In the wake of the latest VM dating results, my old research buddy Rich SantaColoma has admitted defeat of his “New Atlantis” theory about the VM.
Rich has for several year pursued his theory which first assumed that the VM was a notebook on optics and early microscopy by Cornelius Drebbel, and in the light of ongoing examinations modified this to the more comprehensive concept of the VM being a “prop book” to enhance the credibility of Francis Bacon’s work on New Atlantis.*)
While Rich was able to gather quite some impressive circumstantial evidence, the crucial point of this theory was that the VM would have to have been created in the early 17th century, some 200 years after what mainstream considered the VM origin. This has brought him into much conflict with other VM researchers, and Rich had to fight an uphill battle for his ideas against the odds, the numbers, and at times also against stupidity and ignorance.
While I was sympathetic with his ideas, I never made them mine (due to just the dating problems), but I always had the highest respect for Rich’s pluck and mettle in the face of adversity, and for his professional, reasonable and courteous stance.
Now Rich has done something unheard of in the history of VM research: He has withdrawn his theories in the consequence of conflicting evidence — namely the VM dating, which would have required huge leaps of faith to stay in line with the NA hypothesis.
This has earned Rich even more respect in my eyes. So many people out there will, in the light of adverse evidence, modify their own theories and go to ever wilder lengths to keep them alive. Rich has simply done the right, honest, and straightforward thing. No whining, no bitching, no twisting of facts.
The downside is that he has announced that he probably will take a step back from VM research. (Holy cow, this is beginning to sound like an obituary. To the best of my knowledge, the man is still alive!) It would be sad if he did so, because it is my conviction that not only has he already contributed greatly to VM research in the past, but that he would also do so in the future. While I understand the disappointment and the frustration, I’d love to continue to see Rich on the web, coming up with new ideas for the VM, and bringing us all closer to our goal.
“You lost today, kid. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”
*) I hope I correctly summarize Rich’s theories here. Apologies if I don’t!