This is the third part of my review of Robert Bauval’s and Thomas Brophy’s 2011 book Black Genesis, about the “black” origins of Egyptian civilization. In this installment, the race-based zaniness truly begins.
When last we left our erstwhile heroes, they were about to tell us how Nabta Playa was somehow both inaccurate in its solar alignments but somehow so astonishingly precise in its stellar alignments as to prove it encoded information about a pre-Ice Age world. At first, all seems well: They note that the upright stones at the center of Nabta Playa align with Orion in 4920 BCE, about the time of the site’s construction. But then they decide, without any solid evidence, that a second set of stones within the circle must also align with Orion—but that they only fit in 16,500 BCE, and then only with the shoulders or Orion, not the belt. Yes, the authors choose to see Nabta Playa as yet another “image of Orion” on the ground, but even their own charts show that the correlation is incredibly imprecise, not as they say “elegant and profound.” Oh, and it also occurs at sunset on the summer solstice, which is not, so far as I know, of any relationship to the spring equinox sunrises that Bauval was so enamored of in The Orion Mystery and Mystery of the Sphinx (Keeper of Genesis). Therefore, the connection he and Brophy imply escapes me. Later, the authors concede that the site’s stones may have multiple meanings, though they seem to have unique insight into the “best” one.
This is the second part of my review of Robert Bauval’s and Thomas Brophy’s 2011 book Black Genesis, about the “black” origins of Egyptian civilization.
Before I begin, though I have small announcement:
Many of you will remember Ryan Dawson, the brother of Scott Dawson, the man who challenged Scott Wolter’s claims about the Eleanor Dare Stones and ended up getting labeled “close-minded” on national television. Ryan Dawson is working on a new documentary about the history of the Israeli-American relationship, and he asked me to pass along this link to his IndieGoGo page raising money for the film. While I do not necessarily endorse Dawson’s thesis (nor have I seen the script of the film), I do support the ability of players outside the media mainstream to put forward their ideas—as well, of course, as our right to later critique those ideas. So, I’m passing this along for those of you who would like to take a look at Dawson’s donation request page. Again, please note: Posting this request is not an endorsement of Ryan Dawson’s political positions.
Now, back to the book…
Black Genesis (2011) by Robert Bauval and Thomas Brophy is a book that seems almost purposely designed to prevent critics from criticizing it without sounding like racists. It claims that the civilization of ancient Egypt derived from “Black” antecedents in sub-Saharan Africa, and I am uncomfortable with the authors’ use of modern racial categories to represent past peoples, who may or may not meet contemporary definitions of socially-constructed “races.” I am also uncomfortable with the idea that civilization should be attributed to a race rather than a culture, as though the Greeks were synecdoche for all Whites or this lost African culture somehow synonymous with everyone with black skin.
Media coverage of the crisis in Syria widely assumes that an American-led international attack will occur in the next few days. Naturally, several conspiracy theories have already arisen to situate this attack in the context of various nefarious world-controlling forces. The most bizarre must be the claim that the United States is manufacturing this attack to take control of the Anunnaki’s ancient power centers at the behest of the Grey aliens who landed in Roswell in 1947 and entered into diplomatic relations with Eisenhower in the 1950s. (Yes, it’s the long-debunked Majestic-12 claims again.)
This idea was posted at godlikeproductions.com yesterday and offers insight into how ancient astronaut theories and alternative history become part of the conspiratorial belief system:
Last week I signed a contract with McFarland Publishers for a new book, tentatively titled Jason and the Argonauts: The Epic History of a Greek Myth. To be published sometime in 2014, the book will examine the history of the Greek myth of Jason in its historical, cultural, and archaeological contexts using a wide range of the latest evidence. Weighing in at more than 170,000 words (before editing), it is the longest single piece of writing I have ever done. The manuscript is due to the publisher on October 1, and I am currently assembling the final set of images and captions to accompany the text.
Today I have two topics to discuss, though they aren’t particularly closely related.
In Salon yesterday, Christine Montross has an interesting piece on “Jerusalem syndrome,” an unofficial and disputed psychiatric condition whereby a certain number of individuals with “unusual ideas” about the Bible become obsessed with Jerusalem, visit the city, and have a psychotic episode while there. More concerning, seemingly-normal people visiting the city can become susceptible to similar episodes, developing psychosis in identifiable stages: They first declare their intention to explore the city by themselves, walking the streets alone. Next, they become fixated on purity and hygiene. After purifying themselves, they will typically dress in pseudo-Biblical clothing, frequently made of bed sheets, and then proceed to a holy place to deliver a ranting sermon about morality and simplicity. Within five days, the syndrome subsides and the otherwise normal person returns to ordinary life as though nothing had ever happened.
Last week the RRR Group blog, which I am led to believe is associated with longtime ufologist Rich Reynolds, published an article on George Adamski comparing his encounter with Venusians to the divine revelations imparted to Muhammad and Joseph Smith. The discussion was going along so well until it took a left turn into illogic near the end.
Let me issue a disclaimer right here before we begin: The RRR Group is the one making claims about Muhammad and aliens. I am not. Please direct all messages about such claims to the RRR Group.
In the current Skeptical Inquirer (Sept./Oct. 2013), Paul R. Brewer had an interesting article reporting research on the way one-sided media presentations of ESP can influence audiences to believe in ESP and view ESP researchers as credible and scientific. Brewer asked 446 undergraduates to read stories about ESP that were (a) one-sided in favor of ESP, (b) reporting scientific objections to ESP, (c) humorous but including criticism of ESP, or (d) on an unrelated topic. Those who read the one-sided, biased story were more likely to believe in ESP and consider ESP researchers scientific than those who read any other story. Conversely, those who read the scientific objections were less likely to believe in ESP or its researchers’ scientific credibility. Brewer, however, does not appear to have included a group which read balanced coverage more typical of how news reports usually cover stories.
I’m sure you’ll all be excited to learn that a few tidbits about the “mysteries” for the next season of America Unearthed have accidentally leaked out of the media blackout H2 and Committee Films has imposed. You’ll recall that a few weeks ago actor Paul Cram published some on set photographs from America Unearthed showing him as John Surratt, and within hours of me writing about the photographs on my blog, Cram’s entire blog post and all mention of John Surratt in connection with the second season of America Unearthed vanished. I do not have any evidence that the events are connected, but it is a remarkable coincidence and one entirely in keeping with the known policy of H2 and Committee Films to vigorously control their intellectual property.
I received a very detailed email this morning from a fellow who wanted to pass along a warning that the Knights Templar precursors who came to America before 800 CE had set into motion the End of Days, through which were are living now. I’ve edited the message for length and clarity:
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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