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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: The Mysterious Ica Stones

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Mysterious Ica Stones

As I promised in my correction of my previous post, Your In-box is Lying to You, I have gone back to look into the veracity of the Intelligent Design (I.D.) and creationist claims of some of the Mt. Blanco authors. I searched the Pro-Quest data base through my university program for peer reviewed articles or journal entries from these archeological “experts” to no avail (this isn’t to say none of these authors don’t have peer reviewed articles elsewhere but to say that I did not find any articles in this particular database). I did manage to find a peer-reviewed article about The Ica Stones, the subject of one of the Mt. Blanco authors, Dennis Swift. I also came across Dennis Swift’s name using a simple web search (I’ll get into that later in the post). I wasn’t so lucky with the other authors.

So what are the Ica Stones? In the description of Swift’s book, Secrets of the Ica Stones and Nazca Lines claims “amazing proof that South American men and dinosaurs lived together not 30,000,000 years apart. Scientifically proven to be authentic, these stones defy the evolutionists!”





Scientifically proven…to defy the evolutionists? That is quite a bold claim! It must have been very difficult to find a scientist to prove this claim considering that more than 95% of biologists are materialists and would therefore be more likely to believe that evolution, not I.D., explains the origins and continuous process of life on earth (Behe, 2005). In contrast, 45% of Americans believe that I.D. is the true answer to how life began on earth (Johnson, 2006). Because so many Americans accept the I.D. explanation and believe evolution to be “just a theory,” many school districts have decided to teach I.D. alongside evolution or eliminate evolution from the curriculum altogether.

While there is much debate in the U.S. about which theory should be taught in biology classes, the debate in the scientific community is virtually non-existent. In 1997, George Gilchrist, professor of zoology at Washington University conducted a study of over 5,000 scientific publications containing several hundred thousand reports to determine how frequently scientists invoked the theory of I.D. versus evolution. Gilchrist found not a single biological research study which used I.D. for its basis. In contrast, Gilchrist found nearly 7,000 uses of the keyword “evolution theory” and over 46,000 uses of the keyword “evolution” (Johnson, 2006).

Could it be that all these scientists are closed minded to the possibility that I.D. is the correct theory? Only if one expects for scientists to stray away from science and wonder into mystical disciplines not unlike astrology, alchemy, sorcery. The whole notion that I.D. is science requires a new definition of the word “science.” Science can only study the natural material universe. Everything that exists consists of matter; all of which has mass and takes up space. Science cannot study “supernatural” or “non-material” phenomenon.

I.D. proponents like Michael Behe (Author of Darwin’s Black Box) are critical of the notion that most scientists abide by this strict definition of “material” science (Seems redundant to me. Replace the word “material” with science and you get “science science”) He seems to believe that by finding the slightest flaw in evolution (and what scientific theory is flawless?) the whole theory must be tossed out and inserting in its place “a designer” without any scientific explanation.

I.D. proponents often say their motive is to find the truth about the origins of life but is that really their overriding motive? Behe admits to having other objectives in mind: “I think it is much more important for a Christian to be fully aware of his intellectual freedom than to be correct on any particular scientific matter” Behe explains (2005).

Intellectual freedom is more important than scientific accuracy? I.D. proponents have an agenda but this agenda has nothing whatever to do with improving science; in fact their goal is to destroy science. The true agenda of the I.D. movement is to redefine science as it has commonly been practiced by eliminating the notion of scientific materialism, replace materialism with a theistic approach, and use I.D. to change the “religious, cultural, moral, and political life” of America (Johnson, 2006). Since when have these been the goals of science?

Though these may be the goals of I.D. proponents, perhaps this “discovery” of the Ica Stones will prove them to be right all along and put the whole evolution vs. creationism debate to bed once and for all. What else could do more damage to the evolutionary theory than proof that modern humans lived and interacted with the dinosaurs much like the Flintstones!

These stones were first discovered near Ica, Peru in 1966. Dr. Javier Cabrera was given a small rock with what appeared to be ancient carvings for his birthday. Dr. Cabrera was so intrigued with this discovery that he asked the natives if they knew of any other such carvings. Much to Dr. Cabrera’s delight, the natives sold to him over 15,000 such stones that he would later use to open his own museum. The stones had carvings of ancient Aztecs hunting, domesticating, and working with practically every dinosaur one could imagine (Polidoro, 2002).




As Dennis Swift’s book description states, these stones are “scientifically proven to be authentic.” Based on my limited and amateur knowledge of archaeology, I was very skeptical of this claim and prompted me to do my own research beginning with the following question: “Could there be any other explanation of the origin of these mysterious stones?”

Truthfully, it did not take me long to find the answer; for those of you who want to believe these stones’ carvings to be of an ancient origin prepare to be very disappointed. The stones could not be carbon dated because there was no organic material to test. The only way to find the age of the stones would be to identify the strata in which they were found. Unfortunately, the locals could not agree on whether the stones were found in a nearby cave or a riverbed (Polidoro, 2002).

Finally, by 1975 the inquiring minds had their answers. Two of the individuals who sold the stones to Dr. Cabrera, Basilio Uchuya and his wife Irma Gutierrez, admitted that they carved the stones themselves! Later testing revealed that traces of sandpaper were found in the etchings (Polidoro, 2002).

In addition to these revelations I found in The Skeptical Inquirer article, I found this article by Dr. Stephen C. Meyers (2005, 2006), contributor to The Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies website. This website appears to be one by Christians who want to reconcile science and history with the Bible. The site presents arguments from Old earth creationists who like most scientists believe the earth is ancient, Young earth creationists who believe the earth is relatively young (less that 20,000 years old), and Theistic evolutionists who argue that God used the natural process of evolution to bring forth life. With Christianity as its guiding principle, I found Dr. Meyers’ article debunking the stones even more compelling than The Skeptical Inquirer’s. At least there are honest people out there who will debunk a claim even if the claim would benefit their argument.

Dr. Meyers found even more problems with the authenticity of the Ica Stones. Dr. Meyers noticed that the etchings did not accurately depict any known dinosaurs, found pencil and hacksaw blade tool marks, and dung to make the etchings appear older than they were. Meyers found that some of the stones appeared to be authentic--the ones which did not depict prehistoric creatures.

In the course of Dr. Meyers’ research, he contacted Dennis Swift just prior to his release of Swift’s book in 2005 (the Mt. Blanco book in question). Meyers soon discovered that Swift was not an expert in the field of anthropology, archeology, or geology but earned his doctorate in Systematic Theology (which could explain why I could not find any peer reviewed articles by Swift).

Surly Swift, a self-proclaimed expert on the Ica Stones, would have known that this discovery had already been debunked some thirty years earlier, so why would he go on to publish his “scientifically authentic” book that would “defy evolutionists”? In his interview with Dr. Meyers, Swift admitted that some of the stone carvings were fake (a little nugget of information he apparently saw no need to add to promote his book).

I think it’s safe to close the book on the mystery of the Ica Stones as well as the credibility of the Mt. Blanco authors. So far neither are the experts they claim to be. None of this surprises me. If the Ica Stones were authentic, I think we would have read about them at great length over the past thirty or so years. Such a discovery would force scientists to re-evaluate their methods for decoding the past. Some people fail to realize that fact (not faith) is required to find the truth.


References:

Behe, M. (2005). Scientific orthodoxies. First Things. December, 158. p. 15-20. Retrieved April 26, 2007 from the Pro-Quest database.

Johnson, V. (2006). A contemporary controversy in American education: Including Intelligent Design in the science curriculum. The Educational Forum. 70, 3. p. 222 Retrieved April 25, 2007 from the Pro-Quest database.

Polidoro, M. (2002). Ica Stones: Yabba-Dabba-Do! The Skeptical Inquirer. September/October, 26, 5 p. 24. Retrieved April 24, 2006 from the Pro-Quest database.

(See links throughout body of the post for additional resources not shown here)

9 Comments:

Blogger BEAJ said...

The thing about ID is that they don't make any attempt to put a theory out there, other than anything that science can't explain fully right now must have been done by God.
The God in the gaps theory is not science and the gaps have been getting filled up vigorously in the last 150 years.
Think about it, 2000 years ago, one couldn't explain lightning, so Godidit.
Recently, Behe was slain in the Dover trials by Dr. Ken Miller, himself a theistic evolutionist (he's Catholic).
He explained many things that Behe claimed couldn't be explained by science.
To my knowledge there isn't any reasonable scientific claim made by IDers that can't be explained by modern science...or at least not theorized away.
If there was something supernatural and science couldn't explain it, then a case could be made for the supernatural....the thing is, there is no evidence that a supernatural event has ever taken place.

12:17 PM  
Blogger T. F. Stern said...

" I.D. proponents have an agenda but this agenda has nothing whatever to do with improving science; in fact their goal is to destroy science."

I would fall into the category of one who would say that all true sciences and all true religions have exactly the same goal, that of finding the truth of all things. I would therefore disagree that the goal of folks who hold to ID are out to destroy science. It is my opinion that a grand design (ID) would incorporate aspects of evolution, not necessarily as radical as have been proposed, such as huge jumps in classifications of species which would provide a line which permits a one cell amoeba to evolve into a frog and then over time into a chimpanzee which then becomes an upright human.

Since aspects of either cannot be proven, the extreme evolutionary theorists or those relying purely on faith in some ID theory, via the “material” verification process, at least not in mortality. I would claim that those who would deny the “possibility” of ID are just as close minded as those who would deny certain aspects of evolutionary development. I have the faith necessary to hold off until after having passed through the veil of this mortality to ask those questions which can only be answered within the time frame of the eternities.

8:39 PM  
Blogger BEAJ said...

Wrong T.F., ID has no evidence whatsoever to support it. The sole purpose of those who want it taught is strictly anti-science, strictly anti-reality.
They want to find holes in science to try to prove that a possibility exists that we were put here by a supernatural entity. Yet there is no evidence that animals with eyes, legs, brains etc just popped into existence.
If evolution were false, there would be plenty of evidence contrary to it. Just as there is plenty of evidence for the sun not revolving around the earth.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Stephen Littau said...

BEAJ:

"Just as there is plenty of evidence for the sun not revolving around the earth."

It's funny that you mentioned that. Did you see my post about those people who believe the sun revolves around the earth? If you haven't, I think you will get a real kick out of it.
http://fpffressminds.blogspot.com/2007/02/memo-earth-doesnt-move.html

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

perhaps they dug up some dinosaur bones like we did, and had their own fictional stories like we have. we jump to the conclusion that pictures of dinosaurs meant they were alive.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous butch said...

stephen, you and Beaj are just as dogmatic as you accuse creationists of being. "Scientifically proven…to defy the evolutionists"...big deal. evolutionists defy other evolutionists all the time. you keep saying that creationists are "on a mission to destroy science". this is false. are creationists absolutely against evolution? YES. But evolution is NOT science. historical science cannot be observed, it can only be speculated on and conjectured. if you have indeed researched the Ica Stones then you should know the whole story, even tho you conveniently omit the fact that a Spanish expedition into S. America came across the stones also. from the book "Secrets of the Ica Stones and Nazca Lines by Dennis Swift: pages 16 and 17: "The first mention of these incredible stones is from a Spanish priest journeying to the Ica region in 1535. Father Simon, a Jesuit missionary, accompanied Pizarro along the Peruvian coast and recorded his amazement upon viewing the stones. In 1562, Spanish explorers sent some of the stones back to Spain." Unless Cabrera or the peasants he got the stones from have atime machine to go back in time and fool everyone else FIRST,...these stones would be authentic. its already been established that the Ica Stones don't have the brazen mistakes that modern museums had, like the wrong skull on the bronto/apato saurus. how did the Ica "hoaxers" have that item correct when evolutionists only found out about the correct skull only recently? or the fact that admitting that you sold "national treaures or antiquities" is punishable by prison. yes, some stones have been faked, or more accurately, made as souvenirs. Yet one can easily tell the authenticity of the patina in the grooves of the carvings. evolution is a lie and the Ica Stones confirm that. tahts why evolutionists have to attack them because they find them an embarrassment to their faith.

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