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.

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Irrationality and Popular Archaeology

This is the title of an old (1984) journal article I recently came across. The article is from American Antiquity 49:3 (1984): 525-541.  Here is the abstract:

An important aspect of archaeology is communicating the significance of data and research results to a fasci- nated, although often uninformed public. However, on the basis of book sales, newspaper coverage, television programming, and film presentations, it would seem that the public is inordinately fascinated by the more extreme, speculative, and often pseudoscientific claims made by those purporting to use archaeological data. Through questionnaires distributed to undergraduate students and to professional, teaching archaeologists, I made an attempt to comprehend the nature of the public’s appetite for pseudoscientific archaeological claims. The role of education in refuting or perpetuating pseudoscience in archaeology was then assessed.

Enjoy!

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