George Dodwell

1 May 2015

George Dodwell's name keeps cropping up recently, on the Internet. He crops up every now and again at SIS. It's difficult to know how much reliance we can have regarding his curve - but he appears to have contradicted Newcomb's 'Formula for the Obliquity of the Ecliptic' big time. Peter M James has recently mentioned Dodwell, a leading astronomer in 20th century Australia, and now we have Tim Cullen from his retirement home on the Costa lotta hotter popping up with a bit of Dodwell - hoping to deflate 'settled science' for being over inflated with self importance. See what you think.

At https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/celestial-crystal-balls-and-t... ... he begins with a couple of pages on gravity and Newton, inferring that gravity alone does not work and that even Newton was aware of the fact (but lots of mainstream scientists would say otherwise). As such, he says Newton relied on the periodic intervention by God to keep the solar system stable. It sounds a bit tongue in the cheek - was he laughing at us?

Mathematicians, of course, according to Cullen, came up with a compromise, the Perturbation Theory, an approximate solution which at least did away with the divine intervention bit. Perturbation theory was used to solve the problem of the moon which moves differently from a simple Keplerian ellipse because of the competing gravity of the Earth and the Sun. Tim Cullen then adds - Newton's calculated mechanism is the refined art of the celestial mathematical approximation. He then turns on Laplace - and his version of a formula for the obliquity of the ecliptic. He is not impressed - and reads between the lines.

He then inserts George Dodwell into the post, saying he studied Stockwell's formula (which he describes later) and produced his article, 'Curve of Obliquity' which showed the last maximum (in that formula) would have occurred around 7000BC. This is an interesting date as around 6200-6000BC there was a major event that involved changes in the sea levels of the oceans - and some land was submerged in the process. We might thus wonder if Stockwell was all that far out.

Dodwell showed that in 1954 (when he was writing) that the obliquity was gradually decreasing from its maximum. Is Cullen making this up? Dodwell said that the attraction of the planets, as well as the Sun and the Moon, cause a displacement in the plane of the ecliptic, so that it oscillates with respect to the equator, varying from 26,000 years to 53,000 years, producing in the obliquity a series of maximums and minimums (see also www.setterfield.org/Dodwell_Manuscript_1.html).

Going back to 1894, Cullen then brings Norman Lockyer into the picture - author of 'The Dawn of Astronomy' (which is on the Catastrophist CD). Lockyer claimed he had calculated the age of the temple of Amun Ra at Karnak by using the Laplace formula, providing a date of 3700BC. The temple was set out and aligned to the Sun - could the date be retrocalculated? Amun, for better or worse, was combined with the Sun god, Ra, at some point in Egyptian history, a combination of the Sun at night with the Sun of the daylight hours (or something like that). Amun developed into a hidden god (the Sun at night had gone away) - he was no longer visible as a physical and regular visitor to the night sky. Hence, the Amun  element was combined with the Sun - which was clearly visible every day.

Lockyer had devised a way of dating any kind of aligned architectural monument simply by using the obliquity of the ecliptic formula. The interesting thing is that if he had used Stockwell's updated formula the Temple of Karnak would have been built between 44,000 and 49,000 years ago. I don't know if this is true but we have to take Cullen's word for it - and again his idea that it sent alarm bells ringing amongst astronomers. Newcomb was given the task of sorting it out (and sorting out the irritant, Lockyer) and in 1895 published a simplified formula which used a collation of tabulated precomputed values that were supposed to provide the position of the Sun at any point in time. Newcomb's formula, according to Tim Cullen, contains no celestial mechanics - or cyclical oscillations that could be misinterpreted. Newcomb's formula was a stitch up, or so it would seem, as the formula is said to run smoothly and gradually for around 10,000 years and integrates with other refined data between 1750 and 1900AD. As such, it was adopted by mainstream without much of a quibble. It could therefore be used to date architecture and monuments over the last few thousand year - so it was thought.

Dodwell wrote in the 1950s 'it is the general belief of astronomers that Newcomb's formula demonstrably and very closely represents the obliquity within the time limits mentioned and the divergences of the ancient and medieval observations derived from this formula have been consequently ascribed to errors in their observations, due, it is thought, to the use of simple or crude instruments and methods of observation' - which I suppose sums up settled science in many ways.

Norman Lockyer, in later years, went on to found the journal Nature. In 1911 he published a letter in Nature that claimed the Temple of Karnak was founded as early as 4000BC - even older than his own estimate. This triggered, we are led to believe by Cullen, a new series of investigations which ended up with mainstream declaring the temple was not actually aligned to the setting Sun at summer solstice (with the intent of warping the debate). However, Newcomb's formula dated the temple even later - at 8650BC - which was clearly out of the question.

George Dodwell (see www.setterfield.org/Dodwell_Manuscript_8.html) was not satisfied - but that was swept under the carpet. Stockwell's formula was designed to augment that of Newcomb. Ultimately, Newcomb's formula was found wanting. It did not reflect reality - although the general public were not made aware of this change of view (to any degree). The temple of Karnak was built some time in the late 3rd millennium BC, based on historical and mainstream chronology. Dodwell used this information to mark out his curve - which differed markedly from mainstream retrocalculated data. One can see it was not just that he had found an anomaly but that he had undermined the settled science position - not a good thing to do when you are still in employment (and Dodwell was employed by the State). Subsequently, his work on the obliquity of the ecliptic was not published - and was ignored. His critics, whenever his name was mentioned, resorted to ad hominem - attacking the man rather than his reasoning, or science. The same thing happens in the modern world. Dodwell was a Christian - although that didn't appear to impinge on his research methodology, but the same criticism has been levelled in the modern world at Dr Roy Spencer, who analyses satellite data. It doesn't show any warming since the satellite was launched - which contradicts mainstream views on global warming. He is therefore criticised, not for the satellite data, which cannot be refuted, but the fact he goes to church on a Sunday. Apparently, this brands him a loonie.

At https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/rock-around-the-clock/ ... Tim Cullen claims Dodwell's work had a flaw. He showed that Newcomb's formula was flawed but the problem then was that he used mainstream dating of the Karnak temple to construct his new line of obliquity. If the temple of Karnak is excluded from Dodwell's graph, he says, or line of obliquity, his curve is much gentler - and even some of his other markers may be wrong, he adds. As to the nature of these errors, or anomalies, Cullen brings in Gunnar Heinsohn - and no conclusion is offered. Heinsohn notoriously wishes to erase 700 years of AD history on the basis of using truncated stratigraphy and avoids documentation and scientific dating methodology. Cullen may as well have gone the whole hog and had a real meal rather than the pig's trotter by including the enormous BC revision invented by Heinsohn as well. One of the comments at the end of the article quotes Pillars of the Past - attributing it to the pen of Lyn Rose rather than Ginenthal (who borrowed Heinsohn's chronology and redesigned the ancient world in his own image).

One is left with a completely different take on Dodwell than Peter M James, or Paul Dunbavin. They seem to think Dodwell discovered modern retrocalculations of eclipse data do not conform with the ancients and he set out a line to show a curve of 'known' dated monuments and astronomers (such as the Greeks and Chinese) and the last point was the Karnak temple. Dunbavin did not think the accepted date for Karnak was impregnable - and left it out. Dodwell used his curve to date a catastrophe around 2300BC - Dunbavin shifted this back to 3000BC. Cullen appears to want to move the goalposts further still - all the way back to the Younger Dryas event. James, on the other hand, would like to show a series of short time changes in the axis of rotation - which wobble for a while before resettling down. What is weird about Cullen's use of Heinsohn is that the latter would probably not accept the date assigned to the Younger Dryas - he clearly foresees everything going topsy turvy around 1500BC (in the time of Abraham). Get out of that one.