I enjoy discussing and debating the ancient Near East, and ancient history in general. The internet offers a variety of opportunities for like-minded people to do so, and to that end I’m a member of a lively and diverse message board called Unexplained-Mysteries. The site offers a variety of forums for different topics, and I spend most of my time in the Ancient Mysteries & Alternative History forum. There I can actively carry out my passion to discuss conventional academic historical research and to debate and argue against fringe notions.

I have a number of friends at Unexplained-Mysteries, and two of the most ardent supporters of conventional history are posters named Hanslune and Harte. Recently Hanslune started a discussion which he titled “May I suggest a project for the board?” He had read through John Baez’s “The Crackpot Index” and this list gave Hanslune the idea to start a similar one at our forum. Hanslune suggested we “create a ‘fringe index of confusion’ for archaeology or perhaps specifically just for Ancient Egypt” The list at which he eventually arrived ended up being mostly for ancient Egypt, which is one of the most popular discussion topics in the Ancient Mysteries forum.

I was quite entertained by the list, to which numerous posters contributed, and thought it would be fun to add it to my blog. I myself didn’t have much to do with the project, so I present the list below with only minimal modifications and alterations (with the hope that Hanslune will forgive me—but he gave me permission to post it to my blog). This is a point system by which you can award points for each fringe notion or idea that contradicts logic and history. The amusing (or perhaps disturbing) thing is, pretty much everything in the list below is from examples we’ve seen fringe posters use in their posts.

‘The Harte Ultimate Dumb’ chart (THUD) Index for AE Cranks .005

A simple method for rating potentially “revolutionary contributions” to Egyptology:

  1. Start at 0
  2. 5 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false without showing evidence that it is indeed false.
  3. 5 points for every statement that is clearly made up.
  4. 5 points for repeating that slaves built the pyramids.
  5. 5 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
  6. 5 points where the term logic or reasoning is used to support something that isn’t logical or reasonable.
  7. 5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite given careful correction.
  8. 5 points for every use of annoying language, such as “is it possible that…”.
  9. 5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment: such as saying the C-14 dates done in 1995 are faked.
  10. 5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).
  11. 5 points for each mention of “Petrie”, “Lehner” or “Hawass” when it has no bearing on the point, 1 point for any of the lesser giants of Egyptology.
  12. 5 points for bringing up long-disproved ideas such as: The pyramids are situated at the center of the world, they were granaries, they could be seen in Jerusalem, or that they show supernatural precision or accuracy in construction or alignment.
  13. 5 points for demonstrating the phenomenon of pareidolia and not understanding this.
  14. 5 points for claiming you have done ‘years of research’.
  15. 5 points for mentioning that a documentary is to come in the future explaining everything but for now just “accept what I say.”
  16. 5 points for using as a source; Sitchin, Von Daniken, Osmanagic, Velikovsky, Cayce, Berlitz, Dunn, Donnelly, Icke, Blavatsky, Plongeon, Churchward, Posnansky, Fell, Taylor, Joseph, Wilson, Cremo, Childress, Collins, Coppens, Wyatt, Russell, Rutherford, et cetera.
  17. 5 points for using as a source those who are still alive and might well come up with something in future but are currently bad sources (e.g., Bauval, Hancock)
  18. 10 points for using speculation or your opinion and mistaking them for facts.
  19. 10 points for saying Egyptology is not a science.
  20. 10 points for not understanding consilience.
  21. 10 points for mentioning Mu or Atlantis and 50 for Lemuria.
  22. 10 points for each claim that Egyptology is fundamentally misguided or wrong (without good evidence).
  23. 10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
  24. 10 points for deriding the study of any aspect of Egyptology as unimportant and not limited to its culture, religion, geographical location.
  25. 10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)
  26. 10 points for claiming scientists have helped and worked with you but not saying who they are or pointing out their contributions or credentials.
  27. 10 points for mailing/emailing your theory to someone you don’t know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.
  28. 10 points for advising that your idea is released to the world and you don’t want money for it (as if anyone would pay you).
  29. 10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory while you are the one who’s going to appraise the entries yourself.
  30. 10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
  31. 10 points for each statement along the lines of “I’m not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations” that support my idea.
  32. 10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is “only a theory”, as if this were somehow a point against it.
  33. 10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory is well supported by the evidence, it doesn’t explain “why” they occur, or fails to provide a “mechanism” or is deemed illogical or unreasonable by the theorist.
  34. 10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a “paradigm shift”.
  35. 10 points for refusal to go to conference to promote your idea either by presenting or showing a presentation/data table.
  36. 10 points for stating you have degrees that supports your contention that you are well educated on the subject but refusing to provide supporting information.
  37. 10 points for trying to impose a modern cultural model on the ancient Egyptians (we wouldn’t do that so they wouldn’t, or we would do this so they would)
  38. 10 points for ‘borrowing’ an earlier idea and representing as your own or as new material.
  39. 10 points for not understanding that Hawass is not the head of world-wide Egyptology.
  40. 10 points for not understanding that NOT only modern Egyptians can be Egyptologists.
  41. 10 points for not understanding that not all Egyptian Egyptologist are Muslims and that their religion discredits them from speaking about the ancient Egyptians.
  42. 10 points for implying that Atlantis or a ‘lost civilization’ is the source for Egyptian civilization.
  43. 10 points if the claimant gives themselves the epithet of ‘Indiana Jones’.
  44. 15 points for implying that the pyramids have magical influences (without good evidence).
  45. 15 points for making engineering claims without providing drawing, mathematics, or experts to support your contention that what you say is possible.
  46. 15 points for saying that your theory or idea is more efficient for doing ‘x’ without showing it actually is and for believing the ancient Egyptians only did things efficiently.
  47. 15 points for declining to gain support of scientists outside of Egyptology for technical issues for no definable reason.
  48. 15 points for bringing up Troy.
  49. 20 points if your theory supports any failed 19th century nationalistic or racial idea, that the Egyptian civilian or pyramid came from the Jews, Aryans, Illuminati or other groups.
  50. 20 points for emailing Egyptologists complaining about them but not recognizing the theorist’s obvious great knowledge.
  51. 20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel Prize when it has been explained to you that (accursed) Nobel left no money for archaeology or Egyptological prizes.
  52. 20 points for every use of science fiction works, forgeries, or myths as if they were fact.
  53. 20 points for constantly forgetting your idea is just an idea and not proven or accepted by consensus.
  54. 20 points for pretending that consensus support for your idea is not important.
  55. 20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.
  56. 20 points for naming something after yourself.
  57. 20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it.
  58. 20 points for each use of the phrase “debunked” used the wrong way.
  59. 20 points for each use of the phrase “self-appointed defender of orthodoxy” when your ideas are not orthodox.
  60. 20 points for complaining that Egyptology is not paying attention to your idea when you have never published it.
  61. 20 points for suggesting Egyptology hates you for your idea and that anyone who disagrees is a paid shill of said Egyptology or Government.
  62. 20 points for posting links to evidence or papers that don’t actually support your contention.
  63. 20 points for suggesting that a general property is a unique feature and therefore evidence for your idea (such as noting that water, sand or limestone rock is present in Egypt).
  64. 20 points for bringing up a Biblical myth and treating it as real (without providing evidence that it is).
  65. 20 points for making a claim in a press release.
  66. 20 points for using the term ‘decode’ (this increases exponentially each time it is used).
  67. 25 points for using personal incredulity as evidence or using of buzz phrases like “Egyptology or science can’t explain that!” or “How could primitive man have done this?”  Or a misapplied appeal to “common sense.”
  68. 25 points for making a claim in a You Tube video with no written support.
  69. 25 points for treating the idea that the ancient Egyptians used ‘advanced technology’ (new age) to include levitation, telekinesis, magic, pyramid power (without providing great supporting evidence).
  70. 25 points for using strawmen arguments that no Egyptologist has ever said or implied.
  71. 25 points for using arguments from Egyptologists that were later dropped as still being valid.
  72. 25 points for complaining that Egyptology is based on assumption and demanding these be dropped so the writer’s weaker assumptions are accepted.
  73. 25 points for insisting that only evidence from a very narrow dating range near the object or construction in question can be deem associated with said place.
  74. 30 points for suggesting that a famous Egyptologist secretly disbelieved in your theory but who has never mentioned it.
  75. 30 points for suggesting that Egyptology is groping its way towards the ideas you now advocate but they refuse to acknowledge your great wisdom.
  76. 30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without REALLY good evidence).
  77. 30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory.
  78. 30 points for pretending that if you post something on an obscure website or non-obscure website that that means all of Egyptology then know about it.
  79. 30 points for pretending that if Egyptologists (or other scientists or professionals) don’t publish refutations of your work their silence means they accept it.
  80. 35 points for taking real scientists work, especially images and applying conclusions to their work that they never made.
  81. 35 points for insisting that your theory operates in a special world and that while you have no degrees (or the right ones) only those with the correct degrees may criticize it.
  82. 35 points for stating that knowing the language of ancient Egypt is not necessary when translating what the hieroglyphs mean.
  83. 35 points for believing that the pyramids are the true focus of Egyptology and nothing else in their culture actually matters.
  84. 35 points for stating that some aspect of Egyptology has been shown to be wrong but declining to show the evidence for such a position.
  85. 35 points for bringing up the television show ‘Ancient Aliens’ and considering it a source; additionally citing dubious online sites as sources that themselves don’t source their claims, usually recycled from pseudo-participants higher up on the food chain.
  86. 35 points for suggesting that the ancient Egyptian technology to build the pyramids appeared out of nowhere.
  87. 40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis.
  88. 40 points for refusal to accept the scientific method or peer-review as a valid system of research.
  89. 40 points for claiming that the Egyptology is engaged in a “conspiracy” to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame.
  90. 40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case.
  91. 40 points for suggesting or claiming that Egyptologists are plotting against you.
  92. 40 points for suggesting or claiming that Egyptologists are generally evil for not listening to you or worse yet pointing out your many errors.
  93. 40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day Egyptology will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)
  94. 40 points for suggesting that events tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of years ago somehow directly affect the Egyptians (without excellent evidence).
  95. 45 points for stating that the hieroglyph associated with an image of Egyptian art need not be read to ascertain what the image is about.
  96. 45 points for changing the meaning of ancient Egyptian words while not understanding the language.
  97. 45 points creating ‘evidence’ by using photo-shop or other dishonest methods.
  98. 50 points for suggesting you are an ancient Egyptian.
  99. 50 points for claiming supernatural or paranormal support or collaborators.
  100. 50 points for claiming extra-terrestrial support or collaborators.
  101. 50 points for making un-evidenced statements that either don’t grasp or heavily exaggerate the timeline of other aspects of a given cultural group so as to distort their known contribution to world civilization.
  102. 50 points for changing the meaning of ancient Egyptian words while understanding the language but doing so with no support from others who can read the language.
  103. 50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.
  104. 75 points for suggesting or pretending that your dismissal of evidence causes such evidence to disappear from the physical world.
  105. 75 points that the evidence to support your theory will be found in the future – but for the present your ideas or theory should be accepted anyway.
  106. 100 points if your theory consists of trash talk against science and Egyptology while concentrating on what you perceived as their grievous errors and bias. In your mind they are so evil and inept that your own weak and un-evidenced idea must be accepted based solely on the presumed weaknesses of the orthodox position.

Unexplained-Myseries forum discussion: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/297664-may-i-suggest-a-project-for-the-board/?page=1