Reviewing David Childress's "Technology of the Gods" (Pt. 4): He Didn't Even Pretend to Write Chapter 7
Today I bring my review of Technology of the Gods to a merciful close, but Childress saves his most spectacular acts of authorial laziness for last: nearly a whole chapter reprinted from another author’s book (with permission) and a few final acts of self-plagiarism.
We begin the chapter with material about “the three most controversial” monuments in Egypt: the Sphinx, the Osirion at Abydos, and the Great Pyramid. Controversial to whom? Alternative authors, I suppose. Childress then describes the “controversy” over the Sphinx’s age, derived from John Anthony West’s fact-free discussions of the same, citing the same alternative sources and authors as West (and Graham Hancock, also dependent on West). Some other random alternative theories about how the Egyptians built their monuments are then wedged into place, including the theory that they were poured from concrete. There is a massive 300+ word quotation from Kurt Mendelssohn on whether the pharaohs were buried in their pyramids, followed by an endless summary of Christopher Dunn’s Giza Power Plant complete with thousands of words of quotations (and I mean that literally; it seems to be about 60 pages of Dunn’s text), apparently used with Dunn’s permission. I can’t very well critique Childress here since he didn’t even write this section. It’s all Dunn’s work, which has been heavily criticized for its complete detachment from historic fact and reality. It is just plain bullshit to drop in tens of thousands of words of someone else’s work, with no original thought and no commentary, and expect that readers will be happy to have paid good money for our “author” to cede his book to another whose work Childress’s audience most likely had already purchased under separate cover.
Following this, Childress presents Edgar Cayce’s “psychic” revelations about Egypt and its supposed connection to Atlantis. Given that Cayce’s prophecies have yielded no fruitful information about either Egypt of Atlantis, there is no real point in belaboring a critique that Childress borrows wholesale from Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, thanked in the acknowledgements for providing research. The sections of Cayce’s prophecies Childress quotes (again to the tune of thousands of words) seem to parallel Frederic Spenser Oliver’s “channeled” novel/study A Dweller on Two Planets (1899) and other popular entertainment depictions of Atlantis as a technological paradise, like the Saturday morning movie serial Undersea Kingdom (1936). Scholars have noted that Cayce’s Atlantis material is almost certainly derived from Oliver’s Dweller as well as from Helena Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine (1888).
Interestingly, Cayce repeatedly references the “nightside of life,” which is unusual enough a phrase to immediate call to mind Catherine Crowe’s spiritualist classic The Night Side of Nature (1848), though most likely from Oliver’s use of the phrase in Dweller on Two Planets. (There is nothing original in alternative work.)
Childress then quotes a bunch of crap from Charles Bertlitz about the Bimini Road, a natural rock formation alternative writers imagine to be the walls of Atlantis, because Cayce predicted that the Bimini site would witness the rising of Atlantis in 1968.
There are perhaps fewer than 2,000 original words in this 70-page cut-and-paste chapter.
We conclude with Childress’s “thoughts” on the cyclical nature of history. Unable to fill an entire paragraph with these “thoughts,” he instead digresses on the importance of the Book of Enoch and the “world changing technology” that the fallen angel Azazel gave humans. This would be makeup and cosmetics:
Seriously, though, Childress thinks this passage implies that the fallen angels gave humans advanced machining techniques. Do you see that in these lines? I see a list of Bronze Age technologies, nothing more advanced.
We then get an old hoax about a Tibetan cave filled with high technology of the ancients, and then we transition into several pages of cut-and-paste self-plagiarism from Lost Cities of China, Central Asia, and India (1998, pp. 300ff. = Technology of the Gods, pp. 331ff.) because Childress couldn’t let his book end without plagiarizing some more. Clearly, he got bored by the end of Technology of the Gods. Chapter 7 was largely cut-and-paste from Chris Dunn’s book, and now this chapter reproduces chunks of Childress’s own book from less than two years earlier. Between the start of Chapter 7 and the end of the book, Childress contributed probably less than 20% original material, I would guess. (I’m not going to count word for word, or try to parse whether a paraphrase is original enough to count.) If Childress feels no need to provide an original chapter, I feel no need to provide a new review. It’s still un-evidenced hearsay and outdated bullshit.
Fortunately, Childress provides an original (well, sort of, if Ignatius Donnelly doesn’t count), testable hypothesis: “Atlantis, I believe, is beneath the mid-Atlantic in the vicinity of the Azores and the Bahamas.” Nice try, but geology says no. There has never been an above-water continent there, and couldn’t have been. The Atlantic was formed by the Old World and New World pushing apart; there was never land between them.
Childress waxes philosophical as his “book” draws to a close, lamenting that technology leads to endless warfare and conquest, and expressing his desire for new technologies that will let humans live in harmony with nature and each other. Don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy? Though he didn’t get his wish, we have developed amazing new technologies like Google Books, which, while not promoting global harmony, at least lets us see just how many intellectual shortcuts Childress took in the assembly-line production of the pasted-together chimeras he calls his books.
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.