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Folklore

Mount Shasta Herald

William Bridge Cooke discusses
Lost Continent book

December 11, 1941

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During a discussion of the "lost continent" of Mu or Lemuria last summer someone asked me what I thought of James Churchward’s books on the "Lost Continent of Mu."  In order to answer this question as fairly as possible I obtained two of the series of four or five at the San Francisco Public Library and read all parts of them.

It may be wondered what Churchward’s Mu has to do with Mt. Shasta.  As many know, Harve Spencer Lewis, under the name of Wishar Spenle Cerve, founder of the Amorc Rosicrucians of San Jose, wrote two editions of a book he called "Lemuria".  In this book his map of Lemuria includes all of California and parts of Nevada and neighboring states.  Churchward’s maps of Mu do not take in such a wide variety of territory, but much of his text has been adopted to the uses of Lewis.  If this last statement is not true, the later publication of Lewis’s book over Churchward’s series (although involving only a few years, or even months) and the similarity in many of the statements in both books may be coincidences.  Since people may confuse the two lost continents, it would be well to state that to all intents and purposes a continent of the great extent described in either book is not believed to have existed at any time by any recognized scientist.

An explanation of this statement may be in order.  In order to study the early history of the earth one must piece together evidence from many sources.  This evidence comes from a number of sciences whose relationship to each other is close or vague but whose findings are of use to any or all sciences.  Among the sciences involved may be listed the following:

Astronomy:  Tells us how it was possible for the planet we call the earth to have come into existence, how it increased or decreased from its original size, and its relationship with all the other heavenly bodies of our universe and of the other universes in existence at present.

Physics:  Discovers the various laws of the universe which case the formation of planets, suns and other astronomical phenomena; and also laws which control various phenomena such as the building of continents, mountains, oceans, and other natural laws controlling speed and direction of projectiles, laws controlling phases of growth of plants and animals, etc.

Geology:  The science of the earth, which, through its various subsidiary sciences, describes the rock structure of the planet on which we live.

Physiography:  Related to geology and describing the various features of the earth such as rivers, mountains, oceans, etc., and explaining the growth of these phenomena from their origin to their old age.

Geography:  A science of description which tells of the various uses to which man has put the various features described under geology and physiography.

Biology:  The science of life, in the subsidiary sciences of which an attempt is made to describe life in all its varied phases.

Zoology:  The science of animal life, divided into a varied number of subsidiary branches, of which we are interested in only a few in connection with the problem at hand.

Botany:  The science of plant life, also divided into a varied number of subsidiary branches.

Ecology:  One phase of biology in which the relationship of all existing life to itself is demonstrated.  Here is described how plants and animals live together and maintain a balance which is very delicate.  We learn how communities of animals and plants live together without destroying each other, but to each other’s mutual benefit, by field observation.  We discover how the existence of some plants or animals is necessary to the existence of others, etc.

Genetics:  Another phase of biology which is demonstrated both through plants and animals, and through which evolution is demonstrated.  Here through crossing, hybridization, and other methods, new varieties of garden plants are produced.  Here we discover how pure a certain species may or may not be.  Here we can look into the dim past to the ancestry of a plant through various specialized techniques.

Paleontology:  Still another phase of biology, although this time related closely to geology.  Here, in the rocks of the world, we find, name and date plants and animals which existed tens of thousands, millions, even hundreds of millions of years ago.  The dates of the geological layers of the earth are largely determined through comparison between layers having the same animal and plant life in widely separated parts of the world.  Dates are more accurately fixed by tests of radioactivity, and other complex tests of the rocks.

Archeology:  The study of prehistoric and early man.  History goes back to certain definite points.  These are checked and carried farther back by archeology, which then, when remains of man are no longer available, merges with paleontology which carries on when only parts of fossilized skeletons are available for study.

Ethnology:  The study of the races of mankind, their relationships with and differences from each other, nowadays dealing with isolated and primitive peoples, tracing back to man’s origin through knowledge of migrations, languages, etc.

From the above summary it will be seen that the study of lost continents, lost peoples and lost races is a very intricate one.  IF it is carried out through all these processes.  There are several other phases of the study of mankind, not necessarily scientific in scope, which must be taken into consideration.

Psychology:  Deals with the human mind and is not necessarily scientific because there are no controls on experiments which may be made, man being a creature on which too much experimentation cannot be carried out, and being so individualistic that that which applies to one may not apply to another.  However, certain large generalizations may be made in connection with:

Religion:  One of the best ways to demonstrate the rise of mankind from animals suddenly gifted with intelligence to intelligent beings turned animal (as in the world today).  This is a very difficult phase of the study of mankind to treat with any semblance of a scientific approach.  A number of volumes have been written on the history of man’ religious experience, but these are rarely read outside of theological seminaries and college classes on advanced psychology.

One of the major reasons why Mr. James Churchward’s works on Mu have been disregarded completely by men competent to judge them is that Mr. Churchward invented his own system of natural and human laws to account for various phenomena well known to science and explained, or partially explained, under the above listed sciences.  It would take at least one large volume to break down the various stories by Churchward from the standpoint of the mass of evidence accumulated by modern science.  It seems sufficient to say that any continent proposed for the Pacific Ocean, outside the Australasian Archipelago (which once was land), is not accepted by science.

Lewis, in his book on Lemuria, proposes that the continent came into existence through "continental drift."  This is a rather modern theory of geology proposed by a number of European workers and called the Wegener hypothesis.  Lewis uses the early form of the hypothesis, but recent writers on Continental Drift, while admitting the possibility of Atlantis, do not even mention Lemuria, or Mu, let alone accept it is a fact.

It is well known that the major mountain systems of the world came into existence before Tertiary time which existed tens of millions of years ago, not just 70,000 years ago.  It is well known that the earth has never been just flat, but has always had mountain systems of one sort or another.  The fact that it is possible for fossils of at least 400,000,000 years ago to be found preserved in sediments alone demonstrates that there must have been some highlands from which the sediments could have been brought to the oceans.  This argument holds for all the hundreds of millions of years of the earth’s history during which fossil remains of plants, animals and bacteria accumulated.

It is not known exactly where man first appeared on the earth, although central Asia is usually chosen as the center of distribution for primitive man because at the ends of radii from that area several types of primitive man Peking, Neanderthal, Java, etc.formed their colonies.  It is certain, however, that man, as is true of all life, developed from more primitive life forms.  This is contrary to the several stories in which man and other life is shown as a special creation.  This latter view is probably more flattering to man’s vanity, but the burden of proof, that which exists on either side, points toward a gradual evolution rather than toward special creation.

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