All of you must be feeling a tingle of anticipation that Scott Wolter has promised “new” Kensington Rune Stone research! In comments on his blog yesterday, Wolter announced that he gave a presentation about his latest, and still unnamed, rune stone discoveries and plans to submit them for review to—wait for it—the Freemasons! That’s right: Now that Wolter has joined the Freemasons, he’s turning to the same group he once accused of a vast conspiracy to suppress the truth to help him “validate” his claims. Holy crap. Here’s how Wolter put it yesterday:
In any case, I presented my latest KRS research for the first time Saturday night and it was very well received. I'm almost done writing it up and will submit it for peer review to at two scholarly Masonic bodies. The subject matter of this discovery isn't taught at any conventional scholarly institution so it wouldn't make any sense to them and explains why scholars struggled so mightily with the KRS inscription for the past 118 years. They had no idea what they were dealing with and even when they do find out they still won't know what to do unfortunately.
I can’t wait to hear what claim is so special and secret that scholars won’t be able to understand the true genius of Wolter’s vision. He would only say that it involves “symbolism” and “allegory.” It must be quite special to fit an entire symbolic and allegorical narrative into the inscription’s couple of sentences.
That said, I must admit to being a bit confounded by Wolter’s reversal of course on the Freemasons. In the past, Wolter has depicted them as the secret architects of history, privy to the truth about Jesus, and conspiring to subvert the general will of the public to promote a Templar-Gnostic-goddess agenda, a group so powerful that they hide the truth about Jesus in the design of Oreo brand cookies, confident that it will never be found. Now he plans to trust them to tell him that he has uncovered their ancient Templar secrets correctly?
It would be funny if Wolter wasn’t also completely unaware of how arguments work. For a man who frequently describes legal proceedings as models for how to determine truth, he seems to have missed out on understanding the burden of proof and presumption. Consider his comment from yesterday in which he claims that those who doubt his assertions must provide alternative evidence for a different hypothesis rather than merely point out that Wolter failed to prove his case:
Can you, or Lesley, or any other skeptic give us anything factual to discuss? My God, all you do is criticize and dismiss and offer nothing in return. What evidence to you have the KRS is not genuine? What legitimate facts do you have to refute my geological work? What evidence do you have that Williams and Nielsen did not conspire to commit fraud?
That’s not how an argument is made, either in rhetoric, or science, or even a court of law. The person making the positive claim—in this case Wolter, since he is asserting something contrary to the archaeological version of the null hypothesis—has the burden of proving that he is right. If his evidence is incomplete, inaccurate, or incorrect, then his argument is not to be accepted. “Prove me wrong” is not a valid argument, or else we’d have a world of ancient astronauts, cold fusion, and snake oil.
Regular readers will remember that last month Wolter wrote a bitter blog post about what he claimed was academic fraud perpetuated by Henrik Williams, a professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Wolter believes that Williams intentionally omitted various dots from a transcription of the Kensington Rune Stone published online in 2010 in an effort to “hide” the Templar-Cistercian dot code Wolter imagines that he found in the stone. Williams explained that he omitted the dots because he believed they were a combination of tool marks and natural erosional features that were not relevant to the runic inscription.
Wolter has enhanced his attack on Williams, and he now asserts that Williams is attempting, via an online PDF file, to “control the history of this country” by suppressing the truth about medieval quasi-Templar colonization of Minnesota. After calling Williams a “fraud” engaged in an “obvious scam,” Wolter added that “I wouldn’t use such language if I hadn’t already consulted legal counsel who advised me these facts overwhelming[ly] support the allegations.”
In support of this, Wolter claims that Williams fraudulently denies that Icelandic manuscripts feature the so-called “Hooked X®,” such as those Wolter shared in an earlier blog post. I reviewed these alleged “hooked” X’s in an earlier blog post and concluded that they were the result of the upstroke needed to start the ink flowing when using a quill. This, I said, is why similar “hooks” appear on other letters of similar shape in the documents. I actually took the time to ask Prof. Williams what he thought of that suggestion, and he agreed that the most likely explanation for the hooks in these documents is that they are an artifact of the limitations of the writing instruments of the era.
Now, according to Wolter’s own rules, the hypothesis that the “hooks” on Icelandic manuscripts are caused by necessity when writing with a quill qualifies me to tell Wolter to “prove me wrong,” and I can therefore ignore anything he has to say from now on as an “obvious scam.”
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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