when creationism comes from an unlikely source

July 11, 2010

It’s an article that has all the trappings of a creationist strawman collection. Filled with random proclamations about the complexity of life, the mysteries of genetics, obscure references to unnamed experiments and filled with random quotes while heavily borrowing from Behe’s incompetent screed used by the Discovery Institute, funded by Templeton, and shown to be wrong again and again, you might think that its author is a lackey for the modern creationist movement. Just to drive that image home, his credentials state that he was enlisted in the Army as an intelligence agent, and after his military career ended, began to conduct “independent studies on human evolution” discovering that everything modern biology knows is just flat out wrong. And yet, he has no affiliation with the Discovery Institute and the modern creationist movement. Long time readers might even remember his name mentioned in a number of my popular posts. About the ancient astronaut theory.

You see, this article was penned in 1998 by UFOlogist and conspiracy radio celebrity Lloyd Pye, whose claim to fame these days rests in an odd, misshapen human skull which he says is proof of alien/human hybrids from the ancient past. He’s never had anything to do with the Seattle think tank, which was founded to cram a religious mythology into classrooms across the nation at the request of wealthy evangelicals who believe that scientists are immoral, evil liars whose only goal in life is to indoctrinate children into atheism. Instead, Lloyd has a keen interest in alien life and converted to the science fiction gospel advanced by van Daniken. So why was he borrowing from Behe and unleashing a logorrheic Gish Gallop of creationist word salad science and obscure mentions to some sort of designer? Was this a flirt with creationism before he substituted designers of the supernatural kind with those which are actually scientifically plausible, even if remotely so? And could we use this as a peek into the mind of an ancient astronaut theorist arguing against evolution to bolster a very personal belief in an alien creator?

Considering the similarities between them, I would actually argue that the fervent believers in the notion of a God acting as a scientist setting up the universe as an experiment in a very deist way which sees the deities working on a quantum level, and ancient astronaut theorists, are ideological siblings. The only difference is the entity in which they believe. Amusingly though, creationists actually apply critical thinking skills to tales of mysterious alien species engineering humans in their labs, H.P. Lovecraft-style and often dismiss the idea for its lack of concrete evidence, yet suspend all criticism when it comes to divine magic. Likewise, many ancient astronaut theorists rely on the same I-don’t-know-therefore-my-deity-of-choice arguments so favored by the creationists whose beliefs they dismiss as entirely baseless. And this is why this essay by Pye is quite interesting. It shows how easily high-minded creationists and passionate ancient astronaut theorists can be mistaken when you don’t know to what they say they ascribe loud and clear. And really, I could take intelligent design proponents as a tad more than transparent apologists for magic if they were to include aliens in some of their ruminations. At least then they’d say something at least tangentially related to real science.

[ illustration by Aaron Sims ]

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  • badbass9

    AS for the alien/human hybrid skull: a while back I saw a program on mythology that explained the cyclops legend. The Greeks? unearthed a mastodon skull. Seeing a large nasal opening in the center, they assumed it was an eye socket. A single large eye. Maybe if Pye did a little more free thinking he would discover a similar, simple explaination. Or is that teaching pigs to sing?

  • Greg Fish

    The Greeks? unearthed a mastodon skull and seeing a large nasal opening in the center, they assumed it was an eye socket.

    I’d say that’s a tad too convenient to be true. Sure, it’s possible, but I think attempts to ascribe real events to what the ancients saw ignores that they had imaginations and just like us, could create works of fiction and fairy tales that were meant to be nothing more than entertainment.

  • badbass9

    So, are you saying Pye has created a new myth for our amusement? The program was a look into the basis of myths. It was trying to show how most, if not all, myths were grounded in some fact. I have seen on television the hybrid skull. It’s similar to the misshapened skulls of the Incans. and the facial area was deformed. The “experts” cited on the program said they knew of no disease or syndrome that would cause such deformities. Look, I don’t believe it’s a hybrid skull. I’m as skeptical as you and probably a lot more cynical. Everyone, you and I included, wants their 15 minutes, so I always suspect peoples motives. My comparison to the cyclops meant if one looked beyond their own personal ideas, they might find a simple answer. A logical, reasonable explaination. Don’t say “I’ve found an alien skull!” and hold on to that idea for dear life. Try this to explain the skull. It’s a failed attempt at deformation the Incan way. And the facial deformation could be explained by erosion. Something that was never brought up by the producers. See. A neat, simple little theory. Too bad it doesn’t make for good tv.

  • Greg Fish

    Try this to explain the skull. It’s a failed attempt at deformation the Incan way. And the facial deformation could be explained by erosion.

    Actually, if you were to follow the links, I explained that the skull is a severe case of a fairly well known cephalic disorder which can cause deformations of the skull similar to Pye’s Starchild. In response, Pye argues that any child with severe brachycephaly wouldn’t have survived long enough to be Strachild’s age 900 years ago, but since the condition isn’t exactly fatal, his argument kind of falls flat.