chariots of the gods

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.

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.

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.

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.

My favourite von Daniken ancedote is about the 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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

If you want to talk to the Gods, leave your messages where they’ll see them.

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.

Smug? Actually what you’re reading is when something is clearly so bogus that it doesn’t warrant anything else.

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.

I’ve read ‘Chriots of the Gods’ and the numerous other books that 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. When you look at something like this 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.

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.

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

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

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?

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.