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Pro-science skeptic Dr. Marc Defant now supporting #YDIH based on Powell book

Video cued to some action

Same thing, different skeptic:
Michael Shermer comes around
Tusk on Defant 2017
“The Book” that did the trick
Deadly Voyager website

Dr. Marc Defant did a great thing this morning by announcing on Twitter and his blog that he had come around to support the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. As I told Marc, my respect for his intellectual integrity soared when I saw his tweet:

Defant’s reversal on the YDIH after his public skepticism is good science in action. Unlike politics, where people pick sides (and stick to them come what may), Marc clearly operates according to the best traditions and underpinnings of reason, where any position is subject to persuasion given sufficient data and appropriate interpretation.

In an admirable twist, Marc credits his reassessment of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis to a recomendation from his Joe Rogan debate adversary, Graham Hancock, to read a recent book by James Laurence Powell. It’s not surprising that Defant was persuaded by the book. Dr. Powell is also a former YDIH skeptic, and “Deadly Voyager” has become the essential read for the subject. (Unless you care to pick your way through every paper on The Bib)

Good for Dr. Defant, good for the YDIH, and good for Science — the system works!

From Defant’s blog “Enfold”:

In my debate with Graham Hancock on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (beginning at 2:03:43) and a critique of Graham’s book I wrote for Skeptic magazine along with further details on my website, I found myself dealing with the veracity of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH). I was skeptical of the hypothesis but stated the following in my Skeptic paper:

“…the debate proceeds in the proper scientific manner (i.e., by publishing results in peer-reviewed scientific journals). As Malcolm LeCompte, one of the comet researchers, pointed out in our debate… there are four indicators at the YD boundary that may be due to an extraterrestrial origin: nanodiamonds, magnetic sphericals, melt glass, and the platinum group metals.”

My major problem with the YDIH was the claim that the megafauna and Clovis culture went extinct as a result of the proposed comet strike. I noted in the Skeptic paper “Scientists have also been a bit incredulous that a comet strike could wipe out all the megafauna as far south as Patagonia, while leaving mammoths alive and well on St. Paul Island, Alaska until 3,700 years ago.”

I recently had some correspondence with Graham, and he suggested I read a recent book by James Lawrence Powell entitled Deadly Voyager: The Ancient Comet Strike that Changed Earth and Human History (2020). It is a superb book and has absolutely convinced me there were comet airbursts at the Younger Dryas. And the airbursts probably killed the megafauna which in turn, caused the Clovis culture to cease existence (partly by diminishing human numbers but also because there was no need to have Clovis spearheads that could kill nonexistent megafauna). I have not been keeping up with the debate since 2017, and so I was thrilled to see the new evidence that has come to light and the lack of scientific merit in the studies that attempted to dismiss the hypothesis.

I recommend the book — it is a fascinating read. The evidence is overwhelming and nicely collected and summarized by Powell. It is clear that the Pt signature shows up precisely where it is expected about 12,900 years ago in all the sites, and high-pressure nanodiamonds, melt glass, carbon from forest fires, magnetic sphericals, etc. show up precisely where they are expected over 4 continents. I also have to admit the YDIH is an extremely good argument that the megafauna died out from the comet airbursts and the Clovis culture was impacted. The forest fires alone wreaked havoc across the continents. The mammoth existing on St. Paul Island seems to be a minor incidental when compared to the other evidence. And a crater is not required – no wonder they don’t find shocked minerals — the airbursts would have kept earth materials out of the equation.

Finally, the Hiawatha crater that has recently been discovered below the Greenland Ice sheet may or may not be related to the YDIH. But it is not needed to explain the evidence.

Of course, all of this does not change my views of Graham’s two most recent books. I enjoyed reading his latest entitled America Before (2019) because it is well written and his knowledge of archaeology is superb. But as I say in the Skeptic article: “To be clear, the [YDIH] debate is not over lost civilizations.” So although I consider Graham a friend, I disagree with his lost civilizations scenario with all the respect he deserves.”

8 Responses

  1. As a dedicated student of the YDIH I find it pleasing to add another notable name to the logic of the premise.

  2. I support the admiration for the responsibility and scientific attitude that Dr Marc Defant exhibited in this connection. In a current climate of political, mercenary, and self-aggrandising stubbornness, bullying, system playing, and downright crookery, his conclusions and actions, right, wrong, or debatable, are refreshing reminders of how we once saw science, and still should be doing it.

  3. Well done to Marc Defant , takes a brave man to change his mind publicly.

    On his thoughts about Graham Hancocks ideas we might all want to ponder this –

    The earliest know evidence for modern man is now dated at around 290,000 years ago.
    Why then did civilisation as we know it develop just after the biggest geological catastrophe in the last 50,000 at least. What were we doing in the 280,000 years before that.
    There can only be two solutions –
    1. The events of the Younger Dryas changed us as a species
    2. We are wrong about when civilisation developed and Graham Hancock (among others) is right. There was at least one, and maybe more , previous civilisations.

  4. If you disagree with the lost civilization hypothesis, how do you explain Gobekli Tepi, the ancient Egyptian civilization appearing out of thin air, the evidence of advanced engineering in many constructions in Egypt such as the Serapeum, the weathering of the Sphinx and the various monolithic constructions found all over the world that we would not be able to duplicate today.

  5. I am and always will be in love with Graham Hancock’s way of questioning the rigid theories of the archeological community. I am an almost 50 year old woman who fell in love with the idea of being an archeologist way late in life. I first became intrigued by ancient Egyptian civilization, then Stonehenge, then the Maya,and the hint of truth I have read in biblical stories. Finally I stumbled on gobleki tepe. Totally blown away.
    I am watching the Joe Rogan episode with Graham Hancock, Randall Carlson, Michael Shermer, and Marc Defant. I am completely engrossed. I think Randall Carlson is a gem, he makes me want to learn about geology!!!
    I just want to say to everyone involved in this podcast that even a person with limited education can garner so much insight into the world you live in. It is truly fascinating.
    In the world we are all currently living in, which there is very little room for debate, I hope you all keep up the conversations. I was so interested to learn Marc Defant changed his mind about the younger dryas impact. I really appreciate the fact that people with different theories can debate and learn and grow. I am afraid that we have gotten away from what I think should be the first principal of a scientific theory. That we should do everything in our power to challenge that theory.
    Please keep up the incredible work you all do, it makes life so freaking interesting!

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