Few pseudo scientific ideas have captured the imagination like ancient astronaut “theory”. The idea has become almost it’s own religion as it often uses religious myth as a source of so-called evidence. Assisting its popularity is a host of documentaries including a series called Ancient Aliens specifically dedicated to the ancient alien hypothesis (hereby referred to as AAH).
In this thread I hope to dissect the first episode of the History Channel show Ancient Aliens in an effort to more or less debunk the claims presented. My hope is that this attempt will further discussion and get those who believe in AAH to take a closer look at what they believe and why and what they are prepared to call evidence. I hope that everyone will take the time to watch the video either before or during reading. I am going to describe much of what is talked about in the video in an attempt to make viewing it non-essential however.
This is gonna be a long one folks.
After the intro they begin by introducing Erik Von Daniken, author of Chariot of the Gods. He talks about the inception of AAH and how he scoured religious texts from all over the world. Daniken than says that no matter where you go the story is always the same. God’s descended from the heavens. The problem is that not all mythologies involve the gods descending from the Heavens. Daniken is taking the myths out of context. And often times gods that do descend do so because they are lightning, sun or moon gods that would naturally be associated with the sky.
It is no doubt that many gods do indeed dwell in the heavens. It is also true that many gods aren’t associated with heaven at all. There are underworld gods, sea gods, wind gods, Earth gods, etc. To suggest that the story is always the same Daniken must ignore VAST quantities of mythology and choose only bits and pieces to accept as accurate. He must then rob those of their mythical context and impose aliens upon them to see if they “fit”.
Daniken admits that he starts with the presupposition of aliens AND THEN looks for proof. This generally isn’t the way science works. Usually you want to collect evidence before coming to a conclusion, not come to a conclusion and then procure the necessary evidence. This section is also filled with lot’s of appeals to the popularity of Daniken’s book. This is a logical fallacy. It’s popularity has no correlation to whether or not it’s true.
At 8:29 George Noory is right when he says that people want answers to these ancient mysteries. It’s perfectly understandable for people to want answers. But using aliens to explain away mysteries is just an argument from ignorance, it doesn’t get us any closer to the truth.
Planting ideas, the insinuation that the Nazca lines “look like airstrips”. Considering that many of them are pictographs I fail to see how its possible for them to be airstrips. But of course he’s likely referring to the rectangular ones. Why exactly would the aliens land their high-tech interstellar craft on some lines in the dirt? More insinuations soon follow about how it’s an airport despite showing images of the so-called “Airstrips” crisscrossing in ways that would undoubtedly cause collisions or confusion of any aircraft attempting to land. They are sure to label the more down-to-Earth explanations as “disputed” while doing no such thing for the airstrip idea.
Dave Childress keeps stressing “WHAT IS THE REASON.” But he apparently refuses to leave the mystery. Yes the Nazca lines are a mystery but that doesn’t mean we insert aliens into that gap in our knowledge.
The next book we go to is Enoch. Daniken is allowed to assert without challenge that the ANGELS described by Enoch were aliens. He calls Enoch an “eye witness” as if that lends the story credibility as an actual event. People see wild things all the time, eye witness reports do not count as evidence. Of course in this case we’re not just dealing with an eye-witness, we’re dealing with a religious text filled with all sorts of fanciful material such as angels interbreeding with humans to create a race of giants. This is mythology being read as fact and then aliens being added to it for no reason.
Our next two speakers are both skeptics, one a Biblical archeologist, one a Professor of Spirituality studies. They point out several good flaws in AAH interpretation of Ezekiel. They are offered only about a minute of time to voice their opinions before we return to the believers. Giorgio Tsoukalos then asserts that religious stories might be “true after all”. What he actually means is the opposite. He’s not proposing that these myths are to be taken in their original context or even LITERALLY, he suggesting they be reinterpreted out of context to uphold AAH. He reinforces this only with the assertion that because writing was rare people would write down things that actually happened to them.
They open this section with an image that should instantly cast doubt on the claim that Vimana’s are UFOs. Notice anything from the photo above? How about the horses and elephants and chariots? Does this look like a depiction of a UFO war in the sky? Or does it look like a fanciful mythological tale being retold in artwork? A man then makes some claims about how being made of metal, appearing in two places at one and having a motion similar to a butterfly is CONSISTENT with modern UFO reports. Flight pattern of a butterfly? Well two out of three ain’t bad.
David Childress returns at around 29:00 comparing the descriptions of flying machines in Indian mythology to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Funny, I thought he was in favor of AAH not against it. Come to think of it why can’t these descriptions simply be a case of science fiction from ancient times? They follow this up with Giorgio making a few appeals to popularity by pointing out repeatedly that these stories are widely accepted in India. Of course he quotes no pole or statistic and shows no evidence of any kind to reinforce this assertion.
Artifacts and Cave Paintings
Ready for some more desperate attempts to reinterpret things and steal them out of any historical or archeological context? Check out this photo that is apparently flashed up on screen as some kind of physical evidence of aliens.
Notice anything about the headdress in the center? Looks like it’s made to appear animal to me. Why are they showing this? Do they think that seriously resembles a space helmet? This image betrays the issue with the vast majority of supposed “astronaut” figurines and paintings. Headdresses were common in tribal times, helmets aren’t a new technology.
While the photo above is up George Noory plants the idea of astronauts in the audience’s head never leaving room for it to be anything else. A helmet, a headdress, a halo, the depiction of someone’s head being on fire. The list of plausible possibilities would stretch for miles before aliens would be an option without some other evidence aside from a drawing. What will people who come across superman comic books in 10,000 years say about us, will they claim we could only draw superman because he was real and we must’ve seen him?
The quite obviously tribal headdress above is labeled as “eerily similar to a modern astronaut”. In what world are these people living in? This thing looks nothing like an astronaut. If it is anything out of the ordinary it looks more like a diving helmet (and even that is WAY pushing it).
This has become an iconic artifact amongst AAH proponents. If this is a plane as they suggest where are the engines? Where’s the cockpit? Why are there clearly two EYES? And why exactly does ancient foreknowledge of the plane logically lead one to ALIENS? We humans invented the plane, not aliens, why would we credit them with this artifact? A civilization capable of crossing interstellar space wouldn’t likely have need for such things and according to AAH proponents themselves ancient mythical accounts describe flying saucers NOT airplanes.
“The widely accepted interpretation of the sarcophagus lid is that Pakal is descending into Xibalba, the Maya underworld. Around the edges of the lid are glyphs representing the Sun, the Moon, Venus, and various constellations, locating this event in the nighttime sky. Below him is the Maya water god, who guards the underworld . Beneath Pakal are the “unfolded” jaws of a dragon or serpent, which Pakal is escaping from, ascending towards the world tree. This is a common iconographic representation of the entrance to the underworld”
Piri Reis Map
Mechanisms, Math and Electricity
The Baghdad Battery is up next. This, as per usual, has zero to do with aliens. It’s an interesting discovery if indeed it is intended as a battery but it’s clearly an ancient homegrown design, not something imparted from beyond the stars. Honestly how any of this manages to convince anyone of aliens astounds me. Is there a reason the ancients couldn’t have developed this on their own?
Eventually a skeptic comes up and says what all critical thinkers are probably screaming at their TVs “we shouldn’t think of the ancient people as dummies!” The narrator soon asks the audience why the ancients were so obsessed with the sky? Well put yourself in their shoes for half a second, strip away all knowledge you have of astronomy. If you were entirely ignorant of what you were looking up at you would marvel at it too. Hell people still marvel at the beauty of the sky today, amateur astronomy is a fairly popular hobby and we know what we’re looking at better than the ancients did.