Updated on October 1, 2016 Dean Traylor moreDean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He wrote for IHPVA magazines and raced these vehicles with his father (who builds them). I label this article a commentary. These are my thoughts and feelings and mine alone. Of course, my opinion will be supported by facts. After all, the best way to write a commentary is to fill it up with as many facts to support my thesis. Many editors -even English teachers – would tell you not to start an article off this way. It looks amateurish and unprofessional. And, in many respect, I agree. Then again, they haven’t had to deal with the type of critics I’ve had to contend with on one particular article. And who are these critics? They’re vulgar, loud, and fixated on…pyramids. Yes, pyramids. Most importantly, they have it stuck in their heads that an article about the debunking of the Antarctic pyramid myth is nothing more than “just an opinion.” And that’s a bad thing to them. “….this is your opinion,” a person going by the Internet name Just Wondering wrote.
Some commentators were sarcastic. Some were obviously angry (possibly offended) by my article. In nearly every case, however, the word “opinion” became a pejorative stick they used to beat me over the head with (metaphorically speaking, of course). For a moment, I wondered if I did something wrong. I truly began to question my writing and line of thinking. Did I do something fallacious in the article? Was there something about the writing process I totally missed that these people knew and were scolding me for? Did I make a logical fallacy without realizing it? The opinion thing was getting the better of me, until I started searching the web to find answers. By the time I was done, I came to a startling conclusion; the fault was not with me, but with those who were desperate to discredit me. And, in the process they committed a fallacious argument that ignored the objective conclusion of the article. Is that my opinion? Yes, and I’m not afraid to say it. Well, before we jump to any conclusions, let’s support this with some facts and examples (and some background) for our sake…just like an editor or English teacher would expect.
The article in question was actually an exploration of a viral story that had circulated on blogs and social media throughout the wide expanse of the Internet. The viral story was about a scientific expedition that went to Antarctica and supposedly found manmade pyramids half-buried in glaciers on the frozen continent. As mentioned in my article “Debunking the Antarctic Pyramid Myth,” such a story should have garnered a lot of attention in all forms of media. Also it would have a mountain of details to support this monumental – and possibly history changing – expedition. However, the story didn’t really go far in terms of description. • The identification of the scientists’ names and origin of country. • A map of the area that the expedition was to take place. • Any information that led to the need to start an expedition to find them. • Compelling photos or videos that actually showed a genuine pyramid (yes, there were photos but we’ll touch upon that, later).
• No theories as to why there should be pyramids there and its intended purpose. • No definitive names for the author (in some cases some publications had names that differ from each other, despite having matching writing styles). • Heavily cropped photos of mountain peaks or snow mounds that looked like pyramids (which were later discovered to have been lifted — most likely without consent — from somebody’s Flicker account). • Captions that suggested the photos were of pyramids and not any form of erosion (other blogs debunking the myth pointed this out, as well). • The phrase “The Government doesn’t want you to know this…” was found in several publications. • Short length of the article (in fact, this list, alone, if placed next to the viral story would be one-fourth the length of it. • Various forms of the same story posted on questionable websites known for publishing conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and political rants.
Also, the story never appeared on newswires such as Reuters or AP. Again, this story should have been considered very important, when one takes into account that Antarctica has been an inhospitable place for millions of years and is unable to sustain a civilization or a sizable human population. Not only that, Antarctica’s frozen state predates the earliest period that humans and its ancestors existed. If this story was true, scientists would have to re-think many things such as the origin of humans, the first civilization, and the possibility of the stories of Atlantis being true. But no scientist would be able to make a definitive conclusion with the scant information presented. In many respects, this story was “begging” for a rebuttal. Thus, upon hearing about it several years ago, I set out to examine the viral article and its claim. My search engine spewed out links to sites with questionable credentials. A quick glance of these sites revealed their intent to dispense “alternative news” that dealt with the supernatural and/or pseudo-science.