Myth of the Open Mind

Graham Hancock frequently uses the argument that the academics and scholars that oppose his theories have closed minds whereas those that are prepared to acknowledge his theories are open minded. It would therefore be important for us to understand what is meant when we claim we have an open mind.

The phrase ‘open minded’ suggests a willingness to consider all possibilities no matter how absurd they may be. Yet if we were all truly open minded we would still all consider the possibility that the earth is flat. An entirely open mind is therefore also a completely gullible and indecisive one so I suggest that some skepticism has to be healthy.

If we claim to have an open mind what we really mean is that we are prepared to consider all possibilities until we can be assured that some ideas are not supported by the available evidence. Theories that are supported by evidence gain support and obtain credibility whereas those that are not can be dismissed until evidence can be found in support of them. Merely suggesting that evidence will turn up in the future is not sufficient enough to validate a theory. Theories that await supporting evidence can therefore be dismissed until such a time as that evidence arises.

Some ideas not only lack supporting evidence and appear unlikely but can be considered ridiculous when the burden of evidence opposes them (even though the earth looks pretty flat few of us chose to ignore the evidence that the earth is in fact a sphere).

Almost everyone claims to have an open mind yet at the same time we are all just as quick to claim that an opponent’s mind is closed. We can associate an open mind with those that agree with us but opposing views can also be considered to be the result of having a closed mind. An open mind is a positive attribute but not one that we can associate with those that disagree with us.

We all claim to be open minded yet how many of us really are? Often our desire to believe in an idea can outweigh the evidence that opposes it. Can the opinions of creationists be considered to be open minded? Open minds should be able to consider the possibility of a God and evolution. Creationists deny evolution theory as it opposes their strongly held religious beliefs. However, the theory of creationism is not a scientific theory. There is no scientific evidence that can prove the existence of God and none whatsoever to suggest that such a God created all the species of life on this planet.

Supporters of creationism do not need any scientific evidence to prove their theory instead they focus their efforts on attempting to disprove the science in support of evolutionary theory. However, there is an abundance of evidence that supports the theory of evolution of life from a common ancestor. Evolution theory is essential to the study of Biology. Since evolutionary theory was proposed 150 years ago the supporting evidence has accumulated to such an extent that some consider it a fact rather than just a theory.

I believe that I have an open mind. I’ve read Graham Hancock’s work and taken the time to evaluate it alongside the available evidence. However, not all of Mr Hancock’s readers can devote the time and effort that is required to read around the subject sufficiently to find out what is good and bad about his research. The intention of this website is to direct the reader to sources of information that directly contradict the claims made in Mr Hancock’s books. By educating, where Mr Hancock has misinformed, it is intended that the reader can gain an inner appreciation of why Mr Hancock’s work is not considered seriously by academic scholars.

I have discovered that Mr Hancock’s ideas are not only lacking in evidence but in many cases they are completely contradicted by the sources that are claimed to support them. In addition many of Mr Hancock’s ideas and sources were dismissed or discredited many years ago and Mr Hancock seems reluctant to inform his readers of this. This knowledge appears to have escaped his attention as he strives to unearth all the evidence in support of the lc.

Indeed Graham Hancock claims he is only interested in establishing a solid legal case for the lc and does not believe that he is required to discuss any counter arguments that oppose his claims. So it is necessary that the opposing evidence that refutes Mr Hancock’s ideas is collated in one place so that the reader can view both sides before making any conclusions.

Many readers may be surprised to discover that what appears to be good research supported by an extensive bibliography in fact turns out to be a collection of wholly unreliable texts and references that in many cases are quoted entirely out of their context. It is therefore essential that the case against Mr Hancock is also presented to allow readers to make up their own minds. It should be noted that Mr Hancock’s readers should not be expected to check out his list of references for themselves. The reader of any book places their complete trust in an author believing that what has been written and quoted by them is true and accurate. Should a reader discover that this is not the case it indicates that the author has abused this trust.

Graham Hancock preaches his version of events from an advantage. To many of his readers he is telling them exactly what they want to hear. The notion of a lc is a popular one and many are keen to maintain their belief in the possibility despite the lack of evidence in support of it. The idea of Atlantis, as the lc is frequently referred, is a highly romantic notion and its continual popularity is reflected by the many books written on it and the eagerness for book publishers to find a new take on the story.

Without any doubt Graham Hancock is the most popular writer of history in the world having amassed sales registered in the millions (an audience that many academic scholars would envy). Mr Hancock’s talent at storytelling is most commendable even if his research is not and this may partly explain his popularity. The idea of a lc is a popular one so Mr Hancock is in the position of preaching to the already converted. Yet it should be noted that not all popular books are necessarily good or valid ones. Mein Kampf was rarely out of the best seller list in Germany in the 1930s but is that a good book?

Mr Hancock is able to refute any orthodox research that he chooses to disagree with but he seems unwilling to notice the glaring holes in his own methods. It is just as important that researchers are as critical of their own work as they are of others. The lack of criticism in Mr Hancock’s work is an issue that needs to be raised and it is important that this imbalance should be addressed with sufficient examples so as to allow the reader to fully understand Mr Hancock’s grasp of the scientific method. Much of Mr Hancock’s work can be dismissed purely on the basis of his poor understanding of the scientific method. Put simply the derived data should be used to formulate the theory rather than working the data around any preconceived notions that he may have.

Graham Hancock’s work undeservedly obtains the notoriety and respect of his readers, many of whom mistakenly confuse his books as academic references. Mr Hancock is an educated man and is a highly experienced and talented journalist and author. However, his lack of scientific training and poor background in historical research expose him to simple errors of judgment and in his handling of data and evidence.

If I may remind you Mr Hancock wrote the critically acclaimed novel ‘The Mars Mystery’ which claims there are pyramids on Mars! Are these ideas worth considering or are they absurd? Should mysteries such as this warrant serious scientific research or is it possible that some far more reasonable explanations are apparent? Indeed has it ever been shown that Mr Hancock has ever been proven right in the past? Why should we place our faith in Mr Hancock’s beliefs if none of his ideas can be proven?

Some ideas are simply ridiculous therefore it is essential that we are able to differentiate good ideas from bad ones. At one time I considered that Mr Hancock’s historical opinion deserved hearing. The evidence for an older Sphinx and an apparently convincing star alignment suggested that the idea of the lc should at least be considered seriously. The Horizon programme proved that when tested scientifically Mr Hancock’s ideas are completely unfounded. Yet Mr Hancock was unable to accept that this programme was even made fairly despite the fact that it is one of, if not, THE most respected scientific television programmes in the world.

Mr Hancock’s mission is not to inform his readers and improve their education of the past but to generate mysteries with which to deceive a poorly informed audience and further fund his own globetrotting adventures. Mr Hancock applies a fine gloss to his work which can be deceiving at first but if you take the time to scratch the surface you will find that the wood underneath is rotten to the core.

If you claim to be open minded you should not only consider Mr Hancock’s ideas but also consider the evidence that directly contradicts him. Being open minded does not mean we have to accept all opinions as possibilities, no matter how ridiculous they may be. We can have open minds and choose to dismiss ideas that are not supported by the available evidence. If you consider yourself to have an open mind you should at least take the time to consider the possibility that Graham Hancock is wrong.