Laird Scranton wants to have a conversation

He has made an appearance in my thread ridiculing his superficial approach to history, and has invited me to join in his facebook discussion of the same. Unfortunately, he’s picked the worst time — I’m in Minneapolis, and will be flying off to Korea in the morning.

So far, he hasn’t managed to justify building elaborate and bizarre histories based on the similar sounds of words in Egyptian, Dogon, and Faroese, so I don’t see much point anyway. But you might find the rationalizations of his friends entertaining.


  1. numerobis says

    That conversation is so full of bullshit, it’s a truly awesome sight!

    Seriously, saying that it’s proof of contact that various cultures built circular rooms with a fire in the middle? Assuming that people in the Orkneys in 3200 BCE spoke Faroese (the language of islands settled 4000 years later)? It’s gold!

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Safe and enjoyable trip PZ.

    I’ll ignore Scranton’s invite. It can only go downhill from his posts here.

  3. unclefrogy says

    I am not by any means an anthropologist I have read a little of it however. So when I hear stories like his I am at some what a loose I do not know enough to say anything other than he tells a good story. Which Is all important for the true believers that is why I am greatfull to read about this kind of stu.ff hear because there are always people hear wit.h enough knowledge on the subject to point out the errors. Thanks so much
    uncle frogy.

  4. redwood says

    Okay, as a linguist, I find the similarities in writing style between “lairdscranton” and “freeman500” enough to declare the latter a sockpuppet of the former. Evidence? Well, they both used similar words in similar ways. Isn’t that enough?

  5. says

    Went to Scranton’s FB page and perused his “likes.”

    It’s a fucking case study in Crank Magnetism. Vedic Astrology, Art Bell, UFOlogy, Free Energy, Atlantis, Tesla hype, Bible codes, crystal healing, psychic mediums, and the cherry on top of this steaming pile: anti-fluoridation.

  6. jacksprocket says

    Back in 1864 the Rev Isaac Taylor, Canon of York, published a fascinating book about place names, “Words and Places”. Much of it was sound, but it was very much a product of the beliefs of the times, attributing for example the innocent English town of Hitchen, and the Roman Road called Icknield Street, to the ancient Celtic tribe, the Iceni. Now well discredited, no harm done. One of his most entertaining speculations concerned the little Cornish town of Marazion, near Penzance. It just so happened that the town had an alternative name- Market Jew. Isaac was in with both feet- Zion and Jews in the same placename! And he spun a wonderful etymology involving the Casseritides, Phoenician sailors and Jewish merchants.

    Sadly, more sober scholarship- I’m not accusing Canon Taylor of partaking of stimulants- finds Marazion an Anglicisation of the Cornish for “little market” – compared presumably to the big one at Penzance- and Market Jew similarly derived from Cornish for “Thursday market”- Penzance market was on a Wednesday.

    The Canon himself warns of folk etymology in a passage deriding the derivation of Lambeth (the Bishop of London’s palace) as from the Tibetan “lama”, a priest, and the Hebrew “beth”, a house- hence the Priest’s House.

    Don’t let the braw Laird o’ Scranton see this, or he’ll connect Padstow’s somewhat (?) controversial Darkie Day with the Dogon.

  7. says

    I am still baffled at the connection made between Pharaohs and the Faroe Islands in the talk you covered. This may be because I am Scandinavian and thus know that the English name is a bit misleading. The “oe” part is an Anglicisation of either “ø” (Danish) or “oy” (old Faroese), which just means “island”. So, they’re just the Fär/Fær Islands here.

    Wait, Fär sounds like Fair and there are folks on the Faroe islands… They must be the islands of the Fair Folk! This explains everything!

  8. says

    If there were just one thing I’d want Scranton to explain, it’s how he justifies that equation of “Faroes” with “pharaohs”. It’s emblematic of the whole problem with his bizarre approach to history.

  9. Alverant says

    Safe travels!

    I think the timing of this “conversation” was planned so you couldn’t attend. That way he could say you ran away.

  10. jrkrideau says

    Thank you P Z.
    I had not seen the earlier post and sitting here on a quiet Saturday morning it really made my day.

    I certainly have learned a great deal about linguistics.

    However Scranton seems a bit geographically challenged. I’m pretty sure that the Faroe Islands are not part of the United Kingdom and Skara Brae was when I was there.

  11. themadtapper says

    I was recently hanging out with a friend who had been playing an old 8-bit Three Kingdoms based RPG called Destiny of an Emperor, and we had a bit of a chuckle over the fact that one of the three emperors of that period was named Cao Pi, which over here sounds roughly like “cow pee”. Clearly this is evidence that China was settled by ancient proto-Brits and Chinese is actually a distant cousin to modern English. Cao Pi’s name must have actually been given to him by his rivals as an insult. How’s my use of the Scrantontific Method?

  12. rietpluim says

    The whole story reminds me of the Oera Linda Book. Allegedly, the Frisians once inhabited all Europe and parts of surrounding countries. One can prove anything with enough imagination.