Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Dogon Mystery - Introduction and Section 1

(Blogger's Note: Issac Koi published the following on UFO UpDates. I read it over and liked the format and the information. I thought it was something that should see a wider circulation, which is not to say that all that many read this blob. However, it provides some interesting information and follows in a tradition that I have attempted to start here. I believe he provides reference to the articles on the positive side of the debate so that those interested might access them as well.
The only changes I made were correcting some spelling errors I noticed and an attempt to format the article in a way that made it easier to follow.
Here then is Issac Koi's Dogon article)

I thought some of you might be interested in my article Dogon Alien 'Mystery' Demystified, which can be found (with proper formatting and various hyperlinks) at the link below:

I was provoked into writing about this subject by an article promoting the Dogon mystery which was distributed by (ATS) via its email newsletter to its 60,000 members.

Since I thought that the relevant article only gave one side of the story (a point which the author of that article has since accepted), I drafted a fairly lengthy article in response.

My article (Dogon Alien 'Mystery' Demystified) was not accepted for distribution via the email newsletter, so I simply posted it on their forum at the link above.

I'm happy for my article to be displayed elsewhere (although, for formatting reasons, some hyperlinks may disappear if displayed other than on the ATS forums).

Kind Regards,

Dogon Alien 'Mystery' Demystified
By Isaac Koi.
Copyright 2008.


On 12 October 2007, the ATS email newsletter contained a provocative article by NGC2736 entitled How Could They Know That? The Dogon Mystery at the link below:
'That article related to astronomical knowledge (particularly relating to the Sirius solar system) attributed to the Dogon people of the Republic of Mali in Western Africa.
By the time the Dogon people were questioned by two French anthropologists Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, between 1931 and 1950, the Dogon supposedly had knowledge of various astronomical matters (particularly relating to the Sirius solar system) that could not have been discovered using the technology available to them.
Various researchers have stated, or implied, that the relative knowledge derived from alien visitors to the Earth.
The article by NGC2736 claimed that the things told [by the Dogon] to these two outsiders back in the 1930s were astounding, especially for that day and age, and from that remote a people. Their oral history told of the correct motion of the near planets, and of the moons of Jupiter. They spoke of the rings of Saturn, and of the star Sirius. How could they know that it had an invisible companion, a fact scarcely known to most Europeans even then? How could they know its true orbital length of 50 years? And how could they have all this in their thousands year old oral history?NGC2736's article is a concise and well-written account of one side of the debate regarding the Dogon. But it only presented one side.This article seeks to present some of the alternative answers to the question raised by NGC2736, i.e. How Could They Know That?Numerous sceptics, notably popular astronomer Carl Sagan, have suggested that the knowledge attributed to the Dogon may have been obtained from Europeans prior to questioning by Griaule and Dieterlen.This article is split into the following sections:
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Alleged Knowledge
Section 3: ContaminationSection 4: Out-dated Knowledge
Section 5: What about Sirius C?
Section 6: Did the Dogon even say anything about Sirius Band Sirius C?
Section 7: Conclusion
Section 8: References
I shall discuss the claim by the leading proponent of the The Sirius Mystery that the alleged discovery in 1995 of a third star in the Sirius solar system has rendered most criticism obsolete, and give several compelling reasons for considering that claim to be severely flawed. (See Section 5: What about Sirius C?).
Although not mentioned in NGC2736's article, the Dogon mystery gained widespread publicity when Robert Temple wrote a book in 1976 entitled The Sirius Mystery. Since 1976, numerous researchers have pointed out serious problems with the content of that book. Indeed, the Sirius Mystery has probably received more detailed attention from scientists than almost any story relating to UFOs and alien visitors.
The claims made in Temple's book about the content of the Dogon myths are based on work by Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, two French anthropologists. They published an article in French about their research in 1950. The research was carried out in the 1930s and 1940s.
Erich Von Daniken, the famous (infamous?) author of several popular books on ancient astronauts has written that Robert Temple's book confirmed my theories (Von Daniken, 1977, pages 81-82).
Several more recent authors have given relatively uncritical presentations of Temple's views (e.g. Coomer, 1999, pages 13-14) and/or of Temple's suggestions that his theories have resulted in the CIA showing an interest in him (e.g. Hansen, 2000, pages 191-192).
Books by several popular scientists have included lengthy discussions of Robert Temple's claims about the Dogon, including Carl Sagan (a 16 page discussion) and James Oberg (an 11 page discussion).
The Dogon mystery's claims to fame include the following:
*Carl Sagan has commented that at first glance the Sirius legend of the Dogon seems to be the best candidate evidence available today for past contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization (Sagan, 1979, page 87).
* Ian Ridpath (a British author and broadcaster on astronomy and space) has suggested that the Dogon claims are perhaps the most puzzling of all ancient astronaut stories (Ridpath, 1978a, page 189).
* E C Krupp has said taken at face value the Dogon beliefs are quite amazing (Krupp, 1981, page 291).
* The Dogon mystery is one of the few stories relating to alien visitors that has been discusesd in the prestigious science journal Nature, in an article by Michael Ovenden in 1976 (Ovenden, 1976, pages 617-618).
* Respected ufologist Thomas E Bullard has written in relation to the Dogon people's lore that here alone is anything close to evidence that some external source may have provided people of earth with advanced knowledge (Bullard, 1998, page 135).
* In relation to the Dogon's alleged knowledge of Sirius B, famous British astronomer Patrick Moore commented It seems surprising (Moore, 1976, page 115).
The Sirius mystery has been the subject of severalprevious threads on the ATS forums, including the following:
* The Dogon Tribe Research Project:
* The Sirius Mystery - book by Robert Temple claims aquatic aliens have been to Earth and will return:
*ATS Premium: How Could They Know That? The Dogon Mystery.
* The Dogon People and the Sirius Mystery:
* The Dogon tribe...
For additional information (particularly photographs)relating to the Dogon, see a relevant entry on Wikipedia:
For example, Ashpole has suggested that the Sirius star system is not a likely home for life (Ashpole, 1989, page 151) while Ian Ridpath has referred to its extreme unlikelihood of supporting life (Ridpath, 1978a, page 199).
There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the stars in Sirius solar system are relatively young. In relation to Sirius A, Ashpole, 1989, page 152 Sirius A is a very young star: only about 500 million years old. This star will end its life-cycle long before advanced life could evolve on any suitable planet there (Ashpole, 1989, page 152). Similarly, Ian Ridpath has suggested that Sirius B has a life-span of no more than about 1000 million years, which does not seem to be long enough for advanced life to develop (Ridpath, 1978a, page 191).
Secondly, Robert S. Harrington of the U.S. Naval Observatory published information indicating that planetary orbits in the habitable zone around Sirius, defined as the region in which water would be liquid, are unstable (Ridpath, 1978a, page 193).
Ian Ridpath has concluded astronomical evidence argues strongly against Temple's ancient astronaut theory (Ridpath, 1978a, page 193).
However, the force of these arguments is considerably undermined by the fact that the relevant planet supposedly orbits Sirius C, not Sirius A or Sirius B.On the other hand, it is possible to come up with one or two arguments supporting the plausibility of alien visitors coming from Sirius. In particular, Sirius is (in astronomical terms) basically a near neighbour. It is barely 8 light-years from Earth. This is only twice as far away as the nearest solar system to our own.So, no clear prove emerges from these points. It is therefore necessary to consider the evidence as to:
(a) What the Dogon allegedly knew about the Sirius system;
(b) How the Dogon could have gained that knowledge.
I shall also give below details of an article written by an anthropologist in 1991 which casts considerable doubt upon the entire basis upon which the debate about The Sirius Mystery had proceeded during the previous couple of decades. (See the discussion in Section 3 (Contamination) and Section 6 (Did the Dogon even say anything about Sirius B and Sirius C?) of the article written in 1991 by Walter E. A. Van Beek).


Sarge said...

Off topic, but what, if anything, have you heard about Kenneth Arnold being employed by the AAF as a UFO investigator in 1947?
The information came out in the investigation on a Puget Sound sighting in 1947.

KRandle said...

You mean, of course the Maury Island hoax in which two Army Air Force officers were killed when their plane crashed... and UFO Hunters today know little about.

Arnold, because he was known in the area, assisted the Army in their investigation, but Arnold was also working (and I use the term loosely) for Ray Palmer who was at FATE (I believe) at the time.

Arnold couldn't understand how reporters were learning everything going on in his hotel room during the investigation... one of the two perpetrators of the hoax was feeding the information to the newspapers.

I am astonished that anyone takes this case seriously today... but I find that many reputable researchers still think there might be something to it. Ed Ruppelt called it the dirtiest hoax in UFO history and I would think that anyone who is billed as a UFO Hunter would know a little about this case... I mean it looked to me as if those guys on the History Channel had no knowledge of UFOs at all.