Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
No, it's the same old religious creation stories modified with new characters. It has approximately the same amount of evidence as any other
The reason I pointed out the distinction between the narrow and broad views of science is that the narrow view precludes the possibility of AAT being
a theory just as it precludes the possibility of the support for AAT being evidence.
Supposing that every experience is also evidence, then the collection of data used to support AAT is evidence -- inconclusive though it may be. You
may think that it is evidence for the creativity of human minds in generating mythologies, but this is your own personal theory (to use the term
broadly and not narrowly). AAT stands in opposition to this theory as an explanation for the evidence that you may think does not need any more
explaining than your worldview provides: people make up weird ideas.
Frankly, if this is your theory, I find it less than compelling. In my experience, human beings always invent based on inspiration. They always create
atop what already exists. This phenomenon can be witnessed throughout human history. In this context, the theory that the evidence used to support AAT
is merely nonsensical stories is a very poor explanation for the true origin of this archeological and anthropological evidence. This theory makes
little effort to consider what was happening in the minds of those who generated this evidence. It dehumanizes these people by simply assuming that we
don't really understand their crude monkey minds. Think of ancient civilizations as if they were people living today, and you may come out of it with
a different perspective.
Originally posted by iteration zero
I appreciate those points, but you’re moving this discussion out of science, which is where it started with the OP presenting their “proof” of
their ancient astronaut hypothesis, into the realm of epistemology, which is a wholly philosophical argument.
My friend, this is incorrect. The first mention of the word "science" or "scientific" within this thread was actually made by Titen-Sxull toward
the end of the first page. SquirrelNutz also didn't use the word "proof" in his OP. Therefore, I believe that this thread was moved OUT of its
original context INTO the context of science. So I see myself as attempting to RE-rail the conversation because it has become severely DE-railed.
Also, don’t forget that assumptions are also impacted by their own consequences, to use your nomenclature. They will either stand or fall based on
those consequences… which is how you can move the wholly philosophical argument back to a scientific one.
This is precisely why I make no firm distinction between science and philosophy. The borders are blurred, much to the chagrin of scientists.
Theories don’t have to be directly useful, they just have to be accurate. The useful applications of those theories will then follow.
There is no difference between the usefulness of a theory and the accuracy of a theory. If a theory ceases to be useful, then it is no longer
accurate. Usefulness is far more than just engineering and technological applications, usefulness can also be found in our ability to use theories to
build our own personal worldviews. I have ceased, for example, to find the Catholic Christian theory of the universe useful. I find that it does not
appreciate the function that rules serve within my experience. Rules, in my experience, are rules of thumb. They all have exceptions and they are only
invented in order to increase efficiency of action. However, the Catholic worldview takes rules as absolute. Therefore, I have found evidence that
this theory is no longer useful, so I have discarded it. You may say that the theory is not accurate, but really accuracy is indistinguishable from
Science only concerns itself with phenomena that are, in some way, observable....Instead of saying “physical interactions”, is it OK if we stick
with “observable phenomena”? Not all observable phenomena are strictly physical in nature and I could see some confusion arising over the
nomenclature we’re using here.
I'm glad you mentioned this. In the first place, all phenomena are observable -- otherwise they wouldn't be phenomena. But there are some phenomena
for which science has no convincing answers. It is typically assumed that human beings have five senses. These are, of course, the physical senses.
But what about those human beings who claim that they can detect the movement of prana (or chi) within and around their bodies? What about human
beings who claim they can see auras? What about human beings who can sense the emotions of others?
These phenomena are distinctly observable, but they are also non-physical. The path that science has taken in the explanation of these phenomena has
typically been thus: deviations in body chemistry caused an experience of realms of existence which are not "really there". Not only does this kind
of physicalist reduction have no respect for the fact that these phenomena are both consistent and observable (among those who have developed the
ability to observe them), but it has no respect for the possibility that the physical interactions which tag along with these phenomena during tests
might be effects
rather than causes. Furthermore, this perspective assumes that it has a firm grasp on what is or is not "really there".
So why is this important?
Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
Of course science is limited to the "material", this isn't a weakness its merely the purview science works within. Science studies the Universe, in
the broadest sense, it studies reality. Rather than fall prey to superstition and irrationality science bases itself in reason and objectivity. If
something cannot be quantified and objectively verified evidence of it cannot be found than it is indistinguishable from the imaginary. Science is
meant to be skeptical and is indeed "biased" against accepting conclusions that don't offer good evidence.
Titen is completely unaware that he has already assumed that material phenomena lead to "reason and objectivity" and non-material phenomena (such as
the ones I have already mentioned -- I can give even more examples if you like) lead to "superstition and irrationality". It is all
What difference does it make to the rational mind whether the phenomenon came from your eyes or came from some other method of
Physical sense organs are only given priority (and significant priority at that) in our culture because they are the sensations which are most
obvious. But emotions are sensations. Thoughts are sensations. Mystical experiences are sensations. Science probably prefers physical sensation
because it is a realm of broad agreement between human beings. But at the same time, ignoring sensations leads to the inability to use them. Witness,
for example, cave-dwelling crabs who have evolved without eyes. The body will eliminate those mechanisms which are simply not used.
Has our culture attempted to eliminate prana, aura, emotion, thought, mystical journey?
Science's explanation for all of these phenomena does not respect these phenomena as such
. It respects them only as strange artifacts of our
experience (just like dreams). It treats them as errors or glitches within the physical world, so science reduces these phenomena to physical
interactions, rather than attempting to explore them in just the same way that it has explored physical phenomena.
For example, what are the properties of prana? Does it act as a particle (in some other realm of existence)? Are there multiple different kinds of
prana with different charges? Does it collect as a charge or does it flow as a current?
Or: what are the properties of emotions? To what can they be reduced? Are there mathematical relationships between the emotions that we experience? Do
some emotions cancel each other out, generating a polarity relationship?
This is what I mean by seeking scientific rigor within the non-material realms. These realms are undeniable, because they are part of the sum total of
our experience; however, our treatment, our handling, our appreciation of these phenomena is what is at stake when we allow ourselves to attempt to
reduce them to purely physical interactions.
It seems to me to be far more rational
far more reasonable
to take the explanatory tools that science has developed in generating a
theory of the physical world and make use of these tools in explaining the non-physical world. I'm sorry to say that the "social sciences" have
done a very poor job of this, because even they assume that the non-physical can reduce to the physical. This is why studies concerning human actions
(motives, drives, desires, etc.) always produce such obvious
results. The methods which we are currently using to understand these realms are
Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
Show that there is a level of existence beyond the physical. Everything, even our most creative thoughts, are based in material - our brains. Any
attempt at spirituality or addressing the supernatural with a superstitious mind would make science into something it is not.
You see? I have pointed to phenomena that you are experience right now
which are non-physical, yet you deny that they even exist. Would you
rather assume that they are artifacts of physical reality than appreciate them as phenomena which have importance to you equal
experience of physical sensory phenomena?
For instance I can choose to pick up a book of mythology and I can either read aliens every time I see the name of a god or I can actually read
it as what it is, a book of myths.
Then you disregard the humanity of those who generated the myth. All human ingenuity has inspiration. The question that AAT seeks to answer is
"Whence this inspiration?" You may think that this is a question not worth answering, but that is only because you are perfectly satisfied with your
Originally posted by iterationzero
It’s far from impossible for it to be a scientific theory, it just has to be verifiable. One of the ways it could do that would be the following:
based on this enormous body of evidence which you suggest exists for the hypothesis, it should have some ability to predict features of new
archaeological findings i.e. “if ancient astronauts came to Earth and did [thing A], [thing B], and [thing C], I should also find [thing D].
This is a reasonable way of approaching the problem, but it does not appreciate what I have already pointed out: the evidence is extremely complex.
You’re saying the archaeological or anthropological evidence for ancient astronauts is somehow more complex than the paleontological or
anthropological or genetic evidence for evolution? Or more complex than the evidence involved in the theory of quantum mechanics? How so?
Oh yes! Much more complex! All that geneticists need to look at is DNA strands. DNA strands may have infinite variability but there are only a few
variables which can vary infinitely. There are only four different nucleotides which constitute DNA, so there are really only two infinite variables:
(1) length of DNA, (2) combination of nucleotides. Think of DNA as if it were a quaternary language (as opposed to the binary language that computers
use). This is really a very simple system, even though it can produce enormously variable results.
Quantum mechanics is even MORE simple. It deals only with a few tiny particles whose features are very basic. You have spin, charge, velocity,
location. As it has been famously said, "electrons have no hair". They have no features which distinguish them from each other except these few
properties. This makes the data that you are dealing with extremely simple, even though the results are complex.
Now consider anthropological data. Any one piece of data has numerous different levels on which it can vary. Let's just consider an ancient pot with
writing on it. Where was the pot found? What is it made of? Were the materials available in the area it was found? Maybe it was transported to get
there. What was written on it? Has the writing been rubbed off? What does the writing say? Can we even understand the writing without understanding
the cultural background in which the writing occurred? Perhaps calligraphy was meaningful to this civilization in a way that it is not today. Maybe
it's not a pot. Maybe it's a helmet.
Any one piece of anthropological data has so many variables that DNA and subatomic particles simply cannot compete where complexity is concerned.
This is why AAT cannot be a scientific theory
The data is too complex and too poorly understood for it to even stand a chance. This is why no
predictions can be made.
The OP specifically refers to things that are observable, measurable, and testable e.g. megalithic structures and mankind being of the same lineage or
a slave race of the ancient astronauts, which puts the discussion pretty squarely in the realm of science. Plus, he goes on to make the point that, in
light of this hypothesis, we would have to reclassify mythology (i.e. religion) as historical record.
Well I don't fully agree with these more minute points within the OP. The major disparity between science and religion is not
produce different types of theories. All theories are of the same type, regardless of their origin. Each seeks to explain the phenomena based on the
evidence available. The disparity lies in the clarity with which the phenomena are perceived. Religions must often blur phenomena together, mixing
them up so that the theory can be perceived as reasonable. (Witness the circumlocutions and rationalizations within "creation science".) Science, on
the other hand makes it a point to distinguish the phenomena from each other, which is why its results are much easier to perceive as reasonable by
those who did not invent the theory. Often, we cling to religions because they provide us a level of emotional comfort. The belief that we understand
how the world works, why it works, and what we must do to succeed within it is comforting to those who find this world frightening. This is why people
are often willing to blur the phenomena in order to support their own personal theories (i.e. religions). The religious want to deny that they are
ignorant because they have so much invested in these theories.
Although these aspects of AAT are certainly testable, they are not critical to the theory itself. Again, this is due to the complexity of the
evidence. There are an enormous number of possible theories, all of which would count as AATs. How do we isolate one theory as better than another?
How do we determine whether the aliens came from Andromeda or from Sirius? How do we determine whether they want to change our DNA or preserve our
DNA? How do we determine whether they built the Pyramids or gave us technology to build them? These questions and many like them are precisely the
reason why AAT can't make predictions. There are simply too many possibilities out there to start making predictions. In a sense, the theory itself
is simply too young
for any scientific predictions to be made yet.
Before I close, I want to draw together the two threads that I have been discussing. I have said that AAT is not yet viable to be subject to
scientific predictions because the evidence that we have is too complex and leads to too many different possibilities -- even if the theory is true. I
have also said that science has made the important assumption that all phenomena can be reduced to physical interaction, an assumption which is has no
evidence supporting it, an assumption which it may serve us well to release in the near future.
What I want to point out with these two threads is that if we look to develop a rigorous approach to levels of existence beyond
physical, we may have more success in assessing the viability of AAT. If we look to understand how human minds actually work -- the mathematical
relationships and the basic structures which underlie such realms of experience as emotions and thought patterns -- then we may discover that we can
reduce the complexity of the evidence for AAT very sharply.
Let me give you an example: suppose that I think you have stolen my laptop. I confront you about it in order to discover whether you really did steal
One possible avenue of interrogation is the physical evidence on hand: your location during the possible window of the theft (the time between when I
last saw the laptop and when I turned up missing), the physical locations to which you have access (where you may have hidden it), whether you have
laptop residue on your fingers :-), whether your friends have seen you with the laptop, etc.
But there are other possible avenues. I can explore your motives for stealing my laptop. I can also determine whether you know things that only
someone with my laptop would know (maybe you've found my collection of pictures or writings).
Yet there is an even quicker approach, much quicker than all of these. I can make my judgment about the theory that you stole my laptop based on
emotional data. When I approach you about the laptop, you will be subject to some kind of emotional response, so I can rely on my skill at detecting
emotions (not physically, but empathically -- yes, we can all do this) to determine whether you are being honest when you deny it or not. Anyone who
is skilled at detecting lies is capable of operating on a non-physical level, even if that person does not realize it, otherwise the detection of a
lie would not come so quickly and with so little thought involved.
The same may be possible with AAT. Whereas physical data is confusing and complex, emotional and thought data may be far less complex and may lead to
a much quicker assessment of whether the theory is useful (and therefore accurate) or not.
Unfortunately, science still refuses to accept thought and emotion as data.