HAMMERS INACCURATE NOVELLA ARTICLE
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in 2006 that this article was now badly outdated and needed to be either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
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
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
and the other features appear human, but in a
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Dr. Hugh Parsons,
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
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
Here is the relevant
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
3) Lloyd Pye website: www.lloydpye.com
4) Forbes CD, Jackson WF. A Colour Atlas
and Text of Clinical
Medicine. Wolfe Publishing, 1993.
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