Invented Knowledge

Invented Knowledge:
False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-Religions

By Ronald H. Fritze

Published in hardcover on May 15, 2009, by Reaktion Books
Published in paperback on March 15, 2011, by Reaktion Books


1. Define pseudoscience and pseudohistory.

2. What is the ‘cultic milieu’ and how does it contribute to the survival and spread of pseudohistory and pseudoscience?

3. What are the scholarly definitions of myth and legend?

4. Describe the flawed methodologies of pseudoscholars.

5. How are hypotheses and theory defined? How are they distinct from each other?

Chapter 1:
Atlantis:  Mother of Pseudohistory

1. How is the Thera eruption related to the Atlantis story?

2. Describe the context of Plato and his tale of Atlantis. How does he depict Atlantis?

3. What is the history of the Atlantis story from the time of Plato to the nineteenth century?

4. Who was Ignatius Donnelly and what was his contribution to Atlantology?

5. How has Atlantis been used by various spiritualists and occultists like Madame Blavatsky and Edgar Cayce?

6. What has been the place of Atlantis in popular culture? What is its place in contemporary society?

Terms | definition and significance

  • Lemuria
  • Alexander Winchell
  • Theosophy
  • Rudolf Steiner
  • Rosicrucians
  • Akashic Records
  • JZ Knight
  • Robert Sarmast
  • H. P. Lovecraft

Chapter 2:
Who’s on First?  The Pseudohistory
of the Discovery and Settlement of Ancient America

1. Describe the controversy over the discovery of Kennewick Man including its political, academic, religious, and pseudohistorical aspects.

2. What is the Clovis First Theory?

3. What is the history of theories of people discovering the Americas before Columbus? Why are people motivated to argue that Columbus was not the first, or at least the significant, discoverer of the Americas? What evidence do they produce to back up their ideas? Are there problems with this evidence?

4. What are the various theories about the peopling of the America? Why did people promote these theories about who settled the Americas before Columbus? What evidence do they produce to back up their ideas? Are there problems with this evidence?

5. What is the thesis of the book 1421? What evidence does Gavin Menzies present to support his thesis? What do mainstream scholars have to say about Menzies’ thesis and evidence? Describe how 1421 came to be published.

Terms | definition and significance

  • Unknown Pilot
  • Prince Madoc
  • Kensington Runestone
  • Abubakari
  • Harold Gladwin
  • Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes
  • Carthaginian hypotheses
  • Paraida Stone
  • Ophir
  • Ten Lost Tribes/Hebrew Origins hypotheses
  • James Adair
  • Hindu Origins hypotheses
  • Jose de Acosta

Chapter 3:
Mudpeople, Satan’s Spawn, and Christian Identity

1. What are Christian Identity’s three distinct beliefs concerning human origins?

2. Describe British-Israelism. What ideas does it share with Christian Identity and in what ways is it different from Christian Identity?

3. By what processes did British Israelism evolve from a philo-semitic movement into the anti-semitic Christian Identity?

4. What is pre-Adamism and what role does it play in the development of Christian Identity?

5. Define the concept of the ‘Seedline of Satan’ and explain how it contributed to the racist worldview of Christian Identity.

6. What is the role of apocalypse in the belief system of Christian Identity?

Terms | definition and significance

  • Cosmogony
  • Gordon Kahl
  • Richard Brothers
  • John Wilson
  • Edward Hine
  • Joseph Wild
  • Charles Adiel Lewis Totten
  • Philo-semiticism
  • Howard R. Rand
  • William J. Cameron
  • Isaac Le Peyerère
  • Monogenesis
  • Poly genesis
  • Nachash
  • ZOG
  • The Order
  • Phineas Priesthood

Chapter 4:
Mad Scientists, White Devils, and the Nation of Islam

1. Describe the context of the birth of the Nation of Islam in terms of the Great Migration, Social Darwinism, Marcus Garvey, and the Moorish Science Temple of America.

2. What were the backgrounds of Elijah Poole and Wallace Fard? What role did each play in the origin of the Nation of Islam?

3. What are the basic doctrines of the Nation of Islam?

4. What happened to Wallace Fard and how did Elijah (Poole) Muhammad become the leader of the Nation of Islam?

5. How did the Nation of Islam transform itself after World War II?

Terms | definition and significance

  • Universal Negro Improvement Association
  • Noble Drew Ali
  • Yacub
  • Mother Plane
  • Malcolm X
  • Zebra Killings
  • Louis Farrakhan

Chapter 5:
Pseudohistoria Epidemica
or Pseudohistorians in Collusion

1. What are the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky and what sort of evidence did he provide to support his ideas?

2. How did the scholarly and scientific community react to Velikovsky’s ideas and how was their reaction counter-productive?

3. How have new developments and discoveries in science and archaeology served to undermine Velikovsky’s theory?

4. What are the principle ideas of Charles H. Hapgood and what evidence does he use to proof his ideas? What are the problems with his evidence?

5. What are the ideas of Erik von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin? What ideas to they share and how are they different? What are the problems with their evidence?

6. Describe the pseudohistorical ideas of Graham Hancock. What evidence and ideas does he share with other pseudo-scholars?

Terms | definition and significance

  • Heaven’s Gate
  • Catastrophism
  • Uniformitarianism
  • Piri Reis Map
  • Hugh Auchincloss Brown
  • Ufology
  • George Adamski
  • Nephilim
  • Robert Schoch

Chapter 6:
Professors Gone Wild:
The Black Athena Controversy

1. What are the claims that Martin Bernal makes in his Black Athena books? What is his evidence?

2. How did mainstream scholars react to Bernal’s ideas? Who opposed his ideas and who supported his ideas?

3. What was the controversy over the title Black Athena?

4. What is competitive plausibility?

5. What are Bernal’s beliefs about ancient history and racism?

6. How does Bernal interact with Afrocentrist scholars?

7. Why did mainstream scholars not succeed in completely refuting Martin Bernal’s interpretation of ancient history?

Terms | definition and significance

  • Ancient Model
  • Aryan Model
  • Leonard Jeffries
  • Mary Lefkowitz

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