January 5th, 2005


Battle of the Worldviews!

When I was but a little Gneechling, my mother was enthralled by Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods?) and his ilk. These days she's graduated from such childish stuff to ... um ... The Da Vinci Code. ¬.¬ But from her, I have inherited a certain fascination with crackpottery, particularly of the "catastrophist," "nephilim," and "Velikovskian" varieties. The main difference between her and me is that I see it as fascinating bunk, rather than the hidden truth of the ages.

The thing about crackpottery is that it can be hard to spot at first; an article will discuss in perfectly rational terms a dig in Tennessee uncovering "unusually large bones," and eventually lead to discussion of a secret war against mankind, waged by twelve-foot tall giants living in the hollow Earth, being hushed up by the government to prevent global panic.

(Note: These are the same blonde, blue-eyed, fallen-angel-descended giants who were driven out of their stomping grounds by the Israelites, migrated northwest -- thus inspiring the Nordic tales of giants and the like -- and mixed with the darker Picts to become the pregenitors of the Celts. Presumably most of them continued north and found Perry's 1400-mile hole leading to the hollow Earth, where they're now plotting all sorts of horrible things to do to us shrimpy folk. By the way, if you've ever read Robert E. Howard's notes on the Hyborian Age, it should sound very familiar.)

What I find even more fascinating than the crackpottery itself, tho, is people's reactions to it. They seem to fall into two basic categories: True Believer, or Frothing Debunker. Their conversations tend to go like this:

True Believer: Giants walked the Earth!

Frothing Debunker: No they didn't!

True Believer: *lists reports of archeological digs that found huge bones*

Frothing Debunker: Those are bogus! Their methodology was shaky at best; their documentation consists of exactly two reports in 1800s newspapers widely known to make up wild stories!

True Believer: *spins dazzling hypothesis linking Biblical accounts of one group to Roman accounts of another group based on an item of clothing, a hairstyle, or a word that is similar between two different languages*

Frothing Debunker: That's not proof! That's just a wild theory!

True Believer: *produces somebody's journal where they talk about encountering giants, then being forced to destroy the evidence for the good of mankind*

Frothing Debunker: You're kidding, right?

True Believer: You're a brainwashed liberal socialist puppet!

Frothing Debunker: You're a crazy fundamentalist who doesn't understand the glorious beauty of real SCIENCE!

...and so on, 'round and 'round, ad infinitum.

While my sympathy lies with the Frothing Debunker when it comes to the debate, that doesn't make me any less interested in what the True Believer has to say. It's almost like the purest expression of the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy: one's looking for FACTS, the other is looking for TRUTH, and neither of them really understands what the other one means.

People are crazy. ^.^

-The Gneech
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