December 21: We’re All Still Here

I never got to the *real* debunking of the 2012 nonsense last night on Coast to Coast AM. All that “galactic alignment” and “Planet X” stuff is utter hogwash, as everyone now knows (and anyone thinking clearly new long ago).  But in any event, here’s a short set of links to recommended astronomical sites for debunking the craziness:

Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy podcast:

2012 site

Bad Astronomy

Bait and Switch Archaeo-Porn Media Gets Page Views with “Alien Skulls” Discovery

Must be a desperate time for TV news media . . . or the same old same old.

We’re treated today to reports of “alien like” skulls found in a Mexico archaeological dig. You can click on the link to discover that it’s just more elongated skulls — of the type known from this part of the globe and places like Peru — that results from head wrapping. (Contrary to ancient alien silliness, there is no genetic or other bio-medical evidence these skulls are anything but human — but such data aren’t going to matter to that crowd). I just get a kick out of how the media will use the alien thing as a means to get viewers to watch their report denying the alien thing.

And please don’t use the comments space to tell me about the research of Lloyd Pye and “starchild skull” — I’m well aware of it. And my own geneticist contact (my own “go to PhD” for all things genetic) has already read through the report Mr. Pye has on his website. (He came away pretty unimpressed). I’ve not posted his thoughts here yet. I’m waiting for the next piece of Pye in the sky on the skull for that.

How Cable TV Shows Like the History Channel Doctor What You Watch

Hat tip to Jason Colavito for the link.

I can identify with “A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation with a TV Producer” given my own 2003 experience with one of the History Channel’s production companies (it’s the reason I have twice turned down a request to be in Ancient Aliens).

These channels are not about finding the truth. They are about producing what draws an audience so they can sell advertising dollars, swag, and videos. True, you can still find good stuff on them (it’s getting harder all the time), but that’s the truth. Uninformed-but-titillating archeoporn, fear-mongering, and celebration of the non sequitur just sells.

Mike on Coast to Coast AM Thursday Night, Just Before the World Ends

The folks at Coast to Coast AM have scheduled me for Thursday, December 20. I’m naturally relieved that I’ll get to be on the show again before the world ends the next day. The topic will be apocalypticism, and so we’ll be chatting about the Mayan Doomsday hype, millennialism, and assorted other beliefs related to end times. Anyone who follows my Naked Bible blog will know that I take a dim view of popular Christian eschatology, so that will no doubt come up. Should be fun!

Egyptological: Unfortunate News

I just saw the news that the e-journal Egyptological, which I have blogged about several times on this blog, has had to suspend operations due to radicalized hackers in Egypt. Here is the announcement, part of which reads as follows:

Kate and Andrea are very sad to announce that Egyptological will be unavailable for the forseeable future.  It has been targeted by a professional hacking group as part of an onslaught on Egypt-related web sites during the current unrest in Egypt.

Although we have been in negotiations with the hackers, which seemed to be going well, they have now announced their intention of resuming hostilities against us.  They apparently see Egyptology sites such as ours as representing a form of political threat.


Egyptology enthusiasts worldwide can thank the Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk for this. While the recent backlash against Egypt’s president for decreeing himself Pharaoh shows that there is truly a desire for democracy amid the chaos in Egypt (Morsi was forced to reverse his self-declared omnipotence), this sort of thinking (I use the term loosely) is sadly not uncommon. Hopefully Egyptological will be back online sooner than supposed.

What Will YOU Being Doing When the World Doesn’t End?

With ten days to go until mythical doomsday, I was wishing today that there was a convenient way to celebrate the epic fail with PaleoBabble readers — something like an online New Year’s Eve party for sane people with geeky fascination for the ancient world, where we all yell “you gullible morons!” (in Mayan) at the turn of midnight. But, lacking the sort of creativity it takes to pull that off in cyber space, I thought it still might be fun to ask readers what they’d do or say at an end-of-the-hype-about-the-end-of-the-world party. Or maybe you can tell us what you’re planning if you and your friends are going to mark the event in a special way. And if really believe the Mayan apocalyptic silliness, what do you plan to do before the world goes away?

If I was in the last category, I’d do something daring and reckless, like watch all the Twilight movies in a row. I wouldn’t be needing my brain any more (or my dignity), so no harm done.

I’ll keep thinking about it.

Jordan Lead Codices Fakery Update

The BBC recently aired a short segment on the lead codices from Jordan on its Inside Out program (thanks to J. Davila, J. McGrath, and Dan McClellan for the initial heads-up on the special). The codices are allegedly early Christian texts.

I’ve blogged about the lead codices several times, as have other biblical and ancient Judaism scholars. The overwhelming consensus is that they are fakes — for lots of cogent reasons (see this video as well). The BBC investigated the claims and, most immediately, the person behind them, David Elkington.

Here is the BBC video (13 minutes or so) about the codices.

The Age of the Sphinx and Water Erosion: Colin Reader vs. Robert Schoch

PaleoBabble readers have likely heard about Dr. Robert Schoch’s theory of water erosion and the Sphinx. It’s been used by alternative researchers to argue for an advanced Egyptian civilization back to 10,500 BC, far earlier than the beginning of dynastic Egypt. Schoch is a geologist, and so his work has garnered serious attention. Dr. Colin Reader is also a geologist, and he isn’t buying what Schoch is selling. I’d invite readers to check out this recent essay by Chris White on the Reader-Schoch debate to get up to speed.

Colin Reader’s views on the Sphinx have been around for some time, as this lengthy 1997/1999 piece posted on Ian Lawton’s website indicates. Reader postulates an early dynastic origin for the monument that we know as the Sphinx (it underwent an evolution in appearance by human hands up to and including the reign of Khafre). This idea pre-dates an Old Kingdom (Khafre) origin, but is nowhere near the chronologically distant past where Schoch has it. He writes (see the Ian Lawton link):

The origins of the Sphinx as an icon are unclear. On the basis of the sequence of development that I propose, I consider that the concept of the man-headed lion was an evolutionary one, originating in the Early Dynastic association of the lion with solar worship and culminating in the Fourth Dynasty association of the Pharaoh with the sun-god – an association made manifest by re-carving the head of the Great Sphinx in the form of the divine king, perhaps during the reign of Khafre.