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LLOYD PYE HAMMERS INACCURATE NOVELLA ARTICLE

 

Introduction: The essay below was written in 1999 by Steven Novella for his organization "The New England Skeptical Society." It is an extensive attack on the Starchild Skull mounted by a mainstream skeptic who uses gross distortions of truth and reality to make his points. My own comments are written below his, answering or refuting every point worth addressing. I probably should have done this long before now, but the article was so absurd, relative to facts available on the Starchild Project website, I couldn't imagine intelligent people failing to understand the depth of its inadequacies.

 

That was a wrong assumption on my part. This profoundly flawed article has become the "voice of authority" against the Starchild Project and myself. Skeptics and critics, especially Wikipedia editors and administrators, treat it as if it were peer-reviewed gospel. Thus, I have no choice but to meet its absurdities head on. 

 

Read his words with care, then read my responses to what he’s written. When you see the truth, you’ll be amazed and enlightened, and you’ll know that Novella is a…… Well, you’ll know exactly what he is.
 

Lloyd Pye's Corrections Of Novella's Article

My comments will be in this black text, preceded by "LP:" for "Lloyd Pye." What I say is, naturally, the truth. I won’t bother with footnotes because what I write here can be found in various articles I’ve written for a wide range of alternative journals like “Nexus Magazine” and “UFO Magazine,” or that have appeared in a wide variety of forums on the internet, or in books that I’ve written. Everything I post here is true and valid, and can be verified and defended if necessary.

 

The Starchild Project

 

February 2006 by Steven Novella, MD

 

LP: Right out of the box we confront a rather large obfuscation of the truth, or as some might call it, a downright dirty lie. This article was actually written in late 1999. The original copyright on it was 1999. However, when I complained to Novella in 2006 that this article was now badly outdated and needed to be either pulled or seriously revised, he wrote back to say that the article would remain as written, and that no changes would be made to it. However, he then saw fit to re-date it with a 2006 copyright to make it seem more current that it actually is. Therefore, we see right away the kind of person he is.

 

An American couple present to the media the skull of a child they claim was obtained 60-70 years ago from a cave in Mexico.

 

LP: We never once, never, never, said it was a cave. We always said, from Day One, that it was a mine tunnel. So if Novella can’t get even this ridiculously fundamental fact right, what can he get right?

 

The cranial cavity of this skull is grotesquely enlarged,

 

LP: I invite anyone to look at photos of the Starchild Skull on our website (www.starchildproject.com) or anywhere else and see if you consider the skull “grotesquely” enlarged. Enlarged, yes, somewhat, but grotesquely? If the skull was the product of human deformity (it isn't, for more information click HERE), as Novella suggests, this terminology would be highly offensive to everyone who has or knows someone who has a malformed cranium.

 

and the other features appear human, but in a distorted form.

 

LP: They appear relatively human and are indeed distorted.

 

The media dub the skull the “Starchild,”

 

LP: No media dubbed it anything. I named it that, and it was one of the early mistakes I made. I didn’t realize that by calling it “Starchild” it would immediately raise the hackles of people like Novella, who automatically assume the word suggests a flagrant bias toward the idea that it came “from the stars” and therefore is not a human, or entirely human. And they are correct, that is exactly what the word suggests, so it was a mistake to call it that in the beginning, a mistake I take full responsibility for and have lived to frequently regret.

 

and speculate freely about the creature to whom it once belonged.

 

LP: I speculate freely about it, and now, in 2010, quite a few media have done so, too. But in 1999, when Novella was spouting off about it, the media barely knew the Starchild Skull existed and did little if any speculating about it.

 

Conservative scientists are convinced that the skull represents a severe congenital abnormality, but require more thorough examination before they can be more specific. Other investigators, however, reject this conclusion, and claim instead that the skull belongs either to an alien or an alien-human hybrid. They then begin an elaborate grass-roots campaign to convince the public of this startling conclusion, with some success.

 

Skeptics are all too familiar with the above sequence of events. The details, of course, change from episode to episode, but the themes are always the same. At the heart of the conflict is the difference in method between conventional, conservative, mainstream science, and what Carl Sagan dubbed “the cheap imitation,” or what skeptics call “pseudoscience.”

 

LP: In the above two paragraphs Novella employs a cheap little parlor trick to lead his readers astray. He suggests that they’ve been lured into a devious intellectual trap that he will now boldly expose to them and lead them to safety. So….let’s proceed toward the truth.

 

The Starchild Project

 

About 60 or 70 years ago, an American girl living in Mexico

 

LP: Correcting Novella like this will unfortunately become repetitive, but I have to do it to illustrate the abysmal depth of his shoddy scholarship and scandalously inaccurate writing. The girl referenced above was not “living” in Mexico, she was of Mexican heritage and was visiting the home village of her parents, who had immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century.

 

allegedly discovered the skeletal remains of an adult and an apparently malformed child in a cave near her village.

 

LP: Again, not a cave but a mine tunnel, and she was very clear about the tunnel being far from the village, nowhere near it.

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The girl collected both skulls and kept them for her entire life, until her recent death. Just prior to her death she passed the skulls to an unnamed American man, who kept them for five years. The skulls were then passed to an American couple, who possess them to this day.

 

LP: Basically true. The girl tried to recover both full skeletons but ended up with only the partially damaged skulls. How this happened is quite a fascinating story too long to tell here but related elsewhere. She died in the early 1990s. The American couple that ended up with the skulls late in 1998 are Ray and Melanie Young of El Paso, Texas.

 

This is at least the story as it has come to be told about the so-called Starchild. The skulls and the story they tell is certainly an interesting one. It is interesting to speculate about why the adult and child died in that cave. What was the cause of the child’s malformations? Were they congenital, acquired or something else? Were they the cause of the child’s death? Did the parent die of grief from their lost child, or were they both outcasts from their village?

 

LP: Here Novella inserts his biases that: (1) the Starchild was indeed a child, which we now know may not be the case; (2) the “child’s” appearance was due to physical “malformations,” which again we know now is not the case; and (3) the adult human found with the “child” was its parent, which was proven not true in 2003.

 

Certainly, a compelling human interest story must lie behind the remains of an adult and malformed child found lying side by side in a cave in Mexico.

 

LP: Here Novella again skews from reality. They were not found lying side-by-side in a cave. In the mine tunnel the girl found a human skeleton lying supine on the surface. Beside it was a mound of dirt that looked like what it was: a shallow grave. Extending out of the dirt mound was a skeletal arm and hand, with the hand wrapped around one of the upper arm bones of the human lying beside it. Thus, the human had buried the Starchild in the shallow grave, then wrapped around her own bicep what the girl described as a “misshapen” hand, and then committed suicide in some fashion. Again, much to discuss about the possibilities suggested here, but not in this venue.

 

There is a tendency, however, to fill such speculation with the mythology of the local culture. Today, one of the prevailing mythologies of our time concerns the visitation of our planet by small gray aliens who are conducting a mysterious campaign of human abduction, perhaps involving a project of interbreeding. It is no surprise, therefore, that those who believe in and popularize this mythology have seized upon the story of these two skulls and interpreted the details in line with their beliefs.

 

LP: This depends on who calls something a “mythology.” Mainstream sycophants like Novella obviously discount the literal mountain of evidence that supports UFO and alien reality, abduction of humans by aliens, and sexual manipulation/experimentation on abductees, much of it conducted by a type of alien (though not the only type) known as “greys.” Those of us on the other side of the “mythology” argument believe that dismissing so much evidence out of hand, as the sycophants so easily do, is no different from toddlers covering their eyes and believing they’ve miraculously hidden themselves.

 

Two such believers, Lloyd Pye and Mark Bean, have put together what they call the Starchild Project, and have an extensive website dedicated to their investigation of these skulls (Pye and Bean, 1999). Here is an excerpt from their introduction:

 

LP: Before we get to the introduction, let me point out how this statement clearly dates this article to 1999. Mark Bean was my first partner in the Starchild Project, and his service in the early stages of the investigation was extensive and valuable. However, he lived in Las Vegas and I lived in New Orleans, so there was no way we could maintain a functional partnership. Thus, Mark became the Starchild Project’s webmaster, stopping all close association with the project in 2000, and I carried on without him. Also, he never wrote any of the material that appeared on the website. For better or worse, that was all my work, which I’m sure Mark would attest to if it ever became necessary.

 

As reported by its discoverer, the Starchild Skull is ‘malformed’ in many key ways. In fact, little about it compares to a normal human. It does possess the same number and kind of cranial bones. However, none are shaped or positioned as in humans. There are also other similarities, including certain bone extrusions and contours, muscle attachments, and openings for veins and arteries that correspond to humans. Despite those and other recognizable conformities, an overwhelming majority of comparisons show deviations from the human norm.

“Sometimes those deviations are slight, but most times they are extensive, to a degree that should have produced a fetal ‘monster’ incompatible with life as we know it. Instead, they seamlessly combined to form a cranial outline hauntingly similar to the ‘gray’ alien type exemplified on the cover of Whitley Strieber’s book ‘Communion.’…

“Because the Starchild skull shows so much deviation from the human norm, we can confidently expect DNA testing to prove it is one of three things: (1) a pure alien Gray type; (2) a Gray-human hybrid; or (3) the most bizarre human deformity since The Elephant Man.”

 

LP: I wrote this is in early 1999, a couple months after the Starchild Skull had been given over to my stewardship by Ray and Melanie Young. It was a time when we were just beginning to get a handle on what it might be, but reading it now, with the hindsight of 11.5 years, it still is accurate and balanced, not overblown or hyped in any way. It was then what it is now: as close to the facts as I could get it.

 

Some of the features of pseudoscience are recognizable in the above excerpt. The authors clearly show their bias in several ways: the use of scare quotes around the word “malformed,” the naming of the skull in question the “Starchild,” and the clear preference for an alien interpretation.

 

LP: Well, decide for yourselves. Read what I wrote, and then see if you find the level of manipulation in it that Novella perceived. I was surprised to see him put this spin on my words back when I first read this article in 2000. I still find it intriguing that his paranoia, or whatever it is that drives him, leads him to say such things.

 

The authors use strong language in emphasizing the skull’s deviations, while downplaying the similarities to human anatomy. They then go on to state that the skull’s deviations fit “seamlessly” with the image of a typical gray alien. Finally the authors “confidently” predict that the Starchild is either a gray alien, an alien-human hybrid, or “the most bizarre human deformity since The Elephant Man.”

 

LP: To this moment, as I write these words in late 2010, there are only three ways the Starchild Skull can be interpreted, and those three are the ones from early 1999. There are no other alternatives. And, for what it’s worth, we now have enough genetic information about the Starchild Skull to assert with extreme confidence that the answer will prove to be #2, an alien-human hybrid.

 

Here they are prematurely limiting the number of potential hypotheses to two desired hypotheses and one straw man. They are attempting to establish through use of strong language that if the child is the result of a malformation, it is a uniquely extreme and bizarre one. This is a clear attempt to make this unwanted hypothesis seem less likely.

 

LP: There was no “they,” it was only me, and I didn’t even know what a “straw man” was when I wrote it. But I think it remains true that if a skull has over two dozen major deviations from the human norm, as the Starchild Skull does, then it certainly will exceed the Elephant Man on any scale of strangeness, weirdness, or bizarreness.

 

Now that they have defined the question in a limited fashion which suits their needs, they then proceeded to dismiss the unwanted token alternative hypothesis. They discuss the causes of deformity, separating them into two categories, inflicted and natural. They then argue, correctly, that the nature of the deformities do not correspond to any known practice of inflicted deformity, such as head wrapping. Where they go wrong is in their dismissal of possible natural deformity.

 

LP: This clearly shows Novella’s bias toward his own medical specialty, clinical neurology. He fancies himself an expert on all things related to brains, so he glibly dismisses inflicted deformity as easily as he says I dismiss natural deformity. I dismiss both because even as early as 1999 it was clear the Starchild Skull suffered from neither. The way it looked, the unique shape of its skull, was entirely the result of nonhuman genetic instructions telling it to grow that way.

 

They argue that the child cannot have a genetic (inherited) malformation because of the symmetry of the skull and the lack of premature fusion of the cranial sutures. However, they dismiss all genetic disorders on this basis, whereas for some disorders there is neither asymmetry nor premature closing of the sutures. They then argue that the child cannot have suffered from a congenital (present at birth, but not necessarily inherited) malformation because it is too deformed to have survived.

 

LP: This is as true in 2010 as it was in 1999, but now my assertions are based on vastly more study and knowledge of the literature of deformity, which I doubt Novella knows much about. Eventually, a team of medical specialists with various areas of expertise gave the Starchild Skull a thorough examination. This effort was directed by Dr. Ted Robinson, a craniofacial plastic surgeon then practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dr. Robinson’s report (Robinson, T. et al., 2004, Preliminary Analysis Of A Highly Unusual Human-Like Skull, The Starchild Project, www.starchildproject.com/study2004.htm) was written after Novella wrote this screed against the Starchild, but it was firmly established in 2006 when I asked him to revise his inaccurate information, which he refused to do.

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They argue that congenital malformations in three major skull areas usually produces a non-viable fetus, while the Starchild exhibits malformations in eight skull regions and survived for at least a few years (aging methods estimate the child was about five at death). However, they ignore the possibility that the child suffered from one disorder that is capable of producing widespread deformity throughout the skull, without causing immediate death.

 

LP: Here Novella goes off the deepest end of the “What if?” pool. There is no conceivable single deformity that can alter a human skull as profoundly as the Starchild Skull is altered. Furthermore, there is no combination of multiple deformities that can produce something so massively altered that would be viable. Thus, I was correct about that in 1999, and I remain correct today. However, I should mention that our estimate that “the child (was) about five at death” is now invalid. This estimate was based on the first test we performed, a set of X-rays, and did not take into account any other features of the skull or bone, or even wear on the teeth. We later learned that there is evidence in the skull that indicated it was an adult at death, leaving us with compelling evidence for a range of ages, and an inability to give any definitive answer.

 

The authors claim that they have consulted with 50 experts (whom they will not disclose) yet not one of the experts was able to adequately explain the Starchild’s appearance on the basis of a natural deformity.

 

LP: I wouldn’t disclose the initial group of experts I talked to during 1999 because the majority didn’t dare to allow their names to be used. They all understood that UFOs and aliens are a “third rail” in mainstream science, something that if they touched it in the wrong way could mean the end of their careers. Why? Because mainstream sycophants like Novella would be all over them, harassing and criticizing them for daring to go outside the bounds of “acceptable” scientific research, where UFOs and aliens definitely don’t belong. By and large, scientists aren’t stupid, but collectively they are intimidated by a hardcore battalion of colleagues who are radical “enforcers.”

 

With that caveat mentioned, I can say that since 1999 many qualified experts have gone on record discussing their opinions regarding the Starchild Skull’s extraordinary number of physical anomalies. Here is a partial list (minus the geneticists) who have openly worked on it:

 

Dr. Fred Smith, Head of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital, New Orleans, La.

Dr. David Hodges, Radiologist, Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster, B.C.

Dr. John Bachynsky, Radiologist, New Westminster, B.C.

Dr. Ken Poskitt, Pediatric Neuroradiologist, Vancouver Children’s Hospital

Dr. Ian Jackson, (formerly of Mayo Clinic), Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon, Michigan

Dr. John McNicoll, Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon, Seattle

Dr. Mike Kaburda, Oral Surgeon, New Westminster, B.C.

Dr. Tony Townsend, Ophthalmologist, Vancouver

Dr. Hugh Parsons, Ophthalmologist, Vancouver

Dr. Fred Mausolf, Ophthalmologist, Lincoln, Nebraska

 

They are committing the logical fallacy of appealing to authority, but without specific references the cited authorities cannot be considered legitimate or compelling.

 

LP: I spoke to those authorities and related what they told me with the proviso that I wouldn’t reveal their names. It’s easy to dismiss what they said as not “legitimate or compelling,” but that doesn’t make what they told me automatically and forever wrong. As I said above, later, after this article was written in 1999, many scientists agreed to put their names to things they discovered about the Starchild Skull.

 

They state “In the hands of scientists dedicated to pounding square pegs into the round hole of conventional thinking, pathology can be made to cover virtually any deviation.” Given their clear and pervasive bias, however, it is not surprising that they have come to this conclusion.

 

LP: In reply to the first statement, I can’t remember how many times qualified experts studied the Starchild Skull and then looked at me with a dazed or befuddled expression to say, by way of offering at least some kind of explanation: “Nature could have done this …. nature can do anything!” Thus, my quote above is quite true.

 

They also demonstrate the pseudoscientific feature of dismissing science as protecting the status quo. What the authors do not provide is a detailed analysis of any one particular deformity offered by their experts and why the proposed deformity would or would not fit the Starchild skull.

 

LP: Refuting this is awkwardly easy, like sneaking up on an abalone, because Novella did not bother to read Dr. Ted Robinson’s report written after he and ten other qualified experts collectively issued their respective opinions about the Starchild Skull. Because those opinions directly contradict Novella’s opinions, he had a very good reason to avoid bringing Dr. Robinson’s report into his own biased screed.

 

Further, even if we take the inability to explain the deformity at face value, this amounts to little more than the argument from ignorance. This is the logical fallacy of starting with the premise that we lack certain knowledge or information, such as the nature of this child’s deformity, and therefore this absence of knowledge leads to a specific alternate explanation – that the child was an alien or a hybrid. But I do not take their “unexplainable” claim at face value.

 

LP: Here is where the rubber meets the road. Novella claims we are unable to explain the Starchild’s wide array of variations relative to humans. This is true. No expert who seriously examined the skull in person, in his or her own hands, was able to suggest a completely satisfactory explanation that covers all of the differences. However, with breathtaking chutzpa Steven Novella claims that he can do what many other experts could not. He claims to have the correct answer! This is his most absurd and blindingly wrong statement, the one he hangs his hat on, so to speak, because he’s anxious to reveal his pet theory about the Starchild Skull…..it was a hydrocephalic!

 

The authors never directly consider congenital hydrocephalus as a possible explanation, although they dismiss it along with a long list of natural deformities.

 

LP: Pray tell, Novella, how do you suppose I managed to “never directly consider congenital hydrocephalus as a possible explanation” while at the very same time “dismiss[ing] it along with a long list of natural deformities”? Is that not an all-time world-class contradiction in logic? Or am I somehow able to operate in two dimensions at once? Dr. Robinson's team specifically addressed hydrocephaly in their report, which has been on the Starchild Project site since 2004. Since 2006, when Novella claims to have written this article, there has also been a detailed (although periodically edited) explanation of why Hydrocephaly is not a possibility with the Starchild Skull.

 

Hydrocephalus literally means “water on the brain,” and results from a blockage in the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from where it is made inside the brain to the space surrounding the brain and spinal cord where it is reabsorbed. As a result of the blockage, CSF builds up inside the brain, pushing outward on the brain and skull. Because in young children the bones of the skull have not yet fused together, the skull is free to enlarge to accommodate this buildup of fluid.

 

LP: The above paragraph is fundamentally true, a nice explanation of hydrocephaly. However, in the paragraphs that follow Novella again plunges into the deep end of the “What if?” pool. Rather than quibble about it, let me put a cap on his rantings with a quote from the previously mentioned report by Dr. Ted Robinson’s group in Canada (being Canadian leaves them somewhat insulated from reprisals by the conservative radicals among the U.S.A.’s scientific mainstream).

 

Here is the relevant quote:

 “Dr. [John] Bachynsky noted that there is no evidence of erosion of the inner table of the [Starchild] skull. Such erosion would be consistent with a diagnosis of hydrocephaly, so this condition can safely be ruled out as a cause of the abnormalities expressed. Hydrocephaly also causes a widening of the sutures, again not expressed here. There was consensus agreement to both of these observations by other experts conversant with these features.”

 

If a child suffered from untreated hydrocephalus until age four or five, their skull would display distortions in almost every feature. All of the proper bones, prominences, holes, and sutures would be present, as they are in the Starchild skull, but they would be deformed and displaced. This is exactly what we find in the Starchild skull.

 

LP: Again, Novella struggles to make his case in 1999, when we knew relatively little about the Starchild. Since 1999 he has refused to acknowledge the massive increase in understanding that has been acquired in over a decade of research. In short, he’s the result of everything that is wrong with academia, a "scholar" who doesn't want to learn anything they don't already think they know, continually trying to dupe unaware people into believing this article that was proven wrong years ago.

 

Hydrocephalus builds up over time, so a child with this disorder could survive several years, and if untreated (today hydrocephalus is treatable with surgery to drain the fluid) would probably die at several years of age. The resulting large bulbous head would be vaguely reminiscent of the typical image of a gray alien.

 

LP: I’ve never been able to see much similarity in views of typical grey aliens versus typical hydrocephalus victims. However, if Novella can see such links, then fine, I’ll throw him that bone.

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The authors virtually ignore this mundane explanation, and dismiss it on unsound grounds. They also go to great lengths to interpret the skull in line with their clearly preferred hypothesis. They therefore demonstrate the central feature of pseudoscience – starting with a desired conclusion and then working backwards from there, rather than following logic and evidence wherever it leads.

 

LP: This is flatly a lie. In all my writings and lectures throughout 1999, I made sure to stress that I was operating on an assumption that the Starchild was probably a deformity until I could be shown a significant amount of evidence to make me think otherwise. By the end of 1999, I had been moved to think otherwise, and I was equally clear about that in writing and lectures. So it is flatly a lie to say I or Mark Bean or anyone else who was a part of this at the beginning were doing anything more than trying to find out the truth about it, wherever that journey would take us. We did indeed follow evidence where it led, and it ultimately led us to a not-entirely-human interpretation.

 

What about their confident prediction that DNA testing will prove the child was alien? Well, a DNA sample was taken from the skull, and was subjected to DNA probes designed to detect sequences of DNA that are unique to humans (performed by Dr. David Sweet, Director of the Bureau of Legal Dentistry at the University of British Columbia)5. The Starchild skull DNA was found to contain both an X and a Y chromosome. This is conclusive evidence that the child was not only human (and male), but both of his parents must have been human as well, for each must have contributed one of the human sex chromosomes.

 

LP: This is horribly, horribly wrong. The BOLD affair, for which I am totally to blame, was a disaster from Day One. They were a forensic lab completely unable to carry out testing on “ancient” DNA, which is older than 50 years, and the Starchild Skull died 900 years ago. Problem one. Problem two was that they were a brand new teaching lab using students to carry out most of the work they did. Problem three was not being able to test for mitochondrial DNA.

 

LP: The BOLD Lab was inadequate in every way imaginable, but I didn’t know that at the time. I thought they might be able to tell us whether the Starchild’s nuclear DNA was viable. They couldn’t. They botched the first two attempts with contaminations. The third test achieved the result Novella mentions, but it was only from 200 picograms of DNA, vastly below the 1000 picograms required by the lab equipment at the time to give a verifiable valid result. Despite having such a paltry recovery, and despite the very strong likelihood that it was merely another contamination, BOLD was tired of failure and insisted they had done everything right and the Starchild was nothing but a deformed human male.

 

LP: Later, in 2003, a subsequent DNA test was carried out by a lab fully capable of recovering ancient DNA. That lab, Trace Genetics, found that the Starchild’s nuclear DNA, which BOLD claimed they recovered, could not actually be recovered by the human-only primers available in 2003. This meant that beyond any shadow of doubt the BOLD result was a third contamination rather than a valid recovery. This is the information I tried to get Novella to accept in 2006, when I asked him to at least have the decency to correct all the misrepresentations of fact contained in his article, which he refused.

 

LP: Novella is a fraud, a huckster, and a charlatan using his position and his reputation as a professional skeptic to distort the Starchild’s story beyond all resemblance of truth. He should be deeply ashamed of himself, but of course he won’t be. That’s not the skeptic’s modus. Skeptics operate on bluster and intimidation, name-calling and obfuscation of facts, and most of all by playing mental games to make their readers feel intellectually inferior.

 

In view of such evidence, Pye and Bean can reasonably be expected to abandon their alien hypothesis, if they were genuine scientists. However, their website continues to support an alien interpretation of the Starchild, and this is what they have to say about the DNA evidence: “Another ‘far out’ concept that must be considered is the reasonable assumption that an alien-human hybrid could have both human DNA and alien ‘genetic’ instructions melded in its/his/her makeup, with both sets of instructions being active and complimentary and cooperative. In addition, both might be constructed in entirely different ways, with DNA being the basis of human genetic structure and ??? (silicone base, nanotechnology, etc.) being the basis of alien structure. Taking that a step further, both DNA and ??? could be present as full sets–the entirety of human DNA and the entirety of the alien ‘genetic’ code, whatever it would be- to have both sets available for reference and/or repair.”

 

LP: For as wildly “creative” as this might have sounded in 1999, in early 2010 several small parts of the Starchild Skull’s nuclear DNA were finally recovered and sent to be compared to trillions of base-pair strings available in the massive NIH database in Maryland. Some of it was determined to be human, while other parts of it came back as, in effect, “not found on Earth at the present time.” So this means that some part of the paragraph quoted above could ultimately prove to be true, or true to a surprising extent. So let’s put this bet out on the table, me and Novella, and let the dice roll one more time.

 

Pye and Bean have performed the classic pseudoscientific maneuver of retreating in the face of disconfirming evidence to a more bizarre and untestable version of their desired hypothesis. If a full compliment of human DNA is present, then all tests for humanity will be positive. The unknown alien component may likewise never be detectable. Pye and Bean have now insulated themselves from ever having to abandon their desired hypothesis.

 

LP: Everything I do is aimed at trying to bring the Starchild case to a successful conclusion. I used to not care which way it went, as long as it was the truth. If it was the truth, then I could be satisfied that I’d fulfilled my responsibility to those who were counting on me to get to the bottom of this incredible mystery. But, of course, now that I know beyond any doubt that the Starchild Skull is partially human and part alien, I very much care about making sure that mainstream hacks like Novella aren’t allowed to create any more havoc than necessary.

 

Regarding analysis of the mitochondrial DNA from mother and child

Pye and Bean have this to offer:

 

“When the bone was treated like stone rather than bone, it was analyzed and its mitochondrial DNA was recovered. This is the DNA that resides outside the nucleus and passes down from females exclusively. The Starchild’s mtDNA was that of a typical Amerindian female, which fits well with our theory that the Starchild was one of the legendary “Starchildren” created by impregnating native women with the seed of Star Beings, however that improbable seeding might have been arranged (naturally or by external, in vitro means) (Pye 2003).”

 

LP: That paragraph was added after the original article was written in 1999. I suspect Novella added it sometime after 2006 as a result of my complaints about the gross inaccuracies in his article. However, he still sticks with the “Pye and Bean” fallacy from 1999 in order to make it seem to fold into the original. Also, this quote he uses does not explain that the same test for mitochondrial DNA in 2003 proved that the woman who buried the Starchild and then died with it was definitely not its mother. Therefore, to use the quote above without any subsequent qualifier makes it clear that Novella has a bias and an agenda, which is to make me look like some kind of space cadet who doesn’t have an entirely firm grip on reality.

 

There are gaping logical problems with their hypothesis. First, Amerindian female mtDNA might be “compatible” with an alien-human hybrid, but it is also compatible with every normal Amerindian human in existence. Further, if the Starchild’s mother was an Amerindian female, as the mtDNA shows (and therefore possessed two X chromosomes), and the father of an alleged hybrid would therefore have to be alien, then were did the human Y (male) chromosome come from? Also, as Carl Sagan once pointed out, alien genetic instructions – the product of a completely different evolutionary past, would be incompatible with human DNA. We would have more luck breeding a human with a petunia than an alien.

 

LP: The origin of the Y chromosome that BOLD found has been easy to answer since 2003—it was a contamination that in all likelihood came from one of the student assistants working in the lab. Or maybe it came from a curious lab tech trying to copulate with a petunia, just to see if it could be done. But beyond that, it is absurd to suggest that automatically, ipso facto, alien DNA will be massively different from our own. The life code on Earth is incredibly complex, and all of the life forms here seem to be brought rather than to have developed. Therefore, I’m confident that in the fullness of time we will learn that life in the universe is ubiquitous, and the code we have here, based on the four nucleotides we have, will be the code of life everywhere.

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Given the tendency for pseudoscientists to fully embrace the culture of the weird, and reject scientific standards, I was not surprised to discover that both Pye and Bean have advocated other pseudoscientific ideas. Pye, for example, has published a book titled Everything You Know is Wrong, Part I: Human Origins, in which he claims to explain why we only use 10% of our brain, why Darwinian evolution is wrong, why there are no fossil human ancestors, proof of Bigfoot and the Yeti, and how the ancient Sumerians came to learn all you ever wanted to know about human origins from space aliens. (Pye, 1999) Pye promises “hard, fact-based evidence” to support his claims.

 

LP: This is the standard skeptic tactic of “kill the messenger” when they can’t do anything about the message. I do indeed have “hard, fact-based evidence” to support my claims, and these are easily available in my books, which many thousands of people around the world have read and found to make vastly more sense about the origins of life and human origins than what mainstream science purveys. In the fullness of time it will come to be known that I was vastly closer to the truth about human existence than any mainstream advocate working today. None of them are anywhere near the truth.

 

We will likely never know the whole story of the Starchild,

 

LP: We absolutely will know the details of it as soon as we can sequence its entire genome, which will come as soon as we have enough money in hand to pay for what needs to be done.

 

but what is clear is that aliens need not be invoked.

 

LP: I take great satisfaction in informing Novella and everyone else that aliens will indeed be invoked because now there is no way to avoid it. We have preliminary DNA evidence in hand to prove that the Starchild Skull is, without doubt, part human and part alien. As soon as the genome is recovered and can be sequenced, it will provide a level of proof that will cause even hardcore skeptics to holler “Uncle!” That genome will be so different from humans, it will create one of the biggest news stories in history, the equivalent of landing men on the moon, or even bigger.

 

The child very likely suffered from untreated hydrocephalus, a mundane and simple explanation for the anomalies seen in the skull. DNA testing confirms, unsurprisingly, the child’s human ancestry. Still, the true-believers are likely to cling tenaciously to their preferred hypotheses, and will continue to spin tales of an alien-human breeding program.

 

LP: I can say the exact same thing about hardcore skeptics like Novella. While alternative researchers prod scientists to do their jobs the way they’re supposed to be done, the mainstream conservatives remain fixated on protecting their precious status quos--the beliefs that have been passed on to them as sacrosanct, and which they will refuse to change no matter how evidence stacks up against them.

 

Science progresses forward, while pseudoscience remains fixed in predetermined desired beliefs.

 

LP: While the Starchild Skull team will deserve about a million sincere apologies from radical scientific conservatives like Novella, I’m certain I’ll never hear from him or from any of the others. One thing I’ve learned about all scientists who take their science as seriously as hardcore skeptics take theirs is this: They can never, ever be wrong. Sometimes, on a rare blue-moon day, they might admit to not being exactly right, but they can never, ever be wrong. Period.

 

References

1) Shermer, M. Why People Believe Weird Things, W.H. Freeman and

Company, New York, 1997

2) Lloyd Pye and Mark Bean, The Starchild Project date site,

www.starchildproject.com

3) Lloyd Pye website: www.lloydpye.com

4) Forbes CD, Jackson WF. A Colour Atlas and Text of Clinical

Medicine. Wolfe Publishing, 1993.

5) http://www.starchildproject.com/SCSreport.PDF

 

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