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tpgonetosea
02-14-2010, 09:11 PM
has anyone read 'chariots of the gods?' it was written in the early 70's regarding evidence for the theory that aliens have been influencing our planet and evolution since the start of civilisation. I wonder if any serious thought/research has been carried out in the 40 or so years since to test these theories.

Lumpy
02-14-2010, 09:23 PM
It took serious thought and research maybe a year to disprove his claims. A lot of the things Von Daniken cited were taken badly out of context to make them seem more mysterious than they really are. Similar to the creationist school of archeology.

I confess though that when I was a teen in the '70s and into UFOs, Bigfoot, Atlantis, etc., I thought it was the most marvelous stuff I'd ever heard of.

EdwardLost
02-14-2010, 10:14 PM
I confess though that when I was a teen in the '70s and into UFOs, Bigfoot, Atlantis, etc., I thought it was the most marvelous stuff I'd ever heard of.

Me, too - I ate up that crap.

I remember some TV show discussing the "Mayan Astronaut" relief, showing how pieces of the space ship were just various common Mayan symbols. I've seen some other analyses of Von Daniken's claims but I don't remember the details. But, of course, no matter how many details he exaggerated or got wrong, there could still have been ancient astronauts; you can't disprove that.

hajario
02-14-2010, 10:17 PM
I loved his books as a young teen. When I was an older teen I realized how full of shit he was. There really wasn't anything to test in his theories. He was the one who had to prove his case and he failed badly.

Tapioca Dextrin
02-14-2010, 10:18 PM
My favourite von Daniken ancedote is about the Moai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moai) of Easter Island. In Chariots states that it was impossible for the non Caucasian inhabitants of Easter Island to carve such large statues. In 1986, Thor Heyedhal went there and said "Hey guys, can you carve me a giant head?". It took the natives three days. Actually, a lot of von Daniken's claims focus on the idea that non-whites are not capable of doing anything remotely clever.

Exapno Mapcase
02-14-2010, 10:50 PM
It took serious thought and research maybe a year to disprove his claims.

If you replace "year" with "thirty seconds" you'd be closer to the facts.

There's always a bestselling nutcase who dazzles the masses with nonsense that has scientists tearing out their hair. Before van Daniken was Velikovsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Velikovsky). Now we have the "world is doomed in 2012" morons. They're cockroaches of the anti-intellectual world. They will be the only things alive after the sun blows up into a red star in five billion years. Except for the morons who keep buying their books. We never seem to run out of them either.

Horatio Hellpop
02-14-2010, 10:58 PM
An episode of Nova, circa 1978, debunked numerous points Von Daniken had made. A huge Mayan field glyph, implied in the book to be several acres in size, was revealed to be about 7 feet in diameter, for instance. There just wasn't anything there.

LiveOnAPlane
02-14-2010, 11:21 PM
Yep, I read it soon after it came out, around 1969 or so. We didn't have the internet back then and it was a little harder to do basic fact checking, but even so, his claims set off my bullshit meter.

I did have several friends who ate it up, though. One or two truly believed he was talking about the real deal.

Clothahump
02-14-2010, 11:31 PM
Count me as another one who found his stuff fascinating. Full of shit, but he most assuredly fired off the "what if" speculator part of my brain.

GIGObuster
02-14-2010, 11:35 PM
I loved his books as a young teen. When I was an older teen I realized how full of shit he was. There really wasn't anything to test in his theories. He was the one who had to prove his case and he failed badly.

Whoa, you too?

That was one of the reasons I became an skeptic already in my teens. I read a lot of Occultism and Parapsychology stuff only to find later what frauds those writers were. Like Lobsang Rampa (of "The third eye" fame).

http://www.skepdic.com/vondanik.html
We have no reason to believe our ancient ancestors' memories were so much worse than our own that they could not remember these alien visitations well enough to preserve an accurate account of them. There is little evidence to support the notion that ancient myths and religious stories are the distorted and imperfect recollection of ancient astronauts recorded by ancient priests. The evidence to the contrary--that prehistoric or 'primitive' peoples were (and are) quite intelligent and resourceful--is overwhelming.

Of course, it is possible that visitors from outer space did land on earth a few thousand years ago and communicate with our ancestors. But it seems more likely that prehistoric peoples themselves were responsible for their own art, technology and culture. Why concoct such an explanation as von Däniken's? To do so may increase the mystery and romance of one's theory, but it also makes it less reasonable, especially when one's theory seems inconsistent with what we already know about the world. And why restrict one's examples to Egypt, Mexico, and other non-European countries? What about the builders of Newgrange or Stonehenge? The ancient astronaut hypothesis is unnecessary. Occam's razor should be applied and the hypothesis rejected.

http://www.skepdic.com/rampa.html

tpgonetosea
02-15-2010, 06:09 AM
There's quite a bit of smugness is these answers. As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away. In fact if we believe the gathering evidence of the existence of super intelligent extra terrestrials then it seems to me to be quite a sensible theory. You can't just brush things like nazca under the carpet.

Superfluous Parentheses
02-15-2010, 06:35 AM
There's quite a bit of smugness is these answers. As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away. In fact if we believe the gathering evidence of the existence of super intelligent extra terrestrials then it seems to me to be quite a sensible theory. You can't just brush things like nazca under the carpet.

What evidence are you talking about? And nobody's claiming the nazca lines aren't real.

GuanoLad
02-15-2010, 06:58 AM
You can't just brush things like nazca under the carpet.If you want to talk to the Gods, leave your messages where they'll see them.

Exapno Mapcase
02-15-2010, 07:04 AM
There's quite a bit of smugness is these answers. As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away. In fact if we believe the gathering evidence of the existence of super intelligent extra terrestrials then it seems to me to be quite a sensible theory. You can't just brush things like nazca under the carpet.

Why should we? Nazca lines are real. We have evidence for them. We have zero evidence for aliens. Not one alien artifact has ever appeared in all history. None. If aliens did visit us isn't that far more remarkable?

List the things in the book that you think can't be explained away. And please also tell us why you think they can't be explained away with reference to the archaeological literature that has developed since van Daniken, which surely you're read extensively if you're going to make these claims.

jjimm
02-15-2010, 07:09 AM
Smug? Actually what you're reading is when something is clearly so bogus that it doesn't warrant anything else.In fact if we believe the gathering evidence of the existence of super intelligent extra terrestrials then it seems to me to be quite a sensible theory.There's a wee flaw in your argument, that I've highlighted for you.

I've read Chariots of the Gods, and found it to be a complete crock based on misinterpreting "evidence" (I reserve judgement as to whether it's wilful or not) and utterly underestimating human beings from different eras and ethnicities.

ianzin
02-15-2010, 07:10 AM
I've read 'Chriots of the Gods' and the numerous other books that Erich von Daniken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Von_Daniken) wrote in similar vein.

I think it's hard to accurately characterise these books. The 'ancient astronaut' theory doesn't stand up to scrutiny and is not based on any hard evidence or good science. Von Daniken makes many mistakes and errors in his books, and is from time to time guilty of hyperbole, and of dressing up speculation as if it were something more than that.

However, I think it would be wrong to characterise him as some sort of crafty con artist who knowingly peddled nonsense for profit. I haven't met him personally, but I know people who have, and I've seen numerous interviews with him. I think when he started out, he was an adventurous character with a genuine feel for the wonder and the romance of ancient history and archeology. He came across some cave drawings, saw some symbols, read some old texts and realised that all these things could be consistent with an 'ancient astronaut' theory, whether or not that theory had any factual basis.

He wrote the first book, and it became a publishing phenomenon. When that happens, publishers start begging for a follow-up and offering large sums of money. So von Daniken duly obliged, and served up several more books, each a little thinner and less well-founded than its predecessor. If put in the same position, you or I would proably succumb to the same temptation.

I think he had, and still has, a genuine sense of wonder, romance and mystery. His first book was closer to an unfinished draft for a science-fantasy novel than a serious piece of non-fiction. He was probably as surprised as anyone that his speculative musings spread like wildfire and took him to the top of the best-seller lists. But it happened, and he was happy to ride that train as long as it lasted.

When interviewed today, he admits that he got lots of things wrong, but in many cases (he says) he was simply relying on sources that seemed reputable and weren't so easy to check back in the 60s and 70s. It's also true that he's sometimes guilty of cultural bias and even what might be termed anthropological prejudice. Then again, we've all had our consciousness raised a lot since the 60s.

I don't think von Daniken ever took the arrogant stance that his theories were definitely right, or that they could be proved (and we must not confuse the sins of his publicists and blurb writers with his own faults and failings). I think his stance was more poetical and wistful. He was saying 'I believe this is plausible, and wouldn't it be amazing if it were true...?'. In that very narrow sense, I agree with him. It would be amazing. It just happens to be the case that there's no good evidence or good reason to believe the 'ancient astronaut' theory has any factual basis.

I also think he did us all a good term by publicising some amazing ancient artefacts that provide a good study in pareidolia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia). When you look at something like this (http://www.horizonarts.com/pacaltomb.htm) and are told it's an astronaut in the reclined position inside some sort of space rocket, you can certainly see it that way if you want to.

Mangetout
02-15-2010, 07:21 AM
There's quite a bit of smugness is these answers. As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away.Pick an example you find particularly compelling, and post it here - let's examine it in detail.

No point in folks here trying to show how various bits and pieces are incorrect, as they might not be the bits you think are significant.

Smeghead
02-15-2010, 07:22 AM
As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away.

You tell us what you think can't be explained, and we'll have a go.

In fact if we believe the gathering evidence of the existence of super intelligent extra terrestrials then it seems to me to be quite a sensible theory.

So if we believe him, he seems to make sense? Brilliant!

Exapno Mapcase
02-15-2010, 07:29 AM
When interviewed today, he admits that he got lots of things wrong, but in many cases (he says) he was simply relying on sources that seemed reputable and weren't so easy to check back in the 60s and 70s.

And yet every single mainstream scientist found these things trivially easy to check and denounced him instantly.

I wonder why. You don't think there's the slightest possibility that he didn't
bother to check anything himself? Because then he wouldn't have a book?

FriarTed
02-15-2010, 07:32 AM
Erich Van Daniken wasn't the first or the best writer on the ancient astronauts subject. Heck, "Kooks" researcher Diane Kossky makes a good case that Helena Blavatsky pioneered the theory. BUT he did catapult it into the popular consciousness. I was into his stuff from fifth grade into junior high, at which time I became a committed Christian & traded up in my preferred mythologies. *G* (Although, of course, we know that God hates it when you call it mythology.)

Long story short- Von Daniken shows a lot of fascinating things & asks lots of great questions about them. However, there are lots of documented logical answers to these questions & none of them depend on space aliens arriving in ancient times.

capybara
02-15-2010, 07:34 AM
In art historical terms, his evidence is rubbish-- I've seen some threads over at JREF boards with some reproductions posted and at least for the European art he cites it's gibberish ("uh... in color reproductions it's obvious that the UFO there is a cloud. . ."), with the possible exceptions of some of the 16th-c German broadsheet reports of apparitions in the sky, but when you take those in context it's hardly evidence of anything.

Floater
02-15-2010, 09:24 AM
There's always a bestselling nutcase who dazzles the masses with nonsense that has scientists tearing out their hair.
Not really. Someone, I think it was Asimov, once said that scientists just couldn't be bothered with crackpots such as Däniken and Velikovsky, much less tearing out their hair.

Tapioca Dextrin
02-15-2010, 09:59 AM
You can't just brush things like nazca under the carpet.

Who's sweeping what under the carpet? The Nazca lines have been studied by archaeologists for 70 years. A lot of the straight lines have small holes at either end, and some of these holes have bits of wood still in them. Pieces of textile up to 100 yards long have been found. Is your idea that space aliens from the planet Zog flew millions of light years to visit planet earth and left us a straight line that they had to draw using a couple of sticks and a ball of string?

Voyager
02-15-2010, 12:19 PM
Here is a book (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/books/x/x8477.htm) refuting Chariots of the Gods. It seems seriously out of print. I have it, and thought it pretty convincing. I read the original also. For example, we know exactly how the pyramids were built, so no advanced aliens are needed. The need for someone planning the Nazca lines from space is falsified anytime people at a sports game hand out cards to the attendees which will create a picture.

Gagundathar
02-15-2010, 12:46 PM
The fact that we now know MUCH more about preColombian cultures than we did back in the 1960s and that we actually have a very good set of hypotheses about how and why the Egyptian and meso-American pyramids were made puts us at a decided advantage over an amateur archeologist. I read the book back in the 1970s and found it interesting, but not compelling. If our planet has been visited by extraterrestrial civilizations then 'they' have done a very good job of covering their tracks.

If they WANTED us to discover their existence, then it would have been a fairly easy job to leave behind something on the far side of Luna to be found when we finally sent orbital probes to our satellite.

Fermi's paradox popped into my mind just now for some odd reason.

anson2995
02-15-2010, 01:58 PM
I think it's hard to accurately characterise these books. Fiction, if we're being kind. Pseudoscience or crackpottery if we're being honest.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
02-15-2010, 02:15 PM
Is your idea that space aliens from the planet Zog flew millions of light years to visit planet earth and left us a straight line that they had to draw using a couple of sticks and a ball of string?Maybe their GPS was broken?

EVD's work has been the most popular, but he owes a lot to other trailblazers in the genre, such as Robert Charroux and Jacques Bergier.

Pushkin
02-15-2010, 02:41 PM
Dad claimed to know someone who met Von Daniken and chatted with him about the book Chariots. Von Daniken wasn't shy about laughing at the money he was making from the book and how little factuality was included in it.

Omar Little
02-15-2010, 02:51 PM
Dad claimed to know someone who met Von Daniken

My uncle's best friend met a guy at a dinner party that knew that same guy!

Anne Neville
02-15-2010, 03:02 PM
I loved this stuff when I was a teenager. What convinced me it was bunk was the racism behind it. Why did the aliens only visit non-white people to help with their ancient projects?

However, I think it would be wrong to characterise him as some sort of crafty con artist who knowingly peddled nonsense for profit. I haven't met him personally, but I know people who have, and I've seen numerous interviews with him.

He's been convicted of fraud and embezzlement. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_von_D%C3%A4niken#Legal_troubles) I would say that ups the chances that he's a con artist quite a bit, no matter what he seems like in person. A successful con artist has to manage to seem like someone who's not a con artist.

ZPG Zealot
02-15-2010, 03:21 PM
I tend to put the Chariots of the Gods books in the same category as Baigent's Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Had they been orginally marketed as fiction, I would consider them fun what ifs, as is they are crackpottery. However, they are great fun to give to creationists and ID proponents or better yet introduce as "evidence" into arguements with them. Seriously, a great way to counter "creation science" is by demanding equal time for Chariots of the Gods.

AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet
02-16-2010, 01:33 AM
How about let's get specific as to why Von Danken's books are crackpot?
I used to LOVE that book when I was younger. I remember a cave painting being described as being "twentyth century" style.

Manduck
02-16-2010, 01:42 AM
My favorite example of Von Daniken bullshit was some old Mayan pottery that had a picture of a skeleton on it - "hundreds of years before the X-ray was invented!". This was from a book called Von Daniken's Proof, IIRC.

XT
02-16-2010, 01:53 AM
I've noticed recently that he's been making something of a come back. There was a 2 hour special on the History Channel called something like Ancient Astronauts which was a pretty wide eyed and credulous pro-von Daniken piece (most of the skeptics were given brief one line responses, where as the faithful were allowed to ramble on for as long as they liked). It was all the same fascinating non-sense I remember from the 70's...how the pyramids couldn't possibly be human built, Nasca lines must be alien air ports, carvings that must be depictions of ancient astronauts (or alien/human hybrids or whatever). They dragged in the Baghdad Battery again for another go around (as well as purported Egyptian carvings 'clearly' showing the use of electric lights and such) as well as something new (at least that I don't recall from the 70's) in the Antikythera mechanism). They also brought up Puma Punku as 'clear evidence' of alien technology...or something.

It was all very entertaining and complete horseshit. Von Daniken was at his best, saying that he's just 'asking questions', but that the mainstream archeologists and anthropologists just don't want to stretch themselves to seriously look at the questions and give answers (which, of course, is horseshit, since they've done so numerous times). One of the most entertaining parts of the show was some radio disk jockey (who I never heard of) talking (with authority, by the gods!) about how there is no way the Egyptians could have possibly built the pyramids.

-XT

Mangetout
02-16-2010, 02:46 AM
How about let's get specific as to why Von Danken's books are crackpot?I think we need the OP to provide some examples of bits that he/she thinks are not crackpot - if we start addressing bits at random, they just won't turn out to be these bits:As far as i can see there's still quite a lot in his book that you can't easily explain away.

CalMeacham
02-16-2010, 06:46 AM
Von Daniken's book really wasn't anything new. A lot of his claims had appeared earlier in the works of Frank Edwards and others, including many of his specific examples, and the "Ancient Astronauts" idea. Van Daniken put them all together, and either was in the right place at the right time, or else was a wizard at self-promotion, and got his stuff into the spotlight. The guy even was the subject of a Playboy interview (take that, frank Edwards!)


But, as has been noted, his claims don't stand up to much scrutiny. Nazca lines marking ancient landing strips? get serious -- they're barely scratched into the plateau they're sitting on. If the place weren't so isolated and dry they would've disappeared a long time ago. An army exercise (lots of guys marching around near one of them) almost obliterated it. Real wheels from heavy craft, or blasts from landing jets would have not only done far worse, they would've left ebven more obvious marks.

sweeteviljesus
02-16-2010, 09:55 AM
Regarding the Nazca Lines, isn't there some evidence that those people (the Inca?) had hot-air balloon technology at one time? There were some pots with images to suggest that and apparently, their weaving skills are up to the task of making the balloon. Is this notion taken seriously?

Thanks,
Rob

CalMeacham
02-16-2010, 10:08 AM
Regarding the Nazca Lines, isn't there some evidence that those people (the Inca?) had hot-air balloon technology at one time? There were some pots with images to suggest that and apparently, their weaving skills are up to the task of making the balloon. Is this notion taken seriously?

It's only evidence if you really work at believing.

Someone did build a hot-air balloon using what ought to have been existing technology, and it worked, but thinking that the locals actually did that seems a stretch. One could as easily argue that medieval Europe could have had hot air balloon technology. The only real reason for thinking of it in the case of the Nazca folk is because the figures are more easily visible from up there, and some folks think the only way to make them is to look down from a height. It ain't true. as many have pointed out, you can see what the shape is supposed to be from the ground. Skeptic Joe Nickell reproduced one of the Nazca figures "lifesize" without using hot air balloons, or reproduction grids, or anything that wasn't available to the ancient folks. His reproduction looks spot-on when photographed from an airplane.

pravnik
02-16-2010, 10:14 AM
Not really. Someone, I think it was Asimov, once said that scientists just couldn't be bothered with crackpots such as Däniken and Velikovsky, much less tearing out their hair.When I was an undergrad anthropology student I wrote a paper for an archaeology class summarizing the debunking of various extraterrestrial theories for the building of the Egyptian pyramids. I got a good grade, but the professor included a mild rebuke at the end that "Von Daniken and his ilk are easy prey" and that I should have concerned myself with something more scientific.

Malthus
02-16-2010, 10:18 AM
When I was a young teen, I thought that the works of various ancient peoples were so amazing that having help from aliens made sense.

When I got a bit older, I realized that the truly amazing thing was the ability of humans to make wonderful things using their own ingenuity.

Another think I realized was that folks with low tech were just as clever as folks today, and capable of getting a lot out of what tech they had.

Superfluous Parentheses
02-16-2010, 10:20 AM
Regarding the Nazca Lines, isn't there some evidence that those people (the Inca?) had hot-air balloon technology at one time? There were some pots with images to suggest that and apparently, their weaving skills are up to the task of making the balloon. Is this notion taken seriously?

Thanks,
Rob

I ran into this yesterday: http://www.hallofmaat.com/modules.php?name=Articles&file=article&sid=96

Floater
02-16-2010, 10:41 AM
I got a good grade, but the professor included a mild rebuke at the end that "Von Daniken and his ilk are easy prey" and that I should have concerned myself with something more scientific.
A friend of mine once wrote in the Swedish equivalent of the Skeptical Inquirer that you shouldn't use a sledgehammer of logic to debunk crackpot theories when pinpoints of sarcasm could do the trick. On the other hand I have heard him saying on TV, in a discussion about seeing extraterrestrial trade routes in star charts, "Give me a map of the universe and I will show you Mickey Mouse".

davekhps
02-16-2010, 11:24 AM
While I don't subscribe to the Ancient Astronaut theory, I *do* think there is room for a healthy skepticism about the skeptics. Namely, when I read this (http://www.skepdic.com/vondanik.html):

We have no reason to believe our ancient ancestors' memories were so much worse than our own that they could not remember these alien visitations well enough to preserve an accurate account of them. There is little evidence to support the notion that ancient myths and religious stories are the distorted and imperfect recollection of ancient astronauts recorded by ancient priests. The evidence to the contrary--that prehistoric or 'primitive' peoples were (and are) quite intelligent and resourceful--is overwhelming.

... my first thought is, "Well, what evidence *is* there to support the notion that ancient myths and religious stories AREN'T distorted and imperfect recollections of the past?"

Meaning-- as much as we know about these ancient societies, there's still an awful, AWFUL lot we *don't* know.

It's challenging trying to understand people who lived in the more recent past, what their lives were like, what they thought and believed. The farther back one goes-- and the more removed one gets from accessible forms of writing-- the more mysterious things get. We know far more today about the ancient Maya, Egyptians, etc. than we knew even forty years ago, but there are still gaps in our knowledge. *Tremendous* gaps.

Anyway, again, I don't believe that this stuff had anything to do with aliens. But I also don't believe we know even half the story about what made these civilizations tick.

P.S. If you think archaeology is tough now, just wait until the future when nobody has any stone carvings to look at, but empty husks of unreadable metals (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527451.300-digital-doomsday-the-end-of-knowledge.html?haasFormId=f9768f0e-e55c-439a-b647-e3a56f64a4f7&haasPage=0).

sweeteviljesus
02-16-2010, 11:46 AM
I ran into this yesterday: http://www.hallofmaat.com/modules.php?name=Articles&file=article&sid=96

Ignorance fought. I suspected that it might be B.S. based on the fact that I have never heard anything else about it, but I was mostly trying to point out the "no aliens required" part of the theory. Apparently, airborne contraptions of any type are not required either.

Thanks,
Rob

Lumpy
02-16-2010, 11:56 AM
<...> in a discussion about seeing extraterrestrial trade routes in star charts,<...>How the heck are there "trade routes" in interstellar space? Is the Solar system on a direct line between any other stars?

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
02-16-2010, 12:09 PM
How the heck are there "trade routes" in interstellar space? Is the Solar system on a direct line between any other stars?I think they're documented in John G. Fuller's "The Interrupted Journey."

Anne Neville
02-16-2010, 12:26 PM
How the heck are there "trade routes" in interstellar space? Is the Solar system on a direct line between any other stars?

They're talking about the star map that Betty Hill drew after her alleged abduction by aliens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_and_Barney_Hill_abduction#Deciphering_the_star_map).

Voyager
02-16-2010, 12:27 PM
How the heck are there "trade routes" in interstellar space? Is the Solar system on a direct line between any other stars?

Talking about trade routes sounds like people are considering star ships the equivalent of caravans or sailing ships.

Beyond the very big if of whether there are any aliens running around at all, why would they stop here? The HoJos on the Jersey Turnpike? If they have ftl ships, why bother. If not. why waste the reaction mass needed to decelerate from whatever immense speed needed to make the journey feasible to visit us, and then restart again?

You'd think real contactees would find out something about the real issues. In fact, what they have found out about the aliens seems to have come from bad 1950s sf movies, and would be rejected by Stanley Schmidt on grounds of implausibility in about 15 nanoseconds.

If the Fuller reference wasn't a joke, wasn't that clearly an early case of implanted memories?

Voyager
02-16-2010, 12:36 PM
They're talking about the star map that Betty Hill drew after her alleged abduction by aliens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_and_Barney_Hill_abduction#Deciphering_the_star_map).

One wonders what they found so interesting on earth to make it the end of a very long journey, and why they didn't reveal themselves as traders usually do.

One thing the quoted article didn't mention is the possibility that even if Barney Hill didn't see the Outer Limits episode, he saw advertising for the Outer Limits episode with the alien pictured.

Malthus
02-16-2010, 12:49 PM
One wonders what they found so interesting on earth to make it the end of a very long journey, and why they didn't reveal themselves as traders usually do.


Oh, they *said* they were here to trade, but really it was all about the anal probing.

Anne Neville
02-16-2010, 01:04 PM
Oh, they *said* they were here to trade, but really it was all about the anal probing.

Do we have a reputation in other star systems as a place that one would only go for interstellar sex tourism, or something?

Grey
02-16-2010, 02:04 PM
Earth - Bangkok of the Orion Arm.

EdwardLost
02-16-2010, 02:20 PM
How the heck are there "trade routes" in interstellar space? Is the Solar system on a direct line between any other stars?

Maybe Earth is a rest stop between colonies. Aliens pull in to get food and water, empty their sewage tanks, probe a few humans, start a civilization or two....

Voyager
02-16-2010, 03:46 PM
Do we have a reputation in other star systems as a place that one would only go for interstellar sex tourism, or something?

Hey, Earth Girls are Easy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Girls_Are_Easy)

Voyager
02-16-2010, 03:47 PM
Oh, they *said* they were here to trade, but really it was all about the anal probing.

Better that than carrying a book called "To Serve Man."

Roadfood
02-16-2010, 07:34 PM
Count me among those who read and believed "Chariots of the Gods" as a kid, but now sees it as utter nonsense.

Since tpgonetosea has not yet posted a specific, I'll try one that for some reason has always stuck with me.

He talks about the building of the pyramids, and that there are carvings (hieroglyphics? sorry, I'm fuzzy on the details) deep in the inner tunnels. They would have needed light, but there are no signs of blackening from the smoke of torches on the ceilings, and no sign of such blackening having been removed. Therefore, obviously, the aliens must have provided the builders with electric lights (hopefully, those cool LED flashlights).

So what's the real answer? Did they have smokeless torches? A way to remove the blackening such that we can't detect it? Or did they do the carving in the tunnels before the ceilings were put on?

Oldeb
02-16-2010, 08:21 PM
So what's the real answer? Did they have smokeless torches? A way to remove the blackening such that we can't detect it? Or did they do the carving in the tunnels before the ceilings were put on?

Yes, most likely, yes, option 4, and a possible option 5.

Olive oil lamps with a properly trimmed wick are very close to smokeless. Even just putting a short wick in a open bowl of oil works fine. The Egyptians certainly could do that perfectly well.

If it's light soot, they could have scrubbed it off. Sure it's hard work, but you're already building a pyramid. It's not like some extra scrubbing is going to put your workload over the top. I don't think anyone has taken any chemical testing equipment down there to see if there's trace amounts on the ceiling. Everything I've seen is about how there's no visible soot marks, but they could've been removed. Especially if you're already using low smoke/smokeless lamps like the olive oil ones. The ceilings aren't polished which you would expect from heavy scrubbing, but if they're just doing touch ups they wouldn't need to wear the stone out.

Some of the construction was done by digging a trench and then adding a roof. The pyramid at Abu Roasch has this type of construction. No problems in carving in daylight beforehand.

Option 4: They knew about mirrors and redirecting sunlight. There's some debate on the quality of the mirrors, but it seems likely that they could have bounced around enough sunlight to provide dim lighting anywhere they wanted.

Option 5: The soot marks in the other pyramids aren't from the builders either, but from people who gained entry after construction. Generally this one doesn't explain everything, there's too many indications of where torches or lamps were used from the begining, but the quanity of soot found may be be at least partially post-construction.

Most of the "mystery" comes from the fact that many of the buildings contain obvious soot marks, including portions of the pyramids that were clearly built with the walls constructed before adding a roof. Option 5 says it wasn't the builders who did that while the rest say they just weren't as careful about making sure there was no soot in those tunnels for some reason. None of them require alien LEDs though. :cool:

XT
02-16-2010, 08:25 PM
Even if the answer is 'we don't know exactly how they did it' that doesn't equal 'it must have been space aliens!'.

-XT

Revtim
02-16-2010, 08:32 PM
Even if the answer is 'we don't know exactly how they did it' that doesn't equal 'it must have been space aliens!'.

-XTAmen. It's "Space Aliens Of The Gaps".

XT
02-16-2010, 08:49 PM
The two hour show I mentioned earlier up thread brought up the lighting thing btw...while showing a cool carving that supposedly depicted a light bulb while implying that this must have been how they did it. They also 'debunked' the idea that the Egyptians (or anyone else) could have possibly used mirrors to shine light down the passages (by using what looked like unpolished copper plates that could only bounce light very weakly for an extremely limited distance), and then going on about how none of the ceilings had any trace soot (without even attempting to back this up).

They never mention what Oldeb is talking about, of course, that some of the passages were built open air (in the Pyramids especially), or that they could use semi-smokeless oils like olive, or that they could, you know, simply clean up the more important parts of the tomb when they were getting ready to seal it up. Nope...had to be aliens. No other explanation is possible (or even seriously entertained by the Ancient Aliens crowd, at least on the show).

What I find hard to believe is why this stuff is making a come back now. It's like someone is resurrecting the goofy theories from the 70's or something...lately there has been a deluge of Bermuda Triangle shows as well. Bigfoot also seems to be making a serious comeback, at least if History Channel is any indication. I wonder if it's simply credulous people who are looking back with longing for a simpler time of wacky theories, or if it's the new generation who have simply re-discovered these little gems and have fallen for them all over again...

-XT

Noel Prosequi
02-16-2010, 11:30 PM
Even if the answer is 'we don't know exactly how they did it' that doesn't equal 'it must have been space aliens!'.

-XT

On the space aliens of the gaps theory, Richard Feynman famously made the point that there are probably tens of thousands of robberies in America every year. Most of them are solved. A certain percentage resist solution, so we don't know who did them or maybe even exactly how.

Doesn't mean that aliens did them.

AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet
02-17-2010, 12:00 AM
What about the Greek fire thing? I remember vaguely one of the sequels saying that Greek fire was due to ALIEN technology!
And what about the cave painting I mentioned? Wish I had a copy of the book so that I could quote, and we could analyze.

DanBlather
02-17-2010, 12:03 AM
has anyone read 'chariots of the gods?' it was written in the early 70's regarding evidence for the theory that aliens have been influencing our planet and evolution since the start of civilisation. I wonder if any serious thought/research has been carried out in the 40 or so years since to test these theories.Neither after or before.

Captain Amazing
02-17-2010, 02:04 AM
What about the Greek fire thing? I remember vaguely one of the sequels saying that Greek fire was due to ALIEN technology!

What about Greek fire? It was probably a petroleum byproduct....probably naphtha mixed with resin to make it sticky.

Wendell Wagner
02-17-2010, 02:42 AM
xtisme writes:

> What I find hard to believe is why this stuff is making a come back now. It's like
> someone is resurrecting the goofy theories from the 70's or something...lately
> there has been a deluge of Bermuda Triangle shows as well. Bigfoot also seems
> to be making a serious comeback, at least if History Channel is any indication.

The History Channel will show any piece of crap that they can dig up. They don't give any thought to whether it's remotely plausible. Unless you see books advocating these ideas in (new) bookstores or documentaries about them on broadcast TV, all this proves is that some cable networks are desperate for cheap programming.

JoelUpchurch
02-17-2010, 07:06 AM
Not really. Someone, I think it was Asimov, once said that scientists just couldn't be bothered with crackpots such as Däniken and Velikovsky, much less tearing out their hair.

Asimov actually wrote an essay debunking Velikovsky, "Worlds in Confusion" which is collected in his book, "The Stars in their Courses". I think he enjoyed the opportunity to combine some astronomy with bible history.

Floater
02-17-2010, 07:17 AM
I think he enjoyed the opportunity to combine some astronomy with bible history.
Most probably.

capybara
02-17-2010, 07:49 AM
He talks about the building of the pyramids, and that there are carvings (hieroglyphics? sorry, I'm fuzzy on the details) deep in the inner tunnels. They would have needed light, but there are no signs of blackening from the smoke of torches on the ceilings, and no sign of such blackening having been removed. Therefore, obviously, the aliens must have provided the builders with electric lights (hopefully, those cool LED flashlights).

As said, they might have carved (using tools called "Occam's razors") the decor at the point when that level was at the top of the construction and open-air. Or they fit stones together outside on the ground, carved them there according to the design and numbered each one, and then installed them accordingly, like we know damn well the Greeks and everyone after them did.

Roadfood
02-17-2010, 12:41 PM
Speaking of the pyramids, one of the other big questions that Von Daniken and others love to talk about is: Where are the ramps? How could ancient Egyptians possibly have gotten those multi-ton stone blocks waaaaay up there without ramps? Where's the evidence of the ramps? There is no evidence of any ramps, therefore it must have been space aliens' anti-gravity machines (nevermind the question on the other side of that answer, which is: why would the space aliens use their advanced technology to help the natives build a large structure using just naturally occurring stone? Why didn't they make the pyramids out of gleaming titanium?)

Except that it has recently been shown that the ramps are there, INSIDE the pyramid itself. They built the ramps as they went, stacking the blocks outside of the ramp. Jean-Pierre Houdin (http://ngccommunity.nationalgeographic.com/ngcblogs/inside-ngc/2008/11/unlocking-the-great-pyramid---part-1.html) toiled for years on the puzzle of the ramps before coming up with that solution (which, to me, seems "obvious" with the benefit of hindsight).

This is a great example of how something can seem mysterious or impossible at first glance (and second, and third . . .) until someone finally discovers that the ancients were a heck of a lot smarter than we usually give them credit for.

I remember Von Daniken also rasing the question of how the Egyptians could possibly have housed and fed the thousands of workers. And that, too, has recently been answered by uncovering the vast housing areas, and the kitchens that prepared the huge amounts of food, etc.

As other posters have said, just because we don't have the definitive answer TODAY, doesn't mean that there isn't a terrestrial answer.

Voyager
02-17-2010, 02:54 PM
Speaking of the pyramids, one of the other big questions that Von Daniken and others love to talk about is: Where are the ramps? How could ancient Egyptians possibly have gotten those multi-ton stone blocks waaaaay up there without ramps? Where's the evidence of the ramps? There is no evidence of any ramps, therefore it must have been space aliens' anti-gravity machines (nevermind the question on the other side of that answer, which is: why would the space aliens use their advanced technology to help the natives build a large structure using just naturally occurring stone? Why didn't they make the pyramids out of gleaming titanium?)

Except that it has recently been shown that the ramps are there, INSIDE the pyramid itself. They built the ramps as they went, stacking the blocks outside of the ramp. Jean-Pierre Houdin (http://ngccommunity.nationalgeographic.com/ngcblogs/inside-ngc/2008/11/unlocking-the-great-pyramid---part-1.html) toiled for years on the puzzle of the ramps before coming up with that solution (which, to me, seems "obvious" with the benefit of hindsight).

The cite says it is a theory. Shown? When I was there, last April, we got told that they piled sand around the pyramid as needed, and dragged the blocks up the sand ramp. Cheap, simple, and no problem of what happened to the ramp. Sounds a lot simpler than dragging the last blocks up an increasingly twisty ramp towards the top.

md2000
02-17-2010, 03:39 PM
Building a sand and rubble ramp along the outside edge of the pyramid - basically extending the pyramid by a few dozen feet outward to make a ramp that wraps around the pyramid - this is significantly less work and less volume than building a Masada-style straight ramp across the desert floor. It has the added bonus that you can face the pyramid in limestone wrking your way down as you remove the ramp. I guess the question is, it's still a decent volume of sand - any indication where it went?

A very good book was by L. Sprague de Camp called "The Ancient Engineers". ( http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Engineers-L-Sprague-Camp/dp/0345320298 ) which I read about the same time EVD's crap came out. Pyramid construction shows the ingenuity of early builders.

The fine stone fitting "can't slip a knife blade between them" was accomplished by fitting stones together on the ground for finishing before they were hauled away; fit A to B, haul away A, fint B to C, haul away B, etc. Not rocket science, just pyramid science. You can see this because the stones are slightly out of shape where they were shaved to fit together.

Another thing I wondered about. I think it was EVD in some book describes a mummy with a wrap of "finer weaving than anything we can do today". Really? That set off my BS meter. We have microscopes and fine chemical etching to create electronc circuits and machine parts with smaller holes and shapes than are visible to the naked eye (even in 1970). We make nylon and orlon and other artificial fibers in whatever thickness we want. "Finer weaving than we can do"? ...or finer than we bother to do commercially? Silk spun and wovern in the far east, so fine it looks smooth, has been the norm for centuries. Just how fine could Mayan/Aztec/Inca weave be, to impress us?

Roadfood
02-17-2010, 03:42 PM
The cite says it is a theory. Shown? When I was there, last April, we got told that they piled sand around the pyramid as needed, and dragged the blocks up the sand ramp. Cheap, simple, and no problem of what happened to the ramp. Sounds a lot simpler than dragging the last blocks up an increasingly twisty ramp towards the top.Either way, the point stands that just because for a long time we modern people scratch our heads and think, "How could the ancients possibly have done this?" doesn't mean that the ancients needed extraterrestrial help. Sometimes, we're biased by our modern experience and the way we build things. Ancient humans are pretty much every bit as intelligent as we are and, faced with a necessity we've never had to actually deal with, could easily have come up with a solution that would take us a while to "rediscover".

I saw the Nat Geo special mentioned at the bottom of the link, and they showed some pretty compelling evidence on the pyramid itself of an internal ramp structure. They found an opening near one corner where something that looked an awful lot like a ramp was visible inside.

Chronos
02-17-2010, 04:11 PM
There's even a fellow in Michigan who's come up with a low-tech method for moving blocks, and is single-handedly using it to build a full-scale replica Stonehenge in his back yard. He estimates (http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/newpage2) that his methods could be used to build the Pyramids in 25 years, with a work force of 740, without need for ramps (and that's even assuming a modern work schedule, with 40-hour-weeks and two weeks of vacation a year).

The Hamster King
02-17-2010, 04:31 PM
The two hour show I mentioned earlier up thread brought up the lighting thing btw...while showing a cool carving that supposedly depicted a light bulb while implying that this must have been how they did it.LOL ... is it really plausible that aliens who are capable of interstellar travel would still be using LIGHT BULBS as light sources? A hundred years from now light bulbs will be as obsolete as gas lamps and floppy disks.

md2000
02-17-2010, 04:39 PM
There's even a fellow in Michigan who's come up with a low-tech method for moving blocks, and is single-handedly using it to build a full-scale replica Stonehenge in his back yard. He estimates (http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/newpage2) that his methods could be used to build the Pyramids in 25 years, with a work force of 740, without need for ramps (and that's even assuming a modern work schedule, with 40-hour-weeks and two weeks of vacation a year).

IIRC - CJ Cherryh, a science fiction author and former history teacher, mentioned once in an article that she had her students pulling around two-ton blocks on skids to demonstrate how the Egyptians could have done it. She said it didn't take too many high-school football players pulling ropes to get a big block moving at a fairly respectable speed. I think sometimes we underestimate our physical ability in this age of John Deere and Chevy Pickups.

John DiFool
02-17-2010, 07:03 PM
Hey, Earth Girls are Easy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Girls_Are_Easy)

But the Amazon Women are On The Moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_women_on_the_moon).

[Could never figure out why I see the former on various TV channels all the time, the latter I never do...]

XT
02-17-2010, 07:15 PM
LOL ... is it really plausible that aliens who are capable of interstellar travel would still be using LIGHT BULBS as light sources? A hundred years from now light bulbs will be as obsolete as gas lamps and floppy dis

Hardly...but then, how plausible is it that interstellar aliens with the technology that entails would build stone buildings? Why wouldn't they have built them out of some advanced materials? And if they WERE using light bulbs and such, were are they? We have other artifacts from the period, after all....why don't we have even a trace of wires...of something? Instead we are shown (breathlessly) the Baghdad Battery as 'proof' of advanced technology! It's funny that all of the materials are those that any one from that period used day to day. I mean, space fairing aliens don't even use NiCad or Lithium Ion materials, let alone super space age composites and nano-tech carbon fibers (or whatever they would have with technology centuries ahead of ours)??

It IS fun to watch though if you haven't seen the one I'm talking about. There is this guy wearing a suit that looks like it's 30 years out of date who has wild hair and is VERY enthusiastic about the whole thing. :p

-XT

TreacherousCretin
02-17-2010, 09:45 PM
If you replace "year" with "thirty seconds" you'd be closer to the facts.

There's always a bestselling nutcase who dazzles the masses with nonsense that has scientists tearing out their hair. Before van Daniken was Velikovsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Velikovsky). Now we have the "world is doomed in 2012" morons. They're cockroaches of the anti-intellectual world. They will be the only things alive after the sun blows up into a red star in five billion years. Except for the morons who keep buying their books. We never seem to run out of them either.

Correct.

.

CurtC
02-17-2010, 11:39 PM
Better that than carrying a book called "To Serve Man."

And much better than one called "How To Cook Humans."

aruvqan
02-18-2010, 05:31 AM
Another thing I wondered about. I think it was EVD in some book describes a mummy with a wrap of "finer weaving than anything we can do today". Really? That set off my BS meter. We have microscopes and fine chemical etching to create electronc circuits and machine parts with smaller holes and shapes than are visible to the naked eye (even in 1970). We make nylon and orlon and other artificial fibers in whatever thickness we want. "Finer weaving than we can do"? ...or finer than we bother to do commercially? Silk spun and wovern in the far east, so fine it looks smooth, has been the norm for centuries. Just how fine could Mayan/Aztec/Inca weave be, to impress us?
I can handspin 3 linen fibres together, which can't be done mechanically. Also cotton and wool can be spun amazingly finely by hand and not mechanically. It simply is not economically feasible to do this on a commercial scale. Hand spinning is pretty much a lost art except in recreationist/hobbyist circles, and certain peasant groups that are still seminomadic. Weaving these fibres is also not really able to be done mechanically but can be done on the low tech low tension looms [like say a backstrap loom]

DrFidelius
02-18-2010, 06:36 AM
Building a sand and rubble ramp along the outside edge of the pyramid - basically extending the pyramid by a few dozen feet outward to make a ramp that wraps around the pyramid - this is significantly less work and less volume than building a Masada-style straight ramp across the desert floor. It has the added bonus that you can face the pyramid in limestone wrking your way down as you remove the ramp. I guess the question is, it's still a decent volume of sand - any indication where it went?


Egypt is in a desert. Where the sand went is not a mystery.

md2000
02-18-2010, 09:58 AM
Egypt is in a desert. Where the sand went is not a mystery.

I would imagine the ramp was built with a combination of sand and rubble - broken rock, gravel - otherwise the sand is probably not too solid once it dries. So did the rubble end up as gravel under footings and pavement and such? I guess 4000 years later it's a bit hard to tell but there might be some tell-tale signs?

Exapno Mapcase
02-18-2010, 10:07 AM
I would imagine the ramp was built with a combination of sand and rubble - broken rock, gravel - otherwise the sand is probably not too solid once it dries. So did the rubble end up as gravel under footings and pavement and such? I guess 4000 years later it's a bit hard to tell but there might be some tell-tale signs?

Pyramids were tributes to their god-kings. They were designed to be as beautiful and impressive as possible. Why would they leave signs of ramps or other building or construction activity? The area around the pyramids were made as clean as the area around a modern building after it has been erected.

And that would be before 5000 years of blowing sand, strong enough to scour the stone itself.

PlainJain
02-18-2010, 12:44 PM
Except that it has recently been shown that the ramps are there, INSIDE the pyramid itself. They built the ramps as they went, stacking the blocks outside of the ramp. Jean-Pierre Houdin (http://ngccommunity.nationalgeographic.com/ngcblogs/inside-ngc/2008/11/unlocking-the-great-pyramid---part-1.html) toiled for years on the puzzle of the ramps before coming up with that solution (which, to me, seems "obvious" with the benefit of hindsight).


Maybe not 'shown' but I saw a special on his theories and they seemed very credible.

GIGObuster
02-18-2010, 11:02 PM
Maybe not 'shown' but I saw a special on his theories and they seemed very credible.
A nice clip of the National Geographic special dealing with the idea of Jean-Pierre Houdin is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lasCXujNPfs

The surprising bit of evidence:

In the 1980's a high tech survey of the great pyramid was made by the French, Jean-Pierre found no evidence in it of any internal ramp, but 15 years later a member of the French team contacted Jean-Pierre and showed him a diagram of an internal structure that eerily matched the models proposed by him. It turned that because the french team could not explain what that pattern was in the density diagrams of the pyramid, they did not publish it. :smack:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081114-pyramid-room_2.html
Next Step: Confirmation

The 1986 image, the notch room, and other evidence may make Houdin's theory plausible, but the case is far from closed.

"As with all archaeological theories, the proof is in the pudding, and many logical and compelling theories have fallen by the wayside under the weight of hard evidence," said the University of Pennsylvania's Wegner.

But "verification of the proposed internal spiral ramp would be a remarkable and groundbreaking discovery," Wegner added.

Houdin believes that verification might soon be possible.

He suggests that an infrared camera—positioned about 150 feet (46 meters) from the pyramid—could potentially record subtle differences in interior materials and temperatures. Those variations could reveal clear-cut "phantoms" of the internal ramp.

"What we need is the authorization, by the Egyptian authorities, to stay around for 18 hours, close to the pyramid, with a cooled infrared camera based on an SUV and to take images of three [pyramid] faces every hour during this period," Houdin said.

"A green light from Cairo and the Great Pyramid mystery is over."

CalMeacham
02-18-2010, 11:42 PM
The History Channel will show any piece of crap that they can dig up. They don't give any thought to whether it's remotely plausible.


Yeah!

Mangetout
02-19-2010, 03:12 AM
Just to highlight the nature of the problem here:

One of the UK Freeview digital channels - 'Quest' showed a programme last night called 'The Truth About Crop Circles' - during which they showed an amateur video supposedly showing crop circles in the process of being formed with orbs of light spinning and dancing overhead - apparently this video was quite a sensation amongst the crop circle mystery community.

But the guy who first released the video upon the world has subsequently confessed that he faked the footage, and furthermore, he supported this confession with an informal documentary video actually showing in considerable detail - him originally editing the footage to create the effect, and discussing the strategy of the hoax.

So you'd think that anyone who had first accepted the hoax video would shrug and say "OK, you really got us with this one" (and some people probably did admit this), but the spokesman they interviewed chose to deny the validity of the hoaxer's confession, and insist that the original video must have been real.

md2000
02-19-2010, 09:18 AM
IIRC, the Egyptians at the time did not have the arch, their construction was post-and-lintel. So, a ramp would have to be built of crosspieces wide enough to span the entire "tunnel", since we assume more than one 360 turn. How wide? At least 10 feet? That's a lot of 10-foot-by2foot-by-2foot solid beams, rather than the usual little blocks. It's one thing to build the short jaunt halfway across the pyramid that way - how wide is the entrace tunnel to the main chamber? It's a lot more work to do so all the way up, with enough clearance for the hauling teams... Plus now they have to be able to haul up those floor beams too, not just small blocks.

How big across was that corner room?

capybara
02-19-2010, 03:31 PM
IIRC, the Egyptians at the time did not have the arch, their construction was post-and-lintel. So, a ramp would have to be built of crosspieces wide enough to span the entire "tunnel", since we assume more than one 360 turn.

Standard old "corbelled "arch".

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