Pardon my yawn just now….
Anyone out there believe this primary data will stem the tide of the nonsensical hysteria? Nope; me neither. If the heretofore known Mayan primary material (which also does not predict the end of the world) didn’t rebut the quackery, this won’t either. But I assume readers will be interested.
Two years ago I blogged about alleged “structures” detected under the waters of the Caribbean via Google earth. Naturally, the paleobabble lobe in the brains of many people began throbbing away, directing them to the “truth” that Atlantis had been found. Fortunately for me, I had someone in one of the college classes I was teaching who knew something about imaging. She said right away that the “structures” were imaging quirks — something Google later proposed as well. I can now direct readers to this short post on the images from the Skeptophilia blog. Google re-imaged the areas and guess what? No structures.
Let the “cover up” conspiracy-speak begin!
All of those interested in PaleoBabble should be aware of the work of Jason Colavito. Jason has done a lot of work tracing the common ancient astronaut motifs back through science fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His primary focus is H.P. Lovecraft. You can read a fairly lengthy overview on his site, entitled, “From Cthulhu to Cloning.” It’s fascinating stuff. Check out his book: The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestial Pop Culture.
I recently discovered a book that I can’t wait to read called Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins (author: David Livingstone; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). The book is about how, in response to Darwinism, certain 19th and 20th century preachers and biblical scholars came up with the idea that there were races *before* Adam. They justified the idea with some truly bizarre Bible interpretation. Whether theologically conservative Christians and Jews who imbibe such ideas realize it or not, much of this is similar to “root race” theories peddled by occultists like Helena Blavatsky, whose esoteric teachings were one thread in the racial theories of people like Adolf Hitler. (And in case you think these ideas aren’t still around, spend some time on the internet).
Here are two reviews of this important academic work (an antidote to nonsensical Bible interpretation and misguided apologetics):
Have they been found? You don’t know how badly I want to say they were inside Noah’s ark and now brought forth by the Chinese team. (You do now).
A link to this article was sent to me today (thanks to Doug in Colorado). Here’s my favorite part of the piece:
“Further tests are now being carried out on the remains, and the country’s culture minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, declared that people should wait for results before making ‘emotional statements‘ about the identity of the bones’ original owner.”
Yes, by all means, let’s not rush to make emotional statements about the bones’ owner — or stupid ones, either.
I’ve seen a lot of CSI shows in the last few years, but I’m baffled as to how an exact identification with John the Baptist could be made from the remains (parts of a cranium, tooth and arm bone). Usually in CSI work, a DNA sample from the missing person or person of interest is compared to that of physical remains. Or perhaps comparisons on the basis of dental records. Last time I checked, neither method could be a possibility in this case. Even if they had all the neck vertebrae and could determine that one of the vertebrae had suffered an axe wound that wouldn’t point to John (he’d be a candidate, obviously). All we have here is a few bones and medieval tradition. And we all know how reliable medieval traditions are. I am reminded of the relic of the true cross of Christ and the spear of destiny right off the top of my head.
At least the article notes that dozens of other sites have claimed to have John’s head (or parts of it) or physical remains. I’ll bet the splinters from the true cross would be sufficient to build a museum for all the pieces of John’s body. The again they might require too much space.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the crystal skulls before. They are allegedly ancient Mayan artifacts capable of mysterious powers, like inspiring a terrible Indiana Jones movie. Turns out they aren’t ancient (I know–what a shocker). But look on the bright side. Maybe George Lucas will retire from script writing now.
Not paleobabble, but deals with it. Actually, a good post from an archaeo-astronomy blog on ancient Greek speculation about other worlds.
Such is the title of this sixteen page academic essay from Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. It is very worthwhile reading. The author discusses, among others, John Major Jenkins’ ideas about 2012. Here’s the abstract:
ABSTRACT: According to the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar, a cycle of more than 5,000 years will come to fruition on the winter solstice of 2012. While this date is largely unknown among contemporary Maya, some participants in the New Age movement believe it will mark an apocalyptic global transformation. Hundreds of books and Internet sites speculate wildly about the 2012 date, but little of this conjecture has a factual basis in Mayan culture. This paper provides an overview of the primary currents in the 2012 phenomenon, examines their sources, and speculates about developments as this highly anticipated date approaches.
While I was looking for Adrienne Mayor’s article she cited in her comment, I came across this bibliography she compiled. It’s very a great resource for anyone interested in folklore and mythology of the ancient world.