L. A. Marzulli and Richard Shaw Deliver Bizarre 30-Minute Attack on Mike Heiser's Six-Paragraph Blog Post
I’m not sure where to begin in discussing the bizarre and defensive series of statements that Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli and his business partner Richard Shaw made about Mike Heiser, a Christian scholar who has repeatedly challenged pseudoscientific claims about Biblical and Near Eastern mysteries. In a pair of audio releases yesterday, the pair attacked Heiser for criticizing their claims in the for-profit Watchers X DVD that they had obtained genetic proof that ancient Peruvians came from the Middle East, and that they had genetically examined the remains of a fairy.
On July 25, Heiser posted a brief blog entry in which he discussed Marzulli’s and Brien Foerster’s claims for the Peruvian skulls. Heiser noted that previous efforts by Foerster to find non-human DNA in Peruvian skulls had failed, and the features that he identified as non-human, including a lack of sagittal sutures, are documented in medical literature with known causes. Heiser’s essay was a description of an essay by Carl Feagans that ran on the A Hot Cup of Joe blog, which offered a long and substantive critique of Marzulli and Foerster.
“Run for the hills, folks! Marzulli’s completely wigged out!” That’s how Marzulli began his “Rant” podcast after indulging in a series of racist caricature accents, including an atrociously bad Indian accent that had nothing to do with the content of his broadcast. That audio release contained nothing but extreme conservative propaganda, mostly regurgitated from the kinds of talk radio hacks who happily abandon yesterday’s claims as easily as Oceania swapped East Asia for Eurasia as its unchanging and eternal enemy.
The second audio release contained Marzulli’s and Shaw’s rebuttal to Heiser. He begins by reading Heiser’s entire blog post verbatim, which appears to be a violation of copyright (it’s creating a derivative work—in this case an audiobook—without permission), after which Richard Shaw announces that criticism of the Watchers DVD series “has got to stop” because “I’m sick of this.” Later, Shaw describes Heiser’s brief blog post—all of six paragraphs—as the work of a “bully” no different from the one that abused him as a child.
Marzulli and Shaw, who have produced ten multi-hour Watchers DVDs, are outraged because Heiser has, by their count, made three blog posts over the past five years criticizing them. This, they said, requires overwhelming force to smack down a “university dude” who feels he has the right to “cut anyone else down to size” because he “went to college and graduated.”
Marzulli and Heiser were (by Marzulli’s description) once friends, and Marzulli believes that “something has poisoned the well” that left Heiser embittered and with a vendetta against Marzulli. He says that Heiser has “professional jealousy” because he was not invited to become a Nephilim researcher.
Neither Shaw nor Marzulli seem to understand that Heiser is describing Feagans’s essay and is not creating his own independent analysis of Watchers X. They also misunderstand Heiser’s criticism of DNA results of skulls used variously by white supremacists, ancient astronaut theorists, and Nephilim theorists to support their views for a blanket claim that Marzulli and Shaw are ancient astronaut theorists. (Heiser specifically notes that the two are merely mimicking ancient astronaut theorists.) Shaw is incensed because he only interviews ancient astronaut theorists in support of Nephilim theories, kind of like the way Heiser was only describing different flavors of belief that use the same evidence for opposing ends. “That’s not us saying it! We’re just reporting on what’s there, for crying out loud,” Shaw said, oblivious to irony.
In a written rebuttal that he read in the podcast, Shaw had this to say:
Never having walked through the sticky mud in Gilgal, or wrote checks for tens of thousands of dollars for lab tests at multiple genetics labs. Easy to criticize when facts are simply ignored and ignorance is so prevalent and disclosed with such breathtaking arrogance, and yet this has become Heiser’s trademark. I’m disgusted by it, and so are a lot of others.
Note the logical fallacies: Presence at an ancient site somehow gives one special insight into DNA. (DNA can’t be seen with the naked eye.) Spending money on tests is equivalent to doing good science. (Spending money on bad lab work and contaminated samples won’t make a difference.) Criticism is invalid unless one is actively and financially invested in the outcome. (This is the total opposite of the truth; advocates are most likely to be blind to the errors in their assumptions.)
I’ve been on the receiving end of similar arguments, and even if you meet their requirements, it’s still not enough for fringe believers. For example, many argued that I had no right to suggest that Mystery Hill (America’s Stonehenge) was a colonial era construction because I had never been there to research it myself. When I explained that I have in fact been there and viewed the site myself, the argument changed to why my anger or biases or paradigms somehow prevented me from seeing the truth. It’s the same problem: Nothing short of full acquiescence is good enough.
Shaw goes a step further and intentionally blinds himself to problems. He claims in the podcast that Heiser’s criticism of the so-called Star Child skull (actually links to the criticism offered by several scholars) is invalid because Shaw and Marzulli are not specifically working with that Peruvian skull (though Foerster did). Yet Shaw then claims that new testing on that same skull is contradicting Foerster’s earlier claims for it, made with Lloyd Pye. The two men don’t seem to think there is a problem with their “reputable” genetics labs producing such wildly different results from the same specimen.
Shaw accuses Heiser of “slander” (he means libel) for questioning the validity of the lab work their unnamed genetics labs produced. He and Marzulli say they cannot release the names of the labs because the labs fear that they will be harmed by association with Nephilim theorists. The men allege that the lab reports are available for review, but they have not actually provided these or any method whereby researchers might review them. How would we verify they are true and accurate if the laboratory name is hidden?
Finally, sixteen minutes into a thirty-minute podcast, Marzulli and Shaw remember that there is a link in Heiser’s blog post to Feagan’s blog, though they don’t seem to understand that Heiser was reacting to Feagan. Instead, both men agree that scientific and academic credentials do not apply to the hunt for Nephilim because “you can’t go to school” for Nephilim DNA research. This, of course, forces us to ask the obvious question: If you can’t go to school for it, then what good are your lab results, produced as they are by credentialed and trained geneticists? How do you know that evil angels didn’t fabricate fake DNA to humiliate you? What geneticist went to school to study angel DNA?
To be fair, Shaw and Marzulli do not believe the skulls to be Nephilim; instead, they take the extra-biblical view that “there was genetic manipulation going on, which was a trademark of the Nephilim. According to Scripture, that’s what they did.” This, too, undermines their cause: If the Nephilim could genetically engineer at will, then there is no reason to conclude that the Peruvian skulls have “Near Eastern” DNA since the Nephilim could have engineered such traits to their liking with no movement of peoples. After all, isn’t it their belief that all world peoples are Middle Eastern, being descendants of Noah’s three sons in the days after the Flood? Consistency, Marzulli and Shaw! You need more consistency! Also: Where in Scripture is “genetic manipulation” described? The Nephilim are never described in Genesis 6:4 as even having sex, let alone manipulating genetics, since the Nephilim (giants) were not the Sons of God, the entities actually having sex and producing giants.
According to Marzulli, the “scientific method” involves taking the Bible’s description of the Nephilim in Numbers 13:33 literally (“There we saw the giants” is the whole of it) and assuming from the lack of later description of the Nephilim that they fled from the puissance of the Jews and escaped “to the New World” where they reigned over the Native peoples as gods. You know: Science!
As the half-hour festival of anger drew to a close, the two men humiliated themselves by failing to understand that Heiser’s comments were a description of Feagans’s essay, and they never actually dealt with Feagans’s criticisms in a substantive way.
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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