Rock Around the Clock

Rock Around the Clock

I greatly admire George Dodwell’s dogged [but doomed] determination to inform mainstream astronomy that Simon Newcomb’s Formula for the Obliquity of the Ecliptic was flawed because it couldn’t be reconciled with the observational data dating back to 1,100 B.C.

Wikipedia - Axial Tilt

Newcomb’s Formula

However, Dodwell’s mainstream approach placed him in a no-win Catch-22 situation regarding the Temple of Amen-Ra in Karnak.

Academic etiquette obliged Dodwell to use the mainstream temple date to create his formula
The temple alignment could only be dated once Dodwell had established his obliquity formula.

Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller.

The phrase “Catch-22” has since entered the English language, referring to a type of unsolvable logic puzzle.

In the book, Catch-22 is a military rule typifying bureaucratic operation and reasoning.

The rule is never explicitly stated, but the principal example in the book fits the definition above:

If one is crazy, one can be discharged from the army.

But one has to apply for the discharge, and applying demonstrates that one is not crazy.

As a result, one will not be discharged.
The Obliquity of the Ecliptic – George F. Dodwell


Given this no-win Catch-22 situation Dodwell should [in my view] have simply excluded the Temple of Amen-Ra data from his formulations and then independently dated the temple.

Excluding the Temple of Amen-Ra data produces a gentler Obliquity Curve with a R2 value of 0.97.

Dodwell - Axial Tilt - Excluding Karnak

Examining the resulting Obliquity Curve it’s visually evident that there are two significant data gaps in the first millennium data.

Obliquity Curve - Two Data Gaps

These anomalous data gaps suggest that the Earth slides and occasionally [catastrophically] bumps along the statistical Obliquity Curve i.e. Axial Tilt transitions aren’t always smooth.

The curiously short middle data group [shown in orange] covers a 109 year period of observations from China.

Obliquity Curve - Middle Group

There is a strong possibility that this middle group has been incorrectly dated and given the volatility of the data it’s possible this middle data group is a continuation of the early group [shown in pink].

However, at this stage in the analysis let’s simply accept all the observational data at face value [warts and all] as the best observational data regarding obliquity that humanity has managed to accumulate in [roughly] the last 3,000 years.

No added alignments – no interpreted theories – no speculation – just observational data.

Now let’s statistically extrapolate using a 3rd order polynomial trend line in Excel.

Obliquity Curve - Trendline

The data unequivocally suggests the Earth had an Axial Tilt of -90 degrees [nearly] 20,000 years ago and will transition to an Axial Tilt of +90 degrees in [roughly] the next 14,500 years.

That’s the observational data, the whole observational data and nothing but the observational data.

However, there are numerous theories regarding the curious data gaps in the 1st millennium and the most radical of these is the proposal by Gunnar Heinsohn that the historical narrative of the 1st millennium has been padded out with 700 years worth of duplicated and jumbled storylines.

Therefore, as a worse case scenario, lets run with Gunnar Heinsohn’s radical proposal and remove 690 years from the 1st millennium [including the dubiously dated data from China] so that the early and late data groups [pink and green grouping above] join at 139 A.D.

Obliquity Curve - 690 Year Gap removed

The overall pattern is the same but the timeline is much shorter.

Axial Tilt animation
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this worse case scenario [based upon the theories of Gunnar Heinsohn] is that its provides a drastically different data driven interpretation for the Younger Dryas stadial “between 10,800 and 9500 BC” and a radically different insight into what exactly was the Last Ice Age that “ended about 10,000 years ago”.

The Younger Dryas stadial, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a 1,300 (± 70) year period of cold climatic conditions and drought which occurred between approximately 12,800 and 11,500 years BP (between 10,800 and 9500 BC).

The cause of the Younger Dryas stadial is an issue of ongoing debate.

The earth is currently in an interglacial, and the last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Catastrophism, Earth, Glaciology, Greenland, Gunnar Heinsohn, History, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Rock Around the Clock

  1. One also needs to factor in the Greek dark ages ~ bronze age – Heinsohn drastically shortened that history as well, and which thus places the Pleistocene event very close to the Roman era termination, if not its actually cause.

    • malagabay says:

      I think we [literally] need to do some more digging to see how many catastrophes have occurred during the Holocene [assuming, of course, that the Holocene isn’t another Asinine Academic Illusion]

      Heinsohn’s thesis rests on stratigraphical evidence that Lyn E. Rose wrote in Pillars of The Past, p. 275,276:

      “What I would call the ruthlessness of Heinsohn’s method lies in its almost exclusively stratigraphical approach. If something does not fit the stratigraphical evidence then it cannot be true; if it myth, fiction, poetry, error, or even fraud.

      Heinsohn insists that no matter what the documents and the monuments may ‘say’, ancient civilisations reveal their existence — and also their sequence — in the ‘strata’ that they have left behind. The physical evidence, be it only debris, tends to lie ‘above’ the layers of any earlier peoples and ‘below’ the layers of any later peoples. Though technically the word stratigraphy means writing ‘about’ strata, one could say that in a sense history itself is already “written” ‘in’ the strata. Accordingly, Heinsohn wants to reconstruct ancient history from the ground up (almost literally!).

      For better or worse, Heinsohn’s method does remain ruthlessly stratigraphical, and is largely non-literary. Ancient texts and documents (Manethon and the various king-lists, for example) are not allowed to intrude into the process. Any literary evidence ‘must’ accord with the underlying strata, or else it is to be disbelieved.

      The Camp Century ice core suggests the last catastrophe was a BIG one for Greenland.

      Camp Century 1977 Annual Layer Thickness and Delta 18-O

  2. craigm350 says:

    Academic etiquette obliged Dodwell to use the mainstream temple date to create his formula

    Dodwell’s approach would also have been restricted also by the prevailing currents on Civilisation. I recall a programme on the BBC ~15 years ago regarding Graham Hancock’s and Robert Buval’s theories based upon Robert Shock’s geological work, which entailed a mainstream academia flak attack which looks incredibly hard headed now.

    Back in the early 1990s, when I first suggested that the Great Sphinx was much older than generally believed at the time, I was challenged by Egyptologists who asked, “Where is the evidence of that earlier civilization?” that could have built the Sphinx. [they kept this up in the late 1990’s too.] They were sure that sophisticated culture, what we call civilization, did not exist prior to about 3000 or 4000 B.C. Now, however, there is clear evidence of high culture dating back over 10,000 years ago [9600 CBE], at a site in Turkey known as Göbekli Tepe. A major mystery has been why these early glimmerings of civilization and high culture disappeared, only to reemerge thousands of years later.

    Whilst much remains in the air with prevailing assumptions of civilisation and curve fitting (never mind the ‘what is now was forever’ assumption) the questions I have seen raised are too often glossed over with the Egyptologists assumptive approach.

    I wonder had Dodwell had this information at hand how (or if) it would have affected the outcome of his studies?

    As an aside, I have visited a few museums, since you have raised questions, where I saw ‘Anglo-Saxon’ tablets. Having also read the Gunnar H posts over at I must say they logically and visually follow the Roman period. A ~700 yr gap is proposed but it doesn’t look like it when you see the tablets from these periods. They struck me as of ‘the same cloth’ – and I was being skeptical. So little change yet everything else I saw showed progression. Assumptions!

  3. The expansion of the geological timescale was achieved by Charles Lyell, so it is his work that needs to be first examined. All else is thus dated from these initial assumptions of Lyell, and his cherry picking.

  4. oldbrew says:

    FYI: May 1st – George Dodwell’s name keeps cropping up recently, on the Internet…

  5. Pingback: Solar Rotation – Formula Fantasies | MalagaBay

  6. Pingback: Heinsohn and The Eclipse Record | MalagaBay

  7. Pingback: The Roman Time Line and the Heinsohn Horizon | MalagaBay

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