- uploaded: Jan 4, 2009
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Pye\'s ideas have been subject to criticism by the scientific skepticism movement, generally citing a lack of any compelling evidence for the grander claims, and the dubious status of the smaller. One example is the unusual skull mentioned above, which Pye proposes is the product of a human/alien crossbreeding program. Steven Novella of the New England Skeptical Society suggested in 1999 that the odd shape is caused by congenital hydrocephalus, a comparatively common affliction rarely noticed in developed countries due to its ease of treatment. Pye counters that 900 years ago, when the Starchild was born, congenital hydrocephalus would very likely have caused death long before its teeth had a chance to erupt and then be heavily worn by use.
Novella points out that if a child suffered from untreated hydrocephalus until age four or five, their skull would display distortions in almost every feature. All of the proper bones, prominences, holes, and sutures would be present, as they are in the Starchild skull (except for its missing inion on the occipital), but they would be deformed and displaced, as they are in the Starchild skull. Some cases of hydrocephalus can build up over time, so a child with this disorder could survive several years, and if untreated (today hydrocephalus is treatable with surgery to drain the fluid) would probably die at several years of age. However, hydrocephalus would not thin the bone as uniformly as the Starchild\'s has been thinned throughout its cranium, nor would it produce the high level of symmetry that the Starchild displays. The resulting large bulbous head would be vaguely reminiscent of the typical image of a gray alien.
The concept of (proto) humans interbreeding with aliens has itself been brought into question. All life on earth is remarkably closely related on a molecular biological scale - as demonstrated by the universal role of DNA, RNA, translation, and the genetic code. Although DNA and proteins could be supposed to be prerequisites for any form of complex organic life, the arbitrary nature of the genetic code suggests, but in no way proves, that completely independently evolved alien life would have an entirely different code. Hence, alien \"genes\" might not be compatible with the human protein expression apparatus, in which case cross breeding could not occur. However, the possibility of in vitro conception between different species remains a possibility. On this subject, Carl Sagan has remarked that during a normal sexual encounter \"humans are more likely to interbreed with a petunia\" than an alien species.