My Response to Philip Coppens – Debunking Ancient Aliens Debunked…Debunked

Philip Coppens, who appears often in the Ancient Aliens series responded to “Ancient Aliens Debunked” yesterday in this article called “Debunking Ancient Aliens Debunked.

I will quote sections of that article and respond in this post. I will try not to leave out any important points he makes.

His words will be in block quotes, mine will be in the normal type, as you see here.

I will use the subject of the crystal skulls as the first example. The conclusion of this section is, for White, the following: “In conclusion, all of the proposed crystal skulls have now been conclusively proven to be hoaxes. The last holdout (the MHS [The Mitchell Hedges skull]) was only still a candidate because it was not allowed to be examined until recently. Its history is full of greed and lies, and it genuineness could only be accepted by the most dedicated devotee given the facts we now know.”
This is simply not true. For one, the “MHS” was studied by the likes of Hewlett-Packard and the British Museum more than three decades ago. When Anna Mitchell-Hedges came to Britain to have the latter tests performed, there were reports and footage of the event. The Hewlett-Packard testing was reported by the organization themselves and I have copies of it – as have hundreds of other people, no doubt. But White either is not aware of this, or as it does not fit his agenda, disregards it.

Actually, I am aware of this, I didn’t include it because the Hewlett Packard test was not a test to see if it was a fake or not, it had nothing to do with the method of manufacture or dating. Instead it basically determined the type of crystal it was, and that is was made from the same crystal.
It was a test set up by Frank Dorland and Richard Garvin, the writer that Dorland  (Anna’s  skull promoter), commissioned to write the atrocious book The Crystal Skull. Garvin was an ad man, and one of his clients was HP. He used that connection to have this non-test in order to give the impression of credibility for his upcoming book. He would be able to say “Oh yeah, it was even studied by Hewlett Packard!” But as I mentioned, the reason why this is irrelevant is that nothing they did in that study had any bearing on whether it was a fake or not. There was no dating of the skull or investigation of tool marks.

As far as the British Museum test in 1936. I was aware of that study too, I even referred to it in the film. They are the ones that said it was probably copied from the one that they had in their collection (which they later also determined to be a fake)
Incidentally, all this was before Mitchel Hedges owned the skull, and certainly before Anna did.

Things like the negative British Museum report are almost certainly why Sydney Burney abandoned his 10 year effort to sell the skull to an actual museum, and instead dumped it off at a public auction to Mitchell Hedges.

White instead opts for or – to use the type of wording he prefers to use on the documentary in making accusations – “leads us to believe” that in 2007, when Bill Homann took the skull to the Smithsonian, it was finally revealed to be a fake. That is once again not the case. That the skull is a modern reproduction is indeed the opinion of Jane Walsh, who was present at this test. But she arrived at that belief many years before ever meeting this skull. Though I was not present, I do have in my possession the complete video footage of the 2007 Smithsonian session, and I can assure anyone, and will make available if needed, sections of this tape (it is many hours long) that will show a radically different nature of this session than what White pretends the meeting was all about. Let me note that White was not present and has never seen this footage.

If you have proof that the Smithsonian study was somehow faulty, now is a good time to dig it out!

In the show, on this point you say something like “in short, we believe that those experts are wrong in their conclusions.”

Well I’m very interested, what kind of evidence would you propose to negate the findings of the Smithsonian?

As mentioned, it is absolutely false that Anna Mitchell-Hedges never allowed for any testing.

Perhaps I should have said “Anna Mitchell-Hedges never allowed for any testing that would prove the skull was a fake.” Because she did allow the HP test, which I have already described basically as nothing better than a PR stunt which had no bearing on its validity, nor could it have.

Some of the other claims he makes in this section, that Mitchell-Hedges lied about the origins of how he acquired the skull, are true. But let it be clear that the likes of White were not the ones who discovered this, even though he implies quite cunningly that he somehow seems to have been involved in finding these documents, by making claims he has seen letters and the like. So have thousands of others, as these letters are in the public record.

I said “we actually have the letter that he wrote to his brother” The WE there is clearly meant to be taken in the same way that people say “we now know that the universe is expanding.” In that example I had nothing to do with the scientists figuring out that the universe is expanding, its just a figure of speech.

I personally wrote that the story was an invention, and that there are good reasons why Mitchell-Hedges created the story. It can be read here. Mr White seems to be unaware of this, or fails to mention it.

I read your article, you say:

“Legal experts have noted that, under contemporary law, by purchasing the skull at auction there could be no contest over its ownership: Mitchell-Hedges was the rightful owner, regardless of how he acquired it. Hence, the true importance of the auction might have been totally missed by the skeptics. It is true that Mitchell-Hedges began to speak about the skull only in the late 1940s, but, rather than this being evidence that he acquired it in 1943, it might be evidence that from 1943 onwards he felt
liberated and able to speak openly about it, knowing that he now legally possessed it and no one could take it away from him.”

So you basically take the story Anna put out after the Sotheby’s auction stuff surfaced, which basically says that Hedges did find it in the jungle like he always maintained, but that after that he loaned it to Sydney Burney for 10 years for safe keeping, and then Burney’s son tried to auction it, so Hedges had to rush down and buy it from the auction. I detailed that story in the film.

You only add the twist that in addition, it was also a clever scheme for him to gain perfectly legal ownership of the skull.

Obviously he bought it at the auction and that was the first time he had seen it, and that was the reason that the first time he mentions the skull is not until after the auction (10 years after he supposedly found it.) The truth is plain in the letter he wrote to his brother.  It’s pretty darn obvious to anyone that wants to read it, and that’s why devotees need to weave this web to try to explain it away. He never wanted anyone to know about the auction or that letter.

In your article you also say that no one knows where Burney got the skull 10 years prior, obviously trying to make room for Anna’s story, but that’s not entirely true. Burney obtained his crystal skull in early 1933, as attested in a letter he wrote on Burney Gallery stationary to the director of the American Museum of Natural History in February of that year (AMNH 2/17/1933):

“I have just acquired a life-size rock crystal skull with separate jaw, from Mexico, and I shall be glad to know if it is of interest to you or your museum.”

It should be noted that Mitchell Hedges claimed he found it in Belize not Mexico, it should also be noted that J. J. Braunholz of the British Museum said that he saw it in a shop in London before Hedges or Burney bought it, according to J. Eric Thompson.

When you take in to account that the British museum skull is a fake, and the Mitchell hedges skull is basically an exact copy of that one, adding to that that it has been determined that the MHS does have tool marks on it, this issue is decided, it’s a losing battle, get out while you can.

Giorgio Tsoukalos says: “Were they giants or is that the wrong word and [should] the correct word be an extraterrestrial?” I leave it up to Giorgio Tsoukalos to defend himself, but it is clear that he means here that we’ve labeled them giants, but that maybe we should call them extraterrestrial instead. Yet White interprets this statement to say that Tsoukalos is claiming the word Nephilim has been mistranslated as giants and should be instead translated as extraterrestrial!

The meaning of the word nephilim really means “giants,” I.E. big bodies. The idea it seems like you’re trying to make is that the references to nephilim/giants can just mean great people, people with cool technology or whatnot. But my point is that the word means big, and the context of the stories support that idea, their height is mentioned etc. So when he says “Were they giants or is that the wrong word and [should] the correct word be an extraterrestrial?” then no that’s just wrong.

From the very excerpt White includes, it is clear this is not the tone or the implication one should make from this. Similarly, when Erich von Däniken states: “How can angels have sex? This is impossible. In our view, angels were something spiritual not something that has a body and the feeling of sex… but they had sex.” White ridicules this statement, stating: “Von Daniken’s idea of an angel is defined more by hallmark cards than ancient texts. Obviously ancient cultures including the writers of the Bible believed that angels could and did have sex with human women.” This is precisely the point Erich von Däniken is making too, but it is clear that White fails to see this! Either White is stupid, or deliberately deceptive.

No we are not saying the same thing. He is saying that biblical angels equal extraterrestrials from other planets, on the sole basis that, in his quasi naturalistic worldview, that is the only possible option. But there is another option, which is that angels really are….angels.

6000 years….it’s an error by the narrator. These things happen.

Yes they do.

White also claims us experts are bad researchers. Within the first few seconds of his documentary, White claims that “Ancient Aliens […] premiered April 20, 2010”. Well, you see, it did and it didn’t. You could say that, but what about the two hour special, also called Ancient Aliens, on March 8, 2009, which on Wikipedia is referred to as a pilot – it was not really a pilot, though. It was a two hour special which proved popular, as a result of which a series was created. But it was not created as a pilot as such. But here is the issue: you can take it both ways. You can say the series started either in 2009 or 2010. Both are right. But if ever such a choice is available when it comes to the evidence under discussion in Ancient Aliens, White will make sure to highlight the other possibility and claim Ancient Aliens instead set out to deceive and misrepresent!

This seems like nitpicking on your part. I stand by my statement either way.

When he goes after Tsoukalos for not knowing that the material at Puma Punku is andesite, while Tsoukalos says diorite, White doesn’t seem to realize there is no true difference between those two, or deliberately chooses to ignore or reference that! Yes, Tsoukalos is wrong, but it is truly a tiny error. The two rocks are equivalents, but are given different names because of the manner in which they were created. But when it comes to hardness, there is no difference. White fails to point that even though Tsoukalos is indeed in error, this error does not change the debate. But wait, instead, White pretends the error does change the debate. It does not.

Actually it really does matter…a lot. It’s true that andesite is almost as hard as diorite, but there is one important distinction which I detailed in the film, maybe you missed it. I said:

“Even though andesite is pretty hard, because of the way it cooled, it could be easily flaked off using stones as soft as 5.5 on the Mohs scale.[7] Such pounding stones were found all over andesite quarries in the area.[8]”

What makes diorite and andesite different from one another is their original cooling processes, and Andesite’s cooling process made it really easy to work with despite its hardness. So it does in fact change the debate,  There is a quarry filled with these stones lying around the andesite quarries, And they are of different compositions, the only requirement was that they had to be harder than 5.5 So its really difficult to argue that they didnt use theses stones. Obviously saying the sandstone at Pumapunku is granite, (Tsoukalos’ other blunder) is a bigger problem.

Though the section on the show itself addresses the hardness of the rock, White makes it appear as if the mystery of Puma Punku is that ancient alien theorists pretend the polishing of the stones is somehow otherworldly.

I have never seen one instance of an AA theorist saying the flat surfaces of Pumapunku are a result of polishing until now, On the show they hypothesize about which type of power saw was used to make flat surfaces, seemingly oblivious that no saw was needed at all, it was pounding stones followed by grinding stones, a method used by many cultures, and provably so at Pumapunku. You seem to agree with me here is that correct?

This is a misconception White arrives at either through his own stupidity or misdirection. The mystery of Puma Punku is that a number of stones – not all of them – have remarkable drill holes that, in the opinion of experts on the subject matter, can only be made with mechanical tools.

I have never understood why the existence of these drill holes somehow necessitates unknown technology. All they would need to make a bow drill was some metal, and they were casting very strong bronze alloys right on site at Pumapunku.  The Egyptians had been drilling holes in granite with copper bow drills for a 1000 years before this, why would holes in stone all of a sudden require aliens? Im interested in your answer to this question, Do you think it is impossible to drill those holes using metal, or are you trying to say that they didnt have any metal to use?

White writes: “Part of the Incan state religion was that the Incan empire was the first civilization and was created by God himself. It was a very convenient idea for bolstering the Incan case for the right to rule everyone else.” White here clearly assumes the Inca invented this “convenient” lie.

They didn’t invent the god Viracocha, they invented the idea that Viracocha built Pumapunku, as opposed to admitting there was a culture in existence before them.

The rest of his section once again clearly presents his total neglect or misunderstanding of the legends of Viracocha. He claims that the show mistakenly depicts Viracocha as a sky god, not a sea god. In truth, Viracocha is both, and neither

Well AA should have said that, instead of what they did say in the show.

And again, White sides with the bog standard view that archaeologists have conclusively dated the site. They have not. The dating of Puma Punku is indirect, and everyone knows it. The “official dating” of Puma Punku is based on circumstantial evidence and though that circumstantial evidence might be true, it is not, as White pretends, right by default!

Im not sure there are any other ways they can date the site. Carbon dating, iconography, the types of tools and techniques used, it’s local context in the development of the Yaya mama sunken temple motif, see: Vranich, A., 1999, Interpreting the Meaning of Ritual Spaces: The Temple Complex of Pumapunku, Tiwanaku, Bolivia. Doctoral Dissertation.

There is no major question about the date among the experts in the field. I know you don’t think experts are right about much, but at least you should try to disprove their arguments if you want to date it differently.

Specifically, what “ancient alien theorists” try to show, is that in the very location where Viracocha was said to have emanated, there is a site which has anomalies, and which shows workmanship that is at odds with the rest of that civilization and even that very site, and is suggestive of a higher technology. But White dismisses it out of hand, as he knows the Inca “conveniently” created Viracocha. It seems that for Mr. White, the Inca were just as deceptive as the producers of Ancient Aliens!

Again I never said they created Viracocha, I said that they created the idea that in addition to creating the Incan capital Viracocha created Pumapunku because that would be the biggest black eye ever to their scheme, that is, if it was attributed to a civilization that existed at least 100 years before them, and knew more about stone working than they did.

On Baalbek, he suggests that 630 tons is the same as 1200 tons, and hence that because Romans could lift 630 tons, they could have lifted 1200 tons. Uhm… 1200 tons is pretty much double.

The largest stone the Romans moved was 800 tons, which is close to 630. The stones you are referring to were never moved, its a moot point at the end of the day.

Also, when he draws the comparison between 630 and 800 tons, he says “just 100 tons more”. It’s actually 170 tons more! Details, but important.

Ah, this is sneaky Mt. Coppens. I hope you are not deliberately misquoting me. What I said was: “the weight of the heaviest one is 630 tons, only a little over 100 tons less than Baalbek’s biggest stone.” Details are important Mr. Coppens.

In my book The Ancient Alien Question, I clearly state that at the end of the 20th century, we had no tools in existence to lift 1200 tons. That’s a fact.

Just because one single tool couldn’t do it doesn’t mean that a combination of other tools couldn’t. I point out that the Romans had an arsenal of stone moving gear at their disposal, which they often combined to lift and move heavy stones such as obelisks.

By your logic, every stone over 5 tons in the ancient world was put in place by alien technology because “there was no tool in existence” that could lift a stone heavier than 5 tons at the time.

It is also disingenuous to pretend that these stones are not part of the foundation, but instead of a retaining wall. I don’t know what universe White lives in, but it is clear that the retaining wall is part of the foundation on top of which the temple was built. And it is a platform.

So you too believe that it is a retaining wall, you just want me to admit it has a foundation purpose as well, ok no problem. But the massive retaining wall, including the trilithons, were not a part of the more ancient pre-roman temple. Archeologists have seen the old temple under the Jupiter platform, about 5 meters down, it has a T shaped terrace. In light of this, one recent study said of the Trilithons that in addition to them being a wall they can also…

“ considered as an attempt to hide the older, inconveniently shaped temple terrace behind a podium in fashionable Roman manner,”

Sitchin is indeed wrong to claim it is a landing place, but it is clearly a platform and a foundation on top of which at some point a Roman temple was built.

The trilithons are simply not part of the more ancient temple. In other words the idea that the Romans only built on top of the trilithons, but that the trilithons were placed there by an earlier civilization, is being ignorant of the facts about this site.

White also conveniently forgets to mention that there are no records at present that show the Romans actually built the retaining wall/foundation. That is right: no evidence. It is an assumption.

Im not sure that this logic would fly in any circles except the internet. We don’t have evidence for the Romans claiming to have built all kinds of magnificent structures, which we know for sure that they built because of other reasons. Even if they wrote all day long about building Baalbek we just don’t have that much writing from this period at all. The absence of any text about this in our possession doesn’t mean they didn’t say anything.

Even some of the illustrations he shows in his documentary have the words “hypothetical” written on them, but White seems to feel he does not need to point this out.

That’s true. The digital camera was only recently invented after all.

In the Tolima “fighter jets”, he uses a quote of mine arguing I make a leap of faith. What he fails to highlight is that officially, the “goldflyers” are classified as insects. Sure, White can make the point that they are fish, but his beloved experts in this subject matter have identified these as insects, not fish.

Ok, well then they are also making unnecessary assumptions. Which experts are you referring to btw?

So either White is wrong, or the experts are. I am merely pointing this out, because once again, we are confronted with a pool of evidence, in which the experts have decided to label them insects, White decides to label them fish, and ancient alien theorists have highlighted the resemblance to modern planes. The type of insect that is proposed – a bee or a fly or like – indeed does not have wings at the bottom of their body, which is why we have said that these goldflyers cannot be such insects. But instead, White shows us completely different insects, with no resemblance to the golden objects at all, to pretend we are somehow wrong. In truth, he creates a misdirection.

Ok I could have showed an insect that looked more like it I suppose…to be fair, but since we both agree that this thing is not an insect who exactly would I be trying to be fair too in that case? Anyway a fish is more logical than an insect given the fins and shape and eyes and all, and its certainly more logical that a plane.

In this section, his logic is this: “Consider that all we know about this culture reveals them to be simple farmers, fisherman [sic], and artisans; people that lived of the land and, considering that there is nothing in the extensive amount of archeological material from this culture that would suggest knowledge about planes landing and taking off all the time, is it logical to assume that aliens landing and taking off in their back yards made so little impression on them that they only devote 10 of the 100s of figurines to it, and only in one tomb?”
First of all, “all we know” is clearly the traditional academic perspective. Science by default excludes the ancient alien hypothesis, so you can use “all we know” all the time. Again, White seems incapable of realizing what this series is about: to discuss material that science refuses to reconsider or analyze from a different perspective.

So you’re saying, let’s abandon what the people who devote their lives to studying this subject think?
Look, I don’t think the mainstream is right about everything either, but this kind of stuff is all about the arguments that they make, that’s where we have to judge them. Its a case by case thing. We have to deal with their arguments, not simply dismiss them because they wouldn’t agree with our theories.

By the way I don’t think that science excludes the AAT by default anyway, scientists are people too. They have a lot of different beliefs and backgrounds, and the nature of scientific work is supposed to test evidence honestly,  of course it doesn’t always work that way, but it is by no means a given that scientist will exclude the AAT, they just do because the evidence is not there for it.

But, specifically: how many of us wear jewelry that has a space shuttle on it? I’ve seen few people wear such gold jewelry! But, clearly, in White’s opinion, there has to be far more than ten percent of our current jewelry on Earth with space imagery, as we have witnessed objects going into space. I can safely say that if all our jewelry of Mankind is put together, produced since 1960, not even one percent will reveal objects of spaceflight. Yet, somehow, in White’s world, aliens landing and taking off would lead to thousands of golden figurines depicting this! It is a false premise, Mr. White, which you created, either of out stupidity or to deceive your viewers.

What if we had all lived in the woods, and the most technologically advanced thing that we knew was some metal tool or something? I bet there would be a lot more space shuttle jewelry in that scenario, that is if we saw space shuttles flying around all the time in our primitive world. But that (somewhat weird) argument aside, my point was that these objects have eyes and teeth and fins just like the other 90 percent of the figures, which are obviously stylized animals. It’s a no brainer man.

When it comes to ancient nuclear warfare, we are once again treated to a careful editing of the case. The fact – yes, fact – that there was a radioactive patch in an area of India over which the gods were said to have fought a battle in the sky is never mentioned by White.

Where does it say this? I’m particularly interested where it says that this patch was radioactive, do you have a chapter and verse for us?

His argument on Mohenjo Daro is so badly produced he actually contradicts himself, when he argues the series doesn’t mention the names of experts, but he seems to have forgotten he himself has included the section where the series says it is Davenport!

Im not sure I understand this one, but it sounds mild, Ill just agree I did it and move on.

Most importantly, White makes the allegation that the dead at Mohenjo Daro are buried and did not die in some type of massacre. On his site, he refers to a source, which redirects to another source, where we find the basis for his claim.

Its true that the source I linked directs to another source, but the source it links to is an original source written by George F. Dales an archeologist and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania that worked at Mohenjo Daro, and it was him interviewing other archeologist who also worked at the site

This source, however, says something far different than what White pretends. The source says that the way in which the excavations happened have left us in a situation in which no-one – that is right, no-one – can conclude whether the dead died in a massacre or were buried.

You are referring to some data gathering techniques that are mentioned in the article. But your idea that the articles conclusion is “, no-one – can conclude whether the dead died in a massacre or were buried” is just not true. The entire article is debunking that very idea.I can see why you would think that if you had not read the whole thing, page 3 is where is gets interesting. I think the one I linked does a great job of summarizing the article in my opinion, and those 37 bodies most certainly did not die in a sudden catastrophe according to that article.

Speaking of motive: White is a Christian fundamentalist.

I got to give you credit on this one, you didn’t lead the article with it. I fully expected that to be in the first or second sentence, if not in the title.

So he will side with such topics as the Nephilim as being real, but claims they cannot be alien. As White is somewhat unclear about what he believes they are, I do believe he doesn’t consider them to be human. So if not human, what are they? By default, that makes them alien – though not extraterrestrial.

I don’t believe that nephilim are a technologically advanced race that came here from another planet etc. And whether my belief is the correct one or not doesn’t change the fact that the ancient astronaut theory is wrong on this point, and all the others that I debunked in the film.

A quick overview of the rest, maybe? Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theory of how the pyramids were built is totally irrelevant in this documentary. It addresses no single point of criticism, and White even says that he explores this out of his own interest. Clearly, the documentary wasn’t long enough without it, in his opinion.

Actually I felt that if I didn’t offer a better explanation for the pyramids there would have been an obvious gap in the film. If anything I was trying to cut the film down from 3 hours, not add to it.

Where does he tackle the Davidovits claims? Oh wait – nowhere!

I haven’t looked into his claims, (he says the limestone blocks were made of concrete), I will look into it soon though, I will post it on my blog in the next few weeks. Im not sure how much that would change anything though. The majority of the blocks of the pyramids were sandstone anyway. And even then, Im not sure how much use this would be for the AAT.

On Easter Island – which I personally don’t see as evidence of an alien intervention – his bias is once again on show. Sure, the statues could have been put in place with wooden rollers. But the stories are that the statues walked into place, which is why there is speculation about levitation in the first place. That our ancestors stated they walked into place is another fact White somehow fails to include in the documentary. Why?

There are networks of tracks from the quarries still there today where the Moai definitely were dragged part of the way. So why drag them even a little ways if you could levitate them? At the end of the day just because someone claims they walked doesn’t mean they did.

In my book, The Ancient Alien Question, I outline that Pakal’s tomb, the Nazca lines and a few other subjects White has included in the documentary are not evidence of alien contact. But even in those sections of White’s documentary, I would disagree on a number of points with the way in which White sets out his argument, and on a number of occasions uses deception in order to make a point he could have made if he had done some proper research or, heaven forbid, read my book.

Can you at least tell me where I used deception in order to make my point?

Finally, I would like to tackle the section on Ezekiel, but quite frankly, this section was incomprehensible to me. I do not understand what his argument is, apart from the obvious fact we are clearly and obviously wrong.t.

Ok, I have nothing to say if you don’t.

PS. It is now entirely possible that this reply will be used to create another reply, in the vain hope of trying to elicit from me another reply, so that the debate goes on endlessly, with loads of blablabla. As far as I am concerned, the debate ends here. The very reason why this reply was created, was because people wanted me to reply and hear my opinion on the documentary, so I did. In truth, I feel I have written more than 4100 words that I could have written about far more important topics than Mr. White’s documentary.

I would not have written this if the arguments you put forward didn’t deserve to be addressed.