Update on Comments Problem

The comments problem has been resolved – sort of.

The good news is that you can now post comments. I’ve gone to using something called Disqus for that.

The bad news is I still can’t see them in my dashboard. However, Disqus sends me notifications when anyone comments (got two today). Once I approved them they showed up just fine. That’s nice, but I can’t actually reply from those notifications.

So, readers can comment now as before, but it’s a bit clunky for me to reply. It’s inconvenient for me, but it’s better than nothing.

Easter Island and Ancient Aliens

Those readers who have watched the three-hour documentary debunking the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series know that part of the documentary is devoted to debunking an extraterrestrial explanation for the statues at Rapa Nui – Easter Island. I came across this short piece on the statues that contributes to dispensing with the nonsense as well.

Fidel Castro, Plato, Richard Hoagland, and Giorgio Tsoukalos

What’s the connection between all of them, you ask?

Why, Cuba, of course.

I just came across a worthwhile essay on the Bad Archaeology site dedicated to the last underwater city off the coast of Cuba (there’s Fidel) that space aliens no doubt helped to build. Why aliens? Because the city had pyramids, don’t you know . . . and a matching face in it like the “face” on Mars (made infamous by Richard Hoagland). Naturally, the Ancient Aliens research team (read: tripe imagineers) gave it air time (there’s Giorgio) since it must be Atlantis (enter Plato). I remember hearing Hoagland and Linda Moulton Howe giving repeated updates on this “find” in 2001 on Coast to Coast AM.

What could possibly be amiss with a story like that? Just a few things. You can read the basics here.


Scholarly Papers on 1 Enoch Available For Free

Hey book of Enoch fans …

This link from the Ancient World Online (AWOL) will take you to a few dozen SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) seminar papers that have been made available for free. There were several academic papers on 1 Enoch that caught my eye:

Annette Yoshiko Reed, McMaster University Beyond Revealed Wisdom and Apocalyptic Epistemology: The Redeployment of Enochic Traditions about Knowledge in Early Christianity

Leslie Baynes, Missouri State University Enoch, the Angels, and Heavenly Books

Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College Women, Magic, and the History of 1 Enoch

Simcha Jacobovici Sues Archaeologist Joe Zias

You can read the story here.

In a nutshell, Jacobovici is torqued that Zias’ criticisms of the former’s archaeological claims as erroneous and goofy have cost him money. Since Zias (unlike me) is a professional archaeologist, his criticisms about Jacobovici’s archaeological documentaries have had enough weight to television executives skittish. From the article:

Simcha Jacobovici, a Canadian documentary maker specializing in biblical archaeology, is suing a retired scientist and former archaeological museum curator named Joe Zias, who has accused him of publicizing scientifically dubious theories. Many of Jacobovici’s documentaries have focused on artifacts that purport to reveal new interpretations of early Christianity, including the notion that the remains of Jesus and his family were buried in a tomb underneath modern-day Jerusalem. Jacobovici claims that Zias’ criticisms are libelous and have cost him television contracts and money.

Who could have foreseen that? I’m hoping this is a constructive lesson for Jacobovici. If he put out his findings in a less sensationalistic and more responsible way (i.e., submit things to peer review before going to prime time TV), then this wouldn’t happen (presuming what you have to say passes muster, or at least isn’t an easy target) and he might be taken more seriously.

Doesn’t seem like a complicated formula to me.


When Uninformed Journalists and Antiquity Collide: The Book of 1 Enoch

This post from Jim Davila’s PaleoJudaica blog made me chuckle. He comments on how a report on an opera based on the book of 1 Enoch being performed in New York makes bonehead errors related. Classic. Davila is an expert on the Pseudepigrapha and Second Temple Judaism. Here’s a sample:

Reporter: “Christian and Jewish scholars were surprised to find quotes from the Book of Enoch as many as 128 times in the Old Testament, more than any other book, and consider it to be scripture.”

Davila: Uh, no. Completely wrong. But there is one quotation from 1 Enoch in the New Testament in Jude 14-15. I suspect that the Parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25:31-46 also shows some familiarity with the book.


Poof! The Magic Creationist Dragon Disappears

Readers know I have no axe to grind against the idea of a creator. I know two many scientists with PhDs teaching at research universities to think that the idea of a creator is impossible for a modern scientist to embrace. And I’ve read enough good evolutionary theory to know that evolutionists needlessly caricature creationism as an idea, painting it with a broad brush as the sort of hackneyed creationism discussed below. Creationists promoting this sort of thing should be ashamed — both of their intent and their inept science, whichever applies.

Paleobabble readers will enjoy the recent lengthy and meticulous exposure of pseudo-paleontology: the case of this “dragon” skeleton. As the item at the link notes, a “dragon” skeleton (cast as a “late living pterosaur” to promote the idea of recent creation) displayed in Rome is nothing of the sort. It’s a good read, but the real pummeling is to be found in the electronic paleontology journal that published the expose.