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.
Semir Osmanagic Claims Bosnian "Pyramids" Can Communicate with Aliens Through Faster-Than-Light Waves
My modem died. The modem had been getting inconsistent in its performance and needed to be reset with increasing frequency, and then it died completely. So, I had to waste part of the day swapping it out and setting up a new wi-fi network. The bad news is that I lost several work hours, but the good news is that my new wi-fi network is faster and stronger. But since I am behind schedule, my blog post today will have to be a bit shorter than usual.
John Anthony West Says That Pseudo-History Is a Means to Overthrow Capitalism and Western Civilization
When I was a kid, the Discovery Channel used to show dubbed English versions of ZDF’s Terra X documentary series. I have a great affection for the show (despite its frequent forays into fringe history) from that experience, and down to the present I have consequently availed myself from time to time of German archaeological documentaries, including those that DWTV dubbed into English. I was surprised and a bit dismayed to learn from László Matthias Simon-Nanko that ZDF purchased the German broadcast rights to the History Channel’s wretched Atlantis Found documentary from 2015 and will be airing an edited version of it as an episode of Terra X a few hours after I post this. To think: Two decades ago America had to import its sensationalist pseudo-archaeology from Europe in the form of Terra X, Erich von Däniken, and Graham Hancock, but now we are an exporter of pseudohistory and ignorance. Thanks, History Channel!
Minnesota Man Claims to Have Found a Medieval Norse Skull One Day's Journey North of the Kensington Rune Stone
A Minnesota man is requesting $10,000 to prove that a skull found in an old farmhouse is the remains of the one of the Norse men whose deaths were reported on the hoax Kensington Rune Stone. According to the fictitious story told on the stone, ten members of an expedition made up of eight Geats and twenty-two Norse died in 1362 while the others were fishing one day’s journey north of where the Rune Stone was found in 1898. As I learned from David M. Krueger earlier today, Elroy Balgaard, who is apparently the Minnesota graphic designer of the same name, posted a video to YouTube outlining his plans for a documentary to explore his unusual claim.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.