Gullibility & Credulity
Gullibility and Credulity are two of the greatest enemies of serious Atlantology. When any attention-seeking PhD pronounces on the location of Atlantis, there is always a herd of credulous listeners willing to believe what they say. Having abandoned their critical faculties, many of these will pay good money to purchase their books or attend their lectures. After committing their cash and time to back any given idea, some, often through pride, will often be reluctant to later abandon their support or switch to any other competing theory.
The history of Atlantology has recorded a recurring pattern. It was not until the 15th century that Plato’s complete Atlantis story was made available in Europe with the Latin translation of Marsilio Ficino, which was around the same time that America was discovered. This led to a knee-jerk reaction identifying the New World with Atlantis. In due course the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was discovered leading to a variety of claims, placing Atlantis in the Atlantic.
Then the Minoan civilisation was rediscovered at the start of the 20th century, which led to its identification as Atlantean, an idea consolidated by the unearthing of Minoan remains on Santorini following a 2nd millennium BC eruption of the volcano there. Even more exotic locations have been proposed over the last century, including Antarctica, the Andes and Indonesia.
Obviously, there were many other proposed locations, but the American, Atlantic and Minoan theories have persisted over the centuries.*As I have argued elsewhere, common sense rules out America and the Atlantic since both involve distances from Athens that conflict with the need to be within easy striking distance. With regard to the Minoans, Athens was attacked from the west not the south, apart from which, relatively speaking, Crete is ‘just down the road’, which begs the question, why Plato did not simply say that Athens were attacked by their regional neighbours, the Cretans. To me, it is clear that Plato did not know the identity of the Atlanteans.*
If Critical Thinking is properly applied to any these locations they will, in my opinion, fail as potential sites for Plato’s Atlantis.
*Apart from location, there are a number of other aspects of Plato’s Atlantis story that stretch credibility, in fact Plato himself found Solon’s dimensions for the ditch surrounding the Plain of Atlantis difficult to accept (Critias 118c) but out of deference to Solon, recorded them anyway. Then we have the timespan of 9,000 years between the Atlantean War and Solon’s visit to Egypt, which would require Atlantis to have waged war against Athens and Egypt before either existed as organised societies!*
An online article on the subject of gullibility is worth a read(a).