Name-calling? That's nice. Way to elevate the conversation my friend. Nice logic as well. Seeing as I'm the one that's posing questions on the
matter and actually thinking about it in terms of feasibility above "I like aliens", then it seems to me that I'm the one who is using their brain
actively. Seeing as how instead of answering my questions with well thought out or presented material of any kind at all you chose to cast aspersions
on my intellect, I'm going to assume that you have no reasonable argument to make on this matter. It's really too bad because it could be an
I have no problem with poetic or romantic notions or flights of fancy. The concept of alien astronauts is great as a plot device in a space opera or
as part of the cosmology of a comic book universe. Some of my favorite works of fiction involve the concept, Arthur C. Clarke's "2001" series,
the weird fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Douglas Adam's "Hitchhiker" satire, and the wondrous super-mythologies generated by Jack Kirby in comics
titles like "The Fantastic Four" and "The New Gods".
But in terms of the real world it's far from being demonstratable or tenable. It's a poetic notion, and there are all manner of confusions in
interpreting the poetic and often fragmentary, sometimes mistranslated language and concepts of ancient mythologies. Modern ones too, for that
matter. In my opinion the ancient astronaut theory is just another symptom of a propensity of modern, Western society to too literally read language
that was always intended to be understood allegorically.
So why is it that I'm adverse to a completely unspecified notion that the ancient gods were aliens besides the obviously turbid state of my mental
capabilities? It's the incredibly large numbers involved in the probabilities.
I do believe in the potential for extraterrestrial life and I am a proponent of SETI research. The universe is vast and within our galaxy alone there
could potentially be millions of "intelligent" life forms that are technologically advanced to the level of radio astronomy. Here's the excellent
article on the topic by Dr. Carl Sagan from the journal "Cosmic Search":
The Quest for Extraterrestrial Life
There's not a word in this particular article that I disagree with. Here's a pertinent point to the conversation at hand:
Despite claims about ancient astronauts and unidentified flying objects, there is no firm evidence of past visitations to the Earth by other
civilizations, and so we are restricted to looking for signals from afar.
Sagan is about as friendly as any mainstream scientist could ever be expected to be on this subject. Very early in his career he actually advocated
the concept, such as in his 1966 book "Intelligent Life in the Universe”, co-written with I. Shklovskii, but at least his public view on the
subject seemed to moderate by the time he was working on the Voyager project in the '70s.
What I was hoping to get out of this thread was a vigorous and thought provoking discussion on the possibilities of the concept. Despite the fact
that all we've really seen produced on this particular thread is name calling and "I like aliens" statements, I still think this is a worthwhile
conversation to have, so I'm going to do the "for ancient astronauts" homework for them in an effort to get something substantial to talk about
Here's the Wikipedia article on Ancient Astronaut Theory
Probably the most famous proponent of the theory is Zecharia Sitchin
But Stichin's work is highly controversial and contains little or no scientific merit, as demonstrated by this entry from The Skeptics Dictionary:
Zecharia Stichin and The Earth Chronicles
Their article on the topic in general is worth noting as well, although I personally find their treatment of the unaccountable engineering feats of
ancients to be somewhat cursory:
Ancient Astronauts and Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods
Stichin and von Daniken's work is a little sketchy but I'm not personally of the opinion that they are intentional charlatans. Let's go back
briefly to Sagan, a much more reasonable figure. The following is from a larger article on Sagan's work on the Voyager program from Andy Lloyd's
Dark Star Theory
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Remarkably, some of Carl Sagan’s early writings directly pertain to the possibility of extra-terrestrial contact in our distant past (4). Dr Sagan
was clearly far more open-minded to these possibilities prior to his work on Voyager in the 70’s. In his 1966 book “Intelligent Life in the
Universe”, co-written with I. Shklovskii of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute and Soviet Academy of Sciences, Sagan writes the following:
“ I feel that if Sumerian civilization is depicted by the descendants of the Sumerians themselves to be of non-human origin, the relevant legends
should be examined carefully. I do not claim that the following is necessarily an example of extraterrestrial contact, but it is the type of legend
that deserves more careful study. Taken at face value, the legend suggests that contact occurred between human beings and a non-human civilzsation of
immense powers on the shores of the Persian Gulf, perhaps near the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Eridu, and in the fourth millennium B.C. or
Sagan goes on to describe various cylinder seals depicting the Mesopotamian gods, and ties these images in with the planets in the same way as
Sitchin. But we must remember that this analysis by Carl Sagan was published 10 years before Zecharia Sitchin released “The 12th Planet”.
Remarkably, Sagan appears to have pre-empted Sitchin. Here, Sagan describes his analysis of the enigmatic Sumerian cylinder seals:
“The illustrations on the cylinder seals have for this reason generally defied attempts to understand them in detail. They refer to mythological
material otherwise lost... In each, there is a clear representation of some celestial object--a central circle, or sphere, surrounded by other,
generally smaller circles or spheres.
In the upper left-hand illustration of Figure 33-5, we see that the central circle is surrounded by rays and can quite clearly be identified as a sun
or star. But what are we to make of the other objects surrounding each star? It is at least a natural assumption that they represent the planets. But
the idea of planets circling suns and stars is an idea which essentially originated with Copernicus--although some earlier speculations along these
lines were mentioned in ancient Greece.
The cylinder seal in the upper left-hand corner of Figure 33-5 shows, curiously enough, nine planets circling the prominent sun in the sky (and two
smaller planets, off to one side). The other representations of planetary systems—if we may call them this--show, remarkably, a variation in the
numbers of planets per star. In some of the cylinder seals, a star and accompanying planets seem to be associated with a particular deity.” (5)
These are clearly the same images that Sitchin used to develop his theory, although he also delved into the Epic tales, using his linguistic expertise
with cuneiform script.
But the astronomical implications of the pictorial cylinder seals were clearly not lost on Sagan, regardless of his knowledge of the accompanying
Epics. His analysis seems open to the idea that the Sumerians had an understanding of celestial mechanics that belied their own primitive origins.
Sagan seemed to be particularly taken with the account of the amphibious teacher Oannes, who brought knowledge to the neolithic peoples of the Persian
Gulf, given by Berosus. He goes on to offer a scenario of E.T. contact based upon long-term, intermittent ‘sampling’ expeditions to the Earth,
the frequency of which increased as Mankind emerged (6). Sagan was considering these possibilities back in the 1960’s, and may well have come to
similar conclusions to Zecharia Sitchin. If he did, he did not discuss them in public. But to have extolled the virtues of ancient astronaut
hypothesis would surely have set his scientific career back significantly. Sagan was clearly open to the idea that extra-terrestrials had visited our
world in the past, and were contactable. This frame of reference may account for his inclusion on the Voyager team, particularly with regard to the
communiques to ET intelligence carried by the probes. The plaque ‘bearing representational and symbolic information about the human race’ on
Pioneer 10 appears to have been the brain-child of Richard Hoagland and Eric Burgess in 1971, who then passed the idea on to Carl Sagan (7)
Pro-alien astronaut people may find Lloyd's site interesting as it builds off the work of Stichin and deals with:
...the proposed existence of a binary companion in our solar system. This body has been proposed by many down the years to account for
numerous astronomical anomalies. Clearly, it remains the subject of speculation, and no one can yet claim that it definitely exists. Nevertheless,
the potential for a small brown dwarf to be found orbiting the Sun is not only scientifically plausible, but would enable us to tie up a great number
of loose ends in ancient religion and mythology. The recent discovery of the minor planet Sedna lends credence to this claim on a number of levels. I
have now updated this theory substantially, moving closer to Zecharia Sitchin's own previous work but also incorporating a swath of new scientific
findings into an elegant new hypothesis.
Is this enough material to start a real conversation on this topic? Any takers? If necessary I'll argue pro.