Sewing a shirt on a button: The pseudoarchaeology of 1491 (Pt. 1)

The following guest contribution is but the latest in a series of back-and-forth posts first inspired by mediaINDIGENA‘s Niigonwedom Sinclair and his review of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation.

The review prompted a rebuttal by one of Disrobing‘s co-authors, Dr. Frances Widdowson. In her piece, Widdowson criticized Sinclair’s citation of Charles C. Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Mann subsequently responded. What follows here constitutes the first of Widdowson’s two-part counter-response to Mann. (Note: footnotes may be found at the conclusion of this post.)

In my response to Niigonwedom Sinclair’s review of Disrobing, I questioned Sinclair’s use of Charles C. Mann’s 1491 as a source. My discussion of Mann, unfortunately, was not based on an in-depth examination of his work, or the evidence that Mann used to support his assertions. There is also an error in my statement that “Mann’s speculations with respect to Cahokia are exclusively based on the existence of large mounds of earth.” The word “exclusively” is too categorical a term, and “largely” would have been a better description.  Finally, my poetic reference to Mann’s “flights of imagination” was not meant to imply that Mann “made this stuff up.”  As will be discussed in further detail below, it refers to Mann’s tendency to “sew a shirt on a button” – that is, to make highly speculative and improbable claims on the basis of very scant archaeological evidence.

The cursory character of my rebuttal provoked some justified critical comments from Mann himself, as well as a few readers of mediaINDIGENA.  It is encouraging to see such criticisms being put forward, as it indicates that there is a certain amount of interest, amongst those who study aboriginal-non-aboriginal relations, in attempting to come to a universal understanding of what happened historically.  Mann and mediaINDIGENA readers are not employing pervasive postmodern Native Studies arguments about culturally relative indigenous “ways of knowing”; they are maintaining that 1491’s version of history is universally applicable, and therefore it should be accepted by everyone (including “westerners” like me).

If readers are intellectually honest in their quest for knowledge, however, they should be wary of being predisposed to uncritically accept views that they want to believe.  A few comments in support of Mann’s rebuttal, for example, indicate that some have an emotional stake in the arguments being put forward in 1491. Why should people care one way or another what Cahokia was like between 950 and 1250 A.D.? The population, dwellings, modes of transport, etc., that existed in the American Bottom one thousand years ago is a scientific question, and one’s conception of this society should flow from the evidence that is available (largely from archaeological findings).

Many people today, especially those in the Native Studies field, however, are predisposed to accept Mann’s ideas because they challenge the theory of cultural evolution. They are enthusiastic supporters of Mann’s view that “the complexity of a society’s technology has little to do with its level of social complexity.” [1]  They do not see the absence of technology such as the plough, the wheel, draught animals and metallurgy (i.e., the extraction of minerals from their ores) as constraining the level of social development in the Americas before contact, and, like Mann, they would argue that the size and sophistication of these cultures are much greater than was previously thought. [2]

They would applaud Mann’s comparison of prehistoric Stone Age American societies with Iron Age civilizations such as Ancient Greece, [3] the cultures of European colonists [4] and even societies existing today. [5]  Mann’s contention that Cahokia would be considered a “civilization” if its “ruins” were found “anywhere else in the world” [6] would be appreciated by those attempting to assert that all cultures across time and space are equally evolved, just “different.”

There is a tendency to state that all aboriginal societies in the Americas were civilizations because otherwise they could be logically assumed to be “uncivilized.” [7] But such comparisons ignore the technological basis of the classifications that have been developed in archaeology over the last hundred and fifty years (the three-age system).

Occasionally, one sees higher population densities than would be expected given the level of technology, due to particularly fertile environments, but monument building would have been less developed due to technological deficits.  In the case of Cahokia, for example, one has to consider the technology that existed and how the society being examined could have produced the food it would have required to sustain itself, while at the same time having the manpower to build the “ruins” of this “civilization” that Mann claims existed. [8]

How would it have created the agricultural surplus necessary to free up the people required for mound building, palisade erection (consisting of 20,000 logs that had to be constantly replaced), the construction of thousands of red waddle and daub houses with red, yellow or black plaster floors and peaked, hipped or gabled roofs, and the deliberate cutting, filling and leveling of a fifty-acre plaza, as well as building and servicing boats regularly traveling thousands of miles and thus filling a “busy port”?

In another section of 1491, Mann himself recognizes a technological deficit in discussing the problem of using stone axes to fell trees.  He refers to the research of Robert L. Carneiro, who found that it took 115 hours to fell a single tree with a stone axe when a steel axe required less than three hours. [9]

Mann even has the audacity to compare the size of Cahokia to the city of London, England. [10]  But numerous monuments in London in 950-1250 AD are known to have existed at this time — the London Bridge, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, to name a few [11] — testifying to its dense population.  This differs from the “ruins” (i.e., building remnants) in Cahokia, which exist only on the basis of questionable inferences by Cahokianists and “artist’s reconstructions.” [12]

It also has been shown that the density of the population in London was due to advances in field agriculture that occurred in England, as well as Iron Age technological developments. [13]  Furthermore, there are extensive written records of the development of trade, legal systems, institutions of governance, and education.  Since a written alphabetic language existed, schools were involved in teaching grammar, rhetoric and logic, as well as examining the translated works of Euclid, Ptolemy, Galen, Hippocrates and Aristotle. [14]

It is important to stress that the city of London was very different from the outlying villages.  These villages contained about 300 people in the 13th Century and “small houses clustered around the great stone church, its narrow streets radiating from the village green, its mill, its alehouse, and perhaps a manor house”.  Each house had a garden and open fields stretched into the distance. [15]  This indicates that huge differences existed between the town and the countryside in the development of Old World civilizations.

Rather than comparing Cahokia with London, a much better parallel would have been the megalithic cultures in Malta, Portugal, Denmark and England.  The huts of Skara Brae, a Neolithic village in the Orkney Islands that existed over 3,000 years ago, would also provide a fruitful comparison (although this culture also incorporated stone into its dwellings, not just wood, soil, and dried grasses/reeds/leaves).  Many megalithic cultures piled earth in a round mound over burials with grave goods. [16]  Although these societies had relatively equivalent technology to Cahokia in their early stages, they underwent profound changes in 1400 BCE in conjunction with developments in bronze metallurgy that would have made them more productive.

Although an investigation of the similarities and differences between early European Neolithic cultures and those that existed in the American Bottom would appears to be more logical than attempting to draw correlations with the much larger, technologically advanced, and economically productive city of London in 950-1250 AD, such comparisons are avoided by Mann.  This is because 1491 is influenced by a political agenda that is common in Native Studies — denying the developmental gap that existed between aboriginal and European societies before contact. As such, Mann is more of an advocate than a scientist, which leads him to be a purveyor of what Garrett G. Fagan has referred to as “pseudoarchaeology.”

Pseudeoarchaeology, according to Fagan, differs from scientific archaeology in that it selects evidence to support a preconceived conclusion.  As a result, the pseudoarchaeologist constructs “a jerry-built scaffold of possibilities reflecting what the speculator thinks the past should look like, rather than a solidly evidenced reconstruction of what it may actually have looked like.” [17] Although generally this trend is found in books written for the public, like 1491, professional academics can also be susceptible to this tendency when “egos, ideologies, or other personal beliefs get in the way of their commitment to honest inquiry.” [18]

Fagan outlines a number of characteristics of pseudoarchaeology that can help to identify it, including the “appeal to academic authority,” making “huge claims” that findings are “spectacular and history-altering,” “vague definitions,” “selective and/or distorted presentation,” and recounting legends and myths “as accurate accounts of historical events.” [19]

Fagan also points out a number of rhetorical strategies used by pseudoarchaeologists.  The most significant is when “suggestions are raised as possibilities in one place and resurrected later as established facts.” As Fagan points out, “pseudoarchaeology begins with a known quantity and stretches it into the unlikely to conclude the implausible.  What is conceivable trumps what is demonstrable.” [20]

N.C. Flemming makes a similar point when he notes that “pseudo-writings repeatedly rely for their effect on the assertion that ‘A could be so, and, if this is accepted, B could be true also.’  The alternatives are not checked, and the concepts of greater probability, greatest logical simplicity, or greatest elegance are not even considered.  The probability that the first proposition ‘A’ could actually occur (or be wrong) is not estimated.” [21]

All of these indicators of pseudoarchaeology can be seen in varying degrees in 1491.  More distressingly, some of these characteristics are also present in a number of the archaeological sources Mann uses — especially the works of Timothy R. Pauketat (Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi), Melvin L. Fowler (The Cahokia Atlas), William I. Woods’ unpublished papers (as cited by Mann), and the book Envisioning Cahokia by Rinita Dalan et al.. Particularly noticeable in these works is the “exaggerated and persuasive nature” of the pseudoarchaeological language used, in contrast to scientific writing that values “a deadpan factual presentation with the highest degree of simplicity and clarity.” [22]

With these concerns about the possibility of pseudoarchaeology noted, I am now in a position to investigate Mann’s claims about Cahokia in detail, an investigation to which I will turn in part two.


1.    Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (NY: Vintage Books, 2006), p. 250

2.    Mann, p. 379.

3.    Mann, pp. 134-5.

4.    Mann, pp. 63-4; 137.  Mann maintains that “indigenous peoples in New England were not technologically inferior to the British” at the time of contact and compares Mexica (often called Aztec) philosophy to “the Vienna Circle and the French philosophes and the Taisho-period Kyoto School.”  He supports his idea about the technological advancement in New England with arguments that guns were less effective than Indian bows and arrows, moccasins “were more comfortable and waterproof” than European boots, and “birchbark canoes were faster and more maneuverable than any small European boat.” But the societies that the British colonists had evolved out of already had developed all this technology (i.e., bows and arrows, canoes, slippers, etc.) thousands of years earlier. Why would they have replaced bows and arrows with guns or developed sailing ships if there was no survival advantage for doing so?  And while the British had the technology to make bows and arrows and canoes if they so wished, Indians did not have the know-how to manufacture a gun or a sailing ship.

5.    Mann, p 42.  He maintains, for example, that pre-contact Indians in New England were “like affluent snowbirds alternating between Manhattan and Miami.”

6.    Mann, p. 390.

7.    The opposition to calling societies uncivilized, in fact, is noted by Mann.  Mann, p. 390.

8.    Mann, p. 390.

9.    Mann, p. 335.

10.    Mann, p. 291.

11.    Felix Barker and Peter Jackson, London: 2000 Years of a City and Its People (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1974), p. 20.

12.    For particularly speculative “artist’s reconstructions” see Rinita A. Dalan, et al., Envisioning Cahokia: A Landscape Perspective (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003), pp.72-76.  In these reconstructions, not only are the villages drawn, whole scenes of village life are imagined.

13.    Clayton Roberts et al., A History of England, Volume I (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002), pp. 93-98.

14.    Barker and Jackson, pp. 15-22; and Roberts et al., pp. 77-113.

15.    Roberts et al., p. 126

16.    Roberts et al., pp. 8-9.

17.    Garrett G. Fagan, “Diagnosing pseudoarchaeology,” in Garrett G. Fagan (ed.), Archaeological Fantasies (New York: Routledge, 2006), p. 43.

18.    Fagan, p. 29.

19.    Fagan, pp. 29-37.

20.    Fagan, pp. 41, 43.

21.    N.C. Flemming, “The attraction of non-rational archaeological hypotheses,” in Fagan (ed), Archaeological Fantasies, p. 61.

22.    Flemming, p. 52.

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9 thoughts on “Sewing a shirt on a button: The pseudoarchaeology of 1491 (Pt. 1)

  1. Okay, the whole reason this debate is flawed is the argument is taking place using the definitions established by archaeology in the first place. So civilization is defined as advanced based on technological capability rather than something else. Widdowson and Niigonwedom will end up talking past each other because the root of the question is being avoided. That has to do with Indigenous vs. European epistemology and ontology. The fact is we are arguing separate knowledge creation systems. Eurocentric science vs. Indigenous Spiritually-based Science. To me the argument would eventually come down to whether or not traditions and ceremonies for the individual and community have a place in scientific investigation.

    I think this is the root of the argument because, I really think that our definitions of what is important for a community to strive for comes from our method of knowledge creation. So for instance when we seek visions to find our place as humanity in creation our definition of civilization will be quite different (I hope) than if we are using the scientific method and very much concerned with values of profit and individualism. We get a concept of cultural evolution based on these values and these referent points. If we judge the same civilization from different referent points, we get very different assessments.

    So this leads to a very simple conclusion by Widdowson, which I agree with. Indigenous values hold Indigenous communities back from full integration into capitalist/liberal political economic systems. I think that is great because I start thinking about climate change and the patriarchal dysfunction of our social institutions. I wonder, why be like Europeans?

    I think what is holding back Indigenous peoples, and I say this as a friendly outsider, is trying to be too much like the Europeans want you to be. You folks have been to accommodating and too friendly, as is your general custom. Why in all reason would we want to really continue down this concept of civilization defended and promoted by Widdowson implicitly in her “objective” use of anthropological categories.

    For that matter, I’m really tired of Widdowson claiming objectivity in her assessment of evolution; this pretence is abundantly Eurocentric because it uses the referent points of one civilizational project to judge another. What might be more useful scholarship is to try to develop a typology that takes all referent points of both and other cultures into account, which demonstrates the full breath of human civilizationary courses, and demonstrates this diversity.

    To the Indigenous peoples reading this, I want to really give my respect and support to traditional epistemology. Stay on the path of the fast, pipe, shake tent, sun dance, etc. Those are your civilizations spiritual methodologies that get combined with more material methodologies such as observation and experimentation to create a richer and fuller science that is specifically aimed at building balanced relationships. Its a different project than that of Widdowson, and that’s great.

  2. Your right Mr Patterson first nation people should never give up the right to spiritual values and practise as christains should be able to worship without hinderence but is this really the issue, denying a persons right to beliefs is universally wrong isnt it? My concern with Widdowson’s post is that is might appear to be deeply racist and insulting .Widdowson refers to london and superior technological advancement however London became what it was after the Romans ,Normans and the northen barbarians had left their mark over hundreds of years .Their success was in part due to the climate freeing up time for rational thinking,Italy and Greece ,anyone who knows history will know how logically advanced they were. They also had the advantage of being surrounded by other cultures as friends and allies unlike other very advanced cultures in ancient history. I’m not a supporter of so called advancement as we are all slave to the pervasive Fordism style of production and therefor consumerism and despite the trusim of medical advancement and engineering , but it’s a benefit to all of us who would turn down .

  3. @ wolfgirlbrit

    The Romans and Greeks were civilizations based on massive slave labour, and yes European inherited this form of technological advancement. Most of European technological ingenuity can be assessed on how it eliminates the needs for slaves. You can actually compute how many hours of human labour is contained in a barrel of oil, etc. Fordism is a development out of a cultural evolution that required slavery on a mass scale both in ancient cultures, the more recent chattel system and most recently in the forms of wage labour and contemporary labouring in the prison industrial complex.

    These societies had an elite citizen class that was given time to think, create and participate through delegating their labour to other beings they owned, whether animal or human. It is also suspect whether this is a logical choice or not for a path of cultural evolution, considering both Rome and Greece fell as civilizations.

    To move back to my point about spiritual practices, I won’t use the idea of beliefs here, those are not as relevant. But the actual doing of the spiritual practices are important. They are where knowledge, values, ideas, paths and community will come from. Those practices as the centre of community in specific territories is what makes Indigenous societies and science unique. To illustrate a person will find their purpose or role through fasting/visioning and hopefully live their life accordingly, western science both geophysical and social has no such mechanism for finding social purpose. This is a major difference in the individuals role in the production of knowledge.

    Anyways, if its not clear yet, let me try another way of explaining my point. When you start from different knowledge systems and define ideas and human life differently, including the purpose of human existence you are bound to disagree on what is the purpose of human community. Widdowson’s whole argument is based on the idea that the Euro-Canadian way of life is superior to the Indigenous existence that has been forcibly displaced from this land, not only that, but when discussing anything we ought to use referent points exclusively defined by the Euro-Canadian academic tradition. This is what Niigoonwedom means by Eurocentric. I’m fairly certain this is still debatable.

    Now as for the rights for beliefs to existence, no matter what they may be, well I find that a naive and unfortunately liberal stance. It is itself a Euro-Canadian misnomer. Lets look at it closely…. the reality is only some views are able to exist. Or ought to, depending on who is most powerful. Think about how thoughts are policed with political correctness, hate speech laws, etc. Now also think about how Indigenous beliefs through the mediums of ceremony and language were attacked.

    Or alternatively think about how being so tolerant can cause problems. There’s some interesting emerging scholarship on wiindigo stories that tries to sketch the indigenous approach to difference that is rooted in learning to live in a specific place. I think these studies provide the basis for an indigenized response to the realities of diversity. They go something like this:

    -when encountering newcomers in your territory show them how to be human and live on the land specific to this place

    -Allow them to retain whatever beliefs they have that does not compromise the goal of balance and interconnection with all nations (human and non-human) on this earth

    -if after care and consistent education in becoming human they refuse, drive them away or kill them

    What I’m getting at is that, beliefs need to correspond to practices that sustain ecological harmony and interconnection. Those that are opposed to this are actually forms of insanity and need to be educated against and nurtured out of people, if after trying this is not possible, eliminate the threat for the sake of the earth.

    These are fundamentally different ideas politically than Euro-Canadian thought. There are many other examples. My point is that the paradigms and purposes are different, so the end results will be too. When these two systems of thought try to discuss things in common it gets complicated, especially so when wanna-be experts like Widdowson claim one system is superior.

  4. As a social scientist, I think Widdowson is on shaky ground when she accuses others of pseudoscience. The version of evolutionary theory that she argues for is one informed by the “social Darwinism” associated with figures like Herbert Spencer, who in the nineteenth century altered Darwin’s ideas on evolution to suit the priorities of a classist, sexist, and racist approach to social issues and to the comparison of differing human societies.

    Spencer proposed that species of organisms, and species of human societies, could be ranked according to a linear scale of how internally complex and functionally differentiated they were. In Spencer’s scheme, “more differentiated” equalled “more highly evolved”, and the more highly evolved were superior to the less highly evolved, and destined to displace them through natural selection. This was a fundamental revision of Darwin’s own theory, in which “fittest” does not mean the most complex or the strongest etc., but means simply, most fitted to the demands and opportunities of its environment.

    For instance, in strict Darwinian terms, it makes no sense to say that a human being is fitter or more highly evolved than, say, a crocodile. Crocodiles as a species have survived for more than 200 million years and have survived several waves of global mass extinction, including that of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, while human beings have existed as a species for a paltry 200 thousand years – that is, 0.1% of the time that crocodiles have been around – and who have *caused* a wave of global mass extinction which we ourselves may not survive. Are humans evolutionarily superior to crocodiles? Or to horseshoe crabs, which have been around for a staggering 450 million years? In properly scientific terms, such claims are meaningless.

    We can see Widderson’s Spencerian, social Darwinist assumptions very clearly in her footnote #4, where she scoffs at Mann’s claims regarding the superiority of Indian (sic) technology. Here she ignores the properly Darwinian sense of “fittest”. European weapons, clothes, and river vessels were indeed more suitable than their Indigenous counterparts *in Europe*, where they were suited to the social and physical infrastructure of an industrialized society. But Indigenous technologies were fitted to *their* environments, through hundreds or thousands of years of cultural evolution. European settlers throughout the Americas, Africa, and Asia have often found their imported technology less useful than that of the natives, especially in the decades before massive colonization had time to transform the local environment.

    When examining the evolution of societies, Spencer defined “functional differentiation” in terms of the society’s “division of labour”, understood as the specialization of tasks performed by individuals and groups within the society. In practice, the “division of labour” refers to the social hierarchy. That is, by definition, societies with larger and more complex social hierarchies, in which fewer people dominate the large majority, appear as more “functionally differentiated” and hence as “more highly evolved”, “fitter”, better. (Spencer also assumed that the individuals at the top of social hierarchies were themselves biologically superior to those lower down.) Social Darwinism constituted a pseudoscientific translation of a particular social ideology into the terms of evolutionary science.

    (An alternative version of this that still appeals to people today holds that species which can appropriate greater amounts of energy from their environments or which can transform their environments to a greater degree than others are ‘more evolved’. In social terms, this means that societies that live sustainably appear as ‘less evolved’ than those which live unsustainably.)

    Unfortunately, although its more obviously racist elements have been identified and rejected by scientists, the more basic elements of social Darwinism – particularly the equation of ‘fittest’ with ‘most complex’ and the assumption that some species are more “highly evolved” than others in some linear sense – have persisted in popular common sense about evolution. Scientifically speaking these notions are nonsense.

  5. Here we see the parameters of the debate begin to emerge.

    The first debate concerns science versus postmodern relativism. Paterson is arguing the relativist position (Europeans and Aboriginals have different “ways of knowing”; it is not clear if these forms of “knowledge” are “equally valid”, in his opinion, or if aboriginal “ways of knowing” are more valid because they are allegedly anti-capitalistic, environmentally friendly, “spiritual”, etc.). Powell, on the other hand, is putting forward the view of a scientist; he maintains that there is one way to understand cultures historically, which is why he is able to claim that “social darwinism” is incorrect in its analysis.

    Powell’s position as a scientist is on firmer ground than Paterson’s. Paterson is trying to change definitions to avoid the contradictions that he is faced with. He sees “science” and “civilization” as being positive, and therefore is nervous about designating ideas as unscientific or societies as uncivilized. As a result, he refuses to accept definitions that would denigrate (in his view) the unscientific belief in the shaking tent and pre-state (uncivilized?) societies organized on the basis of kinship rather than law. It is not a question of a definition being “right” or “wrong”‘; what is important is explaining why one chooses to define a term a particular way, and how this helps us to understand phenomena. It is important to exclude spiritual beliefs from the definition of science because these beliefs are not based upon a rigorous evaluation of evidence (the essence of science). Linking civilization to law is important because it shows a significant marker in human development. Laws, as opposed to custom, enabled many different kinship groups to live together under one government.

    Although I appreciate Powell’s scientific perspective, he has misrepresented my arguments, which brings me to the second debate. This debate concerns the scientific validity of the theory of cultural evolution. It is NOT my opinion that Herbert Spencer’s theory is correct. Spencer was a racist, while the theory employed by Albert Howard and myself is concerned with culture (learned behaviour), not biological characteristics. The theorist closest to our position is the archaeologist V. Gordon Childe. Perhaps Powell would like to offer his opinion on Childe’s theory, rather than trying to prejudice the reception of my perspective.

    Cultural evolution links technology to human development; all cultures have the capacity to increase the efficiency of their technology, but this is constrained by environmental circumstances. It is therefore incorrect for Powell to compare biological evolution to cultural evolution. The introduction of technology by other cultures allows development to occur even when this was not possible previously. This is why I “scoffed” at Mann’s comparison of the bow and arrow to the gun. The gun is obviously a more evolved technology than the bow and arrow, and aboriginal peoples incorporated this technology into their societies when it was introduced. We do not continue to use the bow and arrow (except recreationally) because the gun is a more efficient technology.

    There are two contexts for cultural evolution – general and specific. Cultures evolve specifically because they must adapt to their environment. Humanity as a whole, however, develops generally, and we can see progress from stone to bronze to iron technology. Mann (and Powell) are intent on obfuscating this difference. Although one cannot be completely sure as to why this is the case, it is probably because they are confusing politics with science. They (erroneously) believe that a recognition of general cultural evolution denigrates cultures that evolved at a slower rate. Culture is confused with race and so it is mistakenly assumed that biological factors contributed to developmental differences.

  6. Mr Patterson unfortunately slave labour is the down side of societies with power and influence and is common in many ancient cultures . I would also like to remind you that Greece and Rome IS Europe and that it’s not what us in European England inherited in terms of logic, Archimedes,Plato,Socrates and their influence filtered out, in adddition I dont really understand your term “fall” .This power ,influence ,logic and slave labour is the subjugation of the natural world which I feel is related to the evil of the Roman or Jewwish heaven ,hell and the fear of death.

    Forgive me when I say I do not understand your reference to the unfortunate liberal stance to religous beliefs as being some sort of insanity that needs to be eliminated, to me this sound more like Nazi Germany ,whilst for the individual they are entitled to their personal opinions or even hatefull rhetoric legislation should protect everyone . In the multicultural society that I live in ,to live in peace ,we must accept others view on creation past and future . The point I was trying to make ,clearly I’m no expert or acedemic, is that whilst England may have been a world power,right or wrong this is the case, we did so through an accumilation of knowledge from various cultures faciliting manipulation over the natural world. Sadly the next revolution coming from England will be the nano technology god help us all

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