A depressing new survey published in the United Kingdom finds that almost two-thirds of Britons (64%) claim not to believe that dinosaurs once existed. The survey results do not explain why Britons doubt the reality of dinosaurs, but it added that nearly as many adults believe in ghosts (30%) as dinosaurs (36%). The only good news is that the survey had a small sample size (1,003 adults) and was conducted by e2save, an online mobile retailer, as a promotion for their 4K cameras. They had a vested interest in overestimating controversial statements as part of their campaign to use conspiracy theories in their advertisements for their cameras.
Historically, denial of the existence of dinosaurs has been associated with Christian conservatism, going back to the bastardized form of the argument that fossils were God’s rough draft (“archetypes”) of modern animals. That argument was that the Devil planted fossils to fool Christians into doubting creationism. But that can’t be what’s going on in Britain, since only 29% of survey respondents claimed to believe in God.
Here in the United States, L. A. Marzulli is busy promoting a new anomaly that he claims will undercut science and prove the Bible true. Weirdly, it reflects the historically British obsession with fairies.
You’ll remember that earlier this week I noted that Marzulli had announced that he had DNA tests conducted on the preserved corpse of a fairy in Mexico. Well, he has now released a longer segment from his Watchers X DVD in which he explores the hoax corpse, currently in Mexico.
The conservative Christian extremists believe that the body is not that of a fairy but of one of the locusts described in Revelation 9:7-10:
The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails.
He talks to a woman who takes overexposed night images of bats and bugs, which she mistakenly believes are supernatural demon-locusts heralding the End of Days. It’s worth noting that the fairy skeleton does not have a scorpion’s tail. He also speaks with Jaime Massaun, the Mexican UFO TV show host who has repeatedly endorsed hoaxes and frauds, not least of which were last year’s so-called Roswell Slides, which were claimed to be 1940s photos of an alien corpse but which were tourist shots of a known child mummy from a U.S. museum.
Massaun believes that the fairy must be genuine because the teenager who brought it to him did not ask for payment and was too stupid to have faked it. It does occur to him that the teenager might merely have been passing on a hoax created by someone else.
The so-called “fairy” is one of several specimens that appear to be fabricated using small animals, and a few that look like complete New World monkey corpses. The DNA specialist, whose credentials are not explained (he seems to actually be one of Massaun’s assistants wearing a white lab coat), claims that testing of the specimen that looked like a fetal monkey revealed a 98.5% similarity to human DNA, just about what you would expect from a monkey. “It’s very strange,” the supposed DNA specialist said.
An x-ray of the so-called fairy reveals bright spots that appear similar to the brightness under x-ray of pins, wires, or other artificial joints that are used in taxidermy. Neither the man in the lab coat nor Marzulli consider the possibility of using animal parts to craft the creature (at least not until the end of the clip), introducing the false dilemma that the little body is either entirely made from artificial materials or is a genuine monster, thereby allowing them to dismiss the first straw man by virtue of the presence of small animal bones within the body. The man in the lab coat said that an independent laboratory confirmed that the tissues and bones were “not related to the mammals.” Neither he nor Marzulli considered the logical possibility that the hoaxer might have used reptile material.
Marzulli’s narrator claims that further DNA testing could not be done because the TSA confiscated their DNA samples upon returning to the United States despite receiving oral permission by phone to bring the samples into America. Even I know that you need documentation, not just a phone call, to bring biological samples across the border. Marzulli asked for a new sample, which was flown into America, but these samples could not be tested because Massaun keeps the fairy corpse in formaldehyde, which conveniently destroyed the DNA.
At the end of the segment, the narrator acknowledges that an artificial origin from small animal parts is a possibility and then teases the rest of the Watchers X DVD by asking us to buy it to find out what an anonymous veterinarian (who refuses to appear on camera or even state his name) had to say about the creature and the white dots that appear on its x-ray.
7/22/2016 10:18:38 am
>>> associated with Christian conservatism
7/22/2016 10:23:23 am
Christian conservatism began to be taken apart by critical 19th century Biblical research and the discovery of ancient religious cuneiform writings in the Middle East showing that Biblical myths were not that unique or original.
7/22/2016 03:32:38 pm
The 19th century is when Biblical literalism / inerrancy and what we now call evangelicalism took off. It was a direct response to the rise of science and it poking holes in the Bible as a history / science text
7/22/2016 03:54:34 pm
Don't forget those "visions" of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
7/22/2016 04:11:01 pm
The Bible has been just as easily debunked as anything else featured on this sceptical blog,
Umm...Stephen Oppenheimer is by no means a creationist and he's compiled a good amount of evidence that the Torah's version is closer to the original than the cuneiform versions you speak of. Flood and most Indo-European myths come from SE Asia. A counter study has recently challenged him, claiming that only some components came from SE Asia and others from Central Asia. In my opinion this completely misses the point; Y Haplogroup P originated in SE Asia and split into R and Q in Central Asia. This wasn't the first or the last time, as is attested to the 47000 year old Y Hap K2 in Siberia. Short Version: You assumed that the cuneiform story was older because an older version in cuneiform survived. That was a highly unscientific assumption, Oppenheimer or no.
7/22/2016 09:02:33 pm
I believe in both ;)
7/23/2016 03:54:42 am
I am a believer in both Judaism and Nazism
7/24/2016 11:21:13 pm
I believe in ending racism and also in Mein Kampf.
7/28/2016 03:17:20 pm
Of course they do. Believing fantasy is easy. Understanding science is hard.
7/22/2016 10:37:19 am
Oh, c'mon! That "fairy" is obviously made from a bat with extra parts added on!
7/22/2016 02:25:40 pm
I agree. I think it looks like a jerked and pickled baby fruit bat.
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/22/2016 02:27:40 pm
Disagree. It's clearly candied.
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/22/2016 02:39:28 pm
Irrelevant aside, Candybats would be a great name for a Japanese Gothic Lolita metal band.
7/22/2016 02:58:45 pm
At 8:20 there is a good profile x-ray which shows no bones in the wings.
7/22/2016 03:48:22 pm
Perhaps it's cartilage. I just read that the wings of young bats aren’t fully developed at birth. Or they might be caramelized pixie wings.
7/23/2016 02:32:28 pm
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/22/2016 10:53:08 am
At least "a veterinarian" is better than "some say." Though having some recent experience with veterinary X-rays, if your vet doesn't go "yeah, that's a metal armature," get a new vet.
7/22/2016 01:15:21 pm
That's no metal armature, that's my wife!
7/22/2016 11:22:55 am
Jason, I wouldn't put too much credit onto a survey with such a small sample size conducted by an organization trying to peddle some product. A sample size needs to be large enough to be statically valid and also must reflect the larger population as a whole.
7/22/2016 02:43:00 pm
7/22/2016 05:38:47 pm
As a point of fact, in the social sciences a sample size of 1000 actually is considered a fair to large sample of a given population. The reliability and validity of the survey is destroyed by the organization conducting the survey having a vested interest in representing specific conclusions, in this case conspiracy theories that help them sell cameras. This is why tenured research and the peer review process is so important.
7/22/2016 08:33:14 pm
I would agree that the survey is probably not valid. How they do this is by incentivizing the participants to finish quickly by offering a reward of some kind to the first (say 2000) people to finish and then arrange to put the answers they want as the top options in a multiple choice survey. Then they just data mine the heck out of the results.
7/23/2016 02:44:11 pm
I wish I could find a copy of the survey questions. The truth is, many of the people who supposedly don't believe in dinosaurs, or who supposedly believe the moon landing was faked, may not actually believe that. If, for instance, the survey said, "We've all seen dinosaurs in films like Jurassic World. Do you believe in them?" many people might mark "no" because they're thinking of the specifics of the Hollywood dinosaurs, which don't match actual paleontology very well. Likewise, if they asked, "Do you think the moon landing could have been faked?" that's not the same question as asking "Do you think the moon landing WAS faked?" and the answers might well be very different. I would say that yes, it COULD have been faked--has been, in fact, in numerous movies and so forth--but answering the second question is a definitive NO, I do not believe the actual moon landing was faked. See?
7/22/2016 03:30:28 pm
Mr. Lab Coat is identified as Ricardo Rangel, PhD, molecular biology. I can't read Spanish so I do not understand what comes up when I google his name. Just curious to see if he is, in fact, Dr. Lab Coat.
7/23/2016 03:53:24 am
I'm struggling to find an obvious match with photographic confirmation. What's the particular link that interested you?
7/23/2016 04:43:49 am
Jason had questioned the credentials of the DNA expert in the video and speculated that he was an assistant with the lab coat as a prop. I just wanted a see if he had earned a degree and was a professional in that field. Acknowledgement for academics is often a theme here and I didn't want to dismiss him as a poseur.
7/23/2016 09:04:54 am
Sorry, I meant to ask what particular link you found by Googling his name had interested you enough to wish you read Spanish. From what I could see, there are a couple of possible candidates for the "right" Ricardo Rangel.
7/23/2016 01:11:01 pm
After more poking around I found that he is Ricard Rangel Martinez. He seems to be a biologist. I can't read about his company but I don't I need to use up more of your time. He is employed somehow in the sciences and that's what interested me. Many thanks for your attention.
7/28/2016 03:15:29 pm
So, given the conditions of the study, I have corrected your opening statement as follows:
7/29/2016 03:11:05 pm
Marzulli said that the bright spots on the x-ray are "birdshot," according to the vet.
7/29/2016 03:15:23 pm
I think Jason was the only one to claim the "hot spots" were wire apertures - which would not be in the right placements if this were a tradition composited sculpture.
8/13/2016 09:10:45 pm
Im very disappointed in LA Marzulli and Mr Forester again. First the elgonaated skull "Dna" results and now the fairy. I saw the reason why they did what they did because of the money cost involved. Basically trying to recover the cost by putting results in something you have to purchase. If they are for truth, then they would do things the right way and release free of charge and results that other scientist can confirm. If proven to be true, im sure there books and whatever else they sell would fly off the shelves but obviously they dont know much about marketing.
9/14/2016 08:45:20 pm
Well it's kind of understandable about the dinosaurs, religion or no.
Correction: Why were they calling a triceratops a*DINOSAUR* when it did not have 2 holes above its eyes like all reptiles are supposed to have? Hair, fur, horns, hooves, and a closed hole mammal skull...and even though they didn't know it's skull holes hadn't opened up yet because it was too young, they just assumed it was a dinosaur. Doesn't sound like they have a well-thought criteria for dinosaurs worked out, or at least they didn't when they named this juvenile a separate species.
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