Elongated Skulls and Christian Ethics

Those of you with an interest in the elongated skull paleobabble (that they have something to do with aliens or nephilim) will find this short essay of interest. It’s from the Hot Cup of Joe blog. It’s basically an overview of the methodological problems of the research and testing put forth by Lynn Marzulli and Brien Foerster on elongated skulls from Peru.

Sadly, there’s nothing new here. Claims of submitting the skulls for testing without revealing the identity of those doing the tests, which labs did (or are doing) the work, failure to follow protocols that everyone who does this sort of testing for real follow, etc.  I just don’t understand why Christian researchers somehow feel compelled to be secretive, sloppy, or cavalier in research. Would you want a plumber who just did things his own way? A tax attorney? A pediatrician? How about a hair stylist? To quote Captain Obvious, research isn’t valid unless it can be validated. That means going the extra mile in careful method; transparency in sharing data, method, and results; and of course peer review. Instead we get the kind of amateurish work that mimes the “secular” ancient astronaut carnival. The tragedy is that, if there really is something to discover, the way the research has been done puts the whole effort under the pall of suspicion out of the gate. Sigh.

I’ve blogged before about artificial cranial modification in antiquity. It’s actually pretty well understood in terms of the how, but not necessarily the why. There are several academic journal articles at this link specifically about Peruvian skulls. The most exhaustive recent scientific study on these skull is Tiesler’s work, The Bioarchaeology of Artificial Cranial Modifications: New Approaches to Head Shaping and its Meanings in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and Beyond. These skulls are well known.

I’ve also commented before on non-artificial cranial malformation, where the skull does not form as it should. Among the terms associated with this condition is craniosynostosis. I mention this condition because, as the Wikipedia overview makes clear, various brain sutures (including the sagittal suture — see the essay on the elongated skull — may not be visible due to early fusion. In fact, in some conditions, sagittal sutures may not even be visible in X-rays.1 Anyone with access to medical journal databases can discover that strange skull features like elongated shape and (apparent) absence of sutures isn’t proof of nephilim or aliens (and I’m still waiting to see the verse in the Bible about how nephilim had elongated skulls).

None of these data are going to matter, of course. But I’d hope that the lack of transparency and obfuscation would matter. Christian researchers ought to be among the most diligent in this regard to be above reproach. Maybe someday we’ll see that.

  1. See page 370 of this journal article for an example.

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