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Atlantis: Is It Really Lost?

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Atlantis: Is it really lost?

        Atlantis, an advanced ancient civilization, has been the greatest mystery in today’s world. The original source of this story is Plato, a Greek philosopher. While, he studied under Socrates, he wrote of a tale about Atlantis in the books of Timeus and Critias (Feder, 2014). He described a magnificent city that was more advanced than any other civilization of its time. It ultimately vanished in the depths of the sea as a result of a natural cataclysm. But many reject the account because no debris has ever been recovered to verify the existence of Atlantis. Despite this, many theories have evolved over centuries to prove otherwise. A famous hypothesis is of the temple at Knossos in Crete and a nearby volcanic island of Santorini being the leftover fragments of Atlantis (Youtube, 2014). Whereas, others claim that Crete was merely the inspiration used to develop the myth of Atlantis (Feder, 2014). Hence, a great controversy surrounds this unsolved mystery of Atlantis.

The Crete hypothesis is the focus in the Atlantis episode of the show, Lost Worlds, aired on the History channel. The episode revolves around the discovery of the palace in Knossos and town in Akrotiri and eventually connecting it to Plato’s tale of Atlantis. Firstly, the discovery of the palace in Knossos by Arthur Evans in the 20th century is discussed and compared (Youtube, 2014). The discovery of the palace’s astonishing water network, the use of crystalline gypsum in the walls and the overall complexity of the structure depict an advanced ancient civilization, Minoan civilization (Youtube, 2014). Thereby, for the investigators these characteristics are sufficient enough to justify the discovery as a link to Atlantis. Furthermore, the cause of the disappearance of Atlantis and the Minoan civilization is claimed to be the volcanic island of Thera, now referred to as Santorini (Youtube, 2014). Next, they incorporate the discovery of a town covered by volcanic ash in Akrotiri on the island of Santorini to create a stronger argument (Youtube, 2014). Similarly to the palace of Knossos, the engineering skills of this town are said to be beyond its time. Most importantly, a fresco discovered shows the 3 peaks of the cities and the circular design described by Plato (Youtube, 2014). The experts in the documentary believe that the natural catastrophe consisted of the eruption of the volcano followed by a tsunami. Lastly, they discuss the original source from which Solon hears about Atlantis, the Egyptian priests. In Egyptian inscriptions, the presence of such a city exists but with a different name for the civilization (Youtube, 2014). Therefore, the documentary uses any possible clue to connect it to Atlantis.

The documentary uses the numerous experts and organizations to interpret and portray information in a misleading manner to be able to attract audiences to their theory. Therefore, majority of the show doesn’t follow the standard scientific thinking. As to be able to assess a problem effectively, it is crucial to not only apply critical thinking but also possess an open mindedness. This is evidently missing in the documentary, as it is unable to reach reasonable conclusions based on the data and continuously expresses a single perspective. Instead, they have used all the information gathered from the different experts to do a confirmation bias on the idea of Atlantis actually existing, rather than analyzing the facts that disprove it. Dr. Colin Macdonald is the dominant archaeologist in the episode and also on the sub-committee of Crete (Academia 2015) that analyzes and reveals the complexity of the site, therefore his credentials are not doubtful. He specifically explains the palace and the Minoan civilization but the narrator of the documentary is seen associating it to myth of Atlantis. This can also be seen with the other archaeologists, where their knowledge of the area is used to somehow relate it to Atlantis. But, Professor Floyd McCoy, a volcanologist, explicitly expresses the existence of another civilization that was destroyed by Thera (Youtube, 2014). During research, it is found that he is a professor of geology at a university in Hawaii and possesses knowledge of oceans and volcanoes (UH, WCC 2014). But, he incorrectly applies his knowledge to represent the evidence in support of his theory while ignoring the other facts, reducing his credibility. If he was an expert, he should have recognized the fact that the chance of an entire landmass sinking into the ocean is not possible especially with our current knowledge of geological processes (Feder, 2014). Rather, the collision of two plates causes substances to erupt out as seen with volcanoes rather than pulling material in (Feder, 2014). Therefore, it is not geologically possible to have a continent like Atlantis disappear in the manner described in the tale. Another crucial point in Plato’s story is that the natural cataclysm occurred more than 9,000 years ago before his own time but no one brought that up in the documentary because the theory will be eliminated as the volcanic eruption they are referring to happened only 3,600 years ago (Drye, 2015). They continue to fool the audience by not discussing other such points in Plato’s tale that don’t support their theory, leaving many unanswered questions. As the most obvious place to investigate, the ocean, is not even explored to seek for the answers either and many such crucial areas of investigation are omitted. The only possible reason for this could be that they themselves know that there is no landmass underneath the ocean.



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