What passes for history in our day is pathetic. It will be the laughingstock of the twenty-seventh century.

To begin with, "history" is a product of its sources. There was Mutt and Jeff cartoon in the 1940s that showed Jeff scouring the area under a street lamp. Mutt asked what he was looking for. Jeff replied, "I'm looking for my watch. I dropped it somewhere out there in the dark. Mutt asked, "If you dropped it in the dark, why are you looking under this streetlamp?

Jeff replied, "This is where I can SEE."

This was a joke. But it is also a complete description of what passes as history - and prehistory - today. For two centuries, historians said all history came from the area where all research had been for the previous thousand years - the Middle East. All of history began, they said, right where the land was barren of everything that happened since - the dead desert cities of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Prehistory is exactly the same. It is on the barren dry highlands of east and middle Africa that man developed, land which is high and dry and where nothing has happened since to cover it up. All that just happens to be exactly like the Middle East - dry, exposed earth where nothing disturbs or covers the old bones.

The fact that the Middle East just happens to be like that stretches coincidence. But the fact that BOTH happen to be right under the street lamp would seem to be enough to make even a paid academic think.

It isn't. He doesn't get paid to think, so he doesn't. After his death, Robert Leakey's wife kept making presentations about how man was obviously a water creature. He became human by becoming naked and getting a large brain in a water environment. "Water babies," babies born in water who float peacefully to the up into their mother's arms - constitute just one practical application of this reality.

They finally shut Mrs. Leakey up, as is usual today, not by saying she was wrong, but by saying she was violating academic discipline - "This cannot be TESTED" - meaning this history could not be found high and dry under a street lamp.

If it's not under the lamp, it cannot be discussed.

The problem is, of course, that coasts are the opposite of the Middle East. They are like the real history hidden under modern farms and cities outside the Middle East. There is no money in it for academics that want to make a living in the library. The big problem with dealing with genetics WAS similar: There were trillions of dollars in manipulating education, sociology, and all that crap, but not a DIME in talking about human heredity.

That is changing, and the theories everybody had to accept fifty years ago are not even talked about now. In another few decades, what passed for social science today will be as forgotten as the Galen Theory of Humors that constituted big-time medicine for two thousand years?

We are finding methods to stretch out from the street lamp, and everything we find makes Street Lamp History look more and more laughable.