The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


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.

Support MonsterTalk

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


Get eSkeptic

Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox twice a week. It’s free. We never share your address. Unsubscribe any time.

Sign me up!

Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

Copyright © 1992–2022. All rights reserved. | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.