Science Confronts the Paranormal

By Kendrick Frazier | Go to book overview

31
American Disingenuous:
Goodman's 'American Genesis'—
A New Chapter in 'Cult' Archaeology

Kenneth L. Feder

Prepare to enter the world of anthropologist Jeffrey Goodman, Ph.D. We are about to examine his latest work, American Genesis, and are about to enter the "twilight zone" of psychic archaeology, bizarre interpretations, and misrepresentation of others' research.

" Scientist Stuns Anthropological World," read the headline of the Chicago Tribune article reprinted in my local newspaper, the Hartford Courant, on April 20, 1981. The piece concerned the "revolutionary" thesis proposed by Dr. Jeffrey Goodman that the crucible of human evolution was not located in Africa, as virtually all anthropologists and human paleontologists have claimed, but was, instead, in North America, specifically California.According to the article, Goodman went on to claim that human beings did not, as again virtually all archaeologists believe, enter the New World from the Old via the Bering land-bridge at a relatively recent geological date but, rather, appeared first in California at a very ancient date and populated the rest of the world from there. Thus all other human groups—Africans, Australians, Europeans, and Asians—can be traced to American Indian roots that were far more ancient than anyone had previously believed. According to the article, the scientific world was "stunned" by Goodman's hypotheses, and his ideas had "some anthropologists waving their shovels."

I must say that I was not "waving my shovel," nor was I the least bit stunned. I had run into Goodman before, albeit indirectly, when I was writing a highly critical, skeptical piece on "psychic archaeology" (Feder 1980). Goodman's previous book was, in fact, titled Psychic Archaeology: Time Machine to the Past ( 1977) (see Cole 1978b), and in it he discussed the use of "psychically" derived information in finding and interpreting the Flagstaff site, a major piece of evidence also used in American Genesis.*

____________________
*
The source of Goodman's Ph.D. is an interesting side issue. In Psychic Archaeology (p. 97), he mentions his master's degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona, one of the top schools in this field in the country. He further discusses his acceptance into

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