Pharyngula

No.

One other event I participated in was a “debate” with an ancient alien theorist. It was very peculiar, as you might guess. The way this came about was that Scotty Roberts, the alien astronaut fan, proposed a session on his wacky speculations, and the conference organizers didn’t want such lunacy to sail through without a word, so they asked some of the people on the science & skepticism track to engage. Greg Laden and I agreed to sit on a panel with him and another person, with Desiree Schell to moderate. And then I just kind of ignored the prospect until the day of.

Greg Laden met in the hallway briefly, and we asked each other what we were going to say, and wondered what this Roberts fellow’s position was. We didn’t have a clue. So the afternoon of the debate I pulled Scotty Roberts’ book off the magical internet, and quickly speed-read the whole thing, which turned out to be not very difficult at all, and unfortunately, he turned out to be even further out there than either Greg or I imagined.

The book is called The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim: The Untold Story of Fallen Angels, Giants on the Earth, and Their Extraterrestrial Origins.

You’re already cringing, aren’t you? Just the title is enough.

Pity me. I read the contents. I shall give you a sample so that you may suffer as well.

In the occult science of Numerology, the number 33 represents the ultimate attainment of consciousness. Keeping that in mind, it is very interesting to note that the geographic location of Mount Hermon, the very place where the Watchers are said to have descended to the earthly plane, lies on the 33rd parallel, which is a latitude of 33° north of the equator. If you trace the 33rd parallel to the exact geographic global opposite from Mount Hermon, you will find yourself directly on top of the most controversially mythic place in current ufological history: Roswell, New Mexico. Mount Hermon, where the Watchers descended to the earth, and Roswell, New Mexico, are exact polar opposites on the same 33rd degree north latitude. The global coordinates of Mount Hermon and the Roswell crash site are no accident, and speak to some deeper, perhaps secret significance.

So the basis for making a connection between a greatly distorted myth about divine intervention in the Middle East and UFOs is numerology and geography, where global opposites is supposed to be somehow significant. I take this bizarrely scientific attitude towards facts, though, and despite the absurdity of the logic behind this tortuous connection, I had to look up the numbers.

(My source gave me the wrong Roswell: corrected below)

Roswell is at 33.4° N. Mount Hermon is at 33.4° N. Close!

Roswell is at 104.5° W. Mount Hermon is at 35.85° E. They aren’t even close to being longitudinal opposites. The opposite side of the globe for Roswell would be somewhere deep in Asia, while the opposite for Mount Hermon is in the Pacific Ocean.

The rest of the book has the same deep affection for the truth: none of it matters. The entire basis for his argument is a few lines from the Bible and the book of Enoch, in which Nephilim and giants and angels are casually tossed around, and what he wants to do is pretend those are scientific data, from which he can build a gigantic rickety framework of speculation intended to support his foregone conclusion, that angels mated with humans and produced a special line of meddling magic creatures.

Now what about the “debate”?

As expected, it was awful. Scotty Roberts opened by protesting that he hadn’t known it was going to be a debate, so he didn’t have any “facts” on hand, and besides, it wasn’t an argument built on facts, but was a theory and philosophy — this was something of a theme for him, dismissing mere science and claiming that the ass-plucking he was doing should be called philosophy. He actively avoided making any specific claims about what he was arguing for — he did not talk about UFOs, Nephilim, Roswell, or any of the details he promoted in his book, preferring instead to recite vague creationist claims (“there were 600 flood myths!”) and complaining about having to provide evidence, of which he had none.

We poked at his gelatinous gooey non-statements. Greg ripped into his pseudo-archaeology: no, there aren’t 600 flood myths, there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts. I hammered him on the absence of evidence and the absurdity of his pretense to logic.

He was, of course, imperturbable. There was nothing rational about any of his claims, so there was no way rational argument was going to make him question them.

It was a mildly entertaining afternoon, nothing more.

One other thing: he’s hosting another convention in Minneapolis this October: The Paradigm Symposium: Re-visioning our place in the universe. I see one word in the title that’s been overused to the point of meaninglessness, and another awkward invention. It’s gonna be ugly, folks.

But look at the speaker list: they actually have Erich von Däniken coming in, also with George Noory, and, of course, the notorious Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. You know who I’m talking about.

Roberts casually invited me to the conference to participate in a debate there, and I would be tempted, just because JESUS LOOK AT ALL THE BLOG FODDER! I suspect, though, that the invitation will fade from his memory as it sinks in that I would be sitting in the audience, laughing way too hard throughout the event.


Hey, cool: ZOMGItsCriss recorded the whole thing.