First and foremost, let me apologize, once again, for my tardiness in rendering a decision on this Debate. I'll spare everyone unnecessary detail (but may post on it in Rant later) and just say that it has been a crazy little over a week.
This is an interesting Debate insofar as I think Carleas set himself up with an inherent disadvantage. Pursuant to the Rules, Gaiaguerilla basically wins the Debate if he can show that:There is at least one extraordinary factor about the Starchild Skull (be it a technology more sophisticated than publically available, or a factor indicating that it could not have been a known species)
Any real number divided by itself.
Hit song by the band Creed.
You get the point.
Obviously, Gaiaguerrila does not actually have to prove
(Empirically speaking) that there is at least one extraordinary quality about the Starchild Skull, all he need do is convince me, as the sole Judge, that it is more likely than not.
Gaiaguerrila opened up by briefly explaining the history of the Starchild Skull, including the test results that it fits, "Nothing ever in the history of man," and then he states that the details of the skull are indicative of a natural, uniform growth. He then used the word, "Weirdness," which is definitely a good touch. He then stated that Dr. Pye is seeking funding for more research into the skull and does not necessarily want us to believe that there are aliens.***In sum, Gaiaguerrila's post mainly hinted at in-depth arguments to come, rather than making any detailed arguments. That's perfectly fine for an introduction, of course.
Carleas opens his introduction by stating that he will accept that the researchers are acting in good faith and that the skull is not some kind of hoax, but rather, is an actual skull of some organism. Carleas then states that there are any number of aberrations that have occurred throughout human history, and gives examples. Carleas also hints that he will be potentially advancing a detailed argument that hydrocephaly could be the cause of the skull.***In sum, Carleas' post, as well as Gaiaguerrila's opens with a very neutral and reasonable tone, and hints at arguments that will be made in a more in-depth way later.
In his second post, Gaiaguerrila provides some images of the fibers of the skull and asserts that no human being has ever exhibited such a thing microscopically. Gaiaguerrila also states, in more professional terms, that shit that should cut the fibers doesn't. Gaiaguerrila's picture states that scientists suggested a MALDI-TOF test to rule out fungal or bacterial contamination, but to this point we do not know whether or not such test was had. Gaiaguerrila then challenges Carleas to demonstrate evidence that any other human being in history has exhibited this same kind of knot.***Good post, could stand to have more original material, but the Gauntlet thrown down in the end was an excellent touch.
In his reply, Carleas brings us back down to Earth (no pun intended) by pointing out that the only things that have been extablished are that the fibers are in the skull, and a Dremel is ineffective at cutting them. Carleas, wisely checking Gaiaguerrila's link, points out that the link stated that the cutting blade did not sever the fibers, but not that the fibers actually cut the blade. Gaiaguerrila may have misphrased himself in the first post, though, and since this Debate amounts to what is, essentially, a yes/no proposition, there is no penalty to assess or sanction to be had for this (probably unintentional) misinformation.
Carleas points out that a dremel blade doesn't really cut fibers. I definitely would have liked some kind of citation, here, but I will do without for the time being.
There is no reason to re-list all of the possbilities Carleas threw out there to explain the presence of the fibers, but there were four of them. Carleas has indicated that genetic testing has found that the skull belonged to a male as it contained both an x and y chromosome, but a second inconclusive test was had, and Carleas accuses Dr. Pye of cherry-picking which test he wants. Carleas then poses a good question which is, "And what, before additional testing, is the degree of proof required to demonstrate that this skull is human, and the child of human parents?" That's a reasonable question, best two out of three, four out of seven?***Carleas' counter-arguments are both well-founded and surprisingly aggressive, particularly his pitch. I assumed that Carleas would not necessarily be attacking the subject, but mainly sticking to a strictly defensive gameplan, so this was a pleasant surprise. To this point, though, it should be mentioned that Carleas did not conclusively establish that any other human being in history has exhibited the same kind of knot.
Gaiaguerrila points out that the scientists did not, strictly speaking, cherry-pick the results of the genetic testing. No effort was made to conceal or minimize the undesirable results. Gaiaguerrila points out that the goal of further testing is to make an effort to further prove or disprove a claim.
Gaiaguerrila stated, "These skulls are carbon-dated to the same era, with reason to believe they were retrieved from the same location and underwent the same physical treatment." I would like to know what the reason is for believing they were retrieved from the same location and underwent the same physical treatment, with respect to being a Debate Judge, it is not my job to research anything other than that which is specifically cited. Gaiaguerrila then threw down another gauntlet with respect to Carleas' perceived inability to demonstrate another human being (or animal) with even ten more mtDNA nucleotides than the 17 more demonstrated by the Starchild Skull than any of the other human haplogroups ever recorded.***Gaiaguerrila throws down another strong gauntlet. I've been kind of grading this as I go along and will re-visit, but his gauntlets do tend to attempt to shift the burden of proof to Carleas, who is already at a considerable disadvantage given the nature of the Debate. Barring any objections, though, these Gauntlets are expected to be met.
Carleas re-asserts that the scientists are patently cherry-picking their results because two rounds of DNA testing squarely put the Skull in (human) haplogroup C. He states that SCP places emphasis on unpublished studies by an anonymous researcher that have not been peer-reviewed.
Carleas then suggests that the results are unreliable, and in somewhat defending the SCP, actually bolsters his point by pointing out that the SCP stated the findings, "Should not be considered thoroughly verified."
Carleas then points out that, even if the results are reliable, the tests identified the DNA as human and in Haplogroup C. Carleas states that even though mtDNA Mutations are rare, they do occur and produce physical abnormalities. Carleas also stated that the control skull was not the same in the mtDNA testing. Carleas ends by pointing out that Pye has only addressed 3/1023 possbile conditions that could explain the skull.***Carleas continues aggressively, successfully rebuts the majority of Gaiaguerrila's points, and throws down a gauntlet of his own.
Gaiaguerrila seems to agree that more genetic anomalies should ideally be tested for, but the funding has to be there for that to happen. Gaiaguerrila does state that nobody has successfully reproduced any of the symptoms he is introducing, as of yet.
Gaiaguerrila then points out that some sort of red residue was found in the cancellous holes that has not been present in any other recorded human skull in history. Gaiaguerrila defies Carleas to elaborate on how it got there and why it could be.***Gaiaguerrila throws down another strong gauntlet, but once again, he seems to be forgetting that it is he (and not Carleas) that must present an affirmative proof.
Carleas points out that the residue is granular, and while admitting they are new to science, Carleas states that the skull may react differently than others to cutting, hence the burning smell. Carleas also points out that the residue is not found throughout the skull, but could be shellac applied thickly to one part of the skull. The fact that the residue does not run through the entire skull points to a contamination rather than a further aberration.
Carleas then throws out the prospect of artificial cranial deformation.***Conjecture on the residue, but good conjecture.
Gaiaguerrila counters that artificial cranial deformation would not result in a greater interior volume than what is normally present in a skull. Hydrocephaly is cited by Gaiaguerrila as a more likely possibility, but he states that it doesn't explain the fact that the skull is harder, more durable and half as thick as a human skull. Gaiaguerrila also mentions the strange materials (which I assume is the residue, earlier discussed) but pursuant to Carleas' counter that the residue was only found in one specific area of the skull, the residue argument would seem to point more to contamination and is, therefore, uncompelling.***The interior cranial volume argument is the most compelling.
Carleas counters that making a skull more spherical would increase the skull's volume. Carleas then mathematically demonstrates that there is nothing terribly unusual about the capacity of the skull in the first place. He also points out that the assertion that the skull would make it to 1800cc had the individual to whom the skull belonged survived into adulthood is rather shaky.
Carleas then states that even if the skull is extraordinary, the postulation that the skull is alien is likely bullshit.***Carleas makes a great scientific counter with respect to the volume of the skull. Carleas also pitches that there is no reason to believe that, even if the skull is extraordinary, that it is alien. That may be true, but purusant to the Rules, the question is: Extraordinary Yes/No? Whether or not it is alien is irrelevant.
Gaiaguerrila correctly points out that he mentioned nothing of aliens.
The rest of the post is also devoted to whether or not the Skull is alien. As stated before, whether or not it is alien is entirely irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is extraordinary.***Largely irrelevant, but Carleas started it. I guess the only thing I would add is that nothing could truly ever eliminate the ET hypothesis in the minds of some people. There are many who think that ET's walk the Earth amongst us...as humans...so even if the skull is shown to actually be a human skull it won't matter to those people.
The conclusions were both fantastic. I'm not going to summarize them because I would certainly encourage anyone reading this judgment to read the conclusions, so I want to avoid the spoiler as much as possible.
Ultimately, though, I think that this entire Debate can be summarized in one sentence found in Gaiaguerrila's conclusion:
I don't believe that either of us have been able to delve deeply enough in order to be truly conclusive about the nature of this skull.
I believe that Gaiaguerrila is correct. It could also be argued that nobody has been able to delve deeply enough to be truly conclusive about the nature of this skull, at this point.
However, Gaiaguerrila did have to be truly conclusive about one thing to emerge victorious, that there was, "...at least one
extraordinary factor about the Starchild Skull."
Despite the fact that it initially would seem that Carleas pinned himself in an unwinnable situation due to the fact that he had to successfully counter ALL arguments that would indicate that there is at least one extraordinary factor about the Starchild Skull, it is Gaiaguerrila who set himself up in an inescapable corner in this Debate.
I want to make it very clear that my judgment is not merely that Gaiaguerrila did not
conclusively demonstrate that there was at least one extraordinary factor about the Starchild Skull, but that Gaiaguerrila could not
conclusively demonstrate said factor due to the lack of research.
As it turns out, Carleas effectively wins this Debate by default. However, to Carleas' credit, I will also say that he would have won just in terms of general persuasiveness of language, as well.
Both participants have convinced me that the research into the Starchild Skull definitely needs more funding...at least...depending on where the money is supposed to be coming from, but that's a different Debate for another time.
Great show, gentlemen. Cheers.