Friday, February 04, 2005

Dumbest... Book... Ever

Apparently, this book, which claims that the Nephilim (sons of angels and human women mentioned in the Book of Genesis, called "giants" in the KJV) built the pyramids. I shit you not. And, apparently, it is a best seller on Amazon.

Which is surprising, because it's hard to believe people dumb enough to believe this crap can speak and walk, let alone use a computer.

The book's author, Patrick Heron, says on his website that his is the only first
in-depth book to throw light on the mysterious Nephilim...
Yay! I wrote "the only first in-depth book" on the Nephilim! "Only first?" Well, yeah, there is generally only one first on something like that.

Maybe the reason that Heron's is the "only first" book of its kind is that there is nothing to say unless you just want to make a bunch of shit up. Which, apparently, is what Heron did. Is he a frustrated novelist who couldn't sell to fiction publishers and decided to go after the credulous evangelical crowd? Hmm...

But maybe this Heron is a real scientist and objective researcher. Let's see what he has to say:

To simply say, 'The Egyptians built them,' is not a satisfactory answer. For if
man began at the stone age, progressed to the bronze and then to the iron age,
then we have the oldest pyramids popping up somewhere between the stone age and the bronze age. This is akin to saying that at some point in time past, man
invented the wheel. Sometime later, another made a cart. But in between the
wheel and the cart we find a brand new Mercedes! This is a realistic comparison
when considering the construction of the pyramids.

What? The oldest pyramids popped up between the stone age and the bronze age. They are, of course, made of... stone. Stone age. Stone. See the connection? Is this guy really such a retard as to be saying that people couldn't make things out of stone in the stone age?

His analogy to prove his point makes no sense either. Wheel-->Mercedes-->cart is not the same as stone-->pyramid-shaped stone structures-->bronze.

Making a Mercedes requires a greater level of technology than making a cart, unless perhaps Heron is talking about a levitating cart with laser guns and hyperspace drive. Therefore, it would make no sense to see the Mercedes before the cart unless there was some sort of environmental or culture change that caused some scientific knowledge to be lost, like in Europe between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance.

But making stone structures does not require bronze. That's why the stone age comes before the bronze age. It is not in any way apparent that it is necessary to have bronze in order to create the pyramids, nor is it in any way apparent that the creation of pyramids is a greater technological feat than making bronze.

Further, the wheel, the Mercedes, and the cart are all part of one area of technological advance. You must have the wheel to make either the Mercedes or the cart, and the Mercedes is simply a much more advanced version of the cart. But making and using bronze is a whole different technology from working with stone. Metalcraft isn't just taking stonecraft and advancing it. Metalcraft is its own area of progress.

So, Heron isn't batting .1000 quite yet. Let's see what other wisdom he can rain down on us:

Despite all the recent books written about them, the pyramids remain a
conundrum wrapped in an enigma and surrounded by a paradox. Yes, these authors
have discovered and charted their astronomical significance. They have unearthed
their geometric alignments and mathematical accuracies. And the conclusion they
have reached is that some lost civilization or race of advanced people were
responsible for these mammoth edifices.

Those lost race of people, Heron proposes, are the Nephilim.

Wow. "A conundrum wrapped in an enigma surrounded by a paradox." Can I get fries with that?

To whom are the pyramids "a conundrum blah blah blah" and what authors is he talking about? Not scientists, certainly. Because scientists have figured out any number of ingenious techniques by which the ancient Egyptians, not some lost civilization or race of advanced people, could have bult the pyramids with the technology at their disposal. In fact, PBS' Nova did a whole series of episodes where they challenged leading researchers to come up with historically-possible ways to build some of the things people like Heron look at and declare impossible.

How did it go? One group figured out that you could move the massive stones like those used to make the tryptichs at Stonehenge from the distant quarry they were taken from by building wooden rails that you lay down before it as you go and greasing them. Then, to get the top piece to sit on the other two pieces, the built a gently-sloping hill next to the two supports and, using the rails, slid the stone up the hill onto the supports. Then, they took the hill away, and it appears that they have done the impossible, lifting a giant stone fifteen feet in the air without modern technology.

Other groups figured out how to make the incredibly well-fitted stones from Macchu Picchu, how to raise up an Egyptian obelisk (though they failed to actually raise one within the time limit, they had figured out how to do it), how to make the roof of the Colloseum, and how to make a Roman bath house without modern plumbing.

The pyramids only look like they would be impossible to build without modern construction equipment. But once you start trying to figure out how you would do it, it turns out that you can think of ways. Heron has only thought of how the Egyptians couldn't have built the pyramids, never choosing to think of how the Egyptians could have.

The ancient Egyptians, Mr. Heron, are your race of advanced people.

Besides, fatal flaws abound in the "theory" that, shall we say, "giants did it." For one, why is it that bones of these giants, who supposedly stood 13 feet tall, have never been found, in Egypt or anywhere else? Why have no implements, clothes, settlements, or buildings built for people 13 feet tall been found in Egypt, or anywhere else? I'm sure finding a six-foot long human-shaped femur would make the career of the archeologist who found it. Why have none come forth? The Nephilim weren't spirits. They walked the earth like humans.

Moreover, both angels and humans are humanoids. The fact is, that the bone structure of a 13-foot-tall human would not be able to withstand his or her weight. He or she would break his or her legs by standing up. His or her muscles would not be able to keep him or her upright. And even if they could, his or her spine would be so bent and compressed by the weight that he or she would soon collapse. It's called "the scaling problem," Mr. Heron, which means that you can't just make creatures bigger and have them act the same, like giant insects in horror flicks. The world's tallest human was something like 9-feet-tall and was essentially disabled and bedridden most of his life. Besides, your 13-foot-tall humanoids, even if they could walk, would be only marginally stronger than a human in comparison to the weight of the massive stones used to build the pyramids. They couldn't just carry the stones and set them up either. Just like the ancient Egyptians, they would have to invent some inegnious techniques to do it. So the Nephilim "theory" doesn't really solve anything at all, does it?

He [Heron] also points out how four long, narrow passageways in the pyramid point to specific stars in the sky and that ancient monuments in Mexico and Cambodia
have similar celestial connections to the same four stars.

Oh, you've convinced me now! It must be that some race with advanced communications to coordinate the building similar structures around the world. Or, maybe it says something about humans and how humans tend to think alike even when they have no contact. I believe the term for this phenomena is "parallel evolution." We see evidence of this today. For instance, editors of science fiction magazines get a daily deluge of stories about a couple of space travelers, a guy and a girl, who get stranded on some desolate planet together. Eventually, they decide to have some kids and populate the planet. The twist at the end, of course, is that the space travelers are named Adam and Eve.

This has been going on for over 50 years now. Literally thousands of people have written this exact same story. Did they all talk to each other? Is it some kind of demonic plan to drive SF editors insane?

No. It's just an example of how we are all related and tend to have some of the same thoughts and ideas as each other. Just like the ancient Mexicans, Cambodians, and Egyptians did.

Heron then goes back to Genesis 6, citing verse 2: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose."

Writes Heron: "What this verse is implying is that these 'sons of God,' who were created spirit beings, had intercourse with ordinary human women and produced children. But these were no ordinary offspring." The result of the unions, Heron says, were the Nephilim, Hebrew for giants, that are mentioned in verse 4. The fathers, also are referred to as Nephilim, which also means "the fallen ones." The author says
the fathers were malevolent spirits, or demons.

To turn from science for a moment, I am actually going to pick on Heron's biblical scholarship here. The "sons of God" references in Genesis 6:2 were almost certainly not demons. The original Hebrew writers of the Pentateuch knew nothing of demons and could not have intended to reference "demons" in this passage.

The "sons of God" were angels. This is clear not only from context, but also from ancient Jewish commentaries, such as the Mishnah and the midrash. In addition, though many Christian scholars and Christians still choose to misinterpret the Serpent in the Garden of Eden as Satan or "a demon," even Christian scholars and thinkers tend to accept that the "sons of God" are angels, not demons. Heron is on thin ice here, even within his own religion.

Heron, a Christian author who lives in Ireland, believes the spirit beings
hooked up with earthly women twice, once before the Great Flood, hence the
Genesis passage, and later after the Flood. One biblical citation he mentions is
in the book of Numbers, when the 12 Hebrew spies scout out the Promised Land and
report back about giants who inhabited the land. These giants and others, Heron
writes, actually practiced genetic engineering, citing the fact that it took two
spies to carry back one cluster of grapes on a staff between them.

Perhaps the most famous biblical Nephilim was Goliath, the man who stood over 13 feet tall and was slain by shepherd boy David.

Umm... Mr. Heron? Did you actually read Genesis? Part of the reason that God flooded the Earth was to rid the Nephilim from the face of the Earth. God wiped the Nephilim out long before we get to the Book of Numbers. Goliath was a Philistine, not a Nephilim, and so were the "giants" referenced in numbers. In the Hebrew, two different words were used, "Nephilim" for the offspring of angels and humans, and "giants" for the Philistines. Only upon the Bible's translation into English did some versions, like the KJV, use the word "giants" for both.

You would know that, Mr. Heron, if had done done even the most casual of readings on the subject. The Nephilim and the Philistines are two distinct groups that have nothing to do with each other.

Only an exalted celestial being could have masterminded the pyramids of that
ancient epoch. Only a being or beings with such knowledge of the stars could
have accomplished such things.

Or a bunch of engineers being paid handsomely by the Pharaoh with the backs of thousands of slaves at their disposal. One or the other.



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