David Childress wasn’t kidding when he said that his Technology of the Gods (2000) would “recap” material from his other books. And by recap he means “copy and paste.” Here is the second part of my review, covering chapters 3 and 4.
Childress’s chapter on metallurgy begins with a lengthy (roughly 300 word) quotation from Nikolaas van der Mewe’s 1969 book called The Carbon-14 Dating of Iron followed by another quotation of roughly 300 words from the same book, and a third of 500 words. I can’t imagine Childress paid for reproduction rights for that much borrowed text. Oh, right, the point: the quotes establish the history of iron working. It’s nothing that a less lazy person couldn’t have written himself. But why should he? It’s obvious from his dependence on a single, long-outdated source that he has no interest in doing anything more than transcribing other people’s work. His only original contribution to this section (and it isn’t even his idea) is to claim that the Hittites’ cities were “vitrified” by a mysterious force that he implies was technological in nature.
His discussion of metallurgy in China is also derived from van der Mewe with several hundred more words of quotation. Alternative nonsense from Arlington Mallery’s Rediscovery of Lost America (an indirect source for Gavin Menzies’ latest book, too) is brought in to link ancient India to America, a lie that’s been going around since the 1790s when India was briefly, and wrongly, considered the font of all civilization and therefore the origin of the ancient Americans.
Childress then brings up the supposedly rust-free Iron Pillar of Delhi, which even Erich von Däniken admitted being wrong about back in the 1970s. Childress apparently doesn’t even keep up with his alternative authors, repeating the same lies from the 1960s unleavened by facts. He also discusses alleged Chinese aluminum belt buckles (supposedly made with electricity) found in China in 1959; however, like every alternative claim, there is no fact to back this up, only an article in a French magazine taking the Chinese at their word, despite China’s record of faking archaeology in service of ideology. And of course Childress is merely repeating his own “research” from his earlier Lost Cities series, in the volume on Asia.
We then get the fake “spark plug in a geode,” which is in fact a spark plug, but not one in a geode. The alleged Coso artifact is creationist nonsense, a 1920s spark plug in a lump of hardened mud. It is not a billion years old. Childress sets up a false dichotomy, suggesting that either it is a billion-year-old spark plug or it is a “trick of nature,” leaving out the obvious: a modern spark plug in a not-very-old lump of hardened mud.
Next, Childress runs down alleged anomalous artifacts, most of which are staples of the alternative circuit; and as far as I can tell this entire section is heavily dependent on Cremo and Thompson’s Forbidden Archaeology, right down to the photographs.
Childress moves on to robots and claims that Talus, the last man of the Bronze race, who in the myth of the Argonauts guards the island of Crete, is a robot. Von Däniken and others had already made that claim, but whatever. It’s still wrong. Childress is blissfully ignorant of the fact that Talus was not always a bronze man but originated in a bull-form embodiment of the sun. Only gradually over time did Talus become identified as bronze in confusion over his original role as the last survivor of the Bronze Age. The idea of Talus as robot derives more from the 1963 Jason and the Argonauts movie than Greek myth.
The chapter concludes with still more summaries of other writers’ work, including the de rigueur discussion of the Antikythera Mechanism.
Having demonstrated his inability to think critically about metallurgy, Childress proceeds to copy other peoples’ work about ancient electricity. He begins with the Baghdad battery, a Roman-era device that may or may not have been an extremely weak battery. So much of this chapter is filled with summaries of un-evidenced alternative books, most importantly Tomas’s We Are Not the First, including hundreds of words of quotations, all presented without a lick of original thought. Am I supposed to review how accurately he has copied from Tomas?
The Denderah light bulb remains a lotus blossom despite Childress’s protestations. Well, not his, per se. The authors he’s copied about the Hathor temple relief. But, just for a change, Childress turns to copying from Graham Hancock’s The Sign and the Seal (1992) where Hancock speculates on whether the Ark of the Covenant was an electrical device, speculation in turn derived from still earlier idiocy, like Erich von Däniken and Pauwels and Bergier. Childress’s discussion of the Ark appears nearly word-for-word in Brad Olsen’s Sacred Places (2000) and in two later Olson books
So who plagiarized whom? Olson plagiarized Childress, I think. This I suspect because Childress is plagiarizing himself. The section on the Ark of the Covenant is plagiarized almost word-for-word from Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries of Africa & Asia (1989), with additions. Of course, Childress could be plagairizing Olson plagiarizing Childress, but my mind boggles at such possibilities.
Whole pages are recycled, but obviously I am not going to give Childress the money to reproduce them as evidence. Just look at pages 127ff. of Technology and 60ff. of Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries to prove it for yourself.
Childress goes on to rely on the fact-free mystical fabrications of the Lemurian Fellowship, which I will not dignify with a discussion. Needless to say, all of this, including the polite requests to read Childress’s other books, is word-for-word plagiarism of Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries, without even the pretence of altering or updating the text.
We conclude with actual facts (!) about the existence of lenses in the ancient world, which Childress, relying on other authors, spins into a fantasy about growing electrically-powered crystals to make electrical power plants.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
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.