I was very disappointed to see in New Scientist, of all places, a full-page ad for a book by Anatoly T. Fomenko (an ad across which is "stamped", in large red letters, "SOLD 3.8 MILLION COPIES IN RUSSIA") titled "History: Fiction or Science?" The gist of the ad is that Fomenko, self-proclaimed "leading mathematician of our time", "proves" that history as we know it is lies from end to end, and "demonstrates", "armed with computers, logic, astronomy and statistics", that the history of humankind is "both dramatically different and dramatically shorter than generally presumed".
(I'm awfully curious to know how you can prove historical dates using statistics. But we'll let that go for the moment, because it gets much better.)
Among Fomenko's assertions:
- All methods of dating of ancient sources and artifacts are erroneous. (Interesting claim. One wonders how he derived correct dates, since he can't have used any method, since all methods are erroneous. Wait, I have it -- he made the "correct" dates up! What genius!)
- Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt were crafted during the Renaissance. (And then, presumably, placed in their "correct" places in the historical record using a time machine built by Leonardo da Vinci....?)
- Jesus Christ may have been born in 1053 and crucified in 1086 AD in Rome. (Uh-oh. Then what were all those early Christians worshipping? I'm sure the compilers of the Domesday book in 1066 would have been greatly surprised to find that none of the Christian churches whose parishioners they were so busy taking census of actually existed, because the savior they were dedicated to hadn't actually been born yet.)
- The Apocalypse was written on the Isle of Patmos after October 1, 1486 AD. (Wait .... historical revisionism in the Bible comes as a shock to him? No wonder the poor man's confused.)
- The Old Testament was compiled after the New Testament as a rendition of mediaeval events. (Odd how it doesn't actually match any mediaeval history accounts, isn't it? Oh, wait -- of course, I understand: All those mediaeval accounts were actually written in 1920... presumably by Fomenko's father, following in his unborn son's footsteps.)
In summary, I suspect the only true words in the entire ad are the ones stating it sold 3.8 million copies in Russia. There's got to be at least 3.8 million ignorant suckers in a country that big. Gospodin Fomenko, I strongly suspect, is one or more of a complete charlatan and fraud, utterly deluded, or straight-out barking mad. Mr. von Daniken, paging Mr. von Daniken, your dinner guest is here.