Talk:Great Sphinx of Giza

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Water erosion debate Fringe hypotheses[edit]

Water erosion debate should be categorised under Fringe hypotheses since the proponents are all romantics. How many mainstream Egyptologists subscribe to this theory? It cannot be proved with any documented evidence when the Sphinx was actually constructed, but the balance of probabilities argues against Schoch's ideas. Lung salad (talk) 19:05, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

So because you can't discredit the idea by way of ad hominem against Schoch now you want to relegate it to "fringe" status? Usually it starts the other way around. First of all, you want to get your facts straight. Schoch geologically dates the weathering of the Sphinx to 7,000-5,000BC and often favors the latter. Hancock supports a date of 10,500BC which is derived by astronomical interpretation and is not supported by Schoch.
Regardless, lack of Egytological support in this case is hardly grounds for "fringe" status nor is it psuedoscience. The Water Erosion debate far exceeds any notoriety criteria and at least 3 accredited geologists have concluded the water weathering present indicates a greater antiquity of at least several hundred years. Egytologists (Mark Lehner) are not geologists and the lack of an attributable culture in 5,000BC is not in and of itself a defense. The discovery of Gobekli Tepe should have burned that straw-man to the ground. If the rocks give a different age than is chronologically convenient then that is their problem, not the geologists. This is the same as the radiocarbon dating carried out at Giza which both gave a greater antiquity of at least 100-400yrs and as much as 1,400yrs. RC dating has corroborated geological dating which also corroborates the Inventory Stela, the Old Kingdom repairs to the Sphinx, and the detour of Khafre's causeway to accommodate an existing structure among other things. In any other field geological and RC dating would be held as nigh indisputable proof, yet only in historical archeology when it contradicts accepted dogma is it ignored or explained away. Schoch may be wrong in his estimates, but whether it is 3,000BC or 5,000BC all roads point to an older Sphinx and Giza plateau as a whole.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:31, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
There should be a Wikipedia Alternative Egyptology article and all this material can be put there. Lung salad (talk) 23:58, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanos5150 misunderstands the carbon dating, but we shouldn't have a fork on this. Dougweller (talk) 10:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Geology is a science, and geologists are the experts in this specialised field, not Egyptologists. When a number of people with geology doctorates say a particular rock-face evidences 7000 years of weathering, and Egyptologists argue for a different age, then its the opinions of the Egyptologists that should be considered as "fringe", as they are not the experts in this specialised field. Wdford (talk) 12:35, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
That's a misunderstanding of how geology works. Need I point out that the geological estimates differ by thousands of years, that Schoch is not an expert in this particular field of geology, etc? Geology is not, at least in this aspect of it, an exact science. The estimates depend upon too many factors to be exact. Dougweller (talk) 14:03, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I know how geology works. What is under consideration in this section of the article is the identification of running water as the erosion agent in question, followed by a conclusion based thereon that the Sphinx is older than Khafra. Of course there are many unknowable variables that will influence the dating, of course estimation is going to be required, and of course it cannot therefore be an "exact" estimate. Schoch clearly reflects this reality by stating a conclusion with a 2000 year spread - (7000BC to 5000BC) - he is not claiming to be able to date the process to a single specific year. However, the people who are trained to evaluate rock-related issues are called "geologists", not "Egyptologists", and so the "estimates" of geologists have more credibility here than the "estimates" of Egyptologists. To call the geological conclusions of trained geologists "pseudoscience" or "fringe" just because they disagree with the opinions of non-geologists, is incorrect (and probably reveals POV).
Schoch, Reader etc have specific "scientific evidence" to support their contention, notwithstanding the lack of exactness thereof. Secondly, as the article already points out, those geologists who argue against the water-erosion theory have thusfar not offered up any alternative erosion theories that account for all the actual evidence. And third, the Egyptologists don't actually have any "evidence" to support a 2400BC date for the Sphinx - they infer this date by "assuming" that Khafra built it, without any actual "proof" thereof. BTW: what exactly is Schoch's "particular field" of expertise? Wdford (talk) 14:46, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
The water erosion theory remains unproven. It is a theory embraced by alternative Egyptologists and pseudohistorians because it takes things back beyond the construction of the pyramids. Whether they like calling it Atlantis or not, the idea of an unknown "super civilisation" remains a popular fantasy. Lung salad (talk) 16:17, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Wdford, how many geologists oppose the water erosion hypothesis? Dougweller (talk) 16:38, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't know exactly how many, but see here [1]from Schoch as he discusses and refutes the suggestions of several of them. Wdford (talk) 23:39, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
From Atlantis Reborn Again (Horizon, 14 December 2000): "The [water] erosion argument has not stood up to the scrutiny of geologists. Erosion on the Giza plateau does not depend on water. The Giza limestones contain salt, and these have proved to cause destructive levels of erosion in very short periods of time. There is no hard evidence that the Sphinx is any older than the orthodox date." Lung salad (talk) 17:58, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Two more [2] and [3] Lung salad (talk) 18:09, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
Oh please. Larry Orcutt is a psychologist who does "debunking" as a hobby, and Graham Hancock is a journalist who believes in Atlantis. These two are hardly reliable sources in the field of geology. Why don't you try reading the reasoned conclusions of an actual geologist who has actually visited the Sphinx, and understand how and why he refutes the arguments of several dissenting geologists on this topic? See here for starters: http://www.unibg.it/convegni/NEW_SCENARIOS/Abstracts/Schoch.htm Wdford (talk) 23:39, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
All of Lung Salad's references and parroting come from sources devoted to debunking which are fringe in their own right by their very nature, regardless of their academic credentials, and has obviously never even read the original source material. Also, most of the source links, originally provided by Doug Weller I believe, for the gaggle of alleged water weathering detractors, even Mark Lehner, come from Orcutt's website with Creationist Physicist Lambert Dolphin included in this group only by way of a personal communication with Orcutt, also a Creationist. And yet an open letter from Glasgow Professor Emeritus Archie E. Roy to Graham Hancock published on his website is unacceptable to Doug Weller as a source, yet a personal communication from Creationist Lambert Dolphin to Creationist Larry Olcutt is perfectly acceptable? And Doug Weller does nothing to dissuade the ad hominims of Schoch yet fights tooth and nail to disallow factual disclosure of fringe of the fringe Micheal S. Heiser on the Sitchin page? Also, Alex Bordeau who is a nobody who wrote one article for the debunking website Hall of Matt which our very own Doug Weller is the director of their chat board. Pure hypocritical nonsense. Apparently the rules apply and/or you do your job as administrator only when it supports your POV.Thanos5150 (talk) 01:18, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

The section seems fairly NPOV balanced as it is. A lot of Egyptology and pyramidology is considered fringe by some, but that's not a reason to not present both sides of controversial opinions, is it? What needs sourcing is the statement in the "Fringe hypotheses" section; probably true, but not up to us to claim without a secondary source. Dicklyon (talk) 19:38, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I'm getting bored with the personal attacks of Thanos5150, particularly the way he puts words in my mouth. I'm personally pretty dubious about Dolphin, but that should be decided at WP:RSN. As for the Hall of Maat, it is a forum but it's also the repository of some important articles and respected among the archaeological community for its work against pseudoarchaeology (which Thanos denigrates by calling it debunking). Wdford, you were arguing that the geologists must be right because geology is a science, but if you do your research you will find, as you seem to know, a number of geologists disagreeing with it. Wdford, my understanding is that Schoch is not an expert in morphology. I'm not sure if you realise that although he has a PhdD in geology he isn't actually a practising geologist - he teaches various aspects of science in a non-degree college of Boston University. I'm not at all saying we should ignore his opinion, but it is just one opinion and there are a number of geologists who disagree with him. The disagreement over this is sufficient that we also need to pay attention to the Egyptologists disageements (and the reasons for them, which are being ignored). Dougweller (talk) 08:50, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I am not attacking anyone on a personal level Doug nor putting words in your mouth. It actually appears to be the other way around. Asking an editor to explain themselves and take responsibility for their action should hardly be construed as a personal attack, but I can understand why you would find it boring considering it happens so often for you. But instead of deflecting like you always do, please answer each point specifically:
1) In the archives of the Great Sphinx discussion there is a long section debating the use of an open letter from Glasgow Professor Emeritus Archie E. Roy to Graham Hancock published on his website supporting the Orion Correlation Theory and you fought me and got it removed for the specific reason it was an "open letter" published by Hancock, an unreliable source in your view. And yet here you are using a personal e-mail as a source from fringe Dolphin to fringe Larry Orcutt published on his evangellically sponsored website and yet this is somehow perfectly acceptable to you? Other than the fact one supports your POV and the other doesn't, regardless that the Hancock source is infinitely more credible-how are they any different? They aren't.
2) On the Sitchin page you would not allow any qualifiers to be attached to devoted Sitchin critic Micheal S. Heiser, all of which would give context as to his motives and credibility, who regardless of his academic credentials is as fringe as it gets, but you won't have any of it because you don't want to discredit him as the only notable linguistic source against Sitchin. And yet you let Lung Salad repeatedly attach editorially nonsensical ad hominims to Schoch and yet you do nothing. And yet I remove them and here you are. So, again, one source that supports your POV you won't allow anything to be attached to his name that would reveal his motivations or fringe status, yet it is perfectly ok to do it to Schoch because he has ideas that do not support your POV.
3) You used Orcutt as the source for Lehner which is ref tagged as "Mark Lehner's Yale University doctorate dissertation", but the text was written by Orcutt and has nothing to do with Mark Lehner whom Orcutt is only using the pictures from his dissertation. Regardless of the lack of credibility, how can you use a source for Mark Lehner that has nothing to do with him other than using copied drawings from his dissertation, and then tag the reference as being from his Yale University doctorate dissertation? It's completely wrong in every which way and not the first time I have caught this.
4) So, it's ok to denigrate any idea, or person, that disagrees with the mainstream as "pseudoarchaeology" or "fringe", but you take offense to psuedoskepticism being labelled as "debunking"? A skeptic is someone who accepts neither side of an argument and weighs both equally before coming to a conclusion. This is not you. Regarding the Hall of Maat, you are the chat room director-of course you think it's wonderful. But I'm sure there are many evangelical websites respected by it's followers yet because of their stated lack of objectivity they are hardly acceptable as sources on an article about evolution. Regardless, the main point which you do not address, again, is that you used Alex Bordeau as an additional "expert", giving the erroneous impression that he is affiliated with the others or even someone worthy of inclusion as a source which on both counts he is not. It reminds of the time you used a personal communication to yourself that you posted on your website as a source.
"Thanos misunderstands". "Wdford That's a misunderstanding of how geology works. Need I point out...". "Wdford, but if you do your research you will find, as you seem to know...". "I'm not sure if you realise...". Hmmm. And also, you revert my edit for adding what you label as "scare quotes" and then add a reference that refers to him as a "mystic[s]" in quotes. So, it's ok if your source does it but if I do it they are "Scare quotes". Talk about personal attacks.
Regarding your comments to Wdford-there are also a "number" of geologists that agree in principle that the Sphinx is at least several hundred years older than accepted and all agree, pro and con, that what is seen is caused by some form of water induced erosion. But as Harrell admits "none of us can prove our point". It is also important to note that Harrell dismisses the explanation of the team of Gauri, K. Lal; Sinai, John J.; Bandyopadhyay, Jayanta K. because their erosion mechanism is only possible if the Sphinx enclosure had always been cleared of sand, which obviously is not the case. So, apparently no one, not even other detractors agree with them, yet there they are. But it sure looks impressive to cite all of their names though, doesn't it?
Also according to Harrell: "I think the explanation for the degradation pattern seen in the Sphinx enclosure is connected to the behaviour of water, both the surface runoff and subsurface flow. A better understanding of where the water is going and how it promotes weathering will allow us to decide whether a Fourth Dynasty date for the Sphinx is early enough to account for the pattern now observed".
Robert Schoch's credentials:
BA Anthropology, The George Washington University
BS Geology, The George Washington University
MS Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
PhD Geology and Geophysics, Yale University
All things considered I think your attempt to disparage Schoch's credentials to discredit his opinions are offensive. Schoch is more than qualified which is why his opinions have received the credibility and attention they have and none of his colleagues question his competence so neither should you. If Schoch were a detractor of the theory you would never make such claims. Schoch also carried out his Sphinx study over 20yrs ago.

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This whole $#%^ storm was started by Lung Salad adding unwarranted ad hominins to Schoch. I do not monitor this article regularly so it should not be me that has to step in and clean this up. This should be common sense regardless of your POV. If someone tagged Mark Lehner as "Egyptologist and former Edgar Cayce disciple" I would remove the ad hominem all the same.Thanos5150 (talk) 22:01, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I am happy enough with the current wording of the article, I just don't accept that a geology PhD should be labelled as a pseudoscientist because his conclusions differ from those of Hawass. Just because he isn't "practising" geology in the field at this very moment, doesn't mean everything he ever learned has evaporated out of his head. You also don't have to be a Professor of Egyptian Limestone Erosion to understand the evidence - the weathering of rocks is basic knowledge to all geologists. We have already given the arguments for and against the theory, with adequate references, so let's leave that be. However if anybody wants to add a further para about why non-geologists such as Hawass think the geologists such as Schoch are wrong about the geology, that's also fine with me. Reader certainly took their "context" argument to heart, which is the main reason why he cites a "historical" date rather than Schoch's much earlier date. Wdford (talk) 13:52, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Schoch believes in the existence of Atlantis, and in other fringe ideas. Lung salad (talk) 17:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Actually, in his book Voices, Schoch discusses the Atlantis evidence and specifically concludes that Plato invented Atlantis as a vehicle to make a point about society and politics. BTW, I'm sure you are aware that Lehner was the prodigy of the Edgar Cayce Friends of Atlantis committee, and that the Cayce Atlantis people also sponsored Hawass for many years? Happy New Year! Wdford (talk) 09:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually a proto-civilization emanating from Sundaland, but that's definitely fringe and much more unfortunate than his Sphinx stuff (although West is clearly fringe). I hope we are finished here unless someone wants to add more about the archaeological literature, but I don't have time right now. Dougweller (talk) 14:50, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, Sundaland as the seed of global civilisation is definitely a fringe theory at present, which even Schoch admits. Still, that doesn’t mean that Schoch’s work on the Sphinx is automatically wrong. Furthermore, there were undoubtedly very organised civilisations around in those distant days, and Sundaland definitely had its share of settlements, although it’s strange that none of their monuments were built on high ground (and thus all of them seem to have been submerged). Unless the Sundaland people migrated to Mehrgarh and related areas, of course.... All the best for 2012 - May the Mayans Be Proved Wrong! Wdford (talk) 09:17, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
To much to answer it all (and I don't think I made all the edits it's suggested I made, but I could be wrong). Scare quotes are disparaged on Wikipedia. That's a fact. That other people use them or even a source uses them is irrelevant. I don't understand why anyone would disagree about the 'mystic' bit though. I've already expressed my doubts about the Dolphin email and certainly wouldn't object to it not being in the article. You say that I used Orcutt, but that reference was retrieved in December 2008 and obviously not by me as I wasn't editing this article then. Without checking precisely I think it was added by an editor named Gergis, complain to him, not me. He also added[4] the letter to Orcutt you accused me of adding (without any evidence & despite my comments about another letter that you quote). I'm not sure why you want another source for the statement "Author and alternative Egyptologist John Anthony West investigated Schwaller de Lubicz's claims further and in 1989 sought the opinion of geologist, Robert M. Schoch, associate professor of natural science at the College of General Studies at Boston University" but go ahead and provide one, it isn't exactly controversial or disputed, is it? That's all I've got to say to someone who accuses me of making edits I haven't made. I will expect anymore such accusations to be accompanied by diffs. Dougweller (talk) 06:14, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course the water erosion theory remains unproven and that being the case the belief in it could be described as a form of religion. There is no archaelogical evidence to substantiate the existence of any people who could have built the Sphinx before the pyramids. So the erosion could have been caused by some other means. Lung salad (talk) 13:19, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think any method of exact dating is possible, geological or archaeological. In no way can any of these hypotheses be described as a form of religion, they are simply competing hypotheses. I agree that it is extremely unlikely the Sphinx was built before the pyramids, but that isn't what, for instance, Reader is suggesting. Dougweller (talk) 13:49, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
The Egyptian headdress that the Sphinx is wearing, it's highly unlikely that was a later addition to the statue. Perhaps that could be an important clue as to when the Sphinx was constructed, if it can be accurately determined when these headdresses were introduced. Lung salad (talk) 14:02, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Delighted to wade into the fray, and thanks to Dougweller for alerting me to this discussion. In response to the various points raised by Thanos5150:
(1) I cannot speak to the archived discussion on the Roy letter. However, characterising Dolphin as "fringe" is misleading. The Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) is a globally-respected research institute, and Dolphin's activities in question relate to his work at SRI. Secondly, Dolphin has been referred to by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, an organisation established by American congressional charter, as "a virtuoso at applying ground-penetrating radar" ([5]). If your concerns persist as regards Orcut, or to the extent that a third-party letter is comparable to an open letter (and therefore unreliable), perhaps we could cite the following letter to Schoch himself (dated 21 January 1992): [6].
Thanks for coming gergis. Interesting letter, but Dolphin's is not saying Schoch is necessarily "wrong" only that he thinks Schoch's dating is "too old" to be taken seriously, regardless of the facts, and is actually quite encouraging to Schoch. Dolphin says "I strongly urge you to tone down your paper for now so as to eliminate references to specific dates as old at 5000-7,)00 BC, even if you privately continue to believe the Sphinx is that old". And "The international Egyptological community is exceedingly rigid in its dating of the Egyptian dynasties and its reconstructed history and kings lists. Your suggestion that the Sphinx may be as old as 5000 to 7000 BC is where the problem lies, I think. Such an ancient date for anything real happening in Egypt is certainly considered as live heresy in the field of classic Egyptology. Never mind the facts or any new evidence that could suggest otherwise, especially when such evidence comes from an individual who is outside the golden circle of academic elites"! Dolphin also says, "You are obviously a very well qualified and competent scientist, however you may find yourself thoroughly discredited by ad hominem attacks coming from within the relatively closed community of Egyptologists. Sadly much of modern science has become rigid and closed-minded, not at all open to new ideas especially from an outsider who is not an initiated member into the existing sacred "scientific" priesthood".
Dolphin is a devout Creationist whose interest in ancient history is motivated by biblical context, so despite his credentials as a physicist, lack of technical rebuttal on the topic, and primary source material, I do not see Dolphin as worthy of inclusion here. Regardless, Orcutt, fringe or not, is not reliable as a source in any context, and though a letter from one professional to another is infinitely better, clear precedent has been set that these kinds of sources are not acceptable to support alternative ideas so there is no reason why it would be ok just because they don't. I would not object to the Schoch letter as a source myself, but to be honest it offers little to nothing of technical value and it can't really be said that Dolphin professionally disagrees with Schoch, he just doesn't think it's a good idea to say it's that old.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:23, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I do not dispute Dolphin's support for, and endorsement of, Schoch's work (see paragraph 1 of the letter). Nor do I consider it relevant, in this context, to dismiss Dolphin's geological findings on the basis of his religious views. The fact remains that his work, in this context, was conducted under the auspices of the Stanford Research Institute and that Dolphin is (or, more precisley, was, at the relevant time,) a respected geophysic ist. The relevant point for Dolphin's inclusion in the list of archaeologists / geologists providing alternative explanations for the weathering on the Sphinx lies in paragraph 7 and the paragraph beginning "I do think your paper needs" in the letter, where Dolphin discusses the poor quality limestone on the Giza plateau and the need for additional work on "weathering contributions". "Poor quality limestone" is set out as an alternative explanation for the weathering on the Sphinx in the article itself. On this basis, and in light of your non-objection to the Schoch letter as a source, I trust you will agree to Dolphin's inclusion (and the letter being cited as the source). gergis (talk) 15:59, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
The part about the actual study has nothing to do with water weathering and is related to hidden chambers:"In conclusion, only natural anomalies, flaws, and cavities were found under the Sphinx and under the Sphinx Temple. To this day I remain skeptical about the existence of any rooms, cavities, tunnels or voids under the Sphinx". This is the work carried out under the auspices of SRI, so not sure how it applies here. To that end, we are left with his personal letter to Schoch related to water weathering. The problem I have is that it is really just an e-mail of general opinions and musings and isn't really against an older date per se', he's just afraid for Schoch to say it regardless of the facts. He says "I have always felt that the Sphinx just happened to be built on a part of the Plateau where there is a lot of very poor and highly variable limestone". Not exactly much scientific value here. Personally I don't mind a published personal letter as a source in context, but in this case there seems to be too little to qualify as an actual rebuttal of the water weathering debate. While he may be a respected geophysicist, his religious beliefs, implied by this very letter, seem to be part of his motivation against the evidence suggesting an earlier dating of the Sphinx. I am not suggesting this disqualifies him as a source, but let's not kid ourselves about his motivation either. If no other source can be found for Dolphin of a more professional or technical capacity with detailed analysis of water erosion, I don't think Dolphin and this letter or worthwhile. If so, I do think it would be helpful to include the letter as an additional source to give a greater context of Dolphin's position.Thanos5150 (talk) 22:45, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
(2) No response.
(3) Agreed. This is an incorrect reference and should be removed.
(4) Alex Bordeau is an American archaeologist and member of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service who has been interviewed on National Public Radio ([7]) and has contributed, in his capacity as an archaeologist, to Joslin, Les, Uncle Sam's cabins: A visitor's guide to historic U.S. Forest Service ranger stations of the West ([8]). He is a bona fide archaeologist. Additionally, he is listed separately to Gauri, Sinai and Bandyopadhyay (and the others). The point being made here is, simply, that more archaeologists / geologists dispute the Schoch / Reader theory than support it. On this basis, Bordeau should be included. gergis (talk) 14:09, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure Bordeau is a nice fellow and works as geoarcheologist as he claims, of course we have no idea what his academic credentials are as a geologist, though I doubt he has a PhD in geology from Yale, but he lacks any notability on the subject except for one article in the Hall of Matt. My neighbor is a computer scientist with zero notability other than his employment-if he posts an article on my website can I then use him as a source for an article about computer science? Of course not. Bordeau may be a notable source for an article about "Uncle Sam's cabins", but in this context as he himself says "I am not an Egyptologist and have never been to Egypt". Including Bordeau is a dangerous precedent because essentially it gives credibility to any "Tom, Dick, or Harry" for any subject who writes an article on the web. I could find dozens of such individuals with professional or academic accreditation with a website or blog to support just about anything and none would be acceptable, so it should not be here either. The fact we are forced to rely on fringe/pseudoskeptic websites and "personal letters" instead of professional articles/websites and publications should be a red flag as to their credibility.
I don't know of any Egyptologists that openly support Schoch/Reader/Coxill, which reading Dolphin's comments is perfectly understandable, but the article says "most" don't which seems to be OR as we really don't know what "most" of them think as few have come forward to dispute it. Other than Hawass and Lehner it would appear most have kept their mouth shut. But as far as geologists as acceptable sources go, I see nothing that warrants inclusion other than Harrell and the team of Gauri, Sinai and Bandyopadhyay. And the latter is a "team" so it's a bit disingenuous to me to list them all separately as if they were a group of independent scientists. It seems appropriate to me to list them as the "team of K. Lal Gauri, et al". It's also worth noting that the leader of this team, K. Lal Gauri, is a pal of Mark Lehner and that as I said before Harrell has mostly dismissed their hypothesis.
I fully support credible rebuttal of the water weathering theory, which Harrell certainly qualifies, but whatever is offered should be held to the same editorial standards as any other subject and my main objection here are the double standards which I have outlined above.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:23, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
On "Lal Gauri, John J. Sinai and Jayanta K. Bandyopadhyay", I have no objection to amending to "Lal Gauri et al." (but without "the team of"). As regards the disagreement between Harrell and Lal Gauri et al., this is merely evidence of various alternative theories for the weathering. The point here is that certain scientists have proposed alternative theories (but have not necessarily adopted a consistent approach).
"Lal Gauri et al. sounds good to me. This is a common editing practice, so it does seem to apply here. All things considered though, it seems appropriate to separate each dissenting party explaining what they think instead of lumping them all together. This is unfair to me because it makes it sounds like there is an overwhelming chorus of agreement against Shoch/Reader/Coxill, when the fact is they don't even agree amongst themselves beyond the dating, and even then Harrell in particular doesn't even completely dismiss the possibility, he just thinks it unlikely and recognizes he may be wrong.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:23, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
On Bordeau, I concede that he is not an Egyptologist or a geologist. However, he is an archaeologist working in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. If I may refer you to the NPR transcript, here a geologist affiliated to the United States Geological Survey, Brian Atwater, and an archaeologist working in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Bordeau, discussed evidence of massive flooding based on water erosion and geological sediment in a river-bed. This is, clearly, a broadly analogous scenario to the proposed evidence of water erosion in the Sphinx enclosure. On this basis, I would hold that Bordeau has experience in the relevant archaeological field, and his involvement in an NPR piece on the subject reflects the esteem in which he is held in the field. If your concern is with Bordeau's characterisation as an Egyptologist or geologist, I agree that this is misleading. I propose as a solution to amend the relevant paragraph to "Egyptologists, archaeologists and geologists". gergis (talk) 16:16, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I have to stick with what I've already said about Bordeau. I may be outnumbered, but I think what I have said holds true regardless. If Bordeau supported a later date I would not be surprised to see him removed as a source on the same grounds. I'm sure he is a fine fellow, and a qualified professional in his field, but his notability in this matter is limited to one article written for the Hall of Maat and has never even been to Egypt as a professional, tourist, or otherwise. If he had any other notoriety related to the subject, or even Egypt in general, he might have more weight, but all things considered I do not see when we have much more notable sources who are actively involved in the debate and research at Giza that Brodeau's opinion is relevant here. If you note, all of the others sources, pro and con, all have some form of direct professional or independent experience in Egypt and all have been to the Sphinx which to me gives them particular credibility over others, like Bordeau, who have not. I have been there myself and the erosion you see on the on the Sphinx enclosure, associated temples, the first several courses of the 2nd pyramid, and west plateau ridge (same height and in line with the 1st several courses of the 2nd pyramid), all are markedly different than anything else I have seen at other Egypt sites. I am not an expert, but observing with your own eyes does put a site into a greater context that may be lost with pictures and raw data. It would be interesting for Bordeau to go there himself and travel through Egypt and see what his opinions would be then.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:23, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the key point of disagreement between us (on both the Dolphin letter and Bordeau) lies in what is intended by their inclusion. You seem to be concerned (quite rightly) that neither the Dolphin letter nor Bordeau refute the Schoch / Reader water erosion theory. I would agree. As you have noted, very few scientists have engaged directly with Schoch's theory. This is an approach typical of the body of established scientific opinion where it considers a new theory (here, Schoch's) to be "fringe". (Please note that this is merely an observation, not a judgment on my part.) In the absence of much direct engagement, whether supporting or rebutting Schoch's theory, the Wikipedia article lists alternative theories proposed by scientists for the evidence of erosion on the Sphinx. These alternative theories are not, therefore, intended to rebut Schoch's theory directly, but are cited as evidence of mainstream science's analysis of the Sphinx weathering. Importantly, the scope of these theories is typically (although not always) restricted to the cause of the weathering, and not to the Egyptological significance of the weathering in terms of dating the Sphinx. On this basis, the Dolphin letter (which proposes the "poor quality limestone" as a cause of the degradation of the Sphinx enclosure) and Bordeau's analysis (which should be seen as merely an archaeologist's analysis of the weathering -- as you note, Bordeau is not qualified to draw meaningful conclusions on the Egyptological significance of the erosion) are worthy of inclusion. I fully agree that, for the sake of clarity and precision, each theory should be matched to its proponent. But it is important to bear in mind that these alternative theories are merely proposed alternative causes of weathering -- they may be seen as indirectly disputing the Schoch theory, but only insofar as Schoch proposes that the weathering was caused by rainfall, and these theories do not. I would contend that the wording of the article is relatively clear on this point ("Most Egyptologists [...] do not accept the water erosion theory. Alternative explanations for the evidence of weathering [...] have been put forward by Egyptologists and geologists"). But I would be happy to discuss clarifying this, if you disagree. gergis (talk) 10:20, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
On a personal note, I would like to say it is refreshing to have this debate in an honest, respectful, and rational manner, to which end your points take on an even greater credibility beyond their technical merits. Your willingness to treat the subject fairly, regardless of your POV, in my experience on Wiki is quite a rarity, so thank you.
Your assessment of all points are mostly spot on and I agree with you. As the article is now, there seems to be little direct context for the alternative explanations for rainfall giving the impression of dog-piling on Schoch, which is my main concern. Without context for each argument it gives the false impression that Schoch has been "disproved", when in reality his opinion that heavy rainfall was the erosion agent is one credible opinion of out of many. I would also note the statement "Most Egyptologists [...] do not accept the water erosion theory. Alternative explanations for the evidence of weathering [...] have been put forward by Egyptologists and geologists" does not seem clear (to the reader anyway), because many do agree the erosion was caused by water in some form; the point they take issue with as you point out is whether or not the source was prolonged rainfall compared to some other process. For us this is an issue of semantics, but as an article it seems to me it should be worded as such to clarify this point. Noting the poor quality of the limestone is worthwhile, but this is common knowledge and Dolphin is only parroting this idea so adding his name as a unique contributor isn't warranted on that point. I would suggest the easiest way to resolve Dolphin is to eliminate him and find a better source that links the poor quality limestone to the weathering in a technical manner. I haven't read Harnell's assessment entirely, but it would not surprise me if he were to mention it there. AERA (Lehner) speaks of the poor quality of the limestone and subsequent erosion [9]. Looks like there is enough there to make the point. I still do not think Bordeau meets any notability requirements for inclusion here and reading his article again he is basing his opinions on little more than pictures posted on message boards and elsewhere and the explanations of others. Until he extends himself beyond a Hall of Matt article, and not to make light of his expertise, he seems pretty weak to me as a source on several points mainly striking me as superfluous to an already crowded argument. I think we are both on the same track here, so if you feel the need to start editing accordingly please do. I will help when I can.Thanos5150 (talk) 23:25, 4 January 2012 (UTC)


(3) I agree. I should have looked at the url when I replaced it, but what I saw was " Lehner, Mark (1991). Archaeology of an image: The Great Sphinx of Giza, doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1991.". I am not the editor who added it originally. I don't think the statement " have been put forward by Egyptologists and geologists, including Mark Lehner" even needed a source, but if the source is Lehner's PhD than that is a valid source, it's the url that's inappropriate. But I haven't read Lehner's PhD so don't know what is in it. I don't understand the logic behind removing it from one statement and leaving it in for another, although the statement it's being used for seems non-controversial also.
(4) Yes, calling Bordeau a nobody is wrong from several points of view. I see no reason not to include Bordeau. Dougweller (talk) 16:04, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
The letter can't be used - we can't verify that it was written, for a start. If you went to RSN I'd guess that people would say Orcutt himself could be used so long as he was attributed. The word pseudoskeptic is simply derogatory and a way of dismissing anything that challenges the fringe, and as I've said, Maat is well respected in that part of the archaeological community that is interested in cult/fringe/alternative archaeology. So far only Thanos has objected to using Bordeau. I see no reason not to use Bordeau but we must attribute anything we use. Dougweller (talk) 07:22, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
There should be enough credible sources between Lehner, Hawass (who isn't even mentioned for some reason), Harrell, and team of K. Lal Gauri to make the point. Orcutt is a psuedoskeptic, debunker-whatever you want to call him- and regardless lacks the notability and professional qualifications to be a credible source regardless of his fringe status and as such there is no reasonable grounds to attribute to him anything he says. We don't care what Larry Orcutt has to say. His "Crack Pot" index gives "1 point for every statement that is in conflict with generally accepted theories". So, according to Orcutt, anyone who even disagrees with generally accepted theories gets "Crack Pot" point. Nice. I'll make sure to tell Rainer Stadelmann he's a "crack pot". Lack of notability notwithstanding, I see no difference between Orcutt and say the likes of an Alan Alford or Giorgio Tsoukalos, and we sure as hell aren't going to use either of them as a source in this context.
Psuedoskeptic is an apt description of people like you, Michael Shermer and your pal Lung Salad to name a few as evidenced here:[10] and here [11]. And let's be clear; to say "Maat is well respected in that part of the archaeological community that is interested in cult/fringe/alternative archaeology" means the archaeological community specifically interested in actively debunking any and all alternatives to mainstream beliefs.
Regarding Bordeau, I've made my point and feel it is more than valid he does not warrant inclusion here as a notable source. If so, then what the hell-let's quote this guy [12]. He's been published and has a degree. Or how about this guy: [13]. He's a "Dr.". There is no doubt if Bordeau supported an earlier date for construction you would fight against him as a source for the same reasons.Thanos5150 (talk) 22:27, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
And yet more personal attacks. And a failure to notice that indeed Hawass is mentioned in the article. You attack me for making edits I never made, and then don't even notice I've added Hawass. I agree we don't need Orcutt. I'm getting tired of these attacks. I'm asking you nicely to agree to stop them. Dougweller (talk) 06:54, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not attacking you personally and if you want to play nice then I would ask you to do the same. You added the Hawass bit on the 1-1-12 and I made my comments on the 2nd, so, sorry I didn't notice it the next day whereas for years no mention has been made of him. It would have been helpful if you would have done the courtesy of mentioning it here, but regardless it looks to be a worthy addition.
I am tired of attacking you, and being attacked by you, but you keep doing the same things over and over again and never take responsibility for yourself. I put quotes around a word and you swoop in to immediately revert it and yet do nothing about the Orcutt sources or recent nonsense Schoch ad hominims which you admit "I should have looked at the url when I replaced it". How is this not an attack on me? Are you playing nice or fair? No. You do this kind of thing all the time. But whether you originally made it or not you didn't correct it, and given my history with you I find it hard to believe you never noticed it before now. My other points, which you have not responded to, are about your inaction against the reckless editing of Lung Salad and the use of ad hominins against Schoch yet you have fought tooth and nail against adding appropriate qualifiers to questionable sources that support your POV. It is not unreasonable to call you out on that Doug. I know you see it when it happens, so why do you do nothing? You claim to be an objective skeptic and not a "pseudoskeptic", well, your edits, or lack of intervention as an administrator and editor for questionable edits that support your POV consistently prove otherwise. If I am somehow wrong about you-prove it with your objectivity and get off my back. I think about all the BS you put me through down to the word and even quotation marks, yet you do nothing about this stuff. If offends me.Thanos5150 (talk) 22:19, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
My definition of Pseudoskeptic would be far more comprehensive than given in those two links. Lung salad (talk) 00:04, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps Archie Roy privately holds high opinions of Zecharia Sitchin as well. The professor is the founding President of The Scottish Society for Psychical Research. In 2004 he was awarded the Myers Memorial Medal for his outstanding contributions to Psychical Research in London. Lung salad (talk) 09:59, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I can't see where I should have used my administrative tools here. I'd only use them for obvious vandalism as I'm involved in editing this article. Both you and Lung Salad and other editors have made edits I disagree with and have made edits that have been constructive. Sometimes I just let people argue it out as I don't have time to get involved, on other occasions I find the time. I dislike scare quotes because they are frowned upon for good reasons (see MOS:BADEMPHASIS and would be removed in any case if this article were to be a candidate for Featured Article. But I gave up on that one as you seemed to think your opinion was more important than our guidelines. It does look to me as though there are enough editors of differing viewpoints active to maintain a balance without me, and I'd rather spend time dealing with my other responsibilities - yesterday I spent quite a bit of time answering emails to the Foundation and managed (I believe) to help someone make a donation. That's more worthwhile than spending a lot of time on an article with active editors. Dougweller (talk) 09:14, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
....really? Uggh.
And before you go, Wiki Guidlines about quotes: "Quotation marks are to show that you are using the correct word as quoted from the original source". How many times do I need to say I added quotes to denote "mystic" is the word of the source, Fagan. Then you add another source that they themselves have "mystic[s]" in quotes. They use quotes because they are using the terminology of others. Why is this so hard for you to comprehend? You are completely oblivious to the facts and keep saying the same thing over and over again as if it is meaningless. Weird. Good luck with your Foundation.Thanos5150 (talk) 18:58, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Schwaller de Lubicz regarded himself as a mystic. Really. Lung salad (talk) 20:18, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanos150's arguments suggest we should put quotation marks around words such as 'Egyptologist', 'archaeologist', etc. But that would be a classical example of scare quotes and we don't do that for the same reason the quotation marks shouldn't have been around the word 'mystic'. I really don't understand why he doesn't think Schwaller was a mystic and it still looks as though the purpose of the quotation marks wasn't to show that we were using the word as in the source. Dougweller (talk) 11:53, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
That is not what my arguments suggest in any way shape or form and for you say that is just plain dumb Doug. Is there a "mystic" degree? Is there some form of accreditation one goes through to earn the title of "mystic"? Or how about "wizard" or "witch"? The title "mystic" is a monicker which are almost always in quotes. This is why your source puts it in quotes and as far as the other source we are quoting his use of a monicker to describe him. I really cannot fathom why this is such a sticking point for you. And also, you are the last person who should be questioning the integrity of another editor motives, especially me.Thanos5150 (talk) 22:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Back to this nonsense? Schwaller de Lubicz regarded himself as a mystic and wrote under a mystical name, "Aor". Lung salad (talk) 16:16, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Whatever Thanos5150 thinks we should do, this is Wikipedia and this is an example of scare quotes. Maybe Thanos is right about the reason the source uses quotation marks, but we don't. Here's a use of the word 'witch' Ann-Marie Gallagher to describe someone who thinks they are a witch. Here are a few more mystics Emanuel Swedenborg, Jakob Böhme, Meister Eckhart and Manly Palmer Hall. No quotations marks because we don't use them in the way Thanos 5150 would have us use them. Dougweller (talk) 16:59, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think there is any doubt that the guy was a genuine mystic, and that he saw himself in that light. Some of his detractors obviously used the term in a derogatory fashion, as bigots are inclined to do, but it seems that he was proud of the label, so let it be. Quotation marks are only appropriate if the adjective is not real (e.g. Prof John Smith called Winston Churchill a 'Martian'.) Wdford (talk) 18:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as a "genuine" mystic, witch, or wizard though regardless of what one thinks themselves to be? This is why quotes are used. If Churchill thought himself to be a Martian we would still use quotes when referring to him as a "Martian". I really don't care that quotes are used or not, but it's use is appropriate either way so why do I need to be incessantly hassled on it? Doug takes exception because he thinks they are scare quotes but this is not true, therefore, if it is appropriate either way then why not let it be? This is just another example of nitpicking every little thing to death to waste time.Thanos5150 (talk) 20:06, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
It seems there IS such a thing as a mystic, in the same way as some people consider themselves to be "artists" (although not all of them can actually paint/sing etc) and so on. A mystic is an actual thing - see the blue link for what they get up to (however successfully or unsuccessfully). Whether or not SdL was any good at it, is beside the point. Churchill, on the other hand, was not actually a Martian, Smith/Smythe was merely being sarcastic, hence the quotation marks. If the use of the quotes in SdL's case "is appropriate either way", as you state, then let's move on please? After all, SdL isn't even mentioned in this article anymore. Wdford (talk) 06:47, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Quote: "What is signed 'Aor' comes from a mystic source revealed in l'Appel du Feu, a private source of knowledge with which Aor alone had contact, and he took its name. Rene Schwaller, or de Lubicz Schwaller or R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (we cannot be certain which one) heard the voice and understood the language and became Aor." André VandenBroeck, Al-Kemi: Hermetic, Occult, Political, and Private Aspects of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz.

Here's a citation. Lung salad (talk) 01:29, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanos, your comments illustrate why Wikipedia doesn't like scare quotes. It isn't up to judge whether there is any such thing as a witch, wizard, mystic, whatever. That's part of our NPOV policy. If I were writing elsewhere I might well use scare quotes (which they are by most people's definition), but we don't use them. As Scare quotes says, "Style guides generally recommend the avoidance of scare quotes in impartial works, such as in encyclopedia articles or academic discussion.". And it isn't really a trivial issue, if we allowed them we'd get involved in endless edit wars. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dougweller (talkcontribs) 07:00, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Schoch[edit]

And Schoch remains rejected by mainstream scholarship. Remains fringe. Lung salad (talk) 08:41, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

This remains true. In fact, as it is written, if only two people champion it, is it not by definition fringe? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.188.250.146 (talk) 23:39, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

     No mister anonymous that is not the definition of fringe. Buy a dictionary.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.226.196.247 (talk) 15:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC) 


The following findings need to be reported as far as I am concerned even in the main article. Otto Muck calculated that a huge asteroid (200 miles long) struck the west Atlantic 10,500 years ago. Do not discount him he provides tremendous research to support his case in his book Secrets of Atlantis. Unless you have read the book your are not qualified to pronounce judgement. The man was a German scientist and engineer and held 2000 patents. This happened on June 5 8498 B.C. this is 10,500 years ago. Piercing the mantle of the earth, apart from causing huge tidal waves and floods it flung billions (it may even be trillions, check his calculations) of tons of volcanic ash into the air which by means of rain seeding caused increased rain fall for almost 2000 years. This would be from 10,500 to 8,500 years ago. He finds that this huge impact caused a land mass of which only the Azores islands remains, to sink 2000 ft below the ocean.

Now, in the July 21 2006 issue of Science magazine, it was reported by Kroepelin of the University of Cologne that 10,500 years ago monsoon rains began falling on the Sahara desert. 9,000 to 7,300 years ago; continued rains, confirmed by cave man paintings of animals of the savanna's. About 7,300 to 5,500 years ago retreating monsoons rains initiated desiccation. I concur that the present date for the construction of the Sphinx as accepted by archaeology has no basis in proof. I suggest that the preceding findings may even allow a date of around 10,500 years ago for the construction of the Sphinx, which would allow for an explanation of water weathering on same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.199.125.229 (talk) 17:11, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

You're on the wrong website if you wish to discuss the age of the Sphinx. If you want to argue that Otto Muck meets WP:RS take it to WP:RSN, but I can assure you he doesn't. Dougweller (talk) 16:29, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Sphinx's face represented a face of a woman[edit]

quote: "(although, like most Egyptian sphinxes, the Great Sphinx has a man's head and no wings"

occult nonsense. If some "egyptologist" (Arab) thinks that great Sphinx represented a man's face [because the face itself was destroyed /"corrected" -to look more like "man"] it does not mean it represented some "khufu". It represents Mother Hathor Herself.

Size?[edit]

Can anyone with a reputable source confirm that the size listed on the page is correct? Is it truly 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide? Other things I've seen online seem to suggest it's only 6 m wide. [1]

I have nothing reputable to use as a source to confirm one or the other.

Thanks, Trixietraytray (talk) 18:43, 23 September 2014 (UTC)Trixietraytray (Sept 23, 2014)

not very accurate[edit]

In AD 1378, upon finding the local peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest, Sa'im al-Dahr was so outraged that he destroyed the nose, and was hanged for vandalism.

It not very accurately quotes its own source which says:

according to Makrizi, Rashidi and other medieval Arab scholars, the face of the Sphinx was vandalized in 1378 A.D. by Mohammed Sa'im al-Dahr, a "fanatical sufi of the oldest and most highly respected sufi convent of Cairo." The nose and ears are mentioned specifically as having been damaged at this time. According to one account, Haarmann states, the residents in the neighborhood of the Sphinx were so upset by the destruction that they lynched him and buried him near the great monument he ruined.

i.e. a) we don't know how he was killed, I personally doubt that he was hanged, b) he was killed by a mob ('lynched'), not by the local authorities, how I thought reading that sentence on the wiki, so it's misleading, c) only one of these several scholars mentions his death for his crime, d) he reportedly destroyed ears too, not only the nose, e) the sufi was reportedly buried near the Sphynx, IMO it's interesting.

P.S. I was surprised why the article is protected but then I saw the comment about 'occult nonsense', lol.217.118.64.61 (talk) 15:16, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Lion man[edit]

The Sphinx clearly represents a person (probably male, or possibly a female "king") with a lions body. That is a conventional mix in the Egyptian context, where human-animal hybrids dominate in religion and mythology. Isn't it therefore illogical to suggest that the lion characteristics indicate "Furthermore as the Sphinx represented a lion, the same individual may have suffered from an associated condition where “lion-like” features were apparent"?Royalcourtier (talk) 23:39, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Google Search results