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Episode Notes for

Kenneth Feder

The Cardiff Giant, one of the most celebrated hoaxes in American history, on display at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
(Photo by John and Keturah. Used under a Creative Commons license.)

There were Giants in the earth
in those days… —Genesis 6:1

Giants appear in cultures around the world: Biblical tales of giants more than ten feet tall; Roman and Greek stories of titans and heroes; European stories of giants of mountain and hill. They all have one thing in common: enormous monsters.

On this episode of MonsterTalk we chat with archeologist Dr. Ken Feder about giants, biblical archeology — and one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.

In this episode

  • The bible has stories of races of giants (but also people who lived to be several hundred years old!); Is there any reason to think that people who lived in ancient times were any larger than modern man?
  • Are humans generally growing shorter or taller over milliennia?
  • Why do ancient cultures postulate giants?
  • What evidence would we expect to see if such creatures existed?
  • From a physiological point of view, what are the advantages and detriments to gigantism?
  • Gigantism often is implicit in the term “monster,” — almost all monsters are large (Bigfoot, Nessie, etc.) — you don’t really hear about many “monsters” that are only a few feet tall; what do you see as the link between gigantism and monsters?
  • One of the most famous hoaxes in American history is The Cardiff Giant. Can you give us an overview of that?
  • Were most scientists fooled by the giant?
  • Why were so many people treating the Biblical giant-tales as literal truth?
  • Are there other examples where people have misinterpreted archeological data to infer that it implied Giants?
  • Does giant architecture imply giant builders?

Interesting links

A site that seems to promote credulous acceptance of retouched photographic evidence.


Episode Transcript

Read a complete transcript of this episode.

The views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine.

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