Bimini & Atlantis—Why do scientists lie?
Answer: They aren’t scientists—they are pseudoscientists.
By Dr. Greg Little
Above photo (sponge pen): Sponge pen at north Andros as seen on Google Earth: 25 11’ 21.6” by 78 08’ 44.78”
In the February 2011 issue of Alternate Perceptions [LINK] I asked the question—“Why do scientists lie?”—in response to the discovery of several fluted marble columns in the inlet between North and South Bimini in 1968 that were subsequently the focal point of blatant lies by so-called scientists. Bimini, of course, has been the focal point of a huge “Atlantis” controversy swirling around since 1968 with many announcements of “discoveries” followed by counterclaims and denials. The answer to the question of why scientists lie is complex but can be boiled down to one simple conclusion: the people making such claims are not really scientists acting as scientists. They are behaving like pseudoscientists. They pretend to use the scientific method and use distorted and seemingly unread second-hand references for their preconceived conclusions. Their conclusions are often based on a firmly held belief that was summarized well in just three words by the academic archaeologist Kenneth Feder: “Atlantis never existed.” In short, based on that firm belief, nothing from Atlantis could be found and anything ever put forth as evidence for Atlantis is therefore false.
Few people really delve into the complete background involving the allegations relating to discoveries at and near Bimini. In our book The ARE’s Search For Atlantis and the dvd documentary with the same title, we tried to present that background. Sadly I have found that few people on either side of the controversy are interested in really looking at the facts. The facts are murky and complicated and perhaps just too complex for most people to grasp. Then again, I know that some people don’t want to see the truth.
The truth is that starting in the 1950’s many amateur archaeologists, divers, and various others making boat excursions into the Bahamas started reporting underwater finds that were unusual to them. Some of these people were treasure hunters, publicity seekers, and just normal people who thought they had made a significant and important discovery. As these finds became public, and were often sensationalized by tabloid media articles, a swift, opposite reaction came from the opposing side. This opposing side was sometimes composed of mainstream “scientists” and others who were unqualified and unjustified for the standing they were given. At the heart of this counter reaction are two factors. The first factor has already been cited by Kenneth Feder’s belief: “Atlantis never existed.” This belief and the consequences of it are rather profound. But secondly, the role of the psychic Edgar Cayce, and the disdain scientists have for psychically derived research is at work. That issue will be addressed in a later article but for the moment it is useful to summarize the early discoveries.
Robert Marx, once the Argosy Marine Archaeology editor, wrote a rather intriguing article in the November 1971 issue of Argosy. Titled, “Atlantis: The legend is becoming fact,” the article shows how stories and discoveries become so entangled and garbled that the truth is forever lost. This article remains widely quoted and is the source for numerous factual misconceptions continued by the internet, tv documentaries, and books. For example, it is often asserted that the so-called “Bimini Road” was first seen by pilots flying low over Bimini and was then visited on water. Although the facts seemingly don’t matter, the Bimini Road was not found from the air. Dr. J. Manson Valentine was taken to the location on September 2, 1968 by two locals remembered only as “Old Joe” and “Bone Fish Sam” after a frustrated Valentine finally asked them if they knew of any unusual underwater stone formations in the area. Before that event, only the Bimini locals knew about the site and it had not been spotted from the air. It was Valentine’s nearly immediate press release that resulted in the subsequent frenzy after a host of newspapers reported on his “discovery.” But well before that event a lot of things had been found and some of these were from the air. These other discoveries have led many others to mistakenly believe that the Bimini Road was found from the air.
In his Argosy article Marx asserts that, “More than a dozen stone buildings have been discovered on the ocean floor, one of which seems to be a large pyramid; a gigantic stone causeway of unknown length, plus great stone walls, thousands of feet long, have been uncovered by shifting sands; hundreds of wheellike stones, two to five feet in diameter, with holes in their centers, have been found by divers, along with marble carvings, statuary and an ancient ceramic face of a man—all near the islands of Bimini and Andros, and all exciting new evidence of a prehistoric continent which sank in the Atlantic about 12,000 years ago.”
Marx relates that in 1956 a father and son fishing off Bimini discovered “a series of large decorative marble columns of beautiful workmanship, standing upright and protruding from the sandy bottom.” In 1958 Dr. William Bell found a six-foot column or spire protruding from the bottom with a gear-like base. Both of these finds were in water near Bimini—the columns were allegedly in 60 feet of water and the spire at 15-feet. Bell’s “column” has never been refound but the photos Bell managed to take indicate that the mast of a sunken and sand buried sailboat was likely what he saw. Complicating such finds is the fact that all of them were made before the advent of GPS, meaning that refinding such underwater items would have been close to impossible. In 1967 Dr. Dimitri Rebikoff is said to have seen a quarter-mile long rectangular object in 18-feet of water between Bimini and Andros while making a flight. He was never able to refind it. (We do think that this formation is something we filmed from the air in 2003 during our initial aerial survey of Andros. But we do not think it is a building.) In fact, the 100 miles between Bimini and Andros is dotted with odd underwater formations. We have visited many of these and not one is archaeological in nature. (Although crashed planes and sunken boats could be seen that way depending on their age.)
In 1968 Valentine was shown a photograph of a different underwater rectangular structure off north Andros that was taken by pilots Trigg Adams and Robert Brush. Valentine and Rebikoff visited this site and their reports were, to be blunt, contradictory. In his sensational press releases Valentine described this structure as being constructed by fine blocks of limestone mortared together with the outer walls at least 9 feet high. The subsequent newspaper articles related that it was a Maya temple or perhaps from Atlantis. In his more professional writing he described it as being made by small rocks piled up to form an enclosure. Those of us to have read all of the subsequent analyses and reports on this discovery—and also visited and inspected the site—know that it was a sponge pen. There are actually a few dozen of these located around north Andros. When Valentine visited this small enclosure the sponge business was dead because of a sponge virus, but locals did inform many investigators who actually built the enclosure and when it was built. This discovery occurred a few months before Valentine announced the Bimini Road discovery. Nevertheless, many apparently wanted to believe they had found an underwater temple, so that it what the discovery was touted as—and often still is. In this same area is where there are dozens of circular stones with holes cut in their centers. These are anchor stones, perhaps historic, perhaps not. Some were undoubtedly used in the sponge processing business as they are cheap, easily made, and very useful when a rope is extended from them. There are similar anchor stones at Bimini. At least one of these anchors, a massive 600-pound heart-shaped one, has been reliably dated to 30 BC, a timeframe too early for traditional archaeologists to accept or explain. The anchors at Bimini are some of the strongest evidence that an unrecognized maritime culture was active in that area long before traditional archaeological timetables allow. Without even looking at a single one, a few “archaeologists” explain them all by saying they are natural. That’s science of course, or pseudoscience at its best.
Marx asserted in the Argosy article that Valentine wanted to keep their discoveries a secret but the press releases quickly issued by Valentine contradict this. In our book, The ARE’s Search for Atlantis we quoted a book by Ferro and Grumley (Atlantis: Autobiography of a search) wherein they wrote that there was a great deal of tension in the group of people who were assisting Valentine because of Valentine’s desire to “dance into the limelight.” Valentine did have numerous contacts with the tabloid media, wherein he supplied them with photos and sensationalized reports. I have concluded that one major factor in modern scientists dismissing everything discovered in the area was a counter reaction to Valentine’s often-incredible press releases. The counter reaction isn’t science, but it is understandable from the perspective of human emotions and belief systems. Of course, that’s how pseudoscience works. Unfortunately, 40 years of deception isn’t easily fixed or corrected, and expecting other “scientists” to enter the fray after 40 years doesn’t seem too likely.
In his 1971 article, Marx doesn’t directly address the fact that treasure hunting was a driving motive for many people, although it is mentioned. He does mention people seeking funds for their “expeditions” and the sensational claims of discoveries appears to have produced some funding. The incredible press coverage certainly enhanced interest. I’m not aware of any groups that mounted actual expeditions to the region solely using their own funds until we did so starting in 2003. But while some who were involved in the Bimini explorations were actually seeking archaeological ruins, a lot of others were looking for gold. Edgar Cayce’s psychic readings related that there was more gold at Bimini than in the rest of the world combined. There has been a fairly substantial amount of work done to find this gold and nothing has ever been found—or at least reported to have been found. Since such efforts continue I assume that gold has not been found. I believe—and I’ll reemphasize the word believe—that there is no gold vein at Bimini. One can conclude that Cayce was wrong about it or that it was a way of testing individual motives. Cayce often related that each person’s deeper motives mattered to a greater extent than one might realize. In some of our prior books about Cayce we detailed some of his “wrong” readings and found that many of these were apparently deliberately aimed at testing the individuals involved. Of course, people can make of this idea whatever they want.
Some of the most interesting and subsequently “lost” discoveries of 1969 were made by Count Pino Turolla, a treasure hunter who was keenly interested in the Bimini area. Turolla stated that west of the Bimini Road, in much deeper water, he found 44 marble columns arranged into a perfect circle. All of the columns were three to six feet in diameter and three to 16 feet long. Some of them were standing upright. Just off South Bimini Turolla then found another area where he found numerous other marble columns and pillars. (This second area we believe we found, but the circular formation of columns has escaped further discovery.)
About 7 miles north of Bimini there is an area strewn with the ruins of a white marble temple, which we reported when it was found. Actually we “rediscovered” it, because it had been reported much earlier by Richard Wingate in his book Lost Outpost of Atlantis. Wingate’s team was taken to it too, as we were. It is impressive but is definitely from a shipwreck. The Bahamas should have it salvaged and reconstructed on Bimini near the small museum.
Another curious claim is made in the Marx Argosy article regarding several 16-foot long columns Dimitri Rebikoff was “said” to have found under the Bimini Road. Marx relates that he “confronted” Rebikoff about them and Rebikoff admitted he had actually seen them at “another” wall that was now covered by sand. This is a claim I have neither heard nor read anywhere else. Earlier in the article there is the claim that Rebikoff and Valentine found another formation “similar to the Bimini Road” closer to the shoreline. In fact, there is such a formation that Bill Donato named the “Paradise Point Pier” and is detailed in our documentary The Ancient Bimini Harbor. We refound and documented it in 2004. It has been featured in several tv documentaries and in some ways is more impressive than the Bimini Road. This formation is definitely manmade and does have some long stone piled into its many layers of stone blocks. Near this spot are the remains of a very old wooden ship with a massive pile of ballast stone in the center. The wooden beams of the ship are calcified making them appear, from the surface, to be long stone beams or pillars. A third line of unusual stone is also in the area and it is strewn with stone anchors. There are five circular piles of stone blocks on this line at regular intervals and they are similar to “mooring circles” found at ancient Mediterranean harbors. Whether or not these are related to what Rebikoff described as long columns and the “other” road site is unclear, but it is likely. The remains of the ship are often said to be Phoenician in origin, but exactly why that claim has been made isn’t clear either. However, a bronze Phoenician coin, dated to 400 BC was found at Bimini by locals. Somewhere along the line someone seems to have linked the ship to the coin, but there are many wrecks in the area.
Over the years so much independent research has taken place in the region that an exhaustive list of supposed discoveries is nearly impossible. More pyramids, more walls, more circles, unusual formations along the Gulf Stream in deep water, granite slabs and other cut structures have all been found. We have seen many of these, although there is not one reliable report of an actual pyramid. The most recent investigation have taken place in deep water, too deep for recreational divers. In 2006 sidescan sonar performed by Bill Donato with ARE funding found about 50 square and rectangular structures on a long line in 110-feet of water about 5 miles off Bimini. The formations look impressive and many have small building blocks on them, but a recent evaluation and examination of them by an ARE funded group that included one of Donato’s team members reports they are all natural. But there are some definitive areas that do need real investigation. For example, there definitely is a submerged stone building structure off south Bimini, which we reported on last year. In addition, some distance south of Bimini there is a set of intriguing underwater structures that appear to be buildings and walls carved into the bottom and cut and polished slabs of granite are found in several of these structures. A well-defined multi-layered wall of stone is also associated with this area along with a set of steps carved into the stone. These all “look” manmade, but nothing definitive has been decided. In essence, I have concluded that a lot of what we have “found” near Bimini—if not everything we have found there—are the “lost” areas earlier reported by others. At least we know the precise locations as well as having hundreds of photos and film of each area. But at Andros we have found and reported several previously unseen structures including a harbor works we called the Andros Platform and a definite underwater wall at Joulters Cay. This wall is composed of cut blocks of limestone.
The reality is that there are many odd and unusual things on the bottom in the areas around Bimini and Andros. There really are marble ruins, columns, and building structures there. Some of these are no doubt from shipwrecks. But that is probably not true for all of them. I have no illusions about the involvement of other scientists and archaeologists in this search, it simply won’t happen. But our direct investigation into these won’t occur unless we again team up with Bill Donato, which may occur later. For over a year our interest has been finding and identifying planes that disappeared into the “Bermuda Triangle.” To date we have found 24 planes, two of which are definite “disappeared” planes. That is the focus of our next expedition and our next documentary.