Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, September 15, 2023

The aliens of Mexico

Because my reputation has apparently preceded me, I have now been sent a link five times to a news story about an alleged governmental meeting in Mexico which one-upped the recent U. S. congressional hearing on UAPs/UFOs by bringing out some bodies of mummified aliens.

The story (and the pictures) are now making the rounds of social media, but were supposedly part of a press release from Mexican governmental officials.  So without further ado, here's one of the aliens:

You can't see in this photo, but the alien bodies have three fingers on each hand and foot, and have necks "elongated along the back."  They are said to come from the town of Nazca, Peru, which immediately gave all the Ancient Aliens crowd multiple orgasms because this is also the site of the famous "Nazca Lines," designs drawn on the ground that (when viewed from the air) can be seen to be shaped like monkeys and birds and whatnot.  Alien visitation aficionados claim that the Nazca Lines are an ancient spaceship landing site, although I have no idea why the fuck aliens would build a landing strip shaped like a monkey.

[Image licensed under the Creative Commons Diego Delso, Líneas de Nazca, Nazca, Perú, 2015-07-29, DD 49, CC BY-SA 4.0]

Needless to say, I'm a little dubious, and my doubt spiked even higher when I read that one of the scientists involved, one Jaime Maussan, was "able to draw DNA data from radiocarbon dating."  This is patently ridiculous, given that DNA extraction/analysis and radiocarbon dating are two completely different techniques.  So Maussan's statement makes about as much sense as my saying "I'm going to bake a chocolate cake using a circular saw."

Maussan also said that his analysis showed that "thirty percent of the specimens' DNA is unknown" and the remains "had implants made of rare metals like osmium."

The problem is (well, amongst the many problems is) the fact that Maussan has pulled this kind of shit before.  Back in 2015 he went public with other Peruvian mummies, which upon (legitimate) analysis turned out to be the remains of ordinary human children.  Some of them looked a little odd because they had undergone skull elongation rituals -- something not uncommon from early Peruvian cultures -- but their DNA checked out as one hundred percent Homo sapiens.  Add to this the fact that Maussan has repeatedly teamed up with noted New Age wingnut Konstantin Korotkov, who claims to have invented a camera that can photograph the soul and specializes in "measuring the human aura," and we have yet another example of someone who has just about exhausted any credibility he ever had.

So while the people weighing in on TikTok and Reddit seem to be awestruck by the Alien Mummies, reputable scientists are less impressed.  There's no evidence these are anything but the remains of human infants, and there are credible allegations that some of them have been deliberately (and recently) altered to make them look more non-human.

I..e., it's a fraud.

If so, the whole thing really pisses me off, because it's hard enough making good determinations based on slim evidence without some yahoos faking an artifact (not to mention desecrating human burials from indigenous cultures) to get their fifteen minutes of fame.  Regarding the whole alien intelligence question, I've generally adopted a wait-and-see policy, but with this kind of bullshit it's really hard not to chuck the whole thing.  We skeptics have sometimes been accused of being such habitual scoffers that we wouldn't believe evidence if we had it right in front of our noses, and there might be a grain of truth there.

But if you really want to fix that, stop allowing the phonies, frauds, and cranks to dominate the discussion.  And that includes shows on the This Hasn't Actually Been History For Two Decades Channel.

Anyhow, I'm thinking the "alien bodies" will turn out to be just the latest in a very long line of evidence for little more than human gullibility and the capacity for deception, including self-deception.  A pity, really.  At this point, if aliens actually do arrive, I'm so fed up with how things are going down here that I'll probably ask if I can join the crew.


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