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Author Topic: New world peoples literally couldn't see the European ships?
noysey
The Swordfish in the Stone


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There is another possibility as to why the Native Americans couldn't see the ships. At least they couldn't RECALL seeing the ships.

I read that when prisoners of the Nazi death camps were, after liberation, asked to draw a picture of the camp from memory they would draw a fairly accurate picture but it would often not include the smokestacks that came from the crematoriums. The stacks were prominent from all parts of the camp and it happened frequently enough to indicate a blocking out of something their mind wanted to deny.

Perhaps the alien beings the explorers represented to the Native Americans were too much to process at one time, and an involuntary denial process cleared their minds of the ships in which they arrived.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
Personally, I find it hard to believe that anythinmg big and black and coming from the empty sea would be noticed immediately but it is not true that you see whatever images that hit your retina. It's the brain that does all the work.

I think I mentioned this before, but, chow it goes... If you go into a completely unfamiliar visual territory, you can, indeed, have trouble "seeing" what you see. Ever been caving? The formations -- dripstone, flowstone, cave popcorn -- is all very unusual. The unaccustomed eye gets quickly lost.

Take a person who's lived his life in the forest, and take him out to the Red Rock Country of Arizona...or vice versa. They will be unable to gauge cardinal directions or navigate from one point to another....

...At first. In my experience, it takes about four hours for the mind to start working out the visual referents. After that, all the rocks (or trees) stop looking the same, and you can start making use of landmarks.

The same is true for someone who is driving an automobile or piloting a sailboat for the first time: they can "see" perfectly well, but they don't really have a solid grasp on the concepts of *what* they see.

Thus: Native Americans, seeing the Santa Maria, might recognize it as a "big canoe," but they would not be able to tell you how long or tall it is.

###

Archaeologist: "How far is it to the next watering hole?"

Chief Gnug: "Eight hundred Gnugs."

Silas

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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So if you've never seen it before you can't "see" it at all?

That may explain the scarcity of honest politicians.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Hmmm. Thanks for dredging this up.

I noticed the other day at work, as I was staring into the water, that I couldn't see any fish. All of a sudden, I saw one, and then realized that there were hundreds right in front of me, that my mind had not registered.

I agree with Silas' "unfamiliar territory" explanation. The constantly changing wave patterns of the sea make the brain seek new references constantly. It's possible that the ships were anchored a ways offshore, but the natives didn't immediately notice them, because they weren't looking for them.

Note I said immediately. Once they had their morning piss, a cup of coffee, and a look around, I'm sure it was "Holy Ship! Lookee that!"

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geminilee
The First USA Noel


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Ok, this raises a question. If, as is posited, you can only "see" the familiar, how would you ever be able to understand what anyone was talking about when they explained it to you, hence how could you ever "see" it? I mean, if you can not "see" it in the first place, it can never become known, and so you would remain unable to "see" it.
I think the whole idea is false. As other people have said, you might not be able to interpret the new data, but it would register as something.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
Personally, I find it hard to believe that anythinmg big and black and coming from the empty sea would be noticed immediately but it is not true that you see whatever images that hit your retina. It's the brain that does all the work.

I think I mentioned this before, but, chow it goes... If you go into a completely unfamiliar visual territory, you can, indeed, have trouble "seeing" what you see. Ever been caving? The formations -- dripstone, flowstone, cave popcorn -- is all very unusual. The unaccustomed eye gets quickly lost.

Take a person who's lived his life in the forest, and take him out to the Red Rock Country of Arizona...or vice versa. They will be unable to gauge cardinal directions or navigate from one point to another....

...At first. In my experience, it takes about four hours for the mind to start working out the visual referents. After that, all the rocks (or trees) stop looking the same, and you can start making use of landmarks.

The same is true for someone who is driving an automobile or piloting a sailboat for the first time: they can "see" perfectly well, but they don't really have a solid grasp on the concepts of *what* they see.

Thus: Native Americans, seeing the Santa Maria, might recognize it as a "big canoe," but they would not be able to tell you how long or tall it is.

###

Archaeologist: "How far is it to the next watering hole?"

Chief Gnug: "Eight hundred Gnugs."

Silas

Silas I think you have your analogy backwards. If your analogy were to prove true the old worlders would probably have had a hard time seeing he natives and their villages.

In this case the natives were in a totally familary surroundsing where something new and very big appeared. If you were walking in your neighborhood and a huge alien space ship landed, I'm sure you'd see it.

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
If you were walking in your neighborhood and a huge alien space ship landed, I'm sure you'd see it.

:: ahem :: "Independance Day", where Will Smith is going out to get his paper, and is oblivious to the huge honkin' spaceship until he notices his neighbors looking.

So, not necessarily. It's all about what your mind is focusing on.

(baad analogy! me get it - [fish] )

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Seanette
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quote:
Originally posted by fund-o-ramus:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
If you were walking in your neighborhood and a huge alien space ship landed, I'm sure you'd see it.

:: ahem :: "Independance Day", where Will Smith is going out to get his paper, and is oblivious to the huge honkin' spaceship until he notices his neighbors looking.

So, not necessarily. It's all about what your mind is focusing on.

(baad analogy! me get it - [fish] )

As I recall, he was still waking up at the time and a bit distracted by having tripped over one of the kid's toys on the way out. [Big Grin]
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Izunya
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by geminilee:
Ok, this raises a question. If, as is posited, you can only "see" the familiar, how would you ever be able to understand what anyone was talking about when they explained it to you, hence how could you ever "see" it? I mean, if you can not "see" it in the first place, it can never become known, and so you would remain unable to "see" it.

I think the idea is not that you remain permanently unable to see it, but that it might take some time. Your brain wants to make sure that whatever-it-is isn't an optical illusion or your good friend pulling a prank. So if the image is here and gone in a few seconds, you might very well not "see" it. And, I suppose, if what you're seeing is totally unfamiliar to you, it may take a few hours to work out dimensions and perspective and such. It might take longer if you're staring out to sea--which has almost nothing to gauge size by--and trying to figure out an unknown, far-off object.

I agree with you that stories of the natives simply not perceiving the ships, many hours after their first sighting, are highly unlikely. But I've heard anecdotes about some tribe or other seeing the ships (and interpreting them, accurately enough, as giant canoes) but thinking that the sails were "strange clouds" behind the ships instead of huge sheets of cloth attached to them. You could say, I guess, that these (probably hypothetical) people couldn't see the sails, but it would be more accurate to say that they didn't know how to interpret them.

Izunya

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I think it is possible that they didn't notice the ships until after they were accustomed to having seen them but I'm wondering if there can be any reliable accounts. Any attempt to have recorded the story after the fact would have run into serious language problems on both ends. For example, the natives may have said "We didn't know what we were looking at." And an interpretation (perhaps many decades or even centuries later, through several translations) would record that they didn't see (or notice) anything at all. What are the origins of this story?
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The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


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quote:
What are the origins of this story?
The only time I have heard this story was in the awful movie "What the Bleep Do We Know." I am sure they got the idea from somewhere, but I had personally never heard of it until that movie. The Wikipedia entry on the film says this about it: "The movie also relates a story about Native Americans being unable to see Columbus' ships. However, there is no mention of this in any of the journals of those voyages, and the oral traditions of the Native Americans were lost in the following 150 years of Spanish rule. None of the people that Columbus first encountered—the Arawaks—had any descendants survive into recent times."

Perhaps it was passed down orally somehow, but it seems pretty sketchy to me.

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mediadave
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Silas I think you have your analogy backwards. If your analogy were to prove true the old worlders would probably have had a hard time seeing he natives and their villages.


I think that is also very likely. It works both ways.
quote:

In this case the natives were in a totally familary surroundsing where something new and very big appeared. If you were walking in your neighborhood and a huge alien space ship landed, I'm sure you'd see it.

Yes, you'd see it. But would you be able to comprehend it? Could you tell which parts were moving parts and which parts were fixed? Would you know the front from the back? Could you accurately assess its dimensions?

I'm *not* agreeing with the extreme version of the OP -- that the natives couldn't see the ship at all: I think that's just silly. I'm saying that things which are very unfamiliar are difficult to perceive in a meaningful gestalt. They're difficult to "wrap your mind around."

How many of you remember the first time you ever saw under the hood of an automobile? It was nothing but a big confusion of unfamiliar shapes. You couldn't have told the carburetor from the distributor. You could *see* it, but you could not *perceive* it.

Silas

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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The Europeans certainly would not have seen the natives' sgnillewd.
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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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(A la Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein) -- That goes without saying.
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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Silas I think you have your analogy backwards. If your analogy were to prove true the old worlders would probably have had a hard time seeing he natives and their villages.


I think that is also very likely. It works both ways.
quote:

In this case the natives were in a totally familary surroundsing where something new and very big appeared. If you were walking in your neighborhood and a huge alien space ship landed, I'm sure you'd see it.

Yes, you'd see it. But would you be able to comprehend it? Could you tell which parts were moving parts and which parts were fixed? Would you know the front from the back? Could you accurately assess its dimensions?

I'm *not* agreeing with the extreme version of the OP -- that the natives couldn't see the ship at all: I think that's just silly. I'm saying that things which are very unfamiliar are difficult to perceive in a meaningful gestalt. They're difficult to "wrap your mind around."

How many of you remember the first time you ever saw under the hood of an automobile? It was nothing but a big confusion of unfamiliar shapes. You couldn't have told the carburetor from the distributor. You could *see* it, but you could not *perceive* it.

Silas

A second at most though. By that time your brain would know that it was not an optical illusion and was actually there. All would be left to say is "what the NFBSK is that?" Its a big stretch by my imagine that you dont comprehend visual stimuli for long periods of time. A few seconds at most is all I can believe is plausible.

We see things that are new to us all the time. Our brains are quick adapters thogh.

--------------------
W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by diddy:
A second at most though. By that time your brain would know that it was not an optical illusion and was actually there. All would be left to say is "what the NFBSK is that?" Its a big stretch by my imagine that you dont comprehend visual stimuli for long periods of time. A few seconds at most is all I can believe is plausible.

We see things that are new to us all the time. Our brains are quick adapters thogh.

I think you are still interpreting what I am saying too strongly.

Again, go into a forest (if you have never been in one) and you will have a great deal of difficulty finding your way around. This confusion won't last for mere seconds, but for hours and hours. It takes time for the brain to figure out entirely new patterns.

Another example: watch someone who is adept at putting together jigsaw puzzles. Now watch someone of the same age and intelligence who is new at working such puzzles. He won't have the experience to see the minute differences in shape.

He will *see* them, but he won't be able to appreciate them. His eyes, optic nerve, and brain haven't been sufficiently programmed. Give him several hours of practice, and his performance will improve significantly.

Take someone who doesn't know how to play chess. Take another person who is a master of the game. They both see exactly the same light patterns reflecting off of the pieces on the board...but they perceive *very* different things.

I am *not* saying that the ship is invisible to the natives; I'm saying that they won't "get it." They won't know what the masts or spars are, or why it's big in front and back and low in the middle; they won't be able to tell you which end is the front. It's just a big complicated "thingy" to them...just as an automobile engine is to me!

Silas

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Esprise Me
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I also wonder about the origins of this idea. If the Native Americans couldn't see anything, even for a short while, how would we know that a period existed during which the ships were close enough to be visible, but blocked from their vision? It's not like there were any explorers already there, watching the ships approach and quizzing the natives about whether they saw anything yet. Don't get me started on that movie What the Bleep Do We Know?

--------------------
"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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I just came across a version of this tale in a scifi book, Battlespace. This retelling adds some details, but like the original, totally lacks any source (and, hey, it's fiction, too).

Anyhow, in this version, a Taino shaman noticed some odd ripples on the water offshore, and wondered what casued them. For several days, he came down to the water to study the ripples, and finally was able to see "three great canoes with white wings." Once he was able to see them, the others in the village, who trusted him, believed his story and could see Columbus' ships, too.

Lacking any source at all, it seems just an elaboration of a UL. The added details actually seem to lessen the credibilty of the story in my opinion. The below site is a pretty good summary of Columbus' experiences with the natives on his first trip.

http://www.athenapub.com/coluvoy1.htm

Unless I missed it somewhere, Columbus' documents make it pretty clear that the Taino consistently and quickly reacted to Columbus' arrival, either flocking out to trade or fleeing in terror. And I didn't find a single instance in which Columbus' ships stood offshore for several days before being noticed by the natives - or before Columbus' crew landed in the ships' boats themselves.

Finally, the Taino were certainly extremely familiar with watercraft, posessing canoes capable of carrying up to 45 men. [By comparison, the Santa Maria was only 75 feet long witha crew of 40, while the Nina and Pinta had about half the displacement and were crewed by just 20 & 26 men.] While the sails may have been unfamiliar, I wouldn't think that detail would cause the natives to be unable to literally 'see' Columbus' ships, or even appreciate them for what they were - watercraft.

ETA: It's also worth noting that as soon as Columbus' ships heaved to off shore, they would have furled their sails, so the whole cloud/wings distraction thing couldn't have been more than a very temporary distraction.

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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:

I am *not* saying that the ship is invisible to the natives; I'm saying that they won't "get it." They won't know what the masts or spars are, or why it's big in front and back and low in the middle; they won't be able to tell you which end is the front. It's just a big complicated "thingy" to them...just as an automobile engine is to me!

Silas

Ok, I get what your saying. I was a bit confused I guess. I agree with you 100 percent with that analysis. They will see it, they just wont know what it is unless they can make the jump from canoe to gallion or whatever.

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Delta-V
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quote:
Originally posted by GI Joe:
Finally, the Taino were certainly extremely familiar with watercraft, posessing canoes capable of carrying up to 45 men. [By comparison, the Santa Maria was only 75 feet long witha crew of 40, while the Nina and Pinta had about half the displacement and were crewed by just 20 & 26 men.] While the sails may have been unfamiliar, I wouldn't think that detail would cause the natives to be unable to literally 'see' Columbus' ships, or even appreciate them for what they were - watercraft.

If this is correct, the Taino were also familiar with sails:
quote:
Gonzalo Fernandez de Orvieda Y Valdez, 1535) recorded the use of sail by the Taino, but not by the Carib, who relied on paddles for propulsion. Given the trade which existed along the east coasts of Central America and South America, the Taino (Arawak) likely used sails at a much earlier period. Orvieda also recorded the Choton’s use of sails on their watercraft, and the Choton’s conduct of regular trade along the east coast of Central America for a long period of time is fairly well evidenced by the distribution of the remains of trade goods.
If the Taino and anyone who traded with them were familiar with large sailing vessels, Columbus' nao and caravels shouldn't have given them any problem, even with more masts and higher sides than they're used to.

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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Excellent point.

Shall the two of us arbitrarily conduct a unanimous vote and declare the matter settled to our mutual satisfaction?

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Drainfluid
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by The Rubber Chicken:
quote:
What are the origins of this story?
(snip) None of the people that Columbus first encountered—the Arawaks—had any descendants survive into recent times."

The human mind is designed to be able to cope with new things it has never seen before. It is specifically that evolutionary adaptation that has allowed us to occupy every possible ecological system and spread across the globe. If these people were missing that evolutionary trait, it is not surprising they are extinct (yes, there is a bit of humour in this statement, please don't flame me).

I also don't think it can be equated with navigating in unfamiliar environments. These are two completely different skills. Naviagtion is a "nice to have" which is not present in everyone equally, whereas identifying possible life threatening animals/objects is definitely not optional.

I think these people could clearly see the ships, but they probably did not know what they were or that they were human-related.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Drainfluid:
....I think these people could clearly see the ships, but they probably did not know what they were or that they were human-related.

I think that's well put. It probably took some study to figure things out. And I doubt even then they would understood some of the workings unless these were explained to them.

I have had a couple of instances in my life where I saw something that I had trouble processing. But, I didn't go blind to it, instead it took my mind some time to proces exactly what I was seeing. One case in particular that I can vividly recall; I was driving out of a state park in Indian after dark in a rainstorm. There was a man on a horse with a big billowing gray rain poncho on. I distinctly recall my initial reaction and confusion in the moment it took for my mind to process it into what it was.

I would guess that it's possible that something similar happened when the natives first saw a sailing ship. But this is something that ony takes moments to resolve and it's not blindness so much as confusion.

--------------------
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Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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ringotaku
I Saw Three Shipments


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I don't understand how my car works. I can still see it.

This whole thing reeks of someone misinterpreting a phrase like "They didn't see it as a ship" as "They didn't see it". Half-thinkers are ruining human culture.

--------------------
Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by ringotaku:
I don't understand how my car works. I can still see it.

This whole thing reeks of someone misinterpreting a phrase like "They didn't see it as a ship" as "They didn't see it". Half-thinkers are ruining human culture.

I can't tell, though, if you are getting my point. (I'm a "three quarters thinker," just a little better than a half thinker...)

I can "see" an automobile engine, but I don't perceive it the way a trained mechanic does. To me, it's just, y'know, a big cluster of thingies.

Someone untrained in surgery will just see "a bunch of guts."

Someone untrained in nautical rigging will just see "a tangle of ropes."

I remember the first time I ever toured a Navy Destroyer. I got lost. ("Marcus? He got lost in his own museum.") I'll bet that the experienced sailors reading this will laugh at the idea, as a Destroyer is actually a pretty small ship.

As Sherlock Holmes pointed out, seeing is not the same as perceiving.

I *think* that everyone here is in agreement with this, especially as I am taking care to disavow the strongest interpretation of the OP, which I think is just dumb. But I don't want the weak interpretation to be thrown out, as I think it is important to our understanding of the way the human mind processes visual data.

Silas

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Elwood
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I think the most natural tendency when encountering something one does not understand not to ignore it, but to continue studying and gazing at it until it makes some kind of sense. My mind notoriously plays tricks on me--too often for comfort, really. Recently, I "saw" an octopus in the office parking lot that turned out to be a cat. I didn't ignore it, I kept looking at it until the shape made more sense. I "saw" a person in an impossible positon on a highway that turned out to be a roadsign. In neither instance could I miss what was right in front of me or take my eyes off of it until I had a better idea of what I was looking at.

My guess is that something similar happened to the natives. They would have seen the boats but their minds may have interpreted them as something more familiar, but impossible. The next natural step is to look again and again until it becomes clear what it is.

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"If I didn't see it and didn't know it was a real news report, I wouldn't believe it. I mean, how nutty can you get?"-Pat Robertson Oct 26, 2006.

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Biggles
I Saw Three Shipments


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Three of us.. if you are agreed that native peoples (who had experience with big sea going canoe's that had sails & rudders) would have had no problems coming to terms with the early ships of European explorers.

I tried finding some pictures online of some of the big ocean going waka's (canoe) Maori people would have had at the time, but can't find the exact thing - but I know some of the biggest waka carrying 80+ men & having multiple sales may have been longer, faster & just as capable of long distance voyages than a carrack.

http://transitofvenus.auckland.ac.nz/wakavoyaging/imggal/waka_pg8.html

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forcadragons
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Perhaps they thought it was Somebody Else's Problem?

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We're sorry to bother you at such a time like this, Mrs. Twice. We would have come earlier, but your husband wasn't dead then.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I saw a special on language a while back where a snake was introduced into a group of monkeys that had never seen one before. They were befuddled and alarmed, but they immediately registered these emotions, and were instantly very much intent and focused on the new creature among them. They even started screaming a new "word" for the snake--well, at least one that the researchers had never heard them use before.

They most certainly did not comprehend what they were seeing as a "snake," but they were able to categorize it to some extent and recognize that it had the potential to be a predator. I would assume the natives peoples encountering European ships, clothing, weapons, etc, were at least that capable, and as the monkeys were quick to key in on a change in their familiar environment, so would a coastal tribe be quick to notice a change in the shape of their horizon.

This whole discussion reminds me of the thread about fetuses in the womb, and whether or not they are able to "feel" pain if they cannot recognize it as such. In both cases, I find the suggestion that there is no experience without comprehension rather absurd.

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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musicgeek
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
I saw a special on language a while back where a snake was introduced into a group of monkeys that had never seen one before. They were befuddled and alarmed, but they immediately registered these emotions, and were instantly very much intent and focused on the new creature among them. They even started screaming a new "word" for the snake--well, at least one that the researchers had never heard them use before.

This surprised the reasearchers, who had not forseen the outcome. Said an anonymous spokesperson, "The previous week, we had introduced both a badger and a mushroom, and the monkeys simply bounced up and down..."

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Biggles:
Three of us.. if you are agreed that native peoples (who had experience with big sea going canoe's that had sails & rudders) would have had no problems coming to terms with the early ships of European explorers.

Motion seconded...all in favor? Aye!

This arguement seems to hinge on the poor primative natives being unable to understand superior Western technology, and frankly, it smells slightly of racism. The Caribbean natives, like almost all island cultures, were experienced sailors. Columbus' ships were not large (the Santa Maria, the largest, was only 75 feet long), and weren't much longer than the largest native canoes. From what I can find out, the native canoes had a single foremast and triangular sail, but were capable of voyages of hundreds of miles. Other than the presence of the two extra masts and the higher decks, Columbus' ships were not all that different - it's not like Columbus pulled up in the USS Nimitz. There's no reason the natives would have been unable to see these tall, oddly-rigged ships.

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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WildaBeast
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by ringotaku:
I don't understand how my car works. I can still see it.

This whole thing reeks of someone misinterpreting a phrase like "They didn't see it as a ship" as "They didn't see it". Half-thinkers are ruining human culture.

I can't tell, though, if you are getting my point. (I'm a "three quarters thinker," just a little better than a half thinker...)

I can "see" an automobile engine, but I don't perceive it the way a trained mechanic does. To me, it's just, y'know, a big cluster of thingies.

Someone untrained in surgery will just see "a bunch of guts."

Someone untrained in nautical rigging will just see "a tangle of ropes."

In addition, someone who is familiar with small boats, but has never seen a big ship before, might corretly interpret that it is a type of boat, but might not be able to correctly judge its size and distance, especially while looking out accross the ocean with no other frame of reference. He wouldn't be able to tell if it was a small boat closeby, or a bit one farther away.

I once experienced something like that. I could see an airplane shaped sillouette in the sky, but without any other details I had no idea whether it was a small plane flying at a relitively low altitude, or a big commercial jet higher up.

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"Unseasonable is an odd word to begin with. It sounds like it's describing something that it's impossible to sprinkle pepper on." -- Nonny

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Deansinger
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by forcadragons:
Perhaps they thought it was Somebody Else's Problem?

Nice Douglas Adams reference. I suppose it might work as an SEP field, but the first encounters were with island peoples. and I just can't imagine that they wouldn';t recognize aboat, even if it was bigger than their boats.

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It doesn't matter if you're wrong.. Be Wrong Loud!

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Pondicherry Pi
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by musicgeek:
quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
I saw a special on language a while back where a snake was introduced into a group of monkeys that had never seen one before. They were befuddled and alarmed, but they immediately registered these emotions, and were instantly very much intent and focused on the new creature among them. They even started screaming a new "word" for the snake--well, at least one that the researchers had never heard them use before.

This surprised the reasearchers, who had not forseen the outcome. Said an anonymous spokesperson, "The previous week, we had introduced both a badger and a mushroom, and the monkeys simply bounced up and down..."
YOMANK, I do believe. [Smile]

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If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

What the NFBSK is Glurge? Or, a link to Snopes Lingo

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