WorldNutDaily Peddles Pseudoscientific Nonsense

It always amuses me that the Worldnutdaily wants to be taken seriously as a news source while constantly blaring huge headlines, complete with flashing red "Breaking News" or "Exclusive" icons, saying things like UFOs: Space Travelers or Demonic Deceivers? It probably goes without saying that most such headlines are little more than advertisements for books that they are selling and hence profit from. The latest such article declares that "Biblical Giants" - the Nephilim - built the pyramids after having sex with human females. And no, I'm not making that up. Perhaps they should change their name to the Weekly Worldnutdaily and sell it in the checkout lanes of our finer grocery stores. Lord knows they're missing out on a huge target audience.

This bit of pseudo-scientific bullshit comes from Patrick Heron, author of the book being pimped by this "article". It's pretty standard stuff, really, mostly recycled nonsense from Graham Hancock and Erich Von Daniken, but Heron wisely finds a way to link it to the bible. This kind of pyramidiocy usually only appeals to new age types who gaze in wonder at the stars and imagine the ancient Egyptians holding court with super-advanced alien races, but by linking it to the bible, Heron has opened up a whole new market of credulous people eager to lap up such nonsense with a spoon. Not only does Heron claim that the pyramids of Egypt, Mexico and Cambodia were built by the Nephilim - the giant offspring of divine fathers and human mothers that Heron claims were "a hybrid of demons and men" with "evil in their genes" - but also that the pyramids are a copy of the shape of heaven itself, the "city of Yawheh" from Revelations that appears in the sky.

The most amusing part of it all is this - change the names from "Yahweh" to "Zeus" and the same people who buy into this crap will laugh at how absurd it is. When we read Greek or Roman mythology and hear tales of gods mating with women, we don't even consider the possiblity that it might be true. But translate the same stories into a biblical idiom, and some people can't conceive of the possibility that they're not true. And it certainly isn't surprising that these credulous folks are catered to by the Worldnutdaily. After all, this is the same group that has pushed the utterly fraudulent garbage from Ron Wyatt about finding Noah's Ark and the place where the red sea was parted, and so forth. There is nothing so stupid that the WND won't print it. And this is just another example of Mencken's famous maxim that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. There is an endless market for this kind of crap, a sucker born every minute at the very least.

By the way, this is not my favorite bit of wacky fundamentalist pyramidiocy. My favorite of all time has to be the good "Dr" Kent Hovind, who claims in his seminar that the pyramids were built either by Adam and Enoch before the flood or Noah and Shem after the flood. Both are, of course, patently absurd. They could not have been built before the flood because the Giza plateau (he is speaking specifically of the Great Pyramid of Giza) resides on top of approximately a mile of sedimentary rock that, from a young earth creationist perspective, could only have been deposited during the flood. And if they were built by Adam and Enoch after the flood, they would have had a maximum of perhaps a dozen people to build them, while simultaneously also building enormous civilizations all over the world that were heavily populated and well developed by 4500 years ago, or immediately after the flood. I mean it when I say that there is literally no claim so stupid that you cannot find a sizable group of people to believe it.

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The pyramids built by the offspring of demons and humans? Bah! I laugh at such nonsense.
After all, everyone knows that the pyramids were actually built by the Goa'uld.

You have it too easy, Ed.
These nutcases on the right are just begging for a daily critique.

You should feel guilty :)

I'm not aware that WorldNetDaily is taken seriously as a news source, unless I've been in a coma and the zombie corpse of William Conrad is taken seriously as a proponent of the lo-carb lifestyle.

I've been thinking lately that I should get into the Christian books biz. I was on Amazon the other day, and there's a whole section devoted to Prayer of Jabez crap. The guys behind Left Behind have sold (no joke) 5 million books, and one of them has already started another (completely separate) series. I think their success has to do with how easily their readers can suspend disbelief. I mean, if they'll believe in a talking snake or a man rising from the dead, they'll believe anything. They won't look so harshly on plot inconsistency or weak character development, because years of apologetics have taught them to look the other way. They are the perfect captive audience for sanctimonious crap.

Understanding science requires formal reasoning skills. These skills begin to appear at about age 12. Clearly most wingnut readers will not have developed them. Their propositional logic skills may be developing, but they'll be easily taken in by false premises. The nephilim story is at an appropriate level (prescientific) for the typical wingnut reader.

I'm intrigued by this "evil gene". If Heron has pinpointed it, we can surely solve all of the world's problems!

By Matthew Phillips (not verified) on 02 Feb 2005 #permalink

I note from Heron's website that he has a BA from the "College of Biblical Research, Rome City, Indiana, U.S.A.". That's defunct these days, but it was an outfit of "The Way International", a New Religious Movement that was popular in the 70s.

(Forgive the self-promotion, but I've written a bit about this over at my blog)

Bartholomew-
Thanks for the comment and the follow up on this story. I just discovered your blog the other day and was going to write something about it. Great work. As a follow up on the Nephilim story, I once talked to a guy in the Compuserve religion forum (Dan Brey) who believed that the Nephilim were aliens who gave the Israelites the Ark of the Covenant, which was not really just a box to hold the tablets but was really a "fusion communicator/weapon". I wish I was making that up.

Just how big are these giants supposed to be? There are physical limitations as to how large "human-style" beings can be. I am reminded of my high-school physics--mass (and thus weight) increases by the cube of the being's dimension, whereas biology tells us that strength increases by the cross-sectional area (i.e., the square of the dimension). Giants must weigh a lot, but not be very stable.

I think the book gets at something I've been researching for a couple of years. As to the dimensions of these "giants". Try the Book of Enoch (non-biblical, but an interesting Hebrew read from antiquity), which--I believe--says they were "9 ells" in height. Bones have been unearthed of giants with human genetic makeup over 7 feet from thousands of years ago, so why not? Also, I do think Kent Hovind is a semi-reputable source for science information, and World Net Daily has always been one of my top three news sources for, well, a long time, and It's paid off. I have yet to read this book, but I look forward to it. As to this evil gene business... I am curious. I don't believe that gene's make someone evil. I do believe we all have a selfish, sin-stained anture and none of us are perfect, (ON OUR OWN), but this business about alien/demonic dna, even if it is true, doesn't mean that we are evil because of that. Also, If the Nephilim passed this to the rest of mankind, wouldn't Jesus, according to his human nature, likewise have this gene? Hmm... I guess since I'm just hearing comments I should go read this book before making judgments.

Christopher L. Colegrove
21, Political Science & History,
Northern Michigan University

Also, I do think Kent Hovind is a semi-reputable source for science information, and World Net Daily has always been one of my top three news sources for, well, a long time, and It's paid off.
Good lord. If you think Kent Hovind is anything but a complete conman and a fraud, that says all that needs to be said. I can't think of a less reputable or reliable source of science information than Kent Hovind. I'd listen to a parking meter first.

I would like to respond to some comments regarding a post I made to a book review a few months back. At the time, I was simply voicing thoughts about what people had put and what came to my mind, not realizing it would be scrutinized. I don't claim to have researched anything personally in relation to that posting or this one. The following is simply thing that are on my mind today. I hope that doesn't qualify me as a "nut".

First off, some have questioned the fact that I mentioned that Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and host of "Dr. Dino Live", as a "semi-reputable source for scientific information". I still hold that view. I do not believe that Mr. Hovind does much of his own hands-on investigations. I do believe however that he has done his research and can quote his sources when need be. He bases most of his information off of others research, so he is just relaying that information. That is along the same lines as many high school teachers and some professors. They haven't proved themselves everything they teach, but use the research and textbooks and present the information they learned to their students: which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That is why I did not say Mr. Hovind is a "genius" like some say. Nor do I say he was a totally sound source. I said "semi-reputable". He just presents his view of information to people in an interesting original mix of facts, theories, and his own Hovind brand of humor to get his points across. He presents arguments that at times challenge the way many have been taught. Basically he challenges a view that in his opinion (and mine) is a major cause of societal and governmental problems of the last 140 years or so. He claims that Marxism and Evolution are some of those problems. On one of his seminars he speaks of major questions to the meaning of life. Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? Evolutionary thinking will answer those questions a lot differently than if we follow Intelligent Design thinking. Following one train of thinking or another will ultimately have a different view on life: hope or hopelessness. I find him to be a little too frank with little pity to his opposition and a little too likely to go on extreme theory tangents, but generally speaking, he does present some interesting scientific arguments for his claims.

I do want to also address some of the things said about Mr. Hovind. Hovind has made mention of atrocities and forced relocation caused by settlers on Native Americans in reference to evolutionary thinking. Someone wisely points that the "Trail of Tears" took place decades before Darwin's ideas bloomed. However, I think it's obvious that he is referring to the kind of thinking in general. That has always been around, just given more subtle credibility with the scientific world with the implications of Darwinian inspired train of thought.

As to the reference I made about the Book of Enoch: I agree, I have not read the Hebrew version of the text. I am not fluent in Hebrew at all. However I was referring to the notion that it was most likely written in Hebrew. I have read two English translations of it. One of them comes in a two volume set, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch by Michael A. Knibb, Oxford University Press, 1978. This version contains many notes on the languages, scholarly footnotes, and the like. The phrase in his version speaks in terms of cubits. The height of the giants in this version cannot be taken literally, no matter what the atmospheric conditions of the earth was before the flood, a height so high is not to be taken literally. Joe Taylor in his book, Fossils Facts and Fantasy, cites several accounts of giant human skeletons or depictions discovered in Egypt, Italy, Patagonia in Argentina, and the western US.

I would like to write more but I am going away for the weekend and am not sure when I will be able to reply.

Chris Colegrove

clcolegrove@gmail.com

By Christopher L… (not verified) on 13 Oct 2005 #permalink

Chris Colegrove wrote:

I would like to respond to some comments regarding a post I made to a book review a few months back. At the time, I was simply voicing thoughts about what people had put and what came to my mind, not realizing it would be scrutinized.

Every public statement, particularly on a controversial issue, is going to be scrutinized. The easy way to avoid having this be a problem is to actually do some research before making a claim. Evidence should always precede belief.

First off, some have questioned the fact that I mentioned that Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and host of "Dr. Dino Live", as a "semi-reputable source for scientific information". I still hold that view. I do not believe that Mr. Hovind does much of his own hands-on investigations. I do believe however that he has done his research and can quote his sources when need be. He bases most of his information off of others research, so he is just relaying that information. That is along the same lines as many high school teachers and some professors. They haven't proved themselves everything they teach, but use the research and textbooks and present the information they learned to their students: which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That is why I did not say Mr. Hovind is a "genius" like some say. Nor do I say he was a totally sound source. I said "semi-reputable".

But Hovind has a long track record of presenting information that is demonstrably false. He has an equally long track record of having those falsehoods demonstrated to him directly and then continuing to repeat them for audiences for years on end. That's not what reputable and honest people do, it's what con men and frauds do. He continues to repeat the Paluxy "manprint" nonsense long after it was thoroughly discredited to the point where his fellow creationists have urged their followers not to use it. He continues to repeat the ridiculous "moon dust" argument well over a decade after it was debunked by creationists themselves. He continues to repeat the idiotic "second law of thermodynamics" argument despite the fact that even creationist physicists have proven it to be absurd. The pattern makes clear that Hovind simply doesn't care whether a claim he makes is true or not, he cares only that it can be made to appear to support his views.

On one of his seminars he speaks of major questions to the meaning of life. Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? Evolutionary thinking will answer those questions a lot differently than if we follow Intelligent Design thinking.

Evolution doesn't answer those questions at all, except in the narrow context of how our species got here. Our species, like all species, got here through evolution. That's the end of "evolutionary thinking". It goes no further, and it makes no statements about the existence of any gods, about where we go when we die, or anything else.

I do want to also address some of the things said about Mr. Hovind. Hovind has made mention of atrocities and forced relocation caused by settlers on Native Americans in reference to evolutionary thinking. Someone wisely points that the "Trail of Tears" took place decades before Darwin's ideas bloomed. However, I think it's obvious that he is referring to the kind of thinking in general. That has always been around, just given more subtle credibility with the scientific world with the implications of Darwinian inspired train of thought.

But in fact the opposite is true here. The mistreatment of the Indians was not justified on the basis of science, but on the basis of the religious concept of Manifest Destiny. The Indians were viewed as heathens and were forcibly converted or killed in many cases. Evolutionary biology, on the other hand, shows quite conclusively that there are no meaningful distinctions between the races, that we are all one species and all fully human. Racist assumptions have been consistently undermined by scientific research in anthropology.