Yesterday Scott Wolter challenged critics to provide evidence regarding the Kensington Rune Stone that would meet the standard of admissibility for a court of law. That’s a rather silly an arbitrary standard for a scientific claim, given that evidence in law courts isn’t meant to establish the truth, particularly evidence admitted by the defense, which need not do more than establish reasonable doubt. Courts are also not always right, either. Courts have determined that evidence supported racial segregation and eugenics, among other things. Besides, Wolter himself failed to provide enough legal evidence to convince a judge when he was sued in 1988 and failed to prove he could distinguish a valuable Lake Superior agate from a worthless Brazilian agate.
But the larger problem remains: Even if we accept the “legal” standard for the Rune Stone, would that not disqualify all of Wolter’s other claims, since nothing about the Holy Bloodline conspiracy would rise to the standard of hearsay, let alone admissible evidence? (Even the lawyer Wolter quotes as a supporter of the authenticity of the Rune Stone denies in the full text of his Facebook posting that the secret codes Wolter alleges to have found actually exist.)
Of course Wolter has a different standard for proof for the Templar-Bloodline claim, because consistency is not among his virtues:
Truth is, historians have little if any documentation to work with about the activities of the pre-Columbian Templars in North America because they conducted in utmost secrecy. That’s why we need to pay especially close attention to symbolism, allegory and code to make headway. It was their preferred mode of communication.
Speaking of the Holy Bloodline conspiracy, it seems that I have gotten into a bit of trouble with goddess believers over that one. The complaint comes from supporters of Mary Starbird.
I’ve never heard of Margaret Starbird, but from what I learned, she is a New Age writer who specializes in the “sacred union” of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She runs a goddess-themed cult centered on “the truth behind the fiction encountered in The Da Vinci Code.” Starbird claims that Dan Brown used her work in The Da Vinci Code. Starbird reports that the fringe belief in this marriage, which she seems to have encountered through Holy Blood, Holy Grail, shook her Catholic faith and forced her into years of research that led her to believe in the sacred union and a hidden goddess tradition in Christianity. To share her deep spiritual transformation, she founded a limited liability corporation through which she accepts cash payments for information about this sacred and empowering “truth.” She is a regular on the New Age lecture circuit, where she also accepts cash payments for her spiritual revelations.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it: I just read about a televangelist with regular-flavor Jesus beliefs who was accused of using church donations to fund a $50 million private jet and $100,000 for a separate home just for his dogs.
Starbird has made some questionable claims over the years, from her linkage of Mary Magdalene to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 to her assertion that the unicorn is really a symbol of Jesus’ omnipotent penis striving to fertilize Mary Magdalene.
I mention this because the followers of Stabird have criticized me for not falling in line behind their goddess-centric belief in a Jesus-Magdalene coupling. One of the believers complains that I do not correctly understand the faith of the Cathars because I reference Peter of les Vaux-de-Cernay in the Historia Albigensis 10-11. She criticizes
… his rather bizarre views on the Cathars, based upon the writing of their enemy, a Roman Catholic and further based upon his own translation of the Latin text. When challenged, in the comment section, about his authority to translate the difficult Latin, his response was that he had been ‘reading Latin since he was a teenager’. There is no mention of studying the language at a University level.
The Latin of this passage isn’t really that difficult, but I have never asked anyone to take my translations at face value. But in this case, you certainly don’t have to: Peter’s text has been translated many times, in both older sources and in a modern critical edition. The trouble, of course, is that there is very little surviving from the Cathars themselves, and most of what we know (or what “esoteric” Christians think they know) about them comes from opponents’ accounts.
In response to this, another “esoteric” Christian calling herself Bishop Katia replied that it was incorrect for skeptics like me to lump their beliefs in with other fringe claims:
It’s okay, we are used to being fringe in this area. It doesn’t mean we believe in many of the less logical myths about Judeo-Christianity such as it originated in Atlantis, or that the Holy Family and half the tribes of Israel were really white non-semitic British people. Archaeology and DNA studies show without exception that the 12 tribes and Jesus’ family were all middle eastern.
Notice the way Katia has elided two different claims to make them seem equally plausible: Belief in a male and female godhead is not a historical claim, but a question of faith. Belief in the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and the subsequent production of a line of royal babies is a historical claim. A faith-based belief in the former does not imply reality-based evidence for the latter. (For example: One could easily believe in El and Asherah, or Baal and Astarte, ruling the heavens.)
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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