Good news, everyone! Robert Bauval, the purveyor of The Orion Mystery, has finally admitted to being an ancient astronaut theorist. I’ve suspected this for decades, ever since Bauval admitted in The Orion Mystery that his inspiration for the book was the ancient astronaut speculation of Robert Temple. His frequent appearances on Ancient Aliens were also a strong hint. But Bauval has long pretended to be interested only in Graham Hancock’s lost civilization. However, in December he will release a new book with panspermia advocate Chandra Wickramasinghe called Cosmic Womb: The Seeding of Planet Earth (Bear & Company, 2017) in which Bauval and Wickramasinghe argue that Earth life was purposely seeded from the stars by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization and that ancient people were aware of this fact. This is an early review of the forthcoming book courtesy of galley proofs made available by the publisher
Uri Geller Plans to Excavate the Ancient "Egyptian" Treasure of Fictitious Princess Scota on a Scottish Island He Owns
A long time ago, before I was born, Uri Geller was famous as a spoon-bender, and it is rather astonishing that “spoon-bender” was ever a profession, even if he was technically supposed to be some kind of telekinetic. His repertoire of tricks was always rather threadbare, and I can remember amazing my New Age classmates in anthropology classes by doing the spoon-bending trick and making objects move with the power of my “mind.” I performed such tricks—based on physics and misdirection—because one of my classmates claimed with a straight face that Buddhism had given him telekinetic powers, and he tried the same prestidigitation but called it a spiritual miracle. He also claimed he could levitate, but only when no one else was around to see.
I saw on the Ancient Origins Facebook page a series of photographs depicting what are claimed to be “Paleo-Sanskrit” inscriptions on broken tablets recovered from the geological formation known as the Yonaguni Monument because lost civilization believers think the underwater rock is the remains of an Ice Age temple. The pictures were new to me, but apparently they have been in circulation online for at least two years as part of a Hindu supremacist effort to argue that Yonaguni is a Vedic site.
Before I begin today, I have an announcement: This past week, I welcomed into the world my son, and it has been an exciting and hectic time for everyone! He is a healthy and active newborn, and he weighed in at almost 10 pounds, which was quite a surprise, and as you can imagine, it has been a bit of a transition. As a result of my new arrival, I will no longer be able to review Ancient Aliens episodes in real time as they air. Depending on the baby’s schedule, I will try to fit it in sometime over the weekend, but I can’t guarantee it. Over the next few weeks, you will see the number of blog posts decrease while I take some much-deserved paternity leave, and also because I don’t think I can write on zero sleep.
Now, on to today’s discussion of the American Heroes Channel’s efforts to compete with Ancient Aliens.
Last week, Graham Hancock and Michael Shermer debated the existence of a lost Ice Age civilization on the Joe Rogan Experience, and as I noted at the time, it did not make either man look good. Shermer was at times unprepared and often uninspiring, while Hancock was emotional instead of logical and far too quick to anger over every moment of disagreement. Similar anger issues emerged when Hancock attacked skeptic Marc Defant, the author of a harsh forthcoming review of Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods in Skeptic magazine, one that was available online in draft form from January until last week. (The Google cache copy is here.) Well, Hancock seems to have recognized that getting angry isn’t a good look for him, and on Facebook he has tried for some damage control with a pseudo-apology in which he pretends to feel sorry that his tone was unpleasant while, in reality, throwing himself a pity party:
Well, that was unusual, and a little embarrassing. Yesterday afternoon (Pacific time) in his more than three-hour podcast, Joe Rogan hosted skeptic Michael Shermer, amateur geologist Randall Carlson, and journalist Graham Hancock, along with a pair of additional guests in the third hour, to debate Hancock’s claim that a comet destroyed an advanced civilization at the end of the last ice age. Shermer more or less blew it. He spoke above the level of the audience, threw kitchen-sink arguments at Hancock, and, worst of all, focused so heavily on the negative that he came across as a scold. The problem is that he is no expert in archaeology, so he spent more time discussing the burden of proof than the origins and development of Hancock’s claims. He couldn’t quite speak to the awe and wonder of the past; instead, he spoke of academic conferences and the proper way to debate new facts. Even when he tried to speak to the amazing antiquity of Göbekli Tepe, he couldn’t quite match Hancock’s fluidly British debate team polish. Skeptics need spokespeople who can speak with passion.
Shermer was not happy that I found his end of the debate lacking and attacked me on Twitter, and later apologized for what he called a “raw moment”:
Orbiting the Graham Hancock Universe: "Archaeological Fantasies" Explores Gobekli Tepe and Rebecca Bradley Discusses Gunung Padang
I’ve had a very busy weekend, and I am a bit overwhelmed with work today. Fortunately, there are two excellent new resources that I’d like to call your attention to. First, you will undoubtedly recall the academic paper that caused a bit of a stir not long ago when some engineers adapted and adopted the Andrew Collins and Graham Hancock view of the ancient Turkish site of Göbekli Tepe (though denying Hancock’s contention of a prophecy of a future impact encoded on the stones) and attempted to argue that carvings on the site represent a recording of the sky, including astrological constellations, as they appeared when a comet hit the earth during the Younger Dryas.
In Major New Article, Graham Hancock Repeats Previous Anti-Scientist Claims, Defends the Search for Atlantis
I will confess that I am not a regular visitor to Graham Hancock’s website, so I am sometimes a few days behind on his latest postings. The last time he wrote an article for his site was in December, and frankly he had sort of fallen off of my radar so that I didn’t realize until now that he published a monumentally long new diatribe on April 30. In the new article, Hancock alleges that scientists “consistently suppress and marginalise new knowledge that conflicts with established positions.” The proximate cause of the article was the appearance of news pieces on the websites of National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine, which Hancock takes as proof that science is a conspiracy to impose dogma.
Academic Journal Runs Article Claiming Göbekli Tepe Records Comet Strike, Misses Fact That Article Is Based on Speculative Andrew Collins Book
Last night the History Channel broadcast a FOUR HOUR (!) edition of a new show called Ancient Aliens Declassified in which old episodes are expanded with new scenes and commentary. If you think I’m sitting through four hours of Ancient Aliens reruns, you have another thing coming. The first episode covered “The Genius Factor,” and it wove together segments from shows on Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Tesla, and other famous figures that the show produced over the last couple of seasons. On the one hand, this proves that the show knows that it is retreading the same material over and over, but it also offers a sad comment on the History Channel’s opinion of its audience.
A new study from Cornell University concluded that liberals and conservatives don’t read the same books, even when it comes to the very few subjects they have in common. The study did not, apparently, look at people who did not identify with an ideological extreme. As the Guardian reports, liberals tend to read books about science to learn about science, while conservatives read books that use science to support conservative ideology.
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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