Review of Ancient Aliens Debunked

Jason Colavito recently posted this positive review of the 3-hour documentary. I haven’t watched it yet, even though I’m in it. It’s hard for me to find three hours to do anything. I’ll get to it eventually, likely in bits.

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17 thoughts on “Review of Ancient Aliens Debunked

  1. Really enjoyed the movie !!

    However , this movie will do nothing to change the mind of the A.A ” believers ” . Their minds were made up long ago and this movie will only serve to angr them and strengthen there resolve when belittling believers in God .

    I would find it interesting to see some of the comments on this movie in one of the many “conspiracy ” forums that are out there on the net.

    My guess is that any such thread discussing this movie would turn into a heated battle long before the first page was filled .

    • I think you’re right for the most part. At times I get emails from people whose minds have been changed, but for the most part, people don’t want to think. They are desperate for some mythology that transcends their life here, and this fits for them.

  2. thanks to you ALL for the factual efforts and time you put into this….i feel human again.
    can you make one debunking alien cities on mars/moon too?
    and jesus not being jewish?….as i am a bit thick.

    • a great line (“I feel human again”). For the Mars / moon nonsense, see the blog called “The Emoluments of Mars” — pretty destructive to all that. There’s no evidence for Jesus not being Jewish, either in the NT or ancient material that refers to him (even hostile material, like the Talmud).

  3. First, I want to say I’m glad you took some time to swat Giorgio & Co.

    That said, and having read Phillip Coppen’s snit, Chris White’s response, and Jason Colavito’s review of the documentary, I’m led to ask you these questions.

    Of what mind are you concerning the Biblical flood myth?

    Do you think it is a remnant of an older oral tradition? If so, do you think this older tradition was similar to the Biblical myth regarding the belief that the entire world was flooded?

    Do you argue for an actual worldwide flood, or are you of the opinion that a catastrophic flood was the genesis (pun intended) of the myth, which later became embellished through centuries of retelling.

    Lastly, I’ve seen opinions that the flood could refer to the flooding of the Black Sea, or that it could refer to a flood, like the Altai flood, that resulted from rupturing ice dams.

    Could an oral tradition remain in place for such a long time period such as is extant between the early Sumerian flood myths and floods associated with such ruptures near the end of the last Ice Age?

    A lot of questions, I know. I also realize that there can be no answer that isn’t speculation. But I want your opinion.

    Thanks

    Harte

    • you’re ahead of me; I haven’t read the Coppens thing or any responses. Just too many other things in the way. As my contact info on my website indicates, my chaotic schedule is also why I don’t accept homework. Your questions require too much discussion to answer them well. Some are discussed a bit on this blog or elsewhere by me. Nevertheless, I thought I’d let myself give 1-2 sentence answers. Here we go:

      Of what mind are you concerning the Biblical flood myth?

      ** I think it reflect an actual event, though I lean hard toward a local flood view (i.e., that the narrative concerns an event that occurred in the eastern Mediterranean or Mesopotamia.

      Do you think it is a remnant of an older oral tradition? If so, do you think this older tradition was similar to the Biblical myth regarding the belief that the entire world was flooded?

      ** I think the reason for conceptual overlap in flood stories is cultural memory, likely beginning with oral transmission of the event. Oral tradition has shown itself to be pretty reliable, too (see Kofoed’s chapter on that in his book,
      Text And History: The Old Testament Texts As A Source For The History Of Israel)

      Do you argue for an actual worldwide flood, or are you of the opinion that a catastrophic flood was the genesis (pun intended) of the myth, which later became embellished through centuries of retelling.

      ** see above

      Lastly, I’ve seen opinions that the flood could refer to the flooding of the Black Sea, or that it could refer to a flood, like the Altai flood, that resulted from rupturing ice dams.

      ** I’m aware of that view. I don’t think a specific catalyst will ever be found that is beyond criticism, so I tend not to care about the theories, though many have interesting points.

      Could an oral tradition remain in place for such a long time period such as is extant between the early Sumerian flood myths and floods associated with such ruptures near the end of the last Ice Age?

      ** yes; at least if the (oral longevity) analogies with other civilizations is an indication.

      ** I tend to have a high view of oral tradition and its codification in written material. And it’s downright silly to disregard such things because writers include divine interpretations of the events. If you’re going to throw that out, kiss most of the source material from the ancient near east goodbye. It’s very inconsistent to object to that in the Bible and assume it’s an argument against historicity of the recorded event.

  4. Thanks for your reply. I’ve been defending you on the above views at a skeptical website.

    Good to know I was reading you correctly. I mean, I’ve read all your online stuff and it’s obvious to me what your opinions are in these matters. I needed, however, to have you state them in order to show that your association with Chris White in this endeavor does not taint you with the “stain” of Creationism/Biblical literalism. LOL

    Harte

  5. Thanks for this. Aaron Adair (grad student at the Ohio State) also reviewed this doc:
    http://gilgamesh42.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/ancient-aliens-debunked-a-critical-review/

    And he has a section his blog on the subject you may want to look at.
    http://michaelsheiser.com/PaleoBabble/2012/10/simcha-jacobovicis-conspiracy-fantasy/

    Also, I am not a fan of the movie’s rather conservative (indeed, maximalist) viewpoints on ancient literature. It does more damage to the doc in the end as it replaces one form of extreme belief with another. Just not a fan. I think the strongest part of the film was the opening discussion of Puma Punku and the exposure of the lies of the Ancient Aliens crew. A shame they couldn’t just deal with that instead of having to dilute their arguments with nonsense about the historical accuracy of the patriarchal narratives which have, for the past forty years, been largely debunked as historically significant.

    • still haven’t seen all of it yet, so I can’t comment on the maximalism (which is actually a continuum). I’m guessing Chris is more conservative than me. He told me so, anyway. I wouldn’t say the patriarchal narratives are historically insignificant (cf. Kenneth Kitchen’s work for one example), though that depends on what you’re looking for them to tell you. or what “significant” means.

  6. ” I wouldn’t say the patriarchal narratives are historically insignificant (cf. Kenneth Kitchen’s work for one example), though that depends on what you’re looking for them to tell you. or what “significant” means.”

    They’re historically insignificant in the sense that they can tell us nothing historically useful. They can tell us a lot theologically, but beyond that it is a wash. In the sense that they can tell us what the authors might have found theologically useful, that might be considered ‘historically significant’ but even then you’re presuming the narratives have been the same since they were first composed to the time they were collected into their final form (that is, the form we have them in now). I don’t think that assumption can be made lightly.

    • “nothing historically useful” is an overstatement. Only the extreme minimalist view would say that (and “maximalism” is actually a continuum — broad divergence within that view).

  7. Hey Tom, thanks for linking to my review. Much appreciated.

    And Mike, I hope you find it somewhat of use. Though insignificantly comapred to your input in helping Christ produce his documentary. It’s worth noting he saved a number of clips he didn’t use in the doc on his YouTube page, and there are some really good nuggets there. Not too often an editor shows what things were left on the floor. Oh, if the biblical authors had done that, imagine what scholarship would be like now!

    • Thanks for the comment, Aaron. I had forgotten about the unused clips. I’ll have to remind people of that who are asking about what was covered and what wasn’t.

      Yeah — wouldn’t the “out takes” be interesting. The only thing we have like that (to some degree similar) is the “Jeremiah problem” and a few items in Joshua (the Qumran material shows the book of Jeremiah in two editions and a passage or two in the same “in process” status in Joshua).

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