It was a dark and stormy night…

May 31, 2012

When Bob and I went on a ghost tour in Savannah, Georgia. Well, it was certainly dark, what with it being night and all, and there were occasional flashes of lightning. At the end of the tour, the heavens let loose and soaked us. Coincidentally, there were orbs all over the place outside the Mercer-Williams House.

Spoooooky.

Also, dolphins:


ES


Eve has an article up at Skepchick

May 30, 2012

It’s about the history of the word bitch. With much thanks to Maria Walters (totally not a bitch).

RJB


around the world in ‘mysterious’ scripts & texts (3) (‘fringe’ historical linguistics 14)

May 28, 2012

Hi again, everybody!  Thanks again for your comments!

More about Greek scripts: Linear B is one of a number of syllabic scripts found in Crete during the twentieth century by archaeologists such as Arthur Evans.  In 1952 it was persuasively (and, to some, surprisingly) deciphered as very early Greek by the talented and well-informed amateur Michael Ventris and the linguist John Chadwick – although not only non-mainstream writers but also some mainstream scholars (notably Sinclair Hood, W.B. Lockwood and George Thompson) have rejected or at least questioned this decipherment.

Linear A, though visually similar to Linear B, cannot be read as Greek and has resisted authoritative decipherment; Cyrus Gordon’s Semitic interpretation has not been generally accepted.  (Note also other material by Gordon in which he argues that examination of Cretan texts corroborates his theory that Greek and Hebrew cultures stemmed from a common Semitic heritage.  See earlier for more on Gordon.)  The classicist Simon Davis reads Linear A – along with the ‘Minoan Pictographic’, Eteocretan, Cypro-Minoan and Eteocypriot scripts – as Hittite.  Other ‘decipherments’ of Linear A are offered by outright amateurs.  (I discuss the special case of the Phaistos Disk below.)

In a very different vein, Ross Hamilton argues that the specific letter-forms of the Greek alphabet were based on the patterns in the Great Serpent Mound (Ohio) and display spiritually significant links with this artefact.  Hamilton is aware that the alphabet had a Semitic source (very probably Phoenician) but garbles the details.  His philology is of the usual amateurish kind; for instance, he equates Greek ophion (‘serpent’) with the word Ohio. He also ignores well-established etymologies, and his own ‘evidence’ mostly involves impressionistic reactions.

The famous Phaistos Disk is a flat disk of baked clay, sixteen centimetres in diameter, which was presented to the learned world in 1908 by French and Italian archaeologists excavating the Minoan palace complex at Phaistos in South-Central Crete (built about 1700 BCE).  It is inscribed on each side with a text apparently running from right to left and spiralling in from the rim to the centre (though some read it with the opposite ductus).  There are some 240 character-tokens in all, representing 45 distinct types, some pictorial and some apparently abstract; they are divided into 61 groups by broken radial lines.  Very remarkably given the early date, the signs were impressed into the clay when it was soft by means of a set of cut punches.  Neither the Disk itself nor the characters resemble any other items yet discovered in the Aegean (including Linear A), and both the intended use of the artefact and the interpretation of the text remain mysterious. The body of material dealing with the Disk is too large to cover in detail here; but I’ll summarize.

Most professional scholars who have recently analyzed the text(s) on the Disk, especially those most relevantly qualified, consider that it is written in a syllabary (because of the actual and predicted total numbers of sign-types; see earlier on such tests).  However, there is also a mainstream consensus that the Disk probably cannot be deciphered because the text(s) is/are too brief.  (Extended bodies of text in the same script, or better still a bi- or multi-lingual text of some length such as the Rosetta Stone which was crucial in the decipherment of Egyptian, might resolve this problem.)

In contrast, some scholars have argued that the Disk is in fact a modern forgery.  Jerome Eisenberg supports this view with analysis of the possible motives of those involved in forging it and with close comparison of the forms and sequences of the symbols and those found in other ancient scripts.  Eisenberg clearly has a case, but his views have received trenchant criticism.  The Greek authorities have so far refused to allow thermo-luminescence analysis of the Disk, which would probably settle the matter (though this method is itself not unproblematic, as is illustrated by the case of Glozel).

Many (often less qualified) authors have advanced and continue to advance ‘decipherments’ of the Disk, sometimes in non-linguistic terms (calendars etc.) but more usually finding novel syllabic or non-syllabic writing systems – and often languages or locales favoured by themselves for extraneous reasons.  None of these proposals presents a justified overall reading; and naturally they all contradict each other.  The languages identified in these proposals include Greek of various types (some invented, some typical of the wrong period), various Semitic languages, Basque, Luwian or other Anatolian languages, Hittite, early Slavic and even Polynesian.

The Canadian Jean-Louis Pagé’s bilingual book links his ‘decipherments’ of the Disk and other mysterious texts with his own version of the ‘Orion’ theory of the Giza Pyramids, etc.  He upholds the historical reality of Plato’s Atlantis, locating it in the Arctic and attributing its destruction to a sudden polar shift in 9792 BCE; he also posits extraterrestrial intervention in the origins of human civilization; and he regards most of the Disk symbols as logographic/ideographic and pictographic (but it is not even clear which known or reconstructed language he thinks is represented, and he does not propose any phonological forms).

There has never been serious doubt about the pronunciation of the Etruscan language used by a powerful civilization in central Italy in pre-classical and early Classical times and written in a modified Greek alphabet (presumably originally learned from the Greek colonists of Italy).  However, the texts (mostly very short) resisted interpretation until recent times, and major issues remain.  But these issues mainly involve mainstream work and are thus largely outside my remit here (unlike some non-mainstream claims regarding the Etruscan language itself, which appears to be non-Indo-European; I may deal with these later).

The Picts were an Iron Age society which existed in Northern Scotland from around 300 to around 850 CE.  Stylized rock engravings on the ‘Pictish Stones’ have previously been interpreted as rock art, possibly heraldic in nature.  However, Rob Lee & colleagues conclude that the engravings in fact represent aspects of the Pictish language.  Arnaud Fornet argues that Lee’s group has misinterpreted the engravings in ascribing a linear order to the ‘texts’ and that the material genuinely is in fact artistic rather than linguistic (compare the Australian Panaramitee rock-art).  Other writers regard the Pictish rock-carvings as semiotic rather than linguistic, but with a range of interpretations.

The Picts also had a fully-fledged written language, employing the Ogam script used to write known (mainly Gaelic/Q-Celtic) languages.  The texts can thus be pronounced (as in the case of Etruscan), but they are not extensively understood and the language is unidentified.  The two main views are a) that it is P-Celtic (similar to early Welsh; P-Celtic was used further south in Scotland), and b) that it is a non-Celtic (and quite possibly non-Indo-European) language probably representing a very early settlement population; a minority view c) is that it is an unusual variety of Q-Celtic or intermediate between P- and Q-Celtic.  Further work both on this general issue and on the relationship between the new and the old findings is awaited.

More next time!

Mark

 

 


This Week in Conspiracy (27 May 2012)

May 27, 2012

It’s been a sporadically busy week, moments of frantic activity followed by stretches of soul crushing boredom that would kill weaker bloggers. I should have something coming up at the Swift Blog in the next few days, and Eve and I filmed the first episode of a new online video series for the Independent Investigations Group–Atlanta and Doubtful News called, The Week in Woo, which is a survey of goofy news. The “pilot” is very brief, and I do not expect to be able to keep working on it once we move to Wisconsin, but we’d like to bequeath the show to IIG-Atlanta. Here’s a brief, quick-and-dirty clip that basically shows off our virtual set, made by Mark Distler of Abrupt Media.

But all the digital wizardry in the world can’t stop the never-ending, crushing torrent of conspiracy theory. So let’s have at it:

First is the pope’s “Holy Roman” 14th Amendment, cartel-corporate, socialist-fascist, socialist-communist, de facto American Empire, the de jure government of the 14th Amendment American “National” Republic founded in 1868 having been cleverly replaced with a de facto Emergency War Powers government by an executive order of that wicked Masonic president, Commander-in-Chief FDR, on March 6, 1933.”

Twit of the Week:

ben goldacre (@bengoldacre)

5/23/12 6:18 PM @jonronson @aperks these shadowy global one world government conspiracies get a bit samey after a while.

Ain’t that the truth, Ben?

Conspiracy theory of the week:

That’s it for now. As always, I have a couple of irons in the fire, so stay tuned!

RJB


around the world in ‘mysterious’ scripts & texts (2) (‘fringe’ historical linguistics 13)

May 22, 2012

Hi again, everybody!

As Pacal has noted, a few qualified linguists have (surprisingly) endorsed some of the North American ‘epigraphist’ claims.  One of these linguists was Cyrus Gordon, a very erudite but increasingly non-mainstream Semiticist and the self-proclaimed decipherer of the allegedly Phoenician Paraíba Stone inscription found in Brazil.  Gordon’s decipherment of the Paraíba Stone has not been accepted by other linguists, and indeed the most common mainstream view is that it is a nineteenth-century forgery.  Gordon also upholds a Hebrew reading of the Bat Creek Stone (see earlier) and interprets (with Fell and the maverick Frank Hibben) the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone (also mentioned above) as an abridged version of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) in a form of early Hebrew.  As has been noted (thanks again, Pacal!), another such scholar is David Kelley, who urges scholarly caution but endorses some of the finds (notably the Grave Creek Mound Stone, which he regards as obviously alphabetic) as genuinely ancient.  Kelley obviously knew his linguistics, but his decisions as to the strength of the evidence for specific claims sometimes appear strange.

The most ‘sober’ and judicious epigraphists outside the linguistic mainstream, who reject the more dubious cases as non-linguistic or as fakes and display some knowledge of the relevant disciplines, include James Whittall, William McGlone et al.and David Eccott.  However, even these writers accept some of the epigraphist claims, without (as it seems) adequate justification.

I’ll now continue commenting on specific cases of (unpersuasive) non-standard ‘epigraphics’ around the world, recommencing with more cases from Central and South America.

Michael Xu proposes links between the Olmec script of Central America (now known from a date of 3,000 years BP) and the Shang Chinese script; but he does not appear to be very familiar with epigraphic or historical linguistic methodology.  Olmec has not been persuasively deciphered; thus one cannot be sure that any pairs of Olmec and non-Olmec symbols have the same meanings.  In addition, many of the symbols used by Xu are pictographic and as such are liable to be independently invented.  David H. Childress (who presents himself as something of an ‘Indiana Jones’ figure) relates the Olmec script to various Old World scripts including Egyptian hieroglyphs.  The Afrocentrist writer Clyde Winters ‘deciphers’ Olmec in terms of the (in fact relatively recent) African Vai writing system, used to write Mande/Manding languages.  R.A. Jairazbhoy links Olmec and other Central/South American cultures and languages with Egyptian and Chinese.

Marcel Homet claims to have discovered inscriptions in Cretan, Phoenician, Sumerian and other Old World characters in South America, some engraved more than 10,000 years BP among the Brazilian megaliths of Pedra Pinta.  Harold Wilkins relates South American material of this kind to Egyptian, Phoenician, Indian and other Asian scripts.  Erich von Däniken presents examples of ‘undeciphered inscriptions’ allegedly discovered in South America.  The Fuente Bowl (found in Bolivia) has been interpreted as bearing text in early Sumerian or other Mesopotamian languages incuneiform script’, or else as in a script related to the Phaistos Disk script, in Rongorongo, and in Indus Valley Script.

Turning to other continents: I’ve commented earlier on the inscriptional Chinese, Mongolian, Malayalam etc. allegedly found in various unexpected locations as reported by Gavin Menzies – and on the ideas of David Leonardi and others regarding the Hebrew and the Egyptian scripts.  Tarek Abdel is another writer who rejects the standard decipherment of Ancient Egyptian.  Abdel’s own decipherment is confusingly presented in poor English.  He does not seem to understand established methods: he believes that the original decipherer Jean-François Champollion and his successors were merely ‘guessing’ and often guessed wrongly.  As with Leonardi’s re-decipherment, it is strange, if this is so, that newly-found texts are regularly deciphered on the basis of the established decipherment with few anomalies persistently resisting analysis.

Another non-mainstream writer on Egyptian is Okasha El Daly, who believes that the Egyptian script had already been deciphered in the ninth century CE by Arab scholars, notably Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Wahshiyah.  However, it seems that – while these earlier scholars had indeed come to the insightful view that the script was by dynastic times predominantly phonological (contrary to appearances) – they did not take the further step (later enabled chiefly by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone with its parallel texts) of deciphering the texts in specific terms.

Some Latter-Day Saints sources continue to promote the veracity of the ‘Reformed Egyptian’ in their Book of Abraham and other texts associated with The Pearl of Great Price.  When the early LDS leaders claimed that this was the language of the plates which an angel lent to them to be mystically translated, Egyptian had not yet been deciphered by Champollion and others, but nothing learned since that time has confirmed LDS ideas on this front.  The small pieces of genuine Egyptian text presented in LDS sources were already known at the time and have subsequently been interpreted quite differently.

Because of the high status of Ancient (Classical) Greek culture and language (and the current reduced world importance of Greece and Greek), Greek and its scripts attract many non-mainstream theories.  Notably, the non-mainstream philologist Joseph Yahuda – supported by Panagiotes Kouvalakis, Konstantinos Georganas, Kostas Katis and others – believes (without adequate evidence) that examples of early pre-linguistic symbolization from the Aegean area represent early versions of the Greek alphabet.  The generally accepted derivation of the alphabet from the Phoenician abjad (consonantal alphabet) is thus denied.  It is also mistakenly stated that the alphabet is in fact derived from the syllabic Linear B script used to write early Greek; obviously, this latter claim appears to contradict the former.  George Chryssis holds that the Greek alphabet not only was invented and used by the Greeks before Phoenician times, but that it eventually made its way to the Levant, to be used first by the allegedly Greek-speaking Philistines and subsequently by the Phoenicians and the other Semitic-speaking peoples of that region (the reverse of the mainstream position).

Even among those non-mainstream authors who accept – along with mainstream Hellenists – the Phoenician origin of the Greek alphabet, there are novel claims regarding the date at which this took place.  The mainstream view is that the event should be dated to the ninth and eighth Centuries BCE, after a long period of illiteracy in Greece following the collapse of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations and the loss of their linear scripts.  Greek legend attributed the introduction of writing to the hero Cadmus; and Martin Bernal – who is best known for his theory that many key aspects of Greek thought, culture and language derived from Egyptian origins (see earlier) – argues that the transfer of literacy to Greece did indeed occur at a much earlier date than is generally supposed, around 1500 BCE.  He holds that the patterns of uniformity and diversity displayed by the various early regional forms of the alphabet (including derived scripts such as the Etruscan alphabet used in Italy), together with the distribution of letter-forms in the associated abjads, strongly suggest a much longer history of the system in the Greek-speaking world.  However, these arguments appear indecisive.  In addition, there is no actual trace of the Greek alphabet at these early dates.

Several non-mainstream theories about early Greek involve the poems attributed to the probably legendary poet Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey, which were originally oral epics and very probably pre-date, in their earliest (lost) forms, the revival of Greek literacy arising from the introduction of the alphabet.  Barry Powell argues that a single ancient scholar invented the Greek alphabet precisely for the purpose of recording the Homeric poems.  Other classicists, while admiring Powell’s erudition, generally find his often technical arguments obscure, speculative and unconvincing.

More next time!

Mark

 

 


This Week in Conspiracy (19 May 2012)

May 20, 2012

Oh, things are coming together. NATO in Chicago? Bilderbergers in Virginia? It can’t be a coincidence!

Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff)
5/19/12 12:41 AM
Arizona keeping Obama off state ballot until he presents documentation proving that he won’t still be black in November.

This Creature from the Ocean’s Floor, better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, has been created and written specifically to undercut America’s sovereignty and move us towards global governance and a New World Order where the constitutional rights of the American people, our national sovereignty and the military power of the United States would be subordinated to the whims of a group of corrupt, unelected, third-world bureaucrats who have no interest in Freedom and Liberty.

Headline of the Week:
Conspiracy Theorists are known for their subtle understatement. Take what Paul Krugman described as “bank jog” becomes: “BREAKING!!! DOOM ON!!!! Bank Run Greece… NOW!!!!


Twit of the Week:
This week’s conspiracy themed tweet of the week goes to Melissa Lee, who wasn’t even looking for it:
Dear Roger Ailes, I’ll think about it. -Shadowy Leftist Forces #ActuallyGoFuckYourselfhttp://pic.twitter.com/gKE62iXq

The Conspiracy Theory of the Week:
…is not a conspiracy theory, rather a conspiracy spoof from Comedy Central called: “Birthers Divided on Whether or Not to Get Behind Ridiculous Nonsense.”

That’s it for now. I’m off the clock.

UPDATE! I’m back on the clock. I went back to William B. Bruer’s Unexplained Mysteries of World War II to try to find the reference to the cartoon I mentioned above. Instead, I found a reference to 2 suspicious advertisements in the New Yorker that were investigated by the FBI after Pearl Harbor. When I went to look for a website to link to, now having the ad, I found that some toilet hack had basically plagiarized Breuer’s entire chapter. So enjoy. Still looking for the cartoon reference!

UPDATE AGAIN! Ken has straightened me out on the “cartoon” I was looking for. This was another crossword puzzle, where words like “Omaha” and “Overlord” appeared. The story is here. In appreciation, I include a thank you specifically tailored to awesome Kens:

 

LAST UPDATE! I SWEAR: Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III pointed out that the authorities got concerned when Lex Luthor rolled out his own atomic bomb in the Superman series. Unfortunately, I do not have any fun MST3K videos about people named Bodsworth, so I will just have to send him my deep thanks! It’s a fun find from yesteryear!

RJB

New Article Up at CSI

May 17, 2012

As you likely know, I have “The Conspiracy Guy” column at CSI’s website now, and my most recent contribution is up. It’s called, “Out of Mind? Out of Sight!” And yes, I am very proud of that title. I want to invite you to respond to it here, since there is no option to reply at the CSI website.

RJB


around the world in ‘mysterious’ scripts & texts (1) (‘fringe’ historical linguistics 12)

May 15, 2012

Hi everybody!

I’ll begin to comment here on some important specific cases of non-standard ‘epigraphics’ around the world

In his book, Saki Mafundikwa provides a survey of historical and other aspects of African scripts.  Some of the systems discussed by Mafundikwa are not in fact true scripts but are instead semiotic systems not representing specific languages or their words, or even simply art or at best matters of graphic design (see above).  This may involve the desire to suggest that pre-modern African societies were more literate than was in fact the case (a manifestation of Afrocentrism).  In more general terms, too, the level of linguistic expertise leaves something to be desired.

There are also more overtly Afrocentrist works about African scripts.  Earlier I referred to Ayele Bekerie, who focuses upon the Ethiopic script, which he believes spread from Ethiopia to South Arabia rather than vice versa as is generally held.  Bekerie uncritically adopts hyper-diffusionist accounts of the development of human civilizations – especially those formulated by earlier Afrocentrists – and the associated (discredited) methods of comparative reconstruction.  He also advances a highly tendentious view of the origin of the Greek alphabet, and claims links between Armenian script and Ethiopic.

The epigraphic ideas of Molefi Kete Asante (also mentioned earlier) are confused and at times simply mistaken, in much the same manner.  He first seems to endorse the notion of the development of scripts through successive types, in Africa as elsewhere (as also does Bekerie); but laterhe rejects the entire ‘Eurocentric’ notion of script as too narrow to cover all relevant African systems (some of which do not really appear to be written language; see earelier). Still later, Asante decries emphasis on the development of writing as itself Eurocentric.  However, this conflicts with his claim that any advanced civilization must have written language (which is falsified, in any event, by the case of the Inca).  In fact, Asante’s entire discussion of writing systems is terminologically and conceptually utterly confused.

As far as the Americas are concerned, many claims of this type involve the contentious decipherment of what are alleged to be inscriptions found in the Americas as being in known Old World scripts (or variants thereof) and either in known Old World languages or adapted to write local Amerindian languages which are generally deemed to have been unwritten until modern times.  This is the main linguistic aspect of hyper-diffusionist claims to the effect that transatlantic and/or transpacific voyages brought representatives of many cultures to the Americas before the firmly established Norse settlements of around 1000 CE.  The non-mainstream tradition in question is best represented in the USA, where its proponents identify themselves as ‘epigraphists’; many of them are members of the Epigraphic Society1, which has various regional branches in the USA and issues ‘occasional publications’.  As I noted last time, the best known American ‘epigraphist’ is Howard Barraclough (‘Barry’) Fell, the late academic biologist and hyper-diffusionist non-mainstream linguist.

Fell and his supporters interpret many markings found in the Americas as inscriptions in various scripts/languages: Chinese, Egyptian, Libyan, Phoenician, Hebrew, African systems, etc.; and also in an otherwise unattested variant of Ogam/Ogham, a script used mainly to write Irish Gaelic.  They also link the Tifinagh alphabet (a series of abjadic and alphabetic scripts used by some Berber peoples of North Africa, notably the Tuareg, to write their language) with Ogam and its variant ‘Consaine’ (vowel-less Ogam).

A few of the very many alleged inscriptions are:

The Bat Creek Stone Inscription (Tennessee) (interpreted as Hebrew, as Cherokee or – by skeptics – as a hoax; it may not be linguistic at all)

The Cook Farm Mound Tablets (Iowa)

The Davenport Tablets (Iowa)

The now lost Grave Creek Mound Stone (West Virginia)

The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone (New Mexico)

The Mystery Hill artefacts (New Hampshire)

The Newark Holy Stones (Ohio)

The Newberry Inscription (Michigan; allegedly in the Cypriot syllabary)

The Yoder site (California)

Petroglyphs (markings on rocks) found in Michigan

The allegedly mysterious ‘hieroglyphs’ used to write Micmac (Eastern Canada); Fell implausibly regards the characters as Egyptian in origin

Alleged inscriptions on amulets and ‘out-of-place’ coins found in the Americas, including characters found on the ‘mini-maps’ found on Phoenician coins as interpreted by geologist Mark McMenamin

As I noted, some of the alleged inscriptions appear to be in fact markings produced by natural processes or by non-linguistic human activity such as ploughing. Some genuine inscriptions are apparently recent and uncontroversial (they are being misinterpreted); other inscriptions may be deliberate forgeries.

Some writers claim that the Norse penetrated deep into North America in medieval times. The main set of claims involves the Kensington Stone from Minnesota, allegedly written in runic Scandinavian in the fourteenth century CE.   Most informed commentators have concluded that the Stone is a nineteenth-century forgery, but a few accept it as genuine.

Another key case is that of the Yarmouth Stone (Nova Scotia; thirteen characters only). Zoltán Simon reads the Stone as Hungarian, while others read it in various other ways, in one case also in Hungarian but with the opposite ductus and naturally with a different meaning. (Of course, if the Stone is indeed in Hungarian, it may still date from the time of the Viking settlements in North America, around 1,000 years BP: users of Hungarian could conceivably have accompanied Viking expeditions.)

Other allegedly runic inscriptions include the Spirit Pond Runestones (Maine), the Heavener Runestone (Oklahoma) and other Oklahoma runestones.

I’ll comment further on any of these cases on request.

Over the years, a number of serious scholars, such as the Islamic historian and archaeologist Norman Totten, have supported Fell – but usually without adequate knowledge of linguistics.  Cyclone Covey (whom I mentioned earlier) is an academic historian with research interests in the Greeks, Troy, etc. and with some knowledge of languages and linguistics; he too has been persuaded by the arguments of Fell.  Covey’s specific epigraphic interests include Burrows Cave (see below) and especially artefacts unearthed at a site in Arizona interpreted as the remains of a Latin-using community terming itself ‘Calalus’ which allegedly migrated there from Europe around 775 CE.  The main linguistic aspect of this case involves supposed Latin texts, notably one inscribed on a lead cross; but the artefacts are no longer available for examination.  Richard Flavin, Bill Rudersdorf and other scholars have concluded that this site, while not a hoax, has been misinterpreted and is in fact from a much later date and not controversial.

Burrows’ Cave is a decidedly controversial site in Illinois; in 1982 a large quantity of cultural material was allegedly found there by Russell Burrows.  Some of the markings are regarded by supporters of Burrows as epigraphic in nature, including surprisingly accurate maps (identified by Bill Kreisle), coins, and thousands of stone tablets apparently bearing texts. Paul Schaffranke and Brian Hubbard ‘deciphered’ some of the inscriptions as Vulgar Latin written in an Etruscan alphabet.  Others were ‘deciphered’ as Hebrew and Egyptian by Arnold Murray and Zena Halpern. Fred Rydholm and Joseph Mahan, founder and long-time president of the Institute for the Study of American Cultures (ISAC), suggest that bodies found in the cave are those of refugees from Ptolemaic Egypt, including a Jewish contingent from the Roman-controlled Kingdom of Mauritania.  Kurt Schildmann also endorses the material, but regards it as written in Sanskrit (which he also finds in similar texts reported from Peru); in addition, he finds words from Old World languages in Mayan script.  The scholarly community is agreed that the items alleged to have been found in Burrows’ Cave are in fact modern fakes.

More next time!

Mark

 

 


Skeptical Humanities Store

May 13, 2012

Hey, folks.

Last night, I thought to myself, “Self, I would really like a t-shirt that said: ‘The Essex Rebellion Was an Inside Job.’” Then I thought, you know what, I could make one and put the Skeptical Humanities logo on it. Then I asked Eve to make it for me.

She did. And now we have a very little cafe press store with a single lonely item in it: the aforementioned t-shirt.

Our t-shirt is made of finest t-shirt material, probably, and fits over most humans, depending on the size of the shirt and the size of the person. In the event of shipwreck, it can be used to flag down a passing coast guard ship. Also, it has an obscure reference that only really cool castaways will recognize, which makes forming alliances within your emerging Lord-of-the-Flies-type society easy.

Do it today, won’t you? We’ll be glad you did.

RJB


This Week in Conspiracy (11 May 2012)

May 11, 2012

Things are looking up. Last week I accepted a Visiting Assistant Professor position in Wisconsin, so at the end of the summer, the home base of Skeptical Humanities is going to be shifting northward. This does not mean, however, that I am going to be able to let the goofers of the world off the hook. Indeed, I will likely dive into it with more zeal than ever since I am less likely to overheat way up there than I am in Atlanta.

See?

Through the influence of a Rosicrucian-Masonic brotherhood, Washington D.C. seems to be constructed to be the capital of Francis Bacon’s vision of the New Atlantis, which is likely to become the center of the New World Order. On the back of the dollar bill we read the words Novus Ordos Seclorum, which means New Order of the Ages or New World Order. These words are found below an Egyptian pyramid with the all-seeing eye of Lucifer above it, inside of a smaller pyramid. This occult symbolism signifies that in the New World Order, a Luciferian elite will rule the masses; or to use the terminology of the Fabian socialists like H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell, a scientific elite. This is the restructuring that is going on in America right now.

Twit of the Week:

Yeah, this one. It’s like the worst kickstart ever:

@MarkDice

I will go to #Bilderberg2012 if you help fund my voyage. A Chipin donation box is up on http://MarkDice.com. Use PayPal. Thanks in advance.

Mark did leave a couple of unpleasant presents in my twitter feed this week. Another one is:

@MarkDice
We only know the new #UnderwearBomber was a #CIA agent because someone leaked it to the #AssociatedPress. There are good people in gov.

It sounds like the CIA is annoyed that the news got out, but think of their position: is the entire support structure behind the operation now blown, as well as…how many other covers? Are now other lives in jeopardy I can see why they might be miffed.

Visibility911 made a valiant effort this week, though:

@Visibility911
It’s just plain old nauseating how @BarackObama is trying to grandstand over killing Osama bin Dead For 10 Years.

Conspiracy Theory of the Week:

Without a doubt the conspiracy theory of the week is the notion that the CIA staged a fake underwear bombing scare. The evidence is, of course, the fact that the bomb-makers assigned an informant to deliver the bomb. And then he informed, as it were. It’s all the rage, and the media illiterate are flailing about in their own ignorance exultantly under the delusion that everything that they always believed about the CIA staging domestic terrorism was true. The IntelHub (sigh) it was a “corporate media manufactured story [that] was literally a NON EVENT.” There is a difference between making a bomb and being handed a bomb, ding-dongs. Go out and show that the CIA made the bomb and you’ll get Pulitzers. Really.

UPDATE! This wins. I must strip the IntelHub of the only award it ever earned. I saw this minutes after I posted and felt compelled to revise. A concerned citizen from Nebraska gives her view of Dutch gays who like watching people perish, as well as p-e-n-i-s homiciders and anus-licking gay child molesting genociders who go to Gender Studies, but because only because they are gay like Hillary Clinton. She also talks about why college kids need their own doom rooms, when Canadian corpse funguses come from gay ruptured instestines, while Roman bathhouse orgiers watched Christians be eaten at the Colosseum, so that gays cuss sadistically after gaying each other sexually and before committing treason and their children rape each other hetero all day when they aren’t told not to and Judas was a homo:

I’m out of here. I’m going to try to get these back on a more regular schedule in the next week or two. Meanwhile, check out some of my other work which is popping around the web. I recently posted about Ancient Aliens at Skepchick; I wrote about using fiction (specifically Carl Sagan’s contact) to teach critical thinking over at the JREF Swift Blog (the first of many posts on teaching and skepticism); and my next article should be up at the CSICOP website shortly.

RJB


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