could very well be beneath the sea, however such evidence is not much of evidence. Perhaps the predecessors of Clovis found one of their caches long after they had actually allready died out and thought it was some sort of a sign from the supernatural to start making stone tools in a completely new way and perhaps they adopted the habit of making caches as a religious ritual from the find they had made.

Perhaps a Solutrean hunter from the Europe got lost on the ice between the continents and finally found himself among a strange culture, taught it a new way of stone craft and left a genetic imprint among them, but as you can see there is a number of ways this could have played out. As in science allways and especially in research of ancient cultures, it is only the most propable explanation that will ever be awailable to us. There are things we can say with a very high confidence because they are testable, or because they logically are the result of the awailable evidence. However, the idea that there was some sort of continous trafic between the Solutrean and the Clovis culture, is not among those claims to wich we have sufficient evidence to be very sure about.

It seems to me that the archeologists who have put themselves, their careers and legacies on the line in this issue, men who have committed themselves to the revolutionary hypothesis, have fallen in love with their interresting idea and are a bit overreaching in defence of it. It is kind of sad, because the very idea that there could have been any connection between these two cultures is sensational enough without far reaching claims about migrations, or continous traffic. As if these two older gents were not aware of the fact, that ideas sometimes transmit through only few persons, or indeed only by a single person and often even by accident. Nor of the fact, that technology of certain culture tells very little of the ethnicity of the users of certain technology, even in the ancient world. It is the equivalent of claiming, that because Kalashnikov rifles are a Russian invention, the Russians must have once migrated to all the areas in the world where these rifles have ever been manufactured, or used. Or even, that Russians must have mass migrated to all the areas where any sort of assault rifles have ever been used since an assault rifle represents a very specific technological idea and the Kalashnikov was the earliest type of assault rifle, that could be found in abundance from a particular part of the world – Russia.