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Archive for December, 2010

I found this rare gem recently — and academic journal article (2006) on ancient astronaut beliefs (“paleo-SETI”). It’s unusual that this would get any attention within academia, so I share it with all of you.

From the conclusion (emphasis mine):

We in academia, are indeed challenged to present our findings in better ways and in a more understandable manner, since we cannot leave the terrain to these overtly ‘fantastic’ reconstructions. But one thing is clear: the struggle about the right interpretation of so-called “damned data” cannot be settled merely by rational arguments. People are always in search of the mysterious, the hidden and the conspiracy behind the overt scene. Surely, to play with the fantasy genre61 is often more entertaining and inspiring than a straight report of sober academic facts and theories. . . . To many of our contemporaries, at least, the mysterious conspiracy story about the “Ancient Astronaut Gods” seems to appear more plausible and understandable than traditional religious interpretations of the texts – and much more plausible and understandable than straightforward academic scientific interpretations. The Ancient Astronaut narrations knit together our specific latemodern mode of being-in-the-world with a lay-people’s attempt at a new search for the fundamental truth of the myth: They still “want to believe”, and they find it plausible that a pre-astronautic “truth is somewhere out there”, yet to be discovered by mainstream society. The self-evident technological possibilities of our age (and much more beyond that) are projected back into a remote past, and the result is a shining mirror of us, and of our time. – Paleo-SETI adherents can thus be seen as the latter-days-prophets of a space age past, providing us with a mythic foundation for modern ‘technological man’ in the space age and genetic engineering era. But this new interpretative ‘unity of reality’ is gained with a great loss: The original contexts of the data are fully neglected and neutralized, and all the puzzling great achievements of our human ancestors all over the world are diminished and ‘explained away’ in a new ‘exclusionist’ manner when ubiquitous Ancient Astronaut Gods seem to lurk behind every mysterious or unexplainable corner of history.

I normally don’t blog on this sort of thing, but the video below produces a teachable moment — or, better, a logic check.  Try and set aside the fact that there’s some sort of light coming from the location of the “alien” (which looks too good to be true) that seems to suggest the alien is using a flashlight. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt — that the light is some sort of other video or visual effect and not a flashlight.  After you watch the video, bear with me while I run through a “here’s what we’re asked to believe” list.  That’ll tell you why I’m not real excited about the video.

An Alien? What are we being asked to believe when that is suggested?

1. That the gray aliens who, according to many abductee testimonials, can simply appear behind closed doors or go through walls, needs to hide from this teenager.  Why? Is he afraid of getting caught? Why would he be if walls and physical matter aren’t an issue?

2. That the gray aliens who supposedly regularly abduct humans and then given them messages about their intent are afraid to be detected? Huh?

3. That the gray aliens who can (again according to abductees) paralyze humans with mere eye contact, need to hide in the grass and actually flee from the teenager.  Again, why?  Why not just give the teenager a quick stare and immobilize him?

4. That gray aliens who can come and go without detection, even while cameras are rolling under controlled conditions set up by researchers to catch them on film clumsily gets too close and once (note the eye flashes) looks into the kids flashlight? Do the Zeta Reticulans have a class of remedial abductors? Do the trainees need to earn field badges so they can learn to come to earth and not be detected? This one relates to #5.

5. You can read the teenager’s story here - note that he “thinks” the alien entered his house on another occasion, but apparently he and his mom didn’t see it, but only heard it. Abductee literature is filled with tales of the aliens’ ability to keep everyone sound asleep when entering a room. They either awaken the victim or not when taking him/her. Even despite resistance and screaming the other people don’t wake up. So what’s with this inept alien in Australia? What happened to going through walls and putting everyone to sleep. Why is it he can’t get in and out of a house without being detected if he doesn’t want to be detected? Must be an intern.

6. Where’s the UFO or craft of the alien? Oh, wait — the ship is cloaked or they dropped the alien off because they didn’t want anyone to see the ship.  But . . . that sort of means they don’t want to be detected . . . so the goober they dropped off really screwed up. Is that the way aliens are portrayed in the literature? Nope. As I noted above, abductee testimony has thousands of anecdotal tales about ET’s ability to avoid detection . . . so the care show in hiding the ship in the above scenario didn’t transfer to the actual alien. What a doofus. I’d say reassignment is in his future.

7. And finally, departing from the abduction narratives, we’re supposed to believe that a space alien, with technological capabilities that enable him to travel faster than the speed of light, or through wormholes (or whatever means) doesn’t have (or bring) technology along with him to earth that can defeat a teenager?

Utter nonsense.

I hope you get my point. This is my ten minutes of thinking about what we’re asked to believe. Why is it that so many UFO believers can’t see that this video fails to conform to the body of abductee literature about these little gray guys? It’s just entirely inconsistent. If you put a trial attorney on something like this he’d destroy it.

Okay, that’s out of my system now. I’m better.

That didn’t take long. The criticism is pretty blunt, too.

For cow-eyed UFO believers (especially ancient astronaut theorists) this is how peer-review works (and why it’s avoided by writers in both categories — if you don’t submit your work to peer review, it’s easier to make it look impressive to the masses who aren’t specialists).

Pardon me for yawning.

Julian Assange and Wikileaks, dutifully serving the Obama administration’s goal of embarrassing the president’s most serious Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, has said that he will release UFO-related documents found in his government cache of illegally obtained documents.  Another yawn.

Here’s my prediction (putting my Great Karnak hat on … there it is). The secret documents will reveal:

1. That there have been UFO reports (old news there; check).

2. That the government has shown an interest in some of those reports and sought to identify the UFO (old news there; check).

3. That certain government and military officials don’t know what some of the UFOs are (old news there; check).

In a nutshell, these documents will sound like all the other ones. Now for some small-c conspiracy thoughts.

I wonder how we can tell if they are authentic?  Think about it. Can we really trust Wikileaks? Are they agenda-less? (I’m chuckling now, not yawning). Further, who could possibly verify that Assange or anyone else down the chain have not altered them? Is the government going to step in and say, “well, that’s right, except for this line in this paragraph; we deny that.”  They could, but could we trust them?

This is, frankly speaking, the inescapable world of ufology.  Anyone can (and will) say anything to cast suspicion (and it’s to be taken seriously since it has such a poor — or good — record of disinformation).

No, there was no announcement that ET life has been found (in any measure). Rather, the announcement dealt with how “the toxic element arsenic can replace the essential nutrient phosphorus in biomolecules of a naturally occurring bacterium expands the scope of the search for life beyond Earth.” Read all about it here.