Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Contrary View

Up to 1953, Beyer's Wave Migration Theory remained unquestioned. Subsequently, however, most prehistorians surmised that there were only two movements of peoples into the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific to explain the present populations. The first, occuring more than 6,000 years ago, was that of the Australoids, that included the Australian aborigines, the Ainus, the Dravidians - the population of the Vedda of Sri Lanka - and, debatably, the Melanesians, Negritos and Papuans. Generally, this group is characterized by dark skin pigmentation. The second wave, presumably from five or six thousand years ago, composed the Southern Mongoloids or what are commonly known as the "brown race." They are also called Austronesians, because their descendants speak languages belonging to that group. The Austronesian language family, also known as Malayo-Polynesian, has a variety of more than six hundred languages that spread from Madagascar in the coast of Africa to Easter Island near South America.

Additional research on the subject in the last forty years casts doubt on the Beyer's assumption. Geologists, archaeologists, linguists, and prehistorians, in their respective fields, all disagree in one or some of his theory. The main objection to his work is that it was flawed by inadequate evidence, dubious methodology and pure speculation.

One of those who dissented was Dr. Fritjof Voss, a German scientist, who studied the geology of the Philippines. He said the Philippines was never a part of mainland Asia as proven in 1964-67 when a scientific study was made on the thickness of the earth's crust. It was discovered that the 35-kilometer thick crust below China does not stretch to the Philippines. On the contrary, the Philippines sits along a great earth fault line reaching downward to deep trenches underneath.

In 1975, a young Filipino anthropologist, F. Landa Jocano, also criticized Beyer's theory, particularly on the issue of the Negritos as the first inhabitants of the Philippines. He argued that the fossil remains of ancient men whom Beyer tagged Negritos could in no way be conclusively identified as such. He even charged Western colonizers of deliberately fragmenting the population into ethnic groups to advance their colonial interests.'

Newer theories may arise in the future in the attempt to explain this Philippine phenomenon, but seen in the practical side of the lives of the people their value is negligible. For theories, in essence, are largely speculations, or at best, analyses of relation of facts to one another and, therefore, are yet to be proven or confirmed by further studies. What may be heretical today may be revered tomorrow, or vice versa.

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