AN INTRODUCTION: FOUR OF MY FAVORITE SMART GUYS/HEROES


Welcome to my corner of the blogosphere, where any subject can come up – and probably will.

This is my first post. . .

I thought I’d start out with heroes.   We all have heroes.  Heroes are the people we respect the most and want to be like.   None of these people – the ones you know or the ones you don’t know yet – are perfect, and if they were, I doubt if I would want to emulate them.  They are just people who followed the facts to where the facts led them, and when they found themselves in some odd place, coming to some even odder conclusions, these four people didn’t back down.

That counts with me – big time.  That takes courage.

It is easy to respect people who get plaudits from pundits, and accolades from everyone.  I look first and foremost to people who are my curiosity heroes, the ones who find out what others don’t, who look where others won’t, who take upon themselves – usually with little or not monetary assistance.

It does not matter if they are correct in what they have tried to work out.  Most scientists of the past have been wrong, many of whom are still known to us.

Newton was wrong, in that he was supplanted by Einstein (but most of us still aren’t traveling at near-luminal velocity, so we usually fall (no pun intended) back on Newton.

Einstein has most people’s admiration, but in the quantum field crowd, he is looked at as the guy who took God’s dice away and wouldn’t let him with his own universe.  He was looked at as passe, even before he died in 1955.

Two people Einstein was friends with in those last years at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton are on my list.  Most people aren’t aware of the names of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky and Professor Charles Hapgood.  Their names will come up here from time to time.

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky

Velikovsky’s name will live in infamy, not because he was stupid, but because he crossed lines he was not supposed to cross; he was one of the 20th century’s true multi-disciplinarians.  Newton, that old bugger of an alchemist, would have loved him.  Velikovsky wrote a series of books that mainstream scientists did not like.  Not one iota.  Velikovsky had the balls to suggest that the science of his day might have missed something.  His first book was about astronomy, coming at it from the point of view that an event in the Bible might have been a factual occurrence.  When he found evidence to support that guess, he took the ball and ran with it – right into a hornet’s nest, one that still is buzzing with vitriol.

I will write more about Dr. V as time goes on.  For now, let’s just say he made his mark on sciences, and scientists won’t acknowledge to this day that he had any good ideas – even as they steal them and pretend they discovered them themselves.

Professor Charles Hapgood

Hapgood had the audacity to suggest that the earth’s crust may have slipped, and he backed it up with numbers, which were later asserted to be wrong. I myself believe his numbers were good.  Maybe not perfect, but pretty good.  When one blazes a trail, miscalculations will arise.  Ask the people over at the IPCC right now.  They are in the midst of just such a tempest.  Odd, though, that when mainstream scientists miscalculate, they are given a “Get out of Jail” card – something they don’t afford their opposites.  Hapgood did some great work.  IMHO, time will tell that he was right.  Right now, no one “reputable” will reference his work, either.  Albert Wegener was long dead before anyone accepted that continents move around.  I wonder how long it will take before Hapgood is recognized for the genius he was.

We will look into Hapgood’s story, as time permits.  For now, that is just an introduction…

Two other really interesting and intelligent guys don’t have Dr. or Professor in front of their names, but they have been teaching people about some damned interesting facts – facts that the academics don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole.  Those two are alternative researchers Christopher Dunn and Lloyd Pye.  I’ve been “into” alternative research since before some guy named von Daniken set the world on its ear with a really atrocious book on ancient astronauts.  How his book ever sold more than ten copies I’ll never know.  Chris and Lloyd are pals of mine (I am extremely proud to say), two guys who are to von Daniken what Homo Sapiens is to Piltdown Man.  “Piltdown man wasn’t real,” you say?  Well, neither was von Daniken.  At least not his speculations.

Chris at Giza

Christopher Dunn

Chris wrote a book in 1977.  It was about looking at the Great Pyramid from the point of view of what its features told an engineer who was able to see them in ways archeologists may never be able to.

I will rarely, if ever again, use the term archeologist on this blog.  My term for them is “arkies.”  It is not meant to be just shorthand.  It is meant to insult.  Anyway, “arkies” have a silly and annoying habit of taking any confusing (to them) structure or artifact they come upon and declare it either a temple or an object of worship (depending on if it is a building or not).  They’ve declared some of the damnedest things to be objects of worship.  My favorite is the “Venus statuettes.”  You know them – they are the small carved figurines of naked women, usually with “real women’s” figures, which means, well, not like modern models.  These have been found in stone age and other ages.  The arkies  inevitably pronounce them objects of worship, when to everyone else they are pornographic objects, akin to our porn sites, Playboy, Hustler.  If found today, that is what they would be.  But the arkies are completely fixated on their mumbo jumbo paradigm.  That speculation is that humans in those days (hell, almost up to ancient Greek times, really) were scared out of their loincloths of the world around them and had to supplicate some invisible gods or twinkling stars in their “heavens” to not destroy them with the next dawn.  To the arkies, everything was about mumbo jumbo; there were no practical people among them; everyone made Forrest Gump look like Newton.

So, Chris Dunn’s work – on his own dime – has done more to help our understanding of what the world back then was really like than all the “Egypties” and Arkies put together.  How did he do that?  Well, as a Master Machinist and a Chief Engineer, Chris had the temerity to look at finely machined Egyptian artifacts and conclude that – miracle of miracles – they were actually finely machined artifacts.  They weren’t made by dropping granite balls ten or twenty million times to rough out and then shape sarcophagi into finely machined artifacts.  This is according to an engineer.  After all, how could an engineer know more about making things than an arkie?  If those same artifacts were found in a city today, one which had no connection to Egypt, people would marvel at the fine machining, the almost perfect lapping of the surfaces, the incredible precision – flatness and perpendicularity, in all three planes – and wonder what stone mason made them and at what cost.  No one would doubt that they were machined – until they are told they came from ancient Egypt and are at least 3,000 years old.  All of a sudden, machining is not a viable explanation.  Egyptians didn’t have machines!  How could anyone suggest they did!  We know everything there is to know about ancient Egypt, and there were no machines there.

Well, either the Egyptians machined them or aliens did, or time travelers brought them back from the future.

More about Chris later.  I love to talk about him, and he hates it, except if it helps him sell his books.  Selling books?!  I can hear the arkies now, “Capitalist schweinhundt!!  He is only in it for the money!”  Such accusations are flung oft in alternative research circles, though not by the researchers themselves.   No, they are on the receiving end of such assertions/speculations.  You see, earning upwards of $70,000 a year from a university and needing to toe a line in your research papers in order to keep that $70,000 rolling in – that doesn’t qualify as being motivated by money.  But Chris’ pulling in $1,000 or $2,000 a year from a book that is now 13 years old, now THAT, THAT they say is why Chris is in it, to stuff his greedy little western capitalist (you can almost hear the voices from Moscow, 1925, can’t you?) pockets with ill-gotten Simon Legree greenbacks.  Notice, by the way, that 13 year figure.  That book published in 1997 was the self same book Chris finished in 1977.  It took him 20 years to find a publisher.  I certainly hope that if I ever manage to finish my own books that I will at least see them published sooner than that.

To be able to tell the difference between a man who knows what he is talking about and an arkie, just be aware that arkies will tell you – with a seriously, seriously straight face – that copper chisels were used for 3,000 years to cut granite, and not just any granite, but some of the hardest granite out there, diorite.  If even ONE arkie took even ONE Materials 101 course, I wonder if the walls of academia would come tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.  Why?  That one arkie would have to humbly inform his cohorts that copper can only cut granite in Alice’s Wonderland – and arkie speculations.

Speculations by scientists – supposedly the most logical and thorough of men – are a topic for another post.  That will be a screed, I assure you…

Lloyd Pye

Lloyd Pye

Lloyd Pye is a new friend.  In fact, he is one of those newfangled people – a cyber friend.  Lloyd and I, you see, have never met yet.  But I respect the hell out of the guy.  Another amateur, he has taken on not one “untouchable” field of inquiry, but two.  Along the way it has cost him dearly.  But still he plugs away, as best he can, to bring his passions to the attention of people everywhere.  I don’t even want to get into it now, about the title of Lloyd’s book.  It’s a goody, though.  Lloyd has the gumption to tell people that Bigfoot is real, and belongs to a category of great apes he refers to as “humanoids.”  I think the paleontologists (“paleos” from now on, for much of the same reasons as arkies are arkies) probably lose a lot of sleep at night over the money Lloyd has shoveled into his treasury facility – oh, NO it isn’t them who are losing sleep!  Sorry about that!  It is the Pye family losing sleep, over how to afford to pay for the scientific lab tests he pays for himself (aided by some kind-hearted souls who dig deep for him).  His other project is one of the strangest artifacts ever found, and one that blows everybody’s minds so much they shut it out of their minds.  Everybody who is in academia, that is.  The rest of us find Lloyd’s artifact to be quite fascinating.  It is a skull with an interesting provenance, and a completely inexplicable constitution.  Lloyd can describe it far better than I can, so for details I hustle you all over to his web site, listed in the links in the right hand column on this blog.  Lloyd has scared more labs than Nessie would scare the other kind of labs, if they were all a-swimmin’ in the Loch off Castle Urquart.

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One response to “AN INTRODUCTION: FOUR OF MY FAVORITE SMART GUYS/HEROES

  1. The first thing to notice about Pye is that he doesn’t reference any of his claims. This is true of his presentations, and also of his book Everything You Know Is Wrong, which has references (very few) but none associated with any specific claim.

    But that’s not even the biggest problem. The problem is that Pye misinterprets nearly every scientific concept he touches on. If you look at his website, he has slides (see here: http://www.lloydpye.com/intervention.html) that make huge numbers of claims, none of them referenced. If you look, for instance, at the “Domestication” set, Pye claims that the cheetah’s “fur is cat fur but its spots are dog hair.” No reference whatsoever is given for this claim, and not even any description of what aspects of the hair in question is allegedly “cat” or “dog” or in what way.

    Take a more involved example, and consider the specifics:

    It’s been known for a long time that humans have 46 chromosomes and all other primates have 48. This is explained by a chromosome fusion, which has been studied extensively and mapped in great detail in genetics studies. (See for example: Ijdo, et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci, 1991, 9051 and, for the exact sequencing, see: Hillier et al. Nature 2005, 724 – I can forward these papers to people without subscriptions, although I think the Hillier one is free to access). This type of fusion is known as a Robertsonian translocation, which is a type that conserves all genetic information; none is lost (it’s also known as a “balanced” translocation). Robertsonian translocations are common in very many animals. They do not result in one species turning into another. For that you need other mutations.
    That is a fact simply because no genes change or emerge from the fusion; they are the same as before, only re-distributed in different chromosomes. In humans, the fusion is found on human chromosome number 2.

    However, Pye claims lots of inaccurate things about this (see his video on genetics here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgvqZixAzm4)

    – Firstly he claims: “The second and third chromosomes in higher primates have somehow been spliced together” (this quote is from here: http://www.greatdreams.com/essay.htm) but it’s also in the youtube vid linked to above. This is untrue, because as the genetics studies show, its the 13th primate chromosome that was involved. (See above references, e.g. Hillier)

    – Pye claims that the chromosomes were fused “intentionally” in order to produce a new species. However, this is not possible, since the chromosome fusion is “balanced” (as described above, this means all genetic information is conserved). The analogous thing would be to say, take a book, which is in 48 chapters, and merge them so that there were 46. Even the order of the chapters doesn’t matter. You can make it a telephone book. All the information is preserved. This cannot result in a new species, and it’s not believable that an advanced civilization of extra-terrestrials – which is who Pye claims did it – wouldn’t know this, given that we already know it and these guys are supposed to be more high-tech than us (e.g. have mastered inter-planetary travel). The role of chromosome fusions in evolution is very well known; it can lead a population to diverge reproductively, but it does not result in new phenotypes.

    – There are many other things Pye says that are wrong on this topic. For example, he claims that chromosome fusions are very improbable. But this is not the case. They happen in lots of animals (e.g. Przewalski’s horses: Lau, et al. Mol. Biol. Evol. 2009, 26, 199. or mice: J. Genet. 2000, 79, 105, or fish: Genet. Mol. Biol. 2008, 31 (1): 235, or lizards: Rev. Brazil. Genet. 2004, 17: 171.) and it happens completely unassisted. In fact, about 1:1000 humans are born with a Robertsonian translocation. (For a whole book on this see: Gardner RJM and Sutherland G .(2004). Chromosome abnormalities and genetic counselling. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press. New York. – there are many, many studies on these subjects).

    – Pye claims that information about the fusion found in chromosome 2 is being suppressed:

    “Well, guess what? Here’s a great secret… shhhhh! …a great secret evolutionary biologists and geneticists would hate to see turned into public discourse, especially within hearing range of their opponents in the battle over human origins. Those two “missing” chromosomes are not missing!
    “It turns out the 2nd and 3rd chromosomes in all higher primates have miraculously been fused together in humans to make one long chromosome that still contains all of the higher primate’s DNA.”
    (source: http://www.lloydpye.com/essay_interventiontheory.htm)

    But this isn’t true. First of all, look at the studies I already linked to above, by Idjo and Hillier. The journals are two of the most prestigious general science journals it is possible to publish in. Secondly, there are whole articles about it for popular science readers online (just Google “chromosome 2 fusion” to convince if you need proof). Thirdly, here’s the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_chromosome_2. Fourthly, see this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk. It’s a presentation by biology professor Kenneth Miller, who has popularized this in public lectures. That video has about 150,000 hits now; the longer lecture from which it is taken has just under http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg. Moreover, the evidence from the human chromosome 2 fusion was part of the testimony in the very-well covered Kitzmiller vs Dover trial (see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District) of which you can find whole transcripts online probably, and to which Miller refers in the lecture. That chromosome 2 has a fusion accounting for the chromosome number difference between humans and apes, and that this is not the cause of the speciation but evidence for it, is very well understood in the biological and biochemical sciences.

    So these are just some of the things Pye says that are demonstrably false.

    There are others, like this on about spina bifida:
    “A little gem like spina bifida – which is not gonna let you live to adulthood, nor is it gonna let you reproduce if you do – what’s that doing in there [the human genome]?” (source: http://youtu.be/fzuLlDEB2sg)

    This isn’t true. Firstly, about 75% of people with SB survive to early adulthood (sexual maturity, that is). Have a look here: Pediatr. Neurosurg. 2001, 34 (3): 114. Secondly, imagine how Pye’s claims must feel to the thousands upon thousands of people who live with spina bifida precisely because they did inherit it from their parents. This is well known, and support groups for SB sufferers offer support specifically to people whose parents have it as well as they. See, e.g. here: (http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/c.liKWL7PLLrF/b.2642297/k.5F7C/Spina_Bifida_Association.htm)

    There are many other claims like this that Pye makes that aren’t true.

    For example, tectonic plates. Pye claims that movable tectonic plates haven’t been found on any other planet or moon other than earth. He is still marketing his book – Everything You Know is Wrong by referring to this claim (“Why Earth is the only planet or moon with moveable tectonic plates? source: http://www.lloydpye.com/eykiw.htm) But two things: his book doesn’t discuss this (I’ve read it), and secondly, it’s not true. Tectonic plate movements were detected by the Huygens probe on Titan (see here: Planetary and Space Science 2007, 55 (13): 2015).

    Pye gives no references to these or other claims (e.g. that people use only 10% of their brains – another myth). To my knowledge in none of the presentations of his online is Pye seen taking questions from the audience.

    I have re-written this comment to include the references requested from the blog owner. Pye does not give references, and I hope as skeptics, you will demand evidence from him for what he says.

    All the best,

    Luke

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