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Giantology: Thoughts on the Discipline and Methods
When an idea has its time, little can be done to stop it. So it’s safe to say that with all the research being done on giants, “gigantology” has become its own field of study. There are undoubtedly qualified researchers – academic and otherwise – who do great work in a multifaceted field that uses mythology, history, languages, archeology and anthropology. So there we have it: his own -ology, the study of giants.
However, the field is not without people with no experience or training in scientific processes, evidence, or logic. It is already a sensationalist field due to the nature of its subject matter, but there seems to be a tendency to sensationalize the topics of giants, which only serves to sampalize gigantology. So there are right ways to do it, and wrong ways.
There are all kinds of qualifications that can be associated with the discipline. “Biblical” is usually the first thing that comes to mind, because of the traditions of the Old Testament giants in the text. “World-” or “Mythological-” are others, and tend to focus on the ethnological breadth of traditions around the world across space and time (Giganthropology, if you will). “Historical” is another, based on documented accounts of giants in the ancient and modern world. As part of the giantology family, for material evidence archaeogiantology would be the recovery of physical remains and artifacts of giants.
Species also need proper taxonomy, if giants are to be placed within the framework of faunal biology. In the most nominal and general terms, we are dealing with hominids of gigantic stature. Hence the scientific name Homo colossicus (“giant man”) or the more immediately recognizable Homo gigantis (man of the giants) might suffice. Tribal divisions as indicated in the Bible would not have much to do with taxonomy, but geography. So the oldest giants might be Homo gigantis antediluvensis, or the giants from the Holy Land might be Homo gigantis levantinus, or the North American giants that show physiological uniqueness might be Homo gigantis americanus, and so on. However, there is the question of satisfying the supernatural pedigree of the giants in the taxonomic designation. In this scenario, Homo titanus (titanic man), addresses both supernatural origins (since Josephus equates the Nephilim with the Greek Titans) and satisfies the taxonomic criteria without being too ostentatious.
Gigantic research basically runs along one of three axes, or a combination of them. First, mythological/oral tradition/anthropological evidence comes to us from the mythological traditions of cultures around the world. Second, the historical evidence for giants lies in written records preserved by ancient, medieval, and modern writers. Finally, the material axis calls on archeology and paleontology to recover the physical remains of giants and the artifacts and features they left in their wake. As a general rule, in the order I have outlined, the evidence becomes more sparse. Genetics, epigenetics, physics, geology and biochemistry also have the potential to provide new knowledge.
Research ethics should also be a high priority for any giant researcher. A thorough scientific methodology must be applied to each project. Any original research in the form of journal articles and books must take the sources into account. This practice is responsible and allows others to follow and corroborate or modify the work of scholars. There are a large number of posts on the topic of giants without footnote citations (too many in my opinion). If you want to be able to present a case to the world, the research must be presented in the language of science, ethically and responsibly. The dissemination of the results of research projects must take this ethics into account and must be timely. Most journals will probably be reluctant to publish, meaning that other places and even the original peer-reviewed journals dealing with giants should eventually materialize through the efforts of the (much needed) academic societies and professional organizations that study giants.
The above statements are anything but a summary of the field of xiantology. It is changing daily. There are many other issues to be fleshed out, but for now, here are the rudiments of a gigantic discipline, each of them taken into account.
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