The Paracas Elongated Skulls: More Boneheaded Nephilim Claims

If you’re interested in phony DNA research to prop up ancient alien hybrids and alleged nephilim skulls, you’re in luck. Two recent posts came to my attention today. They’re both long, but well worth the time.

First, there’s the essay by Frank Johnson at the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog: “Another Bone to Pick…With Peruvian Nephilim/Alien Hybrids.” It’s a good survey/refutation of the alleged evidence. It’ll get you up to speed on the claims and personalities involved.

Next we have (drum roll, please) a real archaeologist weigh in on the skulls – Keith Fitzpatrick Matthews on the Bad Archaeology blog. Keith’s essay, “The Paracas skulls: aliens, an unknown hominid species or cranial deformation?” is nothing short of devastating. In particular, pretend anthropologist Brien Foerster, a participant in the upcoming “Nephilim Skull Tour” comes out looking very bad, even dumb. (Just read it). This essay deals a bit with the DNA issue, but focuses more on the forensics of the skulls themselves.

Where’s the verse in the Bible again about nephilim having elongated skulls? (crickets chirping)

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Another “Stone Age Atlantis”

Here’s a report about the discovery by some Swedish divers of “an ancient underwater site” deep in the Baltic. Since it’s in the Nordic region, it’s being dubbed as the “Swedish Atlantis.”

(Sigh).

Have you ever wondered why every time some evidence like this is discovered it’s always an Atlantis? Answer: it’s archeoporn. They need web traffic.

What we have (if the remains have been interpreted correctly) is a culture capable of building simple stone dwellings. That isn’t exactly Atlantis. But it makes for a good headline.

The issue is the age of the apparent settlement. From the link:

Buried 16 metres below the surface, Nilsson uncovered wood, flint tools, animal horns and ropes. . . . Among the most notable items found include a harpoon carving made from an animal bone, and the bones of an ancient animal called aurochs.

I can see why archaeologists would be excited about this. But honestly, I don’t see it as an “Atlantean” culture. A very old Nordic culture that used stone to build and harpooned sea creatures for food isn’t Atlantis.

 

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Graham Hancock and Bad Archaeology

Professional archaeologist Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the force behind the Bad Archaeology blog, recently posted a series of articles detailing the (poor) research techniques and (flawed) argumentation of Graham Hancock. Here are the links to the series:

Some of the posts are lengthy — Hancock’s archaeology is, well, bad.

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PaleoBabble BS Detector

What sifts the chaff of paleobabble from the wheat of coherent writing on the ancient world more readily than anything else? That would be peer review.

I’ve blogged before here about the importance of peer review. Tom Verenna (yes, he’s published under peer review) recently wrote a piece related to that very subject entitled, “On Scholars and Kooks: A Few Simple Guidelines for Journalists in Popular Media.” It’s well worth the time. Here’s a taste:

. . . [A] layperson who self-publishes a book on something isn’t an ‘expert’.  They may be considered an enthusiast, an amateur, a hobbyist, a thrill-seeker.  These are polite titles.  More often than not, however, people who only self-publish do so because they do not want to have their ideas vetted by pesky things like editors, peers, or actual experts. . . .

. . . The purpose of peer review, of academic vetting, is to determine how well an argument or hypothesis can withstand criticism.  If the author of this book does not bother to go through this process, even unofficially, by having his book examined by experts prior to publication, then s/he does not have any grounds to claim that it is anything spectacular. That isn’t to say that an uncredentialed person cannot produce a solid book on a subject.  It may actually be ground-breaking, it may be earth-shattering, but if it hasn’t been vetted by other people with credentials then there is no means by which one can claim that it is.

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Sanctified Gullibility is Still Gullibility

It doesn’t get much more embarrassing than this.

Jason Colavito has a short write up on how Christian apologists are using a prop — a giant human skeleton that isn’t a skeleton at all — from von Daniken’s ancient astronaut theme park for the gullible.

Since when is defending one’s faith with a lie a good idea?

Pretty pathetic. It leads people to follow several bogus thought trajectories:

1. That belief in a creator needs to be defended via the idea of giants (it doesn’t, and that “approach” is absurd).

2. That belief in a creator is synonymous with young earth creationism and rigid biblical literalism (it isn’t).

3. That those who defend the young earth view of creationism will basically stoop to any level to do so (many would not; that is, they aren’t ethically challenged).

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Dropa Dopiness Debunked

Back in March I had blogged about the Dropa Stones, another insipid argument for ancient astronauts. Supposedly these stones, discovered on the Tibet/China border, contained “etchings” that told the sad tale of marooned extraterrestrials. That earlier post directed readers to a worthwhile discussion of the stones on the Bad Archaeology website.

Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog recently produced another worthwhile debunking of these alleged ancient alien artifacts. Johnson’s post references the Bad Archaeology post but goes beyond its rebuttal with respect to several aspects of the tale.

Truth be told, the Dropa Stone story is a contrivance across the board, one full of unverifiable details, like studies performed on the stones, museums supposedly involved, etc. It’s hearsay on steroids.

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Feeding the Pyramid Builders

Here’s a link to an interesting article about recent archaeological research in the village that housed the pyramid builders. It focuses on the evidence for large settled herds that generated food and served as a food source.

Why is it on Paleobabble?

Well, it’s sort of odd that this sort of thing would be needed at the Giza pyramid complex if the ancient Egyptians used the advance alien technology of levitation. We *know* it couldn’t be human. So, if they had levitation, one would think the pyramid would take very little time. Maybe a week with all those stones floating around — no need to drag them. Oh, and the lasers to cut them like butter. The pyramid would be a short-term project. Hmmm.

Or maybe it wasn’t aliens with technology advanced far beyond our own.

 

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Chariots of the Frauds: The Real Erich von Daniken

Kudos are once again in order for Jason Colavito for his review of the Ancient Aliens episode entitled “The Legacy of von Daniken.” As part of his review, Jason summarizes some of the material that can be found in his book The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft And Extraterrestrial Pop Culture. That book demonstrates that von Daniken is a person of low moral character and little intellectual originality. In a nutshell,  he’s a clever crook. Sound harsh? He has the prison record to prove it. Here’s an excerpt from Jason’s essay:

Erich Anton Paul von Däniken was born in Switzerland in 1935, raised a strict Catholic, and in Catholic school developed an interest in UFOs, like many youths in the early 1950s. He had a criminal record. He was convicted of theft when he was 19, and he left school to become a hotelier. He was convicted of embezzlement after leaving that job. He took another hotel position, and he stole money there, too, by falsifying records in order to obtain tens of thousands in fraudulent loans to finance his interest in space aliens and what the court later called his “playboy lifestyle.” The court psychiatrist declared him a pathological liar. Eventually, he would be convicted of embezzlement and fraud yet again, serving a year in prison.

In 1960, two French authors who were interested in the occult, Nazis, UFOs, and H. P. Lovecraft put out a book called Morning of the Magicians in which they tried to show that Lovecraft’s vision of ancient astronauts could be correlated to the “occult” truths of Theosophy and the UFO movement. Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels put together the entire case for ancient astronauts as we currently know it—from the claims about ancient atom bombs to the claims about “impossibly” precise and heavy stone architecture. Their book inspired several by Robert Charroux, who presented Bergier’s and Pauwel’s discursive, disorganized ideas in a more popular and readable format.

In 1964, von Däniken simply appropriated this material wholesale for a magazine article, and on the strength of the magazine article, he received a book deal for what became Chariots of the Gods … 

I’ve blogged about von Daniken’s history of deceit before. Readers might recall this telling post to which I linked maybe moons ago, where von Daniken is caught on video acknowledging making up his “evidence” and admits to Playboy Magazine that he contrived the material for the literary fabrication that made him rich.1

I have Jason’s book and recommend it to everyone who’s actually interested in the truth behind the intellectually bankrupt thing called the ancient astronaut theory. To whet your appetite, click through and read Jason’s post.

Postscript

As a side note to Jason’s post, readers will note that he references “America’s Book of Secrets,” a show on the History Channel 2.  I was contacted maybe a year ago – too lazy to look right now – about being on that show. I’m guessing now, in the wake of Jason’s post, that their interest was in regard to ancient astronauts. This isn’t new. I’ve also been contacted in the past about appearing in Ancient Aliens. My response, as it always is, was to send a link to whoever emailed me describing my account of how the History Channel censored my interview in 2003 for a “UFOs in the Bible” show, which was long before Ancient Aliens. That usually gets me dropped from consideration, which is fine with me (read the post and you’ll understand). That “America’s Book of Secrets” would put out another “love fest” (Jason’s words – and he reviewed that episode as well) for ancient astronaut nonsense is yet another testament to prove that the History Channel is not interested in objective programming. They don’t want any sort of critical material included in their “investigation” of ancient aliens. It’s about viewership and money, pure and simple. If peddling deception makes them cash, then that’s what matters.

  1. A full scan of the Playboy article can be found here.

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Shroud of Turin Double-Take: Yep, It’s Easter

This headline caught my eye today: “Turin shroud makes rare appearance on TV amid claims that it is not a forgery.” Why, you ask?  Because last year at precisely this time — Easter — basically the same sort of story ran. I blogged it here under the title, “Is ‘Jesus Archaeology’ Becoming Like Professional Wrestling?

Answer: Yes, but without the steroids.

So, for your reading entertainment, we have in one corner, Simcha Jacobovici’s latest attention-grabbing claim of a couple days ago, the “Templar Terror.” In the other corner, hailing from parts unknown, the “Turin Titan.” Maybe next year the History Channel can take some time off from its commitment to ancient aliens to have Hulk Hogan narrate a special on Jesus archaeology. He could tear up some manuscripts instead of T-shirts. Or head-butt some archaeologists.

Welcome to ringside.

 

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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.

 

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