To Make A Long Story Short…

Over the transom today comes another item from our friend Jess Kaplan, mentioning yet another eccentric Russian academic. This time around it is a mathematician by the name of Anatoly Fomenko.

Fomenko’s c.v. is certainly impressive, as we can see from his Wikipedia entry, which tells us, in part:

Anatoly T. Fomenko is a full member (Academician) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and the International Higher Education Academy of Sciences, as well as a doctor of physics and mathematics, a professor, and head of the Differential Geometry Department of the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics in Moscow State University. Fomenko is the author of the theory of topological invariants of integrable Hamiltonian system. He is the author of 180 scientific publications, 26 monographs and textbooks on mathematics, a specialist in geometry and topology, variational calculus, symplectic topology, Hamiltonian geometry and mechanics, and computer geometry.

Where he gets into suspect terrain is in his theory of the “New Chronology”, which Wikipedia summarizes as follows:

Fomenko is a supporter of drastically revising chronological history. He has created his own revision called “New Chronology”, based on statistical correlations, dating of zodiacs, and by examining the mathematics and astronomy involved in chronology. Fomenko claims that he has discovered that many historical events do not correspond mathematically with the dates they are supposed to have occurred on. He asserts from this that all of ancient history (including the history of Greece, Rome, and Egypt) is just a reflection of events that occurred in the Middle Ages and that all of Chinese and Arab history are fabrications of 17th and 18th century Jesuits. He also claims that Jesus lived in the 12th century A.D. and was crucified on Joshua’s Hill; that the Trojan war and the Crusades were the same historical event; and that Genghis Khan and the Mongols were actually Russians. As well as disputing written chronologies, Fomenko also disputes more objective dating techniques such as dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating (see here for an examination of the latter criticism). Most Russian scientists considered Fomenko’s historical works to be pseudoscientific. His historical books include Empirico-statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and Its Applications and History: Fiction or Science?

As you might imagine, his ideas have not been warmly greeted by the academic community. Learn more about it all here.

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8 Comments

  1. JK says

    I personally hope that Horace fellow sets about to check in. Not the Ancient Horace mind, the more extant Horace fellow. He after all was responsible for something I (think) discovered. Chronologically speaking. Apparently these Russian guys read English Literature (Comp II) papers.

    (At least the ones that adhere to the admonition: “If one cannot dazzle with brilliance – overload the works cited page – baffle with bullshit.”)

    Something my Professor said, “Cervantes was apparently, the real thing.” I set about looking for what I could find. Our text stated explicitly, “Shakespeare and Cervantes died the same day.”

    I originally set out to prove Cervantes was a terrisco, a sort of Special Forces guy of times past. I discovered, as others had, biographical stuff was hard to find. But I did find that when Don Juan set out from Venice to engage the Turks at LePanto, and then tried to reconcile contemporary stuff the English Navy was doing – well, chronologically, stuff wasn’t lining up.

    As everyone knows, Navies of the world had everything to do with the development of chronometers because sailors have to, must know the very-most proper Time.

    Was Cervantes a terrisco? I never did find out. I did find that Spain was using the Gregorian calendar while England was still using the Julian. Too, though perhaps unimportant, Spanish custom at the time differed from the English in death shit. The English headstone listed the date of decease while the Spaniards etched the date of burial.

    Now does this prove that the most recent entries concerning Russian Academics’ theories is questionable at best?

    Hell I don’t know, I only looked at the Spanish and the English.

    But my extant Horace friend saw fit to advise his friends on The Milton List.

    And anyone familiar with the sorts who frequent that group – well…

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says

    Comrade Lysenko!

    Kevin

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 2:14 am | Permalink
  3. JK says

    Well, there you have me. I’m not truly from Scotland.

    Find that quiz Kevin?

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  4. Kevin Kim says

    Whoops, sorry, JK: I wasn’t referring to you, and I apologize for the confusion. Lysenko had wacky scientific ideas (especially about genetics), and this Fomenko guy sounds similar (though with regard to history, not genetics), hence my goofy outburst.

    I also apologize for not having given you the link to the Political Compass sooner:

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

    It’s a really interesting measure of one’s leanings. Some people complain about the way it’s constructed, but what measuring tool is perfect, eh? I think the major difference between the Political Compass and that other quiz is that that other quiz didn’t really survey one’s attitudes about foreign policy, which is primarily where I lean rightward. I trust the compass because it saw me the way I see myself: as a centrist overall, not as distinctly left of center.

    Have fun, and Happy New Year, all!

    Kevin

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  5. Kevin Kim says

    JK,

    I just took the Political Compass diagnostic again, after several years away from it, and still scored centrist. Interestingly, I was biased slighty toward right-libertarian, as opposed to left-libertarian on the other quiz. Centrist, indeed.

    Kevin

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink
  6. JK says

    It would appear that you are not solely surprised. On the first graph showing the economic/social scale, I seem to be somewhat authoritarian (75% right) while on the social a centrist leaning left. Both though, expectedly close enough to center to satisfy my own self view.

    As for the second “Political Compass” graph? It would seem that I am a lefty leaning libertarian nutcase of sorts. I do take solace in the factor that when I recognized my spot on the graph, I immediately (mentally) laid rings around the crosshairs – I landed within 25% of center.

    I’m like you in some ways it would appear. If it weren’t for my foreign policy views I fear I would’ve been left down there with Nelson Mandela.

    Thanks Kevin.

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
  7. JK says

    Oh and Kevin?

    Thanks for the first, but I didn’t really take it too seriously. I have after all come around to accepting that the Coca-Cola Corporation has it’s Science Department out after my ass.

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  8. I’d respond to this, but I don’t have any time.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:33 pm | Permalink