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Did Ancient Aliens visit the earth and guide human evolution?

No.

One other event I participated in was a “debate” with an ancient alien theorist. It was very peculiar, as you might guess. The way this came about was that Scotty Roberts, the alien astronaut fan, proposed a session on his wacky speculations, and the conference organizers didn’t want such lunacy to sail through without a word, so they asked some of the people on the science & skepticism track to engage. Greg Laden and I agreed to sit on a panel with him and another person, with Desiree Schell to moderate. And then I just kind of ignored the prospect until the day of.

Greg Laden and I met in the hallway briefly, and we asked each other what we were going to say, and wondered what this Roberts fellow’s position was. We didn’t have a clue. So the afternoon of the debate I pulled Scotty Roberts’ book off the magical internet, and quickly speed-read the whole thing, which turned out to be not very difficult at all, and unfortunately, he turned out to be even further out there than either Greg or I imagined.

The book is called The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim: The Untold Story of Fallen Angels, Giants on the Earth, and Their Extraterrestrial Origins.

You’re already cringing, aren’t you? Just the title is enough.

Pity me. I read the contents. I shall give you a sample so that you may suffer as well.

In the occult science of Numerology, the number 33 represents the ultimate attainment of consciousness. Keeping that in mind, it is very interesting to note that the geographic location of Mount Hermon, the very place where the Watchers are said to have descended to the earthly plane, lies on the 33rd parallel, which is a latitude of 33° north of the equator. If you trace the 33rd parallel to the exact geographic global opposite from Mount Hermon, you will find yourself directly on top of the most controversially mythic place in current ufological history: Roswell, New Mexico. Mount Hermon, where the Watchers descended to the earth, and Roswell, New Mexico, are exact polar opposites on the same 33rd degree north latitude. The global coordinates of Mount Hermon and the Roswell crash site are no accident, and speak to some deeper, perhaps secret significance.

So the basis for making a connection between a greatly distorted myth about divine intervention in the Middle East and UFOs is numerology and geography, where global opposites is supposed to be somehow significant. I take this bizarrely scientific attitude towards facts, though, and despite the absurdity of the logic behind this tortuous connection, I had to look up the numbers.

(My source gave me the wrong Roswell: corrected below)

Roswell is at 33.4° N. Mount Hermon is at 33.4° N. Close!

Roswell is at 104.5° W. Mount Hermon is at 35.85° E. They aren’t even close to being longitudinal opposites. The opposite side of the globe for Roswell would be somewhere deep in Asia, while the opposite for Mount Hermon is in the Pacific Ocean.

The rest of the book has the same deep affection for the truth: none of it matters. The entire basis for his argument is a few lines from the Bible and the book of Enoch, in which Nephilim and giants and angels are casually tossed around, and what he wants to do is pretend those are scientific data, from which he can build a gigantic rickety framework of speculation intended to support his foregone conclusion, that angels mated with humans and produced a special line of meddling magic creatures.

Now what about the “debate”?

As expected, it was awful. Scotty Roberts opened by protesting that he hadn’t known it was going to be a debate, so he didn’t have any “facts” on hand, and besides, it wasn’t an argument built on facts, but was a theory and philosophy — this was something of a theme for him, dismissing mere science and claiming that the ass-plucking he was doing should be called philosophy. He actively avoided making any specific claims about what he was arguing for — he did not talk about UFOs, Nephilim, Roswell, or any of the details he promoted in his book, preferring instead to recite vague creationist claims (“there were 600 flood myths!”) and complaining about having to provide evidence, of which he had none.

We poked at his gelatinous gooey non-statements. Greg ripped into his pseudo-archaeology: no, there aren’t 600 flood myths, there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts. I hammered him on the absence of evidence and the absurdity of his pretense to logic.

He was, of course, imperturbable. There was nothing rational about any of his claims, so there was no way rational argument was going to make him question them.

It was a mildly entertaining afternoon, nothing more.

One other thing: he’s hosting another convention in Minneapolis this October: The Paradigm Symposium: Re-visioning our place in the universe. I see one word in the title that’s been overused to the point of meaninglessness, and another awkward invention. It’s gonna be ugly, folks.

But look at the speaker list: they actually have Erich von Däniken coming in, also with George Noory, and, of course, the notorious Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. You know who I’m talking about.

Roberts casually invited me to the conference to participate in a debate there, and I would be tempted, just because JESUS LOOK AT ALL THE BLOG FODDER! I suspect, though, that the invitation will fade from his memory as it sinks in that I would be sitting in the audience, laughing way too hard throughout the event.


Hey, cool: ZOMGItsCriss recorded the whole thing.

Comments

  1. clcl says

    Did Ancient Aliens visit the earth and guide human evolution? No.

    Gotta love it! Unsurpassed pretense to science all while violating the basic standard of honesty. The only honest answer is, “I don’t know.” But hey, who cares about honesty when there’s an agenda to push! You go PZ!

  2. sherylyoung says

    I’m proud of humanity’s evolution. So is David Brin — author of the Uplift trilogy. It’s a great read.

  3. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    There is an actual meme for the Ancient Aliens dude with a similar picture.

  4. Alverant says

    Did Ancient Aliens visit the earth and guide human evolution? No.

    But it would be cool. At least then we’d have someone to blame Adam Sandler for.

  5. says

    Of course the ancient aliens thing is a common theme in SciFi — Arthur C. Clarke revisited it a couple of times as a matter of fact.

    I think that most people who follow von Daniken and his crowd are just intrigued by fun stories. I had a good time as a youth reading a book by a guy who claimed to have been invited onto flying saucers. It’s just good for a yuck, basically. These clowns aren’t actually perverting science education like creationists. They’re annoying crackpots but ultimately ignorable.

  6. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Problem 1)

    Read the following paragraph carefully. Find the word which doesn’t belong among the others (Hint: emphasis was added as a visual aid).

    Keeping that in mind, it is very interesting to note that the geographic location of Mount Hermon, the very place where the Watchers are said to have descended to the earthly plane, lies on the 33rd parallel, which is a latitude of 33° north of the equator.

  7. IslandBrewer says

    @lilandra 3

    I blame Prometheus for creating interest in this hokum

    OMG, yours is the 3rd comment, and in numerology (… something, something …) the number 3 means you’re right!

    So, you’re saying that Prometheus is totally true, which it is, because of 3!

  8. says

    Lilandra,

    Prometheus is just the latest example. Actually, as an idea in science-fiction, it doesn’t bother me. It’s programmes like the popular Ancient Aliens (I think it’s from History. Whatever happened to the time when they made decent historical documentaries.) that really cause damage. Off course you may be right in Prometheus sparking an interest in this stuff in many people now.

  9. Rey Fox says

    But hey, who cares about honesty when there’s an agenda to push!

    What agenda might that be? The “treat all unevidenced claims, particularly ones that rest on premises (“aliens”) that are already unevidenced as false until such time as evidence is provided”? Is calling that an “agenda” supposed to make it sound sinister?

  10. says

    It’s slightly more believable than IDiocy.

    OTOH, the lack of design evidence in life or outside of any human endeavor (but humans were guided by aliens!) sort of destroys both of them.

    Glen Davidson

  11. says

    Yeah pentatomid, hopefully it doesn’t increase the chatter too much on the topic, and give woo peddlers a bigger platform. You are right though the “History” channel is most likely doing more damage.

  12. says

    If ancient aliens were to come to earth and mate with earthlings to produce a race of Lizard People, then they would also invent skepticism to cloak the truth of their existence.

  13. clcl says

    Yeah pentatomid, hopefully it doesn’t increase the chatter too much on the topic, and give woo peddlers a bigger platform.

    I know right? I really hope alternative ideas don’t get out, too. FSM forbid the atheist materialist Darwinist crew actually have competition in the marketplace of ideas.

  14. says

    Greg ripped into his pseudo-archaeology: no, there aren’t 600 flood myths, there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts.

    I just facepalmed at myself. The racist component is so obvious and yet I never thought of it from that angle.

    (As for Prometheus: As I’ve said before, watch it because it’s visually beautiful.)

  15. markabbott says

    I can’t believe you wasted this much of your life to dealing with these assclowns. Why not have a debate on the existence of leprechauns?

  16. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Perhaps some of you should check out The Sirens Of Titan.

  17. zoniedude says

    In the 1970s, California passed a law requiring alternative theories to evolution be taught. I was in college there at the time and a professor started to offer Creationism as an alternative theory. I raised my hand and asked “If we are going to talk about ridiculous theories, I prefer the one about humans coming from space aliens.” That set the tone for a ridiculous classroom discussion that completely collapsed the decorum of instruction. So in my opinion the space aliens “theory” serves a very useful intellectual purpose in creating a “class” of theories that are ridiculous and worthy of equal consideration, which almost immediately discredits Creationism as belonging to this class of ridiculous, frivolous, non-scientific theories.

    Your mileage may vary.

  18. says

    Okay, this:

    Greg ripped into his pseudo-archaeology: no, there aren’t 600 flood myths, there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts.

    Is there any evidence for this claim? To simply note that flood accounts are “often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples” does not entail that there are “racist connotations” to the accounts themselves, does it? Can anybody suggest a link to learn more about this?

  19. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Cl

    Listen, if you are really interested in the topic, go and educate yourself. Don’t do this whole “Just asking questions, won’t you please provide a link because apparently I don’t know how to google” because you don’t strike me as an honest interlocutor.

  20. says

    Never mind, cl. It’s obvious that your reading comp skills are lacking.

    Try reading what PZ said about Greg’s argument slowly this time. Here’s a hint: the flood myths have nothing to do with a perceived inferiority (remember, Christians believe in a flood myth, too!)

  21. Rey Fox says

    cl: Read the quoted passage again: the “alien beings stories” are the ones that are racist.

  22. Beatrice says

    I know right? I really hope alternative ideas don’t get out, too. FSM forbid the atheist materialist Darwinist crew actually have competition in the marketplace of ideas.

    I see PZ is banning people with alternative ideas from internet again. He must have branched out and is now banning them from life altogether – anyone with an alternative idea gets a visit before even having a chance to utter it to another person or space lizard. Thank you, brave stranger, for fighting against censorship.

  23. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Cl, one just need a quick look at your blog to know that you will quickly be confined to TZT. Anyone who refers to this place as “free thought” have, from experience, been full of shit. Chigau was just giving you a head start.

  24. eric says

    Didn’t look at Christina Rad’s video, but question – was the crowd generally supportive of PZ and Greg, or of Roberts? Skeptical or wooey?

    I tend to think that sci-fi serves as a bit of a vaccine against at least space-based woo. I.e. you see the same stories reworked enough times, you understand they are stories. As folks have pointed out, this is is not new. Stories about alien intervention probably go back at least to the turn of the (last) century.

    But I could easily be wrong about sci-fi fans being more skeptical about stuff like this, and so I’m curious to know what any con-goers experience was at this event.

  25. chigau (間違っていない) says

    clcl
    If you continue as you have been, your chance of being confined to that thread is close to certainty.

  26. says

    Sorry Dr., I assumed you could read. I also assumed you had a penchant for rationalism, which generally frowns upon wild assumptions. Believe it or not, I actually do like PZ. Sure, I think he’s off the rails about many issues, among other things, but I didn’t comment at #2 because I dislike PZ. I commented because—to me, IOW, you don’t have to agree—PZ’s stance is a bit dogmatic here. He says, “No,” but the truth is, he doesn’t know. People who respect science should respect conservatively-stated claims, not make truth claims when they don’t know the truth. But, I realize there’s a big agenda here, so, I take it with a grain of salt. I realize that when PZ departs from sound principle, it may be because he’s pandering to the agenda element of “freethought” blogs.

    Oh, I don’t like aliens, either. I don’t even know if they exist.

    Lastly, my point was simple, I don’t know how you could have overlooked it. In fact, it wasn’t even a point, it was a question: Can anybody suggest a link to learn more about the “racist connotations” thing?

    So? Can you? Or are you content to simply swear and hate? If the latter, I’ll respectfully bow out now.

  27. says

    33rd parallel, which is a latitude of 33° north of the equator. If you trace the 33rd parallel

    And no mention of the Freemasons? I think this guy has to be protecting something or group then.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I really hope alternative ideas don’t get out, too I really hope alternative ideas don’t get out, too

    Another fuckwit who thinks science is about ideas and not evidence. Meanwhile clcl (sounds like an old perhaps banned troll), if you don’t show proper scientific evidence, by linking to the peer reviewed scientific literature for your ideas, shut the fuck up about them, as they are the equivalent of fantasy.

  29. says

    Janine,

    So, because I don’t think this place qualifies as genuine freethought, I’m in danger of my thoughts being sequestered safely away? Don’t you see the irony?

  30. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    With your link, cl, you have shown that you have a hugh fucking problem with FtB.

    Sexual Harassment & Freethought Kookery

    Many of us already know that “Freethought” blogs is just a front for groupthink. That should be evident by the way “freethought” bloggers like JT Eberhard, PZ Myers and Greta Christina arbitrarily censor intelligent dissent. While skimming through the “freethought” blogs I couldn’t help but notice they’ve given “Cristina Rad” a forum now. Anybody else sense the irony? To me, the subtext reads:

    “We’re sophisticated rational atheists and women should not be objectified!”

    “Hey, let’s give this hot, popular blonde a forum!”

    Sorry to derail but this person is full of shit.

  31. says

    Nerd of Redhead,

    Another fuckwit who thinks science is about ideas and not evidence.

    Ideas are the beginnings of science. Science is about ideas and evidence. Why imply a false dichotomy?

    if you don’t show proper scientific evidence, by linking to the peer reviewed scientific literature for your ideas, shut the fuck up about them, as they are the equivalent of fantasy.

    Did PZ provide any links to peer reviewed scientific literature?

  32. Chaos Engineer says

    Gotta love it! Unsurpassed pretense to science all while violating the basic standard of honesty. The only honest answer is, “I don’t know.”

    I don’t know what “I don’t know” means in this context.

    If you’re in the context of hanging out with your stoner friends and the question comes up, then you’re right; the honest answer is, “Wow. Or maybe we’re the aliens and we’re just dreaming that we’re human. I don’t know, man. Like, how can anybody ‘know’ anything?”

    But if you’re in the context of being excessively literal-minded and long-winded but not stoned, then saying “I don’t know” is misleading. A more honest answer is: “Well, there’s no evidence that’s worth considering, but it’s a fun idea to play around with if you’ve got nothing better to do with your time, as long as you don’t use it as a mechanism to cheat gullible people out of their hard-earned money. Gullible people have enough problems already!”

    And if you’re in the context of not being literal-minded, long-winded, or stoned, then of course the most honest answer is, “No.”

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Is there any evidence for this claim?

    Sorry fuckwit, is there any evidence for the claim that 600 separate flood myths equals the noachian deluge? That is the honest question. We await your scientific evidence…

  34. says

    Greg ripped into his pseudo-archaeology: no, there aren’t 600 flood myths, there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts.

    Oh, yes, this!

    It always bugged me, this idea that brown people couldn’t *possibly* have built the pyramids, the Easter Island statues, the Nazca designs, or whatever, without the intervention of “highly advanced” aliens… (All right, to be fair, some proponents of the Ancient Astronauts myth also claim this for Stonehenge, the Carnac stones and other monuments of prehistoric Europe, but still.)

  35. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    So, because I don’t think this place qualifies as genuine freethought, I’m in danger of my thoughts being sequestered safely away? Don’t you see the irony?

    No. I have seen your type of troll dozens of times. I know what types of arguments you will drag out. and I know what PZ will end up doing.

    It is not because you disagree. It is because you are an idiot.

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ideas are the beginnings of science.

    Sorry fuckwit, ideas aren’t important in science. They come after the evidence to explain it. Most discoveries come from “that’s funny” looking at results. Why do non-scientists always try to lecture professional scientists on how science is done. They just look dumb at the end of the day.

  37. says

    cl,

    I commented because—to me, IOW, you don’t have to agree—PZ’s stance is a bit dogmatic here. He says, “No,” but the truth is, he doesn’t know.

    So is it also domatic to say that leprechauns, fairies and fire-breathing dragons don’t exist? After all, you can’t prove they don’t exist, right?
    Actually, screw it… I’m not going to be reasonable. One only needs to take a peak at your blog to see you are a horrible piece of shit. Reading what you had to say on Cristina Rad joining FTB was all I needed to know. Piss off.

  38. says

    Eh, nevermind… I see where this is going. I’m not going to have an argument with 12 different people who can’t even stick to the issue. Sorry for challenging the groupthink.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Did PZ provide any links to peer reviewed scientific literature?

    Where is your evidence, starting with your credentials? Slanted science perhaps, almost sounds like the idjits gig.

  40. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Also, cl, free thought does not mean that my own ideas should be seriously considered no matter how often it has been debunked.

    This is free thought.

    thought unrestrained by deference to authority, tradition, or established belief, especially in matters of religion.

  41. says

    Wrong. I do know. I know that the proponents of ancient astronauts have never presented any credible information. I know that they have zero evidence. I know that their logic is little more than tortured analogies and unlikely coincidences.

    Show me one who has some substance to their claims, I’ll change my mind. Scotty Roberts didn’t have a chance of succeeding.

  42. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Well, cl flounced quickly.

    Seriously, follow his moniker and behold the stupid.

  43. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Can anybody suggest a link to learn more about the “racist connotations” thing?

    Basically, most of the “ancient astronauts” conceits are driven by the assumption that brown people could not possibly have built impressive cities or monuments without help from white people…and since there were no white people around…well, it must have been SPACE-white people!

  44. kelecable says

    I was really disappointed with the debate. I was dying to hear someone say they thought Reptilians were real, but Scotty Roberts was adamant about NOT taking a position. Instead, he was simply “asking the big questions” (a la Prometheus – and this is why that movie was terrible). I wanted to hear some real crazy, but only got to see some waffling.

    Greg Laden’s point about the racist origins of some of these ancient aliens myths was fantastic though. I had never thought about it before. His smaller point about improper sampling methods (e.g., you can’t count every flood myth from Near Eastern cultures as unique hits due to cross-cultural transmission). However, Scotty Roberts was repeating how he wasn’t a statistician so that probably went right over his head anyway.

  45. kelecable says

    I would also love to go to that Ancient Aliens conference in Minneapolis in October, but $249 is way too expensive for a joke.

  46. says

    Cl:
    You want to read about the racist connotations of “ancient aliens”? Here’s a link where you can start researching the topic.

    I assumed you could read.

    I’m not the one who couldn’t figure out what Greg’s argument was, sweetheart.

    I also assumed you had a penchant for rationalism, which generally frowns upon wild assumptions.

    Be careful there, buddy. If your mind’s too open, your brains’ll fall out.

    If there is evidence for alien visitors, then sure, I’ll consider it. But there has to be more than flood myths! and pyramids! or whatever the hell the conspiracy du jour happens to be. Until there’s good, solid evidence for “ancient aliens”, I’ll treat that speculation the same way I treat god.

  47. jimthefrog says

    Not sure where you get that longitude for Roswell. Google says 104.5 degrees West. Put the two longitudes together and you see that they are separated by 140 degrees. 140 is one black pocket off a perfect 147 in snooker. You can’t dismiss this as a mere coincidence, you so-called “scientists”.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . I’m not going to have an argument with 12 different people who can’t even stick to the issue.

    That’s right, you don’t control the dialogue here. We do.

    Sorry for challenging the groupthink.

    What groupthink? Citation needed. You were challenging the scientific method and scientific knowledge. So you got challenged back using the scientific method and knowledge, showing your presuppositional anti-science fuckwittery. Situation normal. Ignorant troll trolling. An unwilling to be shown for the idjit they are, they run away.

  49. says

    @ cl:

    So, because I don’t think this place qualifies as genuine freethought, I’m in danger of my thoughts being sequestered safely away? Don’t you see the irony?

    “Sequestering your thoughts”? Really, if you think PZ or any one of the regulars here can reach into your head and take your thoughts to prison, you should seek professional help now!

    Alternately, if you’re just trying to be clever and witty, I have a newsflash for you: attempt failed.

    Now, please, stop confusing “Freethought Blogs” with “place where you’re free to say anything, regardless of its inanity or offensiveness”, learn to google “Ancient Astronauts” if you want to learn more, and do some reading. Or if you are averse to efforts, just click here and have fun…

  50. says

    Oh man, I wish I could have been on that panel. I watch Ancient Aliens for the lulz and it would have filled me with glee to rip into their supporters publicly, instead of just yelling at my TV and writing blog posts.

  51. douglashudson says

    On a vaguely related note, has Giorgio A. Tsoukalos deliberately adopted a haircut that looks like the Centauri from Babylon 5, or is it a fortuitous coincidence?

    [He didn't always have that hair-crest thing--it's developed over time. There is a picture out on the internet documenting the change.]

  52. says

    Kelecable:

    His smaller point about improper sampling methods (e.g., you can’t count every flood myth from Near Eastern cultures as unique hits due to cross-cultural transmission).

    You know, even if there were several hundred different flood myths, wouldn’t that just be an understandable explanation for a devastating event? Floods happen all over the damn place and it’s not surprising that we’d see them pop up in different mythologies.

    No god or aliens required!

  53. says

    On a vaguely related note, has Giorgio A. Tsoukalos deliberately adopted a haircut that looks like the Centauri from Babylon 5, or is it a fortuitous coincidence?

    That hair… Such bizarre architecture… Surely humans could never build a thing like this? It must be… ALIEN LANDING SITE!
    (History Channel Science at work!)

  54. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No way. I refuse to engage this topic. It’s so fucking stupid. How did you stand it, PZ?

  55. says

    A minor spark among the burnin’ stupid, but: surely the “global opposite” of someplace at 33°N would be at 33°S?

    By my reckoning, the opposite of Mt. Hermon is in the South Pacific, about as far from any land mass as it’s possible to get. But I’m sure an enthusiast could make something of that.

  56. davidjanes says

    @Jen –

    This is exactly why I used to enjoy MonsterQuest so much, until they figured out that they all they were doing was getting mediocre ratings while paying for vacations for a bunch of “researchers.”

  57. says

    Irene:
    Sorry, on my phone and I knew I was gonna crap up the tags.

    CL! Since none of you nitwits can ever stick a flounce, I’ve got good odds that you’re still here. If that’s the case, feel free to start researching the inherent racism in the “ancient aliens” conspiracy here.

  58. truthspeaker says

    Please. The only aliens to visit earth did so over a million years ago. They had sex with apes, and the descendents of their vile offspring evolved into humans. The aliens stayed and became the band GWAR.

  59. Rey Fox says

    PZ’s stance is a bit dogmatic here. He says, “No,” but the truth is, he doesn’t know.

    Russell’s Teapotists are so tedious.

  60. says

    Wot? Ye groupthunkers! I hereby demand than when any and all of the following questions come up:

    ‘Do leprechauns exist?’

    ‘Does Russell’s teapot exist?’

    ‘Is Elvis alive and well and living on Neptune, and crooning via AM broadcast uniquely soulful, unplugged renditions of his greatest hits into cl’s molars?’

    … you respond with properly explicit ‘n fussy epistemological rigour, with a properly qualified phrase such as: ‘As there is little or no positive evidence for the given contention, and it doth sound suspiciously as tho’ you just pulled it out of your ass, quite probably mostly just ‘cos you’ve an overly fertile imagination, and far too few scruples about wasting other people’s time with such unbaked mental noise, I hereby conclude with extremely high* confidence: no.’

    … else yer all feminazi ideologues! So there! Elventy!

    (*/But logically/theoretically not absolute–as we could theoretically all be living in the Matrix or somethin’, and the machines are just hiding Elvis from us because he’s with the resistance–this is important important important that you mention this qualifier explicitly, else I still get to troll.)

  61. isochron says

    Wrong. I do know. I know that the proponents of ancient astronauts have never presented any credible information. I know that they have zero evidence. I know that their logic is little more than tortured analogies and unlikely coincidences.

    One thing missing in your argument there. There needs to be a big hole in the available data which can be neatly filled by “aliens did it”. Under those circumstances then I’d be willing to consider it a possibility. Saying aliens could have visited Earth, built pyramids, created humans or whatever other twaddle serves no purpose if we already have more credible mechanisms by which those feats were achieved (whips, natural selection and whatever, respectively) is pointless.

    Only problem for the silly proponent of the silly idea is the lack of a large enough hole to squeeze his giant aliens into (maybe if they were shorter?). Hence “No” is the right answer to the question, where “no” can be interpreted as meaning there is “no reason to think they did and no reason to even imagine they did”.

  62. says

    Eamon Kight:

    By my reckoning, the opposite of Mt. Hermon is in the South Pacific, about as far from any land mass as it’s possible to get. But I’m sure an enthusiast could make something of that.

    Oooh, oooh! I think you’ve stumbled upon the premise for the next “Searching for Atlantis”™ special on the History channel.

  63. chigau (間違っていない) says

    A far more important question is:
    What kind of tea is in Russel’s Teapot?
    (If it’s Earl Grey, I ain’t interested.)

  64. says

    Elly and I sort of wondered into this guy’s panel (so I could have a comfy place to sit and drink some free coffee), and I think we managed to drink coffee faster than I ever really have before in my life so we could get out of there. We might have survived a whole 10 minutes, maybe? It was dreadful, and if I had known you were going to be paneling with him I would have gladly warned you about his, um, stance. Yeah, let’s call it that. Because apparently he was just wading in the bullshit with bare feet.

  65. Robert M. says

    @ douglashudson 64

    Why does his hair look like that? How does he get it to defy gravity. What is the purpose of such an unusual style? Could the explanation be aliens?

  66. Richard Smith says

    I tried to watch an episode of Ancient Aliens, but I found myself almost shouting at all the stupid on the screen. I decided to play a longshot wager with myself, and promised that if they brought out von Daaniken, I’d change the channel. Who’d’a thunk anybody still considered him at all relevant? Certainly not someone desperate to change the channel! So I’ve never seen a complete episode, but I’ve been enjoying The Dumbass’s dissection of the show.

  67. eric says

    Eamon Knight:

    A minor spark among the burnin’ stupid, but: surely the “global opposite” of someplace at 33°N would be at 33°S?

    The southern hemisphere was originally filled with brown people, so it numerologically doesn’t count.

    More seriously, since he’s doing numerology, he probably drew the bullseye after shooting the arrow. Meaning in this case: he chose a point in the northern hemisphere after realizing the true-opposite point was in the Pacific ocean.

  68. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Sorry fuckwit, ideas aren’t important in science. They come after the evidence to explain it.

    Where is your evidence, starting with your credentials?

    What groupthink? Citation needed.

    WTF are you even talking about, Nerd?

    That’s right, you don’t control the dialogue here. We do.

    As in the royal “we”? The editorial “we”. Who the fuck is “we”?
    ______________________________________________
    I get that cl is willingly obtuse. However, I would greatly appreciate it if you didn’t misrepresent science, require peer-reviewed citations for claims that are clearly subjective, and (kind of continually) speak for others.

  69. douglashudson says

    Robert M, 84,

    If there were aliens visiting Earth, and they wanted to keep it a secret, Tsoukalos is certainly an excellent disinformation agent. Who would believe anything he says?

    Same thing with Scotty Roberts. The aliens are paying him to discredit the whole idea of aliens visiting Earth!

    It’s a conspiracy!

  70. says

    We sometimes see people ruminate how the very religious would react if aliens showed up, and the thought is that they’d react negatively. But stuff like this makes me think a lot of alien fanpeople would react badly if actual aliens showed up. After all biologists argue that aliens aren’t likely to have much similarity with human beings, while popular ideas of intelligent aliens tend towards humanoids like the greys, or what are effectively ape men or cat men or what have you. So when a spaceship full of vaguely lobster looking beings shows up, and they state that, no, they weren’t here 2 million years ago manipulating human DNA, or here in recent years anally probing people, there’s bound to be some very upset people because their fantasies have been crushed.

  71. says

    Flood Myths….maybe because all successful civilizations emerged next to rivers which are handy for irrigation, especially the ones that flood and leave fertile land for agriculture.

  72. ChasCPeterson says

    AE, it’s no use. NoR is an unstoppable juggernaut of bilious tribal boilerplate. Nothing changes.

  73. says

    Just finished watching.

    That gave new standards to evading and stalling. I almost pitied the guy… Emphasis on almost.

    Nice job PZ. Keep up the good work.

  74. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    You know, in an ancient french tradition, 36 is used to mean “1.7 kajillion”.

    Using this, I have determined scientifically that 4.7*10^-2 kajillion people* think that Scotty Roberts should be paid to speak at conferences – paid very, very large sums of money – about super-cool aliens that guided the evolution of humans into robot-creating ninjas and the free-wheeling, rebellious pirates who fight for rum, booty (take that how you will), and liberation from the precise tyranny of robot ninjas, with their lethal economy of movement.

    Nuff said.

    *Do the math yourself to verify my figures.

  75. pipenta says

    One thing you gotta say for Roberts, he’s LOUD. And in the way we currently place a value in the contemporary culture of ideas, that counts for rather more than it should…

  76. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @scooterskutre #92.

    Yeah, I love that he made a deal out of 600 flood myths. Even were that to be true, there are still 5000+ languages around today, and recently the figure was 6000 with the number possibly significantly larger in iron and bronze age times when, though the population was a 10th of today, difficulty in communication led to repeated splitting and hybridizing of languages. Even a dozen flood myths could easily become 600 with similar themes through translation and corruption (and decoration by creative poets who don’t want to bore their audiences with the same exact story every time).

    So, maybe 1/10th of the iron age world had flood myths, when much larger percentages lived on flood plains? This statistic impresses exactly how?

    –)->

  77. ChasCPeterson says

    What kind of tea is in Russel’s Teapot?

    The kind sold by the Hubba Dubba Tea Company of Tibet, of course.

  78. pipenta says

    “So when a spaceship full of vaguely lobster looking beings shows up…”

    Step back, I’m from Connecticut, I got this! Got the frank rolls toasting on the griddle and the butter all melted! Lemon wedges will be provided. BYOB!

  79. 'Tis Himself says

    By my reckoning, the opposite of Mt. Hermon is in the South Pacific, about as far from any land mass as it’s possible to get. But I’m sure an enthusiast could make something of that.

    Isn’t that where R’lyeh is? That’s the place where Cthulhu and his homeboys hang out.

  80. pipenta says

    chigau (間違っていない) writes:
    A far more important question is:
    What kind of tea is in Russel’s Teapot?
    (If it’s Earl Grey, I ain’t interested.)

    Yeah, it has a bit of a bug-repellent quality from the addition of bergamot oil. But you can get a taste for it. When I’m not starting my day with coffee or creosote tea (lapsang souchong), I love the taste of bug repellent in the morning. It is invigorating. ;)

  81. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    The aliens stayed and became the band GWAR.

    Works for me.

  82. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    So, maybe 1/10th of the iron age world had flood myths, when much larger percentages lived on flood plains? This statistic impresses exactly how?

    Did you know that virtually every culture divides time into periods of light and periods of darkness? The Chinese characters for them are 天 and 夜; Basques refer to them as egun and gaua. In Swahili they’re siku and usiku.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  83. pipenta says

    AJ Milne,

    Elvis on Neptune? That is absurd.

    Elvis is on MARS. It saddens me deeply that you do not know this. And it is an example of what happens to public knowledge of important scientific matters degrades because journalism has gone down the tubes and most of the good science writers have been fired. Not like in my day when every kid waiting with his mom at the supermarket checkout, could glean wisdom just scanning the covers of the WORLD WEEKLY NEWS. Alas poor Bat Boy, we hardly knew ye. It is a tragedy*.

    *Not the least because writing those headlines must have been the best most hilarious job in the whole wide world. And they must have been able to take all of their booze & weed costs as a deduction.

  84. chigau (間違っていない) says

    What a Maroon
    Even animals divide their lived by light and dark so this alien interference is deeper than you may think.

  85. Amphiox says

    Or that every human language that has words for colors will, always, have a word for white and a word for black? Even if they have no other color words at all?

    Not only does this prove alien precursors, but it proves that the aliens must, specifically be those striped guys from Star Trek.

    The reason earth is so screwed up is because they got distracted by the white:black black:white mutual genocide before they finished the job.

  86. CJO says

    Saying aliens could have visited Earth, built pyramids, created humans or whatever other twaddle serves no purpose if we already have more credible mechanisms by which those feats were achieved (whips, natural selection and whatever, respectively) is pointless.

    The idea that slave labor (“whips”) was required to build the great monuments of Pharaonic Egypt is an outdated one that does not take into account the nature of the society. Individuals at work on them would not have self-identified as “slaves” which was a clearly defined category for Egyptians of all periods.

    Of course, by our standards no Egyptian other than the king was really free (they wouldn’t have identified with any modern definition of “freedom” anyway). But Egyptians didn’t oppose “slavery” with “freedom” but with “non-humanity (livestock)”. In “the House of the King” (a designation that certainly included all state building projects) there were no slaves because everyone involved was in absolute submission to the king. It sounds like a distinction without a difference, I suppose, but the king was a god, and during stable dynasties at least it really does appear that this ideology was internalized and considerd legitimate by almost everyone.

    Regardless, the point stands (sorry for the pedantic digression): the vast labor resources available are a perfectly credible mechanism by which the pyramids could have been constructed, whips or no.

    Incidentally, one of the factoids that seems to so impress peddlers of such wild speculations is that in order for the Great Pyramid to have been built within 20 years, on average a block would have had to be placed every two minutes. It’s certainly an impressive figure, but what they don’t take into account is that the site is 18 acres, and that by the time the top 100 feet were under construction, more than 90% of the work was already done. There was a lot of room, and up until the very final stages of the project, hundreds, possibly thousands, of separate teams all across the site were at work simultaneously.

  87. says

    By my reckoning, the opposite of Mt. Hermon is in the South Pacific, about as far from any land mass as it’s possible to get. But I’m sure an enthusiast could make something of that.

    Amelia Earhart, anybody?

  88. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    chigau (間違っていない),

    Hmm, good point. Given that life on earth came originally from outer space, it’s clear that the aliens programmed that notion into our very DNA.

  89. davidjanes says

    So when a spaceship full of vaguely lobster looking beings

    The Mi-Go don’t need any steenking space ships.

  90. Rich Woods says

    @drksky #79:

    Oooh, oooh! I think you’ve stumbled upon the premise for the next “Searching for Atlantis”™ special on the History channel.

    If you’re looking in the Pacific, as the anti-Mt Hermon location suggests, you wouldn’t be looking for Atlantis but for Mu (also known as Lemuria).

    Please, get your facts straight.

  91. alektorophile says

    Since Von Däniken’s name was mentioned, let me take this opportunity to apologize to the world in my countrymen’s name for producing that fraud. At least his amusement park/indoctrination centre was forced to close due to a lack of visitors, which is more than one can hope for Ham’s creation “museum”.

    On the topic of the implicit racism of all varieties of “ancient aliens visit backward peoples and teach them to stack stones” delusions, I find these no more than a modern rehashing of the earlier “lost tribes of Israel” and similar explanations concocted by European explorers and colonialists to explain the monuments and cultural complexity of what they saw as inferior natives. The Book of Mormon, with its openly racist “bad brown lamanite vs. good white nephites” pseudo-historical account of the prehistoric Americas is more of the same.

    As for the History, Discovery, and NatGeo channels, a pox on them all. A waste of ether if I ever saw one.

  92. SteveV says

    looking for Atlantis but for Mu (also known as Lemuria)

    No need to look for Mu. Just ask RTL.

    (the) racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories

    are surely leavened with a hearty dose of Dunning, Kruger?
    I, mean if I can’t think of how to do it then how could it possibly be done by a bunch of brown skinned primitives?

  93. cag says

    cl

    I’m not going to have an argument with 12 different people who can’t even stick to the issue. Sorry for challenging the groupthink.

    So cl, is it groupthink or 12 different individuals with independent questions?

    The trouble with groupthink is that everyone has their own opinions – misquoting Yogi Berra.

  94. bryanfeir says

    Higgldey Piggledy,
    Erich von Däniken
    Wrote of green spacemen who
    Came from afar.

    Next thing you know he’ll say
    Extraterrestrials
    Came down to Dallas to
    Murder J.R.

    (found in an old 1980’s Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine issue; can’t remember who originally wrote it.)

  95. petejohn says

    …there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts.

    Here fucking here.

    It really bugs me when people say things like this. My ultimate dream trip is a trip to Machu Picchu. I think given that Inca technology was limited to using stuff like ropes, stones, alpacas, and brute force (and surely other things, I’m not an Incan scholar by any means), that Machu Picchu may be the most incredible thing that was ever built in the Western Hemisphere. It’s atop a mountain in a place that is basically one big chain of mountains, with staggering views and yet pretty damn clever terraced farm plots and so on. Amazing. It’s something we should be studying, preserving, and discussing as a true wonder of human achievement.

    But some would argue “Nah. Those dumb Incas, with their goofy knot-tying communication system… they couldn’t have built that.” Von Daniken is on board with that line of thinking. It’s ridiculous. These people were many things, but primitive is not one of them. They took what they had and made something that absolutely blows the mind. We should celebrate that, not chalk it up to fucking martians.

  96. says

    @80, 99, & 102:

    I happen to like Earl Grey. Lapsang souchong smells like somebody set the tea plantation on fire. To resolve the argument, let’s have the teapot be filled with very old pu-erh (it would have to be old, after all of that time flying around the Sun).

    If and when somebody sends astronauts beyond Earth orbit, they should toss a teapot out of the airlock, just so we can say that Russell’s teapot does exist.

  97. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    quickly speed-read the whole thing

    I hate you.

    I really, really hate you.

  98. says

    zoniedude;

    That’s awesome. We can and should use less culturally entrenched craziness like ancient aliens and Davide Icke’s lizard people to show up the stupidity of the creasciolists* and their “teach the controversy” tactics.

    *Yes, I have been itching for a chance to use that word in a sentence.

  99. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    But look at the speaker list: they actually have Erich von Däniken coming in

    Jesus Christ. I thought he was dead long ago. Like Uri Geller.

  100. karpad says

    So, is anyone else kind of hung up on the whole “33 is a significant number, and the latitude is 33!”

    except Latitude numbers are pretty fucking close to arbitrary. not AS arbitrary as Longitude, where the zero point is “the hometown of the guy what invented it because RULE BRITANNIA,” but close.

    Latitude is measured from 0 to 90, the degrees of the angle formed from a line through the equator and a line through the north pole. But there is literally no reason for this to be the increment, other than this is how it’s always been (“it makes our math easy and almost-corresponds to celestial motion, plus or minus 5 and a quarter days” isn’t a good reason). If the original measurement for Degrees was based on 400 degrees in a circle, then it would be from 0-100. And that completely ruins all of this nonsense.

    So the only way this would work is if these ancient aliens were in fact the source of this ancient knowledge of geometry, and that they then periodically intervened to prevent different measurement systems from taking enough precedence over that to remain the standard so that their supersecret numerology shit would be even remotely relevant.

    My god, what if our planetary coordinates were based instead on a decimal radian value of rotation from a fixed point? or if north south were, rather than a 90 degree value, instead supplanted with a 180 degree value: “latitude 113″ instead of “23 South” for instance.

    my god, our entire existence must be swarmed by these ancient visitors, quietly guiding our societal norms so that bored pseudointellectuals and apophenia-patients have a chance to learn the truth through their subtle, stupid puzzles.

  101. says

    @karpad: Historical note: the meter was originally defined so that the mean circumference of the Earth from pole to pole would be 40,0000 kilometers (the initial measurement was off by ~0.2%). So if we used 400 angle increments rather than 360, we’d have 100 km/degree, which would be in some sense easier than the 110 km we have now. Of course, we could have just defined the meter differently.

    Measuring angles in radians is the way to make the math easy.

  102. Thorne says

    It’s always amused me that the ancient people were smart enough to figure out how the universe was created, and figure out how god really works, and create a calendar that predicts the end of the world, but they weren’t smart enough to mortar stones together.

    As for opposite sides of the Earth, according to an old Asimov essay, there are relatively few land areas which are directly opposite other land masses. It’s kinda what happens when 3/4 of your planet is water.

  103. Grumps says

    @cl

    Sexual Harassment & Freethought Kookery

    Many of us already know that “Freethought” blogs is just a front for groupthink. That should be evident by the way “freethought” bloggers like JT Eberhard, PZ Myers and Greta Christina arbitrarily censor intelligent dissent. While skimming through the “freethought” blogs I couldn’t help but notice they’ve given “Cristina Rad” a forum now. Anybody else sense the irony? To me, the subtext reads:

    “We’re sophisticated rational atheists and women should not be objectified!”

    “Hey, let’s give this hot, popular blonde a forum!”

    OK that’s projection… I take it you’re male.You haz a little sad that your fantasy blonde atheist haz gone over to the enemy? Amiright?

    You find it difficult to believe that FtB could invite a witty, intelligent, renowned vlogger to join FtB on her merits despite being a blonde female?

    Fuck you, sexist shit.

  104. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    @karpad: Historical note: the meter was originally defined so that the mean circumference of the Earth from pole to pole would be 40,0000 kilometers (the initial measurement was off by ~0.2%). So if we used 400 angle increments rather than 360, we’d have 100 km/degree, which would be in some sense easier than the 110 km we have now. Of course, we could have just defined the meter differently.

    There is such a thing as the “gon” or “new degrees” of which there are indeed 400 in the circle. I believe that’s still used by geometers and I presume that it goes back to the great French decimation.

  105. says

    It always makes me happy to see the racism in the “ancient aliens” bullshit getting called out. I’ve noticed that as genetic testing has been able to verify that, yes, those really were brown people living there, the alien theories have become more numerous. The idea that some lost race of white people built the pyramids can no longer be argued with a straight face, so they had to replace them with aliens.

  106. says

    I love how the Free From Thoughters are so dedicated to trolling us that they’re willing to defend moronic indefensible idea

    I’m not sure how looking like an idiot makes someone else look bad but hey there you go!

  107. says

    It always makes me happy to see the racism in the “ancient aliens” bullshit getting called out. I’ve noticed that as genetic testing has been able to verify that, yes, those really were brown people living there, the alien theories have become more numerous. The idea that some lost race of white people built the pyramids can no longer be argued with a straight face, so they had to replace them with aliens.

    Animal Planet did something similar with their mermaids.

    The idea that some brown people trained dolphins to fish for them was unacceptable…it had to be Mermaids.

  108. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

    Many of us already know that “Freethought” blogs is just a front for groupthink. That should be evident by the way “freethought” bloggers like JT Eberhard, PZ Myers and Greta Christina arbitrarily censor intelligent dissent.

    Ah! Groupthink! That totally explains how some well-known commenters here are the ones censored and banned at JT’s. That makes perfect sen…

    No… Wait…

    Fuck. It’s gone.

  109. shockna says

    Ancient Aliens is only good for one thing.

    The Ancient Aliens drinking game. Anyone here who doesn’t read Blaghag (I’m going to guess that there’s pretty significant reader overlap >_>), go there and search “Ancient Aliens drinking game”.

    I almost can’t believe they gave this guy (Scotty Roberts) a forum in which to spout this nonsense. His “theory” ranks somewhere between creationist cosmology and flood geology in terms of idiocy. /sigh

  110. petejohn says

    “vaguely lobster looking beings…”

    Like in that District 9 movie? Would they show up in South Africa?

  111. joffan says

    “Did Ancient Aliens visit the earth and guide human evolution?”

    It’s the “guide human evolution” bit that is clearly false. If these putative Ancient Aliens (AAs) came to earth, took a few holos, uploaded them to the darkmatternet, and sped on to the next tour stop, who knows or cares. But if the AAs did anything to any human-ancestor DNA , it is indistinguishable from the normal workings of evolution and therefore is sliced away by our friend Occam. Sorry, AAs, you’ll have to stop hiding if you want any credit for apparently doing nothing.

  112. ChasCPeterson says

    some deeper, perhaps secret significance

    *one eyebrow up*

    perhaps.

  113. penasquito says

    This kept running through my head. It actually made the talk a little more enjoyable, but now I kind of feel like I’ve insulted Comicus.

    Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?
    Scotty Roberts: Stand-up philosopher.
    Dole Office Clerk: What?
    Scotty Roberts: Stand-up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.
    Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a *bullshit* artist!
    Scotty Roberts: *Grumble*…
    Dole Office Clerk: Did you bullshit last week?
    Scotty Roberts: No.
    Dole Office Clerk: Did you *try* to bullshit last week?
    Scotty Roberts: Yes!

  114. Amphiox says

    It’s always amused me that the ancient people were smart enough to figure out how the universe was created, and figure out how god really works, and create a calendar that predicts the end of the world, but they weren’t smart enough to mortar stones together.

    Interesting factoid: the Inca of Peru built their incredible cities and monoliths without using any mortar at all.

  115. Amphiox says

    But if the AAs did anything to any human-ancestor DNA , it is indistinguishable from the normal workings of evolution and therefore is sliced away by our friend Occam.

    If human genetic manipulations/domestications are anything to go by, the majority of any changes aliens might have hypothetically have made would have been erased without trace by regular evolutionary processes within a few thousand to tens of thousands of years after they “left” anyways.

  116. Joffan says

    Interesting factoid: the Inca of Peru built their incredible cities and monoliths without using any mortar at all.

    Since when have any monoliths used mortar? :-)

  117. Amphiox says

    Latitude is measured from 0 to 90, the degrees of the angle formed from a line through the equator and a line through the north pole. But there is literally no reason for this to be the increment, other than this is how it’s always been (“it makes our math easy and almost-corresponds to celestial motion, plus or minus 5 and a quarter days” isn’t a good reason). If the original measurement for Degrees was based on 400 degrees in a circle, then it would be from 0-100. And that completely ruins all of this nonsense.

    I always thought that the whole 360 degrees in a circle thing, and our entire modern system of degrees/radians/etc, was ultimately contingently predicated on the Ancient Babylonians having come up with a base 60 numbering system.

    (So of course that means the aliens must have given that to them! Aliens with 6 fingers, obviously (maybe 5 hands….)).

  118. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    As Amphiox points out, using mortar is cheating!

  119. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I always thought that the whole 360 degrees in a circle thing, and our entire modern system of degrees/radians/etc, was ultimately contingently predicated on the Ancient Babylonians having come up with a base 60 numbering system.

    (So of course that means the aliens must have given that to them! Aliens with 6 fingers, obviously (maybe 5 hands….)).

    Nah. It most likely just means that the (pre?)-Babylonians were just better at arithmetic than us (as a maths teacher I see that daily): 60 is divisible by more numbers than 100 (with no remainder, I mean, for the sticklers).

  120. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    As for opposite sides of the Earth, according to an old Asimov essay, there are relatively few land areas which are directly opposite other land masses. It’s kinda what happens when 3/4 of your planet is water.

    http://www.antipodemap.com/

  121. says

    “In the occult science of Numerology, the number 33 represents the ultimate attainment of consciousness.”

    THAT explains why “33” appears on Rolling Rock bottles!

  122. ChasCPeterson says

    using mortar is cheating!

    As Joffan points out, especially for a monolith!

  123. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    some deeper, perhaps secret significance

    *one eyebrow up*

    Yes, I admit it.

    Woolworths or no Woolworths, I do loves me some sacred geometry.

  124. says

    I still say that if you ever seriously use the term “occult” and “science” right next to each other you need to spend an hour meditating in a tumble dryer

  125. chigau (間違っていない) says

    a3kr0n

    PZ is a “big S skeptic”
    LOL

    I don’t get it.

  126. microraptor says

    Animal Planet did something similar with their mermaids.

    The idea that some brown people trained dolphins to fish for them was unacceptable…it had to be Mermaids.

    Actually, in that case it seems more to be “the idea that dolphins and brown people were smart enough to figure out how to cooperate with each other is unrealistic, therefore mermaids trained the dolphins.”

  127. says

    Actually, in that case it seems more to be “the idea that dolphins and brown people were smart enough to figure out how to cooperate with each other is unrealistic, therefore mermaids trained the dolphins.”

    Isn’t that exactly what I said?

  128. julietdefarge says

    @cl You don’t need a link. All you need to know is that if the builders of something cool had brown skin Daniken and co. will say they had alien help. However, he never suggests that the Parthenon, the Pantheon in Rome, Notre Dame de Paris, Viking longboats, or the dykes of Holland got any boost from ETs.

  129. Owlmirror says

    We can and should use less culturally entrenched craziness like ancient aliens and Davide Icke’s lizard people to show up the stupidity of the creasciolists* and their “teach the controversy” tactics.

    Two t-shirts:

    a) TEACHTHECONTROVERSY

    b) TEACHTHECONTROVERSY

    Main site:

    http://controversy.wearscience.com/

    You can also get a fossil-burying-devil, geocentrism, a world-turtle, a teapot in orbit . . . and so on.

    Oh! And a “Doomsday 2012!”

    I wonder if they’ll still sell those in 2013?

  130. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Sili –

    There is such a thing as the “gon” or “new degrees” of which there are indeed 400 in the circle

    I’d never heard of ‘gon’ before but the alternative name of ‘gradian’ is familiar from O levels. In fact at least one old scientific calculator can work in them. Wikipedia explains the basics ok.

    michealbusch –

    I happen to like Earl Grey. Lapsang souchong smells like somebody set the tea plantation on fire.

    No, Lapsong smells like somebody set the tea plantation’s sewage pit on fire. And then concentrated it. Yet my aunt still drinks it. <shakes head>

    ChasCPeterson –

    using mortar is cheating!

    As Joffan points out, especially for a monolith!

    Um, if its actually a monolith, surely it has no joints and therefore *needs* no mortar? Unless, of course, the AA actually made it out of several pieces,hid A Great Secret inside and then glued it together with wonder-mortar(™)

  131. hypatiasdaughter says

    #108 CJO
    I love this guy, so want everyone to see what he does.
    Wally Wallington, a retired construction worker living in Flint, Michigan, moves 10 ton blocks by himself, without complicated machinery and without breaking a sweat. He started his hobby to refute the claim that our ancient ancestors weren’t capable of building their monuments.
    Wally Wallington: http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYQBDhkBfr0

    And don’t blame Prometheus. Blame Velikovsky, von Däniken, Sitchin and their fellow running dogs of stupidity. Thank the internet for making it so effortless to get this shit into the hands of the gullible. BtI (Before the Internet) they had to actually hunt for and buy a book to fill their heads with this stuff.

  132. DLC says

    Suddenly there’s only limited brands of bullshit that need fighting ? really ? Flip through your cable channel guide sometime and see why it’s necessary to keep debunking ghosts, aliens,chupacabras and other such arrant nonsense. These things are born of ignorance and die of education.

  133. microraptor says

    @ Ing #155

    Not quite- the distinction is that both parties appear to have simultaneously realized the advantages of working with each other without one side or the other having to train the other party.

  134. says

    I love “theories” like this. They’re so funny, so creative; the detail and effort that goes into coming up with stuff like this entertains me like little else. There was a History Channel show a couple of years ago–I think it was called “Earth’s Black Hole”–which proposed that the Bermuda Triangle was a black hole and was connected, via wormhole, to some volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific, which were “white holes” because they “created matter”. It was hilarious and I loved every second of it. The Philadelphia experiment? The Dulce base? Area 51 myths? Bring it!

    But I’m a weirdo like that. Why did *you* waste your time, Dr. Myers? Actually, I’m a bit curious as to the specifics of how this… “debate” came about. Was it really this Roberts fellow who proposed it, and if so, why on Earth did he then spend the entire… “debate” complaining about it?

  135. says

    I don’t get all the hate on this. These people don’t have any political power, unlike the Christian Creationists. I have always enjoyed reading these stories, as obviously fictional as they are. Plus, it would be hilarious to have a President who advocated this stuff! That would put an eggbeater in the Creationist’s boxers…

  136. meursalt says

    I’m watching the video, and it’s pretty entertaining. Did anyone else share my relieved chuckle around 41:25 when the moderator cut off Greg Laden just as he was about to riff on the parallels of Jungian psychology and European biases in early archaeology?

    (No offense to Dr. Laden; it was all quite fascinating!)

  137. 'Tis Himself says

    I’m surprised some people think Elvis is living on another planet.

    Until 2008 Elvis owned and managed a Burger King in Great Falls, Montana. He then retired and moved to Eugene, Oregon, where he volunteers for Meals on Wheels. Tru fax!

  138. says

    I don’t get all the hate on this. These people don’t have any political power, unlike the Christian Creationists. I have always enjoyed reading these stories, as obviously fictional as they are. Plus, it would be hilarious to have a President who advocated this stuff! That would put an eggbeater in the Creationist’s boxers…

    We did. Reagan.

  139. Feline says

    I knew that aliens and pyramids and all that was bullshit, but on being told that there was a racist component to it I said:
    “Oh? Well, of course there is. How did I not see this before?”
    It’s a familiar tune, of course. It’s just the latest eye opening experience I’ve had here. This one is fairly easy on me, though. I don’t feel as much of an asshole as I usually do when my priviledge gets tossed in my face.

    But thank you, all of you (too numerous to name) who are fighting to ensure that being an asshole hurts, you’ve made me start fighting back where I can.
    (This post was better before the browser crash ate it, but I can’t recreate it, sadly)

  140. says

    Wow, a bunch of civilizations have flood stories! Thats definitely proof of aliens!, or God!…and has nothing to do with the fact that humans kind of like water since it can be used to not die of thirst and grow things, so they may have congregated around it when they were making permanent settlements…

    Nah, aliens.

    I saw every episode of Ancient Aliens so far (Im an MST3k nerd, so look at it like watching a crappy movie), things I learned:

    If its written down or drawn anywhere, its true…also, its aliens.

    Bigfoot is a transdimensional ghost (no, really, they had an episode on bigfoot…and one of the theories is its a transdimensional being who phases out, or its a ghost)

    Aliens are shit at navigation (charting a world…alien equivalent of google maps? nah, lets have these primitive people take forever to build giant stone structures we can use as landmarks.)

    Granite is great at conducting non-detectible energy.

    The pyramids were energy reactors.

    Aliens love stonework. (setting up shop on new world, space age synthetic materials for buildings that can be quickly and easily built up…nah, go for the giant stone buildings)

    Aliens need space suits to live in earths atmosphere.

    Aliens dont need space suits to live in earths atmosphere.

    Humans in a certain area only have 1 style of art ever, and any stylistic deviation from that is because what they were depicting was ALIENS!

    Aliens can breed with humans.

    NO JON, YOU ARE THE ALIENS…AND THEN JON WAS A ZOMBIE!!!!

    Heres a good blog which goes into a lot of the ancient alien malarky (how ancient people weren’t bumbling incompetents because they didnt have iphones, why bugs and birds arent space craft, etc.) http://www.dumbassguide.info

  141. ougaseon says

    I wonder what the source of the desire for some people to believe their favorite stories are ‘true’. I mean, Stargate SG-1 is the best SF show evah, but that doesn’t mean I have any desire at all to actually believe that Daniel Jackson was totally right about alien parasites enslaving people in ancient Egypt and pretending to be gods and forcing them to build pyramids as landing pads for their ships.

    I can understand the desire to believe in ghosts and whatnot, since it carries the implication of life after death or speaking with your loved ones again or whatever. But aliens guiding human evolution? Bigfoot? Mermaids? Anyone explain the attracion of these ideas?

  142. Akira MacKenzie says

    One of the things that the UFO-loons neglect to mention is that before the “Grey” became the stereotypical flying saucer jockey in the 1970s, the aliens described by the woos were supposed to be tall, physically-perfect, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian-looking humanoids.

    “Zeta Reticuli über alles!”

  143. Amphiox says

    Nah. It most likely just means that the (pre?)-Babylonians were just better at arithmetic than us (as a maths teacher I see that daily)

    Wait a minute. You have pre-Babylonians numbered among your math students?

  144. Nes says

    Well, crap, you guys scared cl away while I was at work. I wonder, is that the same cl who used to comment at Daylight Atheism? I guess now I’ll never know.

  145. chiptuneist says

    Nes: I believe it was. It’s the same cl that was hanging around JT’s blog for a few days. JT was going to have a debate with cl, but cancelled after being informed of cl’s past posting habits at Daylight Atheism and cl not exactly starting the debate off on the right foot. Relevant link:

    Post discussing cancellation of planned debate, including e-mail received from Adam Lee at Daylight Atheism about cl’s past posting habits.

  146. chiptuneist says

    One other relevant link for confirming that the cl here is the same cl from JT’s blog:

    Beginning of the debate. As you can see, the website linked to by cl’s username in that thread is the same website linked to by cl’s username in this thread. Between that and a fairly easily identifiable writing style I think it’s safe to say that THIS cl is THAT cl, and therefore also the cl from Daylight Atheism.

    So yeah, you did get to know after all!

  147. Nes says

    Yup, I just realized that his blog has the same title as the old DA cl’s blog. In that case, I can say that he’s likely going to find himself confined to the TZT awfully damned fast, if not outright banned.

    Oh… and if you browse the archives over there, you’re likely to find me saying stupid thing on occasion (especially in the discussion of the use of a certain word). Let’s just say that I was young and dumb back then ;-)

  148. says

    Is there any evidence for this claim? To simply note that flood accounts are “often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples” does not entail that there are “racist connotations” to the accounts themselves, does it? Can anybody suggest a link to learn more about this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Aliens
    There’s about two episodes wherein engineering projects that are by white-coded people are considered alien creations. Somehow, the colloseum and stonehenge don’t draw the same” NOPE! IMPOSSIBLE TO HUMANS!” reactions that the engineering work of non-white people manages. Funny, that.

    Also, reading comprehension: The alien stories are the ones with the racist connotations, not the flood stories.

    Nah. Those dumb Incas, with their goofy knot-tying communication system… they couldn’t have built that.”

    Ah, Quippu. Either really complicated mnemonics, or 3-D Language.

  149. says

    Nes,

    It’s not that anybody scared me away, it’s just that there’s no point in me having a shouting match with 12 atheists. However, I am willing to discuss evidence, which leads me to…

    Audley,

    …feel free to start researching the inherent racism in the “ancient aliens” conspiracy here.

    Hey thanks, that’s all I was asking for in the first place. Unfortunately, one needs evidence to do research, and your link is noticeably short on evidence, especially of the peer-reviewed variety. I was looking for solid evidence that would sustain the claim, “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories, because they’re often trotted out to support claims of the inferiority of native peoples, who weren’t possibly clever enough to construct those peculiar artifacts.” All I found was a bunch of ranting from PC atheists like Skepchik and Blaghag.

    If you have any *EVIDENCE*, I’m game. If not, I’ll feel free to continue withholding belief in the claim, and this will be the last you hear from me in this thread.

  150. Owlmirror says

    Unfortunately, one needs evidence to do research, and your link is noticeably short on evidence, especially of the peer-reviewed variety.

    Cole, et al. On Folk Archaeology in Anthropological Perspective. Current Anthropology. Vol. 31, No. 4 (Aug. – Oct., 1990), pp. 390-394

    The “ancient astronauts” mystique, for example, plays on negative stereotypes of non-Europeans as hapless peoples needing outside help to accomplish anything impressive (according to von Dæniken virtually no help from outer space was needed by Europeans).

    All I found was a bunch of ranting from PC atheists like Skepchik and Blaghag.

    Your bigotry is noted.

    If not, I’ll feel free to continue withholding belief in the claim, and this will be the last you hear from me in this thread.

    Maybe alien astronauts will give you a lift to Sirius.

  151. opposablethumbs says

    If you have any *EVIDENCE*, I’m game.

    Don’t forget, you’re the one proposing something extraordinary. That means you’re the one who has to come up with some evidence if you want anyone to take it seriously. Otherwise we’ll “feel free to continue withholding belief in the claim”.

    We’ll wait (but we won’t hold our breath).

  152. opposablethumbs says

    … oh, and that would need to be, you know, actual evidence – not vague waffling about numerology or about the fact that human settlements tend to grow up near bodies of water (seeing as how we and the plants and animals we like all drink the stuff) and that bodies of water sometimes flood …
    There’s plenty of evidence for the existence of racism. For the existence of aliens that have visited this planet, not so much.
    There’s this little problem to do with large distances and the impossibility of ftl travel … so the evidence for alien visitors would need to be pretty solid, do you see?

  153. McC2lhu iz not nu. says

    I was still in elementary school when Chariots of the Gods came out. I remember the family laughing at my uncle who was passing it off as gospel, because it was on film, you see. I became skeptical about a great deal, very quickly. I didn’t want to be laughed at for believing bullshit.

  154. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, its obvious cl has no understanding of where the burden of evidence is. It is always on those making the claims that aren’t considered part of present science. Like ancient astronauts actually visiting Earth and meddling. And extraordinary claims like that requires extraordinary evidence. What this means is suggestive is not considered the level of evidence needed for backing up those claims. It needs to be conclusive and solid physical evidence.

  155. says

    using mortar is cheating!

    As Joffan points out, especially for a monolith!

    Um, if its actually a monolith, surely it has no joints and therefore *needs* no mortar?

    Welcome to the point.

  156. says

    Somewhat off topic but to pick the hivemind on this.

    Does anyone else find a bit of racial…wrongness in the tropes used by Prometheus?

    SPOILER

    Mainly that the Engineers are big white (albino) bland Caucasianoids? It seems to be playing into the white<<<more evolved trope from the 60s scifi.

  157. Anri says

    cl:

    If you have any *EVIDENCE*, I’m game. If not, I’ll feel free to continue withholding belief in the claim, and this will be the last you hear from me in this thread.

    Candidly, if you can’t see the inherent racism in the presumption that monuments in non-European parts of the world must involve super-human assistance, while monuments in European parts of the world are just the result of ambition and hard work, I’m not really sure how to demonstrate it to you.

    If you honestly can’t see that, you’re either terribly stupid or deeply ignorant and either way, there’s not much point in listening to you. One of those, fortunately, is curable with a little ambition and hard work.
    If, on the other hand, you do actually know the ramifications of theories along these lines, but don’t care to acknowledge them, you’re not arguing in good faith, and once again, not much point in wasting my time with that.

    If you actually want examples of that kind of thinking, they’re not hard to find… if you’re honestly looking. You are, of course, free to not look – and everyone else is therefore free to recognize that you do not have an informed opinion on this issue.
    Your call, really.

  158. says

    The racism in ancient astronauts can really be seen once you wonder “why the fuck would a space faring race build in stone?”

    They are literally presuming that fucking stone age technology required space age builders.

  159. says

    Now if we found a city of plastic in the middle of the Amazon or something then I’d say you might have something there.

    Suggesting that aliens used space age tools for fucking stone cutting? WHY!?

  160. says

    Erülóra Maikalambe #186

    using mortar is cheating!

    As Joffan points out, especially for a monolith!

    Um, if its actually a monolith, surely it has no joints and therefore *needs* no mortar?

    Welcome to the point.

    Not every monolith has a point.

  161. says

    @Myeck Waters

    It was glaring for me because, even though they through out evolution for the sake of plot…white people have some Neanderthal ancestry. The precursor race should fucking look African if anything

  162. says

    Ah, cl, classic racist move amongst the skeptics. “I want super-duper gold star evidence of every particular racist thing”. We know. But you don’ demand this evidence of aliens. Die in a corner.

  163. says

    Ing: most of the discussion I read on the film assumed that the engineers were planting lifeless planets with “seed” DNA. So to my mind there was no reason for them to be particularly anthropomorphic at all, let alone SuperMegaWhitey. But the film was written with pretty much zero regard for science anyway.

  164. says

    opposablethumbs,

    “Don’t forget, you’re the one proposing something extraordinary.” (#181)

    Have you mistakenly assumed I’m proposing that ancient alien theory is correct?

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls,

    “Yawn, its obvious cl has no understanding of where the burden of evidence is. It is always on those making the claims that aren’t considered part of present science.” (#184)

    Is the claim, “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories” considered part of present science?

    chigau,

    Thanks for at least providing a link instead of just being a hater with nothing positive to add to the discussion. Although, I don’t really understand the implied connection to ancient alien theory. In what way does the link you supplied lend support to the claim, “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories?”

    Anri,

    “Candidly, if you can’t see the inherent racism in the presumption that monuments in non-European parts of the world must involve super-human assistance, while monuments in European parts of the world are just the result of ambition and hard work…” (#188)

    I understand the presumption, thanks. What I can’t see is any evidence for the claim that “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories.” I’ve read my fair share of ancient alien theories, and I don’t think that’s a true claim. So, I’m asking for evidence, *SPECIFIC* evidence. If the claim is correct, this should be easy for you.

    ruteekatreya,

    ““I want super-duper gold star evidence of every particular racist thing”.”

    Don’t you think it’s disingenuous to put words in people’s mouths? That’s not even close to what I said.

    “But you don’ demand this evidence of aliens.”

    Sure I do. I don’t even believe aliens exist (if by “alien” you mean “carbon-based life forms resulting from unguided evolution elsewhere in the universe). Shouldn’t you ask what I believe before you speak for me?

  165. chip says

    @bryanfeir – Yay! That’s a Double Dactyl. I get oddly excited when I see someone mention one.

    And I have to put in a (very tiny) good word for von Daaniken. I ran into his “Chariots of the Gods” stuff when I was 10 years old or so. It was my first exposure to the idea that the ancients might have been mistaken, and that a perfectly natural phenomenon–in the form of advanced aliens–might have been misunderstood as a supernatural one. I eventually found books by his detractors and realized that his arguments were comprised of 99.5% bull paddies, but the “ancient aliens” idea is one of the very first seeds that eventually led me to atheism. So, um, a qualified hooray?

  166. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Is the claim, “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories” considered part of present science?

    And without aliens, which never happened, are the claims anything other than racist? Think about that, if you can think.

  167. says

    Ing: Gerund of Death #197

    But didn’t they say that the Engineers had 100% human DNA…

    Ugh, you’re right. I think my brain tried to delete that line.

  168. says

    @199: That’s ironic (as life’s haphazard path often is), because to my mind ancient astronaut stories suffer from the same logical flaw as creationist claims: they both invoke mysterious beings of immense power behaving in arbitrary ways as “explanations” for some unexplained (at least, according to the speaker) phenomenon. Even in the cases where the problem is genuinely unsolved, proposing gods or aliens as a solution both come under the heading of “making shit up”.

  169. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    But didn’t they say that the Engineers had 100% human DNA…

    Embryological factors?

  170. says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls,

    Sorry, you clearly aren’t interested in good faith dialog.

  171. Owlmirror says

    Don’t you think it’s disingenuous to put words in people’s mouths?

    LOL. Your hypocrisy is noted.

    That’s not even close to what I said.

    You can dish it out, but you can’t take it, I see.

  172. chigau (間違っていない) says

    clcl
    My link was to support the contention that there are people who think that coloured folks could not have accomplished complex technology without help.
    And I don`t like you.

  173. Anri says

    I understand the presumption, thanks. What I can’t see is any evidence for the claim that “there are racist connotations to all of these alien beings stories.” I’ve read my fair share of ancient alien theories, and I don’t think that’s a true claim. So, I’m asking for evidence, *SPECIFIC* evidence. If the claim is correct, this should be easy for you.

    What’s nonspecific about Europeans not needing help and non-Europeans needing help due to being ‘clearly’ inferior?

    But, ok, let’s pretend you’re really that dumb.
    How many alien aid theories involve the Parthenon? Or Notre Dame Cathedral? About the only example of assumption of Europeans needing help from space aliens I can think of off the top of my head is Stonehenge. But you tell me – how many of your stories have made the assumption that the Colossus of Rhodes came from Alpha Centuari?
    Why don’t ‘ancient alien’ investigators concentrate their efforts in Europe? There’s plenty of heavy-duty architecture there. The answer is, of course, because they are willing to believe that Europeans built them. The only reason to assume that the Inca, for example, were incapable of the monumental architecture in their area is that they were a primitive, backwards people… and, of course, you can’t point to the architecture as evidence they weren’t, because, um, Aliens, yanno!

    Oh, and did you miss this bit:

    If you actually want examples of that kind of thinking, they’re not hard to find… if you’re honestly looking. You are, of course, free to not look – and everyone else is therefore free to recognize that you do not have an informed opinion on this issue.
    Your call, really.

    …or did you just not like it?
    But, hey, like I said, you don’t have to convince me. I am perfectly happy to go on assuming that you either:
    – aren’t familiar with ancient alien stories;
    – aren’t capable of seeing racial bias;
    – aren’t arguing honestly;
    – or some combination of the above.