Almost twenty years ago, biologist E. O. Wilson published Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, in which he postulated that the various fields of human knowledge can be linked at a deep level and that one day we will unify the sciences and the humanities. But what about false forms of knowledge? Do they have a deep connection, too? Is there such as think as Collusion: The Unity of Anti-Knowledge? If there is, then Ancient Aliens represents collusion at its worst. Tonight’s episode plunges us to new lows when New Age guru Deepak Chopra brings his carnival of crazy claims about quantum consciousness to a program ostensibly, though rarely actually, about space aliens. All of this occurs in service of an episode dedicated to the Akashic Record, a name that should sound familiar since Ancient Aliens has already covered it several times before. The Akashic Record is a modern pious fraud, an alleged ancient Indian concept of a universal record of all past, present, and future knowledge accessible by psychic power.
It’s been a while since I ventured into the wild world of copy-and-paste fringe “writing,” so today it’s time for a return to the classics. Today’s entry comes from Clyde Winters, an Afrocentric writer who publishes articles on Ancient Origins that largely recycle material first publicized by the Afrocentric writers of the 1970s, and even Leo Wiener in the 1920s. In an article published on Ancient Origins yesterday, Winters alleges that the so-called “Brazil Tablet” found by Col. Percy Fawcett is evidence that the Mande tribe of West Africa colonized Brazil in the Middle Ages. But what should surprise us more is that Winters appears to be recycling his latest article from his own decade-old discussion board postings, and possibly from still earlier work, all without acknowledgement. Nothing, it seems, is ever truly “new” in fringe world.
It’s been a fairly profitable time to be promoting Eurocentric and Biblically literalist historical narratives, to judge by the buildings going up in honor of pre-Victorian views of Christendom. In Washington, the privately funded Museum of the Bible is set to open soon near the Mall, despite the continuing controversy over how the museum filled its collections. Last week, Hobby Lobby, the company whose controlling family is also funding the Bible museum, agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines after federal prosecutors determined that the company had purchased smuggled cuneiform artifacts for the museum. Since the bombshell report, new revelations have come to light about the company’s efforts to obtain even more Near Eastern artifacts with little or no concern about their provenance.
Wednesday Roundup: History Channel "Investigating" "Earhart" Photo; Plus: Gaia Claims New Alien Mummies and Marzulli Claims Demons Pretend to Be the Virgin Mary
According to a new poll from Pew Research, a clear majority of Republicans, 58%, now view higher education as bad for America. While the poll did not distinguish between Republicans who view education itself as bad and those who are angry at colleges and universities for being too “liberal” and therefore bad, the results are overall disturbing for anyone who cares about education and scholarship.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Endorses Robert Schoch's Lost Ice Age Civilization; Plus: A Medieval Account of the Sphinx's Secret Chamber
Note: This post has been edited to correct information about Edgar Cayce.
Gwyneth Paltrow receives frequent criticism because her lifestyle brand, Goop, actively promotes all manner of quackery in the name of “wellness.” But I was shocked and surprised to see that Goop has now extended beyond dubious wellness cures into the realm of pseudoarchaeology. Goop interviewed “maverick” geologist Robert Schoch, who gave Paltrow’s moneyed hausfrau readers a summary of his usual claims about an Ice Age Sphinx and a lost megalithic civilization, with the added speculation that civilization rises and falls because “subtle changes in the [Earth’s] electromagnetic/geomagnetic field can modulate mental abilities in humans.” He added that “academia” is financially invested in maintaining the current paradigm of history, which is why his radical revision hasn’t caught on.
Almost anyone who has an interest in ufology knows of the Majestic-12 documents, a cache of alleged U.S. government documents outlining the government’s secret involvement with space aliens in the middle twentieth century. The first of these documents began circulating in 1984, with a second set of papers released in 1994, and all but diehard true believers understand that they are fake. That did not stop Ancient Aliens from devoting an entire hour to them. I’m not sure whether it is an improvement that the show is now being honest about its willingness to accept any lie that can be spun into entertainment, or whether it should be considered a further diminution of the History Channel brand. Considering History is currently promoting a blurry undated photograph showing either a teenage boy or a mannish woman as alleged proof of Amelia Earhart’s fate, I’m not sure they can really fall any further.
I remember reading the Majestic-12 documents online back in the 1990s, when it seemed like a big deal and an exciting thing that the internet had given me dramatic access to. I remember thinking they were pretty stupid back then, and I don’t feel any different now. However, I still lack a passion for modern ufology, so it was something of a slog to sit through an hour-long discussion of a topic that bored me back when I still cared about UFOs.It is for that reason that I also had no interest in watching the two-hour UFO documentary that followed this episode.
Review of Forbidden History S04E02 "The Secrets of the Vatican"; Plus: Ben Radford Has More Reasons He Thinks I'm Wrong about Chupacabra
I was planning to review Forbidden History today, but then Benjamin Radford responded to my recent response to his recent response to an article I wrote about the Chupacabra six years ago. So, I will append the Forbidden History review below. Meanwhile, in the latest piece, Radford accuses me of purposely misrepresenting him and engaging in straw man arguments to promote a wacky, evidence-free hypothesis. As much as I respect Radford’s work, at times he is that tiresome type of skeptic who demands everything be spelled out in syllogisms and tends toward blindness in the weaknesses of his own arguments. He adds little new in the most recent piece, so I have very little to say about it except to point out some of those aforementioned weaknesses:
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been examining the fragments of Abenephius, a largely unknown figure said to have been a medieval rabbi from Egypt. The fragments preserved by Renaissance polymath Athanasius Kircher represent an otherwise unattested Jewish treatise on the mysteries of ancient Egypt, but no one knows whether the text is authentic or something Kircher made up.
Now here is an odd thing. I discovered that one early Freemasonic source attributed the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx to Mizraim, the son of Ham, rather than to any of the usual suspects from mythology or history. Our example comes to us from a bizarre bit of popular culture, the Harlequin Free-Mason, a 1780 piece of commedia dell’arte pantomime by Charles Dibdin which concludes with a pageant depicting the history of Freemasonry from the Flood to the eighteenth century. The Gentleman’s Magazine considered it “the richest and most intelligent spectacle” in English theatrical history, and according to them, it was also the best attended in living memory. So much for the Masonry’s “secrets.” But anyway, in response to the popularity of the pantomime, guides to its imagery were published, and it is rather astonishing to see the Western Enochian view of history on full display.
According to one such explanation, the procession commenced with Enoch, with two men bearing the pillars of stone and brick from Flavius Josephus’ account of the run-up to the Flood of Noah. Following the appearance of Nimrod, here identified following apocryphal accounts as the builder of the Tower of Babel, there came Mizraim, the son of Ham and the first king of Egypt. I give here the full description:
After researching the alleged medieval Egyptian rabbi Abenephius over the past couple of weeks, I became curious about the question of what exactly Jews and Christians of Egypt would have known about Hermes, Enoch, and the other related characters whose apocryphal adventures formed the basis of so much later fringe history. This led me to learn that the Jews of Egypt had indeed been interested in Enochian literature, but that they had been extinguished in the middle of the second century CE (177 CE to be specific), not to reappear again until the 300s, at which point their interest in Enoch and Hermes goes unrecorded. One would think they almost certainly would have produced their own texts reacting to Enochian and Hermetic texts because their Christian neighbors were obsessed with apocryphal texts; however, the period from 70 to 600 CE saw the suppression of the Enochian tradition among the Jews almost completely, reemerging only after around 700, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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