666 PaleoBabble

Someone kindly brought this piece of paleobabble to my attention recently.  The site argues that certain Arabic letters/symbols visually resemble the Greek text of “666” in the book of Revelation. More accurately, the Arabic allegedly resembles the common Greek New Testament manuscript abbreviation for “666” (the number is abbreviated to correspond to the numbers “six hundred” – “sixty” – and “six”).  Here’s a picture that explains the claim (Maybe it’s just me, but I only see a visual similarity for ONE (the blue line) of the three letters):

Some observations:

1. Arabic as we know it (and as this claim presents it) wasn’t a language until somewhere around the 4th century A.D. — 300 years after Revelation was written.

2. Literary Arabic of the kind this visual represents was even later – around the 7th century A.D.

3. The third letter (the numeral “6”) in the “Codex Vaticanus” manuscript image would likely not have been written that way originally. In earlier manuscripts, such as the papyri, the shape is different. Below is a picture of one of the few papyri of a portion of the book of Revelation that has survived.  It is P115 and dates to 225-275 A.D.  It has the passage that gives the number of the beast — except this is the famous example that has “616” instead of “666” (the red arrow points to the number).  That difference doesn’t matter for us, since the last number/letter is “6”:

Below is also a closeup with the Vaticanus “6” inserted for comparison:

Sorry boys and girls. Just more nonsense . . . er, paleobabble. Believing that the number of the beast points to a Muslim antichrist because of these Arabic letter/symbol shapes requires (among other things) believing that the writer of Revelation, writing in Greek, to be thinking the meaning of his Greek letters was to be found in letter shapes of a literary language that didn’t yet exist. Ridiculous. But fun.

Leaked DNA Findings on King Tut

Very interesting post today over on Archaeoblog. The results of DNA testing on King Tut have been leaked a bit.  Now, this isn’t paleobabble, so why note it? Because there are some items of interest to the paleobabblers out there:

Genetic testing found evidence that Tutankhamun had been infected with plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes an often deadly form of malaria. The scans and genetic fingerprinting carried out on Tutankhamun also showed he had several disorders, some of which ran in the family . . . Using genetic fingerprinting, the researchers also lifted the veil on another mystery surrounding King Tut: his lineage. Using partial Y-chromosome information, the researchers determined that Akhenaten (..) was Tut’s father, and that Tutankhamun’s mother was Akhenaten’s sister. Tut also sired two children, both girls, but they died in the womb, the study found. (..)”

The two children alluded to would be the two “alien babies” paleobabblers love to talk about on the Web. Yes, they’ve been examined. Sex identified: girls.  But here’s the real relevant part for those who care about logical thinking. Thorough genetic testing has been done on the father (Tut) of the two children. He’s not an alien, nor is there evidence of alien DNA (I can hear it now: “It’s being covered up.” Yeah, and we can now expect the team of scientists working on this will all mysteriously disappear).  So that would in turn mean his children aren’t aliens or have alien DNA. Here’s the kicker, the tests show that Akhenaten, the famous alien pharaoh, was Tut’s father. How could it be that Tut doesn’t have alien DNA? Maybe . . . because Akhenaten wasn’t an extraterrestrial either. Just maybe.

On a more sane turn, the DNA also proves that Akhenaten (and thus his progeny, many of which have elongated skulls) did not suffer from Marfan’s syndrome. More recent work on Akhenaten’s condition has been done, and blogged here.

Having Trouble with Comments

Just a note.  I tried to approve two comments today but the system didn’t seem to accept them. I upgraded all my blogs yesterday with the latest drop from WordPress, so it may be having some issues. Everything seemed to go fine. I may just have to get another comments plug-in, but I hope not. I really like this one.

Giant PaleoBabble

Yesterday I received an email containing some pictures of alleged giant skeletons. PaleoBabble readers know that I’ve posted before on this topic before, noting how Photoshop is certainly the solution to many of these pictures you see circulating on the web. Whenever I get photos like these (see below), I wish I had the time to comb the web for the originals that were used to create the hoaxes. Sometimes you find someone who’s already done that work (like my earlier post, linked above). But this sort of thing could take dozens of hours. Fortunately, among the two photos sent to me are two that are easily demonstrated to be fakes. Here’s the first of the two:

Now here’s the second:

Can you spot the problem?  Look at the skulls side by side below:

See it? What are the odds that two skulls, at two allegedly different archaeological digs, would be missing the exact same teeth?  A billion to one, I’d say. Take a closer look at the comparison picture. You can see that the fracture lines on the two photos at the bridge of the nose are also exactly the same. It’s the same skull, photo-shopped into two different pictures, with adjustments made in tinting.

You can find these pictures on several creationist websites. That’s a shame. Readers should know that I am no enemy of the idea of a divine creator. Frankly, I think creation is much more philosophically coherent than naturalistic materialism. But this is simply unethical.


Came across a nice (and fairly lengthy) article on Egyptomania today. A nice sketch. For those PaleoBabble faithful who want solid academic material on the wacky things people think and have thought about Egypt (including pyramidiocy and the “true” symbolic meaning of hieroglyphs), the two titles below are for you.

The Myth of Egypt and Its Hieroglyphs in European Tradition

Deals with the very wrong notions about hieroglyphs that were embraced before their decipherment, and still perpetuated by “symbolists” like John Anthony West and William Henry. Sorry guys, ancient hieroglyphs really were the basis of a phonetic language, not symbols for carrying abstract ideas (i.e., your gateway to making the Egyptians say just about anything).

The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West

An admirably dispassionate survey of Egyptomaniacal material from the Hermetic era through modern Afrocentrism. Aims to be informative rather than going after the Egyptomaniacs. The author is noted Egyptologist Erik Hornung (translated by David Lorton).

Adam’s Body Discovered in Noah’s Ark Which Was Discovered Decades Ago

And you missed it.  Me, too.

This steaming pile of paleobabble reads exactly like the classic “I had proof of aliens but the government came and took it away” stories that are ubiquitous on the web.  This is another Aaarrrgghhhh! Award nominee. (I’ll have to get around to judging those soon).

The “beauty” of this sort of story is that it is both completely unverifiable and completely unfalsifiable. No one except those who put out the story have names. What a piece of research!  What heroic whistleblowers! Proof, please.

I’m betting the Smithsonian moved Adam’s body to AREA 51.  Elvis is night security there.

Just remember: sanctified illogic and chicanery is still illogic and chicanery.

Mainstream Media Stumbles Across Fact-Based Story About the Incas

In a stunning turn of events for mainstream journalism, factual material about the Incas has surfaced in an internet news article. (Usually it’s claptrap about what some speaker says at a conference dedicated to aliens and “earth mysteries”).

Archaeologists announced today that a 1000 year-old temple presumed to be mythical has been discovered in Peru.  I can hardly wait until some yahoo discovers “space ship glyphs” on it.