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Occam's Alien?
October 7, 2012 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Ancient Aliens Debunked is the consummate rebuttal to the History Channel's widely maligned eponymous program, leaving no stone unturned.
posted by troll (132 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
Every time I see one of the Ancient Aliens commercials, and the "expert" asks "Is it a coincidence?" I always yell at my TV "YES!"
posted by sbutler at 10:49 PM on October 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's an obscenity that this is on a station called the "history" channel.
posted by dhartung at 10:53 PM on October 7, 2012 [35 favorites]


On the one hand, I applaud this effort (the YouTube video is 3+ hours long). On the other hand, I feel like spending so much time on this makes the Ancient Aliens folks seem to be more "worthy" interlocutors than they are. A chemist wouldn't release a 3-hour video debunking alchemy, would she?
posted by dhens at 10:54 PM on October 7, 2012


Whatever you wish to call it, the phenomenon reflects a growing trend among laypeople to question orthodox science and research in favor of the implausible, the unrealistic, and the just plain bizarre.

The thing is, this is not a new phenomenon. The Ancient Astronauts theme was big in the 1960's and 1970's (how could these primitive, non-Western societies accomplish such feats), and even dates back to the racist pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The occult craze of the early 20th century is also more of the same.

I think what's remarkable is the inability of our so-called enlightened Western society to give it all up and move, recognizing that there were other civilizations and cultures before ours, coming from different traditions, that were sophisticated and to some extent advanced.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:58 PM on October 7, 2012 [18 favorites]


The fact that it is necessary to have come to this is the ultimate vindication of anti-American sentiment. Bring the meteors; we have earned every one of them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:01 PM on October 7, 2012


Bring the meteors; we have earned every one of them.

Surely the world is worth keeping if only for additional seasons of The Venture Brothers.
posted by hellojed at 11:03 PM on October 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


Another reason why Prometheus sucked.
posted by mediated self at 11:04 PM on October 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


and even dates back to the racist pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ahem. I think you mean the racist pulp fiction of HP Lovecraft.
posted by Artw at 11:04 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely the world is worth keeping if only for additional seasons of The Venture Brothers.

Oh, yeah, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick get space on The Ark.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:07 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though I suspect it's all ultimatly derived from Bulwer-Lytton.
posted by Artw at 11:08 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ok. But if you really are the first human who runs into aliens then at least remember this shit on the behalf of the rest of us.
posted by rongorongo at 11:10 PM on October 7, 2012 [21 favorites]


This video is exactly the thing History Channel should be showing.
posted by stbalbach at 11:15 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


how did you make this post and leave out this guy
posted by ninjew at 11:23 PM on October 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


You can't argue with (or debunk) crazy.
posted by mrnutty at 11:25 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The should do a special on "Why does Arishem the Judge have a teacup for a head?" - we demand answers!
posted by Artw at 11:33 PM on October 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aliens visited us long ago.
Then they left. Away they go!
I feel quite bad they went away,
Was it my breath? Something I say?
I wish the aliens would come back,
We'd try to take another tack.
We'd wine and dine them, best we could
to try to help our greater good.
But aliens are quite unknown,
With their own thoughts, to each his own.

I've been told that Erich von Däniken
is most assuredly not a maniken.
I do believe in his humanity
and don't attribute it to insanity.
But if aliens came here long ago,
Why is it now they need that bro?
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:35 PM on October 7, 2012


Ezekiel saw the wheel. This is the wheel he said he saw.
posted by mazola at 11:39 PM on October 7, 2012


how did you make this post and leave out this guy

That guy was recently on Rogan's podcast. Quite personable, but intellectually dishonest. I think he knows it's bullshit.
posted by troll at 11:42 PM on October 7, 2012


Teach the controversy. Personally, I want to see Alien Astronaut theory taught in textbooks right along side creationism.

I'm not a believer myself, but people of all faiths are entitled to their beliefs.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:51 PM on October 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


Man, it had to be aliens. Do you think mere humans are capable of putting rocks on top of other rocks? And how could people on opposite sides of the planet figure out pyramids? Structurally, pyramids are moderately more complex than the pile. Only extraterrestrials or maybe time-travelling white guys could have pulled all that off.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 11:51 PM on October 7, 2012 [24 favorites]


The twist is that they're not actually aliens, they're humans from the future.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:53 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The twist is that they're not actually aliens, they're humans from the future.

I like that, into the textbooks it goes.

Also, is this debunking really 3+ hours? It must be pretty damn thorough.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:55 PM on October 7, 2012


I've never seen Ancient Aliens but I've seen the meme that spawned from it and never knew where that meme originated from. I honestly thought that the dude in the meme was from some comedy sketch because of his crazy hair and overuse of spray tan. Who can even begin to take that guy seriously? For reals...
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:57 PM on October 7, 2012


Surely the world is worth keeping if only for additional seasons of The Venture Brothers.

IGNORE ME!
posted by JHarris at 12:00 AM on October 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's an obscenity that this is on a station called the "history" channel.

Have you seen The Learning Channel Lately ?
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:06 AM on October 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm a big fan of the show, and I have thought a lot about the aliens guy and his hair. I think his hair is a variant of "crazy scientist hair" Einstein was always rocking. I think it is calculated to make him seem more authoritative and distinctive.

You cannot deny that many of his points, that some art looks like other artists conceptions of aliens, are correct. For instance, dogu figures look strangely like what some other people think aliens might look like, Coincidence?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:10 AM on October 8, 2012


Surely the world is worth keeping if only for additional seasons of The Venture Brothers.

>IGNORE ME!


As an aside, it really blew my mind how closely the Grand Galactic Inquisitor resembles a drawing of an alien from a book I used to read (ie, I checked it out of the library many many times) as a kid. The thing is, I can't remember the book, or even what the alien encounter in question was called, although as I do recall, a mother and her kids were out hiking in the woods or something, and encountered a 12-foot tall alien with a helmet and some sort of glowing eye.

Anyway, awesome show, the Venture Bros.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:10 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


From Wikipedia: In November 1968 von Däniken was arrested for fraud, after falsifying hotel records and credit references in order to take out loans for $130,000 over a period of twelve years. He used the money for foreign travel to research his book. Two years later, von Däniken was convicted for "repeated and sustained" embezzlement, fraud and forgery, with the court ruling that the writer had been living a "playboy" lifestyle. Von Däniken entered a plea for nullity on the grounds that his intentions were not malicious and the credit institutions were at fault for failing to adequately research his references. Von Däniken was sentenced on 13 February 1970 to three and a half years imprisonment and fined 3,000 francs. He served one year of this sentence before being released.

On the other hand, I've just found a picture of alien Jesus on this here piece of toast and I'd like you to give me some money, because I'm pretty sure that aliens arrived here on magical toaster ovens.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:21 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it would be a mistake to stamp out belief in ancient aliens even if we could.

Because it's a natural and almost inevitable outgrowth of believing that we might one day be able to achieve space travel ourselves, since if we could do it, it's almost certain that other species have done it, and they might have come here.

So if you killed belief in the possibility of ancient aliens, it could well take public support for space exploration down with it.
posted by jamjam at 12:22 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Teach the controversy. Personally, I want to see Alien Astronaut theory taught in textbooks right along side creationism.

Be careful what you wish for.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:33 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


aah, pious fraud.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:34 AM on October 8, 2012


Teach the controversy. Personally, I want to see Alien Astronaut theory taught in textbooks right along side creationism.

You said the magic words to unlock my shameless yet "on topic" plug!
posted by Jezztek at 12:49 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. I've always enjoyed all sorts of debunking videos because they teach me things I, not being a construction/engineering/aerospace/etc specialist, would never even think about*, and this video is no exception. Thus far, I'm about an hour into the video and have already learned at least two new things: the origin of the crazy hair guy meme, and the internal ramp hypothesis of pyramid construction which really does seem to have quite a few advantages over the ones I've previously read.

* This is something all conspiracy theories rely on: they invariably grounded on things a lay person usually never thinks about, as it's just so much easier to convince us that something new to us is true, since there's no system of background knowledge that it would have to be verified against and fit into.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:51 AM on October 8, 2012


You said the magic words to unlock my shameless yet "on topic" plug!

Wow, that made my day. How did you guys get my comment onto a t-shirt so fast?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:52 AM on October 8, 2012


I want to see Alien Astronaut theory taught in textbooks right along side creationism.

Illegal aliens keep taking our jobs.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:54 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, that made my day. How did you guys get my comment onto a t-shirt so fast?

You gotta act fast if you wanna make it in this new fangled world of Facebooks and WiFis.
posted by Jezztek at 12:58 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Teach the controversy. Personally, I want to see Alien Astronaut theory taught in textbooks right along side creationism.

I think that since there are only so many days in a school year (or pages in a textbook) we should probably prioritize things like, you know, facts.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 1:05 AM on October 8, 2012



how did you make this post and leave out this guy



His hair is aliens, is what.


A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers disappeared. He never left the building, his bike was still there, his stuff was still there but he never even went out to take a smoke break with the rest of the guys, which worried them because he's kind of King Smoke Break. We searched for him for three hours. We called him on the radio, on the PA system, and straight up old fashioned yelling, to no avail. I combed the building, after a certain point expecting to find him unconscious or worse. Finally, at 6AM, he came ambling out of hiding doot da doot doo doo like nothing had happened and wondered why we were all looking at him half-relieved- half-furious. Apparently, he had found a cozy place to hunker down, stuck his headphones in, and passed out ...watching Ancient Aliens.


So now the official version of the story is that he was kidnapped by aliens, because it's the only possible explanation. And we will never ever stop giving him shit about it. BECAUSE ALIENS.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:18 AM on October 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


I think that since there are only so many days in a school year (or pages in a textbook) we should probably prioritize things like, you know, facts.


FACTS ARE A SOCIALIST MIND CONTROL CONSPIRACY YOU MONSTER WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN
posted by louche mustachio at 1:21 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't need fact, I have faith.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:23 AM on October 8, 2012


two flying saucers have just landed on my plate
posted by philip-random at 1:37 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have had sincere conversations with relatives who think I am the crazy one for arguing against something on the History Channel. The people responsible for this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:50 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I am glad stuff like this exists, but it's firefighting with an eyedropper.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:51 AM on October 8, 2012


This is one the funniest things I've ever seen Rob Schneider in. That guy is seriously underrated.
posted by Bartonius at 2:14 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


We do not know exactly how or when this artifact was constructed. It is therefore logical to suppose that spacemen from another world built it.
posted by thelonius at 2:27 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw-being a Celestial is hard work; sometimes you like to take a break and drink your favorite warm beverage!
posted by wittgenstein at 2:38 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Elbows" O'Donoghue: "Structurally, pyramids are moderately more complex than the pile. Only extraterrestrials or maybe time-travelling white guys could have pulled all that off."

Or, as Sir Terry Pratchett put it:
"At the site of the Great Pyramid the huge blocks of stone floated into place like an explosion in reverse. They were flowing between the quarry and the site, drifting silently across the landscape above deep rectangular shadows.
'I've got to hand it to you,' said Ptaclusp to his son, as they stood side by side in the observation tower. 'It's astonishing. One day people will wonder how we did it.'
'All that business with the log rollers and the whips is old hat,' said IIb. 'You-can throw them away.' The young architect smiled, but there was a manic hint to the rictus.
It was astonishing. It was more astonishing than it ought to be. He kept getting the feeling that the pyramid was . . .
He shook himself mentally. He should be ashamed of that sort of thinking. You could get superstitious if you weren't careful, in this job.
It was natural for things to form a pyramid - well, a cone, anyway. He'd experimented this morning. Grain, salt, . . . not water, though, that'd been a mistake. But a pyramid was only a neat cone, wasn't it, a cone which had decided to be a bit tidier.
Perhaps he'd overdone it just a gnat on the paracosmic measurements?
His father slapped him on the back.
'Very well done,' he repeated. 'You know, it almost looks as though it's building itself.'"
posted by Pinback at 2:48 AM on October 8, 2012


We do not know exactly how or when this artifact was constructed. It is therefore logical to suppose that spacemen from another world built it.

It's common sense, really. I cannot construct anything like it without power tools. Furthermore, I don't know anyone who could construct anything like it without power tools. Therefore, aliens.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:13 AM on October 8, 2012


The people responsible for this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.



I have watched the History Channel, and after careful observation have concluded that these people have had their shame glands surgically removed and replaced with silicone prosthetics.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:20 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


BY ALIENS
posted by louche mustachio at 3:20 AM on October 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


As a dork kid, I was a huge fan of this theory, which I believed explained so much about how stupid life is. I also believed in paranormal things, owned a deck of Zener cards, and tried to use precognition to avoid being kicked off the math team, a group I belonged to because I like nerdliness, despite my complete lack of facility for, say, math.

I don't believe in any of that bullshit now, and I'm aware of where these fantasies come from—the fever dreams of frustrated little boys who don't feel like they're good enough, and need some connection to things like superpowers or great celestial mysteries to make them feel special. It's telling that what used to be the realm of pimply, angst-ridden tweens is now the province of grown men. We're living in a world of displaced dreams, and we're all too stunted to just grow up and be people.

One of the things that almost invariably ruins science fiction for me is time travel, because it is almost always used to point out that our great technologies come from elsewhere. I remember pretty much abandoning the Star Trek "franchise" after the Voyager episode where computers were actually invented by someone from THE FUTURE (well, because of stuff like that and the Berman/Braga don't-let-fags-into-your-marketing-franchise bit).

Really? All technology is from the future? So we're essentially just hapless rubes, then, right?

Yeah, that's a load of crap. Humans rock. We think great things, we build great things, and we do great things, and we don't need a science fictionized rendition of magical gods and elves and demons and fairies and angels to help us along. We do cool stuff because we're smart, see?

It's natural for five year-olds to see things as magical. For grown up folks...sigh.
posted by sonascope at 3:20 AM on October 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


We think great things, we build great things, and we do great things

Arguably, "Ancient Aliens" on The History Channel is the very culmination of human civilization's progress.

Arguably.
posted by chavenet at 3:25 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


the world should be nuked to ashes because of this entertainment program on a cable tv network

also, lots of people who aren't me are stupid
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:28 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can I reiterate how much I like Pawn Stars? Charming, rough-spun blue collar types who made it big, going bananas over what are, in the scope of a Pawn business that deals with precious metals and Picassos, inconsequential items - bringing in paid experts to explain what the item is and why it was important at the time and what the historical period it came from was like. These experts are treated with respect, and the information they share treated like blazing hot stock tips or fantasy sports picks. History is cool and interesting and valuable, and authenticity is directly tied to worth - these are pretty amazing messages for a show on the Alien Astronaut channel.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:49 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


A chemist wouldn't release a 3-hour video debunking alchemy, would she?

If enough (any?) people living today took alchemy seriously, like they do ancient aliens, homeopathy or intelligent design, she might.
posted by jklaiho at 4:50 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an obscenity that this is on a station called the "history" channel.

But we should cut all funding for PBS and let commercial TV handle educational programming.
posted by octothorpe at 5:06 AM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


*** We interrupt this thread for a friendly message of the Ministry of Truth

1. The History Channel, also know as the Ufo Channel or the Hitler Channel, is on TV.
2. Please remember: if something has been said on TV, it must be true.
3. Please consider: if something doesn't sound right, it's because it has not been said on TV. If something has not been said on TV, it must be false.
4. From 08/12/2012, Mr. Rupert Murdoch - change record - never existed. Substitute with Stalin picture, doubleplusgood.
5. From 08/12/2012, United States of America - update record - In 1940, U.S.A. invaded Europe and was repelled by the Nazi Army for Freedom.
6. From 08/12/2012, Isabel Allende - update record- sub picture Allend w/ Kim Kardassian Picture - purge old record - Kim Kardassian is a leading feminist figure -

You may resume this thread - Thank you for listening. ***
posted by elpapacito at 5:10 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who you guys going to believe? Some "scientists" or Frank Zappa?
posted by digitalprimate at 5:22 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Voyager episode where computers were actually invented by someone from THE FUTURE

...wait, what?
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:34 AM on October 8, 2012


I have a flying saucer in my pants.

Soon I will have a pyramid in my pants.

Coincidence???
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:40 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having watched the whole thing now, I'm slightly disturbed by the debunker's insistence on the Bible being the most accurate description of certain ancient events which may or may not have taken place, such as the Flood. I fear that we may have been trolled.
posted by daniel_charms at 5:42 AM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Having just listened to a few minutes, I really like this so far. The joy with which hucksters praise ignorance "How could HUMANS possibly move THIS BIG BLOCK!?!?" is disgraceful.
posted by odinsdream at 5:52 AM on October 8, 2012


the Voyager episode where computers were actually invented by someone from THE FUTURE

...wait, what?

I should have been more specific in that the episode basically makes out modern microprocessors as being a future technology reverse engineered by Ed Begley, Jr. in the late sixties, as seen in the episode "Future's End."

'Cause there's no way the eighties could have happened without the fuuuuuuture!
posted by sonascope at 5:52 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still want to see Erich von Däniken and Zahi Hawass in a knife fight.
posted by charred husk at 5:56 AM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm slightly disturbed by the debunker's insistence on the Bible

Poking into the filmmaker's own page, it's pretty evident that he's got his own axe to grind, but he's pretty diligent with his sources and critiques here regardless of why he's debunking, so we can take the motivation with a grain of salt and still praise his critique when it's based in fact. You just have to be a bit circumspect, because he's capable of believing nonsense, even if he seems to be on the up-and-up here.

Mind you, I knew something was wrong when he kept pronouncing it "nuke-you-ler."

That's always a bad sign.


Also, someone needs to Amish-abuse Giorgio Tsoukalos, a man for whom the anti-hipster creed that you should be more interesting than your [facial] hair is so very, very true.
posted by sonascope at 5:57 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


So if you killed belief in the possibility of ancient aliens, it could well take public support for space exploration down with it.

Ironically, if people actually understood how insanely large and insanely alone we are in space, nobody would want to support it. Even if there are a billion alien cultures in the milky way right now we'll statistically never encounter them.
posted by odinsdream at 5:58 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The joy with which hucksters praise ignorance "How could HUMANS possibly move THIS BIG BLOCK!?!?" is disgraceful.

I loved the bit where one of them held a steel square against a rock and exclaimed that it had been cut at perfect right angles while it was perfectly obvious from the video that it wasn't actually so, since there was a visible gap between the square and the stone.
posted by daniel_charms at 6:02 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


They start by believing in ancient aliens and soon they believe in trickle-down economics and Ayn Rand.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:03 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm actually curious how the The History Channel and The Learning Channel have gone so awry. Were they granted airspace and licenses based on a certain mandate and have now been allowed to deviate from it? What exactly happened?
posted by srboisvert at 6:14 AM on October 8, 2012


I'm actually curious how the The History Channel and The Learning Channel have gone so awry. Were they granted airspace and licenses based on a certain mandate and have now been allowed to deviate from it? What exactly happened?

For a start, they aren't on the air and they don't need no steenkeeng licenses.



Let's just call it "the phenomenon" . . .

 
posted by Herodios at 6:17 AM on October 8, 2012


I remember pretty much abandoning the Star Trek "franchise" after the Voyager episode where computers were actually invented by someone from THE FUTURE (well, because of stuff like that and the Berman/Braga don't-let-fags-into-your-marketing-franchise bit).

That was an alternate, incorrect timeline that accelerated the computer age on earth with 29th century technology that had its roots in human-created computers. The timeline was corrected and the development of computers that we know was restored by the crew of Voyager.

A chemist wouldn't release a 3-hour video debunking alchemy, would she?

Of course! It was a huge field of history, lexical and scientific study (that was nearly entirely wrong.) A great deal has been written about the problems with it. Why not translate some of that writing to video?
posted by michaelh at 6:19 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why not translate some of that writing to video?

Well, mostly because nobody is producing cable shows about transmuting lead into gold. (Though I'm sure there's a joke here to be made about Storage Wars or some such.)
posted by HeroZero at 6:22 AM on October 8, 2012


dhens: "On the one hand, I applaud this effort (the YouTube video is 3+ hours long). On the other hand, I feel like spending so much time on this makes the Ancient Aliens folks seem to be more "worthy" interlocutors than they are. A chemist wouldn't release a 3-hour video debunking alchemy, would she?"

Nobody tell dhens about James Randi...
posted by symbioid at 6:24 AM on October 8, 2012


the Voyager episode where computers were actually invented by someone from THE FUTURE

...wait, what?


By Sarah Silverman!
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


how the The History Channel and The Learning Channel have gone so awry

On the TLC end, and I can now ramble about this, since my ex who was an executive at Discovery Networks is now working elsewhere, the problem is that people still believe that TLC is "The Learning Channel." They actually rebranded themselves in the late nineties and became the fine crap merchant that they are today. It isn't "The Learning Channel," it's the more ambiguous "TLC," and their stock in trade is crap programming for dumb people, just like Discovery was the American Chopper channel for ages and still is the Shark Week channel.

The History Channel, aka The Hitler Channel, is about making money, not about history, and it's a Hearst Corporation outlet like Lifetime, so expecting it to actually be about history is a bit sketchy. Now that the heavily-scripted fake reality show Pawn Stars is kicking Discovery Communications' asses, it isn't wise to expect anything but more and more crap from here on out.

At least I can tune into SyFy and watch some science fiction, though...oh, well, maybe not.

Torrents, here I come!
posted by sonascope at 6:39 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think his hair is a variant of "crazy scientist hair" Einstein was always rocking.

He just wishes he were Centauri.
posted by stevis23 at 6:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


...By Sarah Silverman with an ancient-astronaut-style cell phone! And I think she taught Tuvok to rollerskate at one point.

Who needs actual ancient aliens? They pale in comparison.


As sonascope points out above, the filmmaker and his fave expert here both seem to be evangelicals with their own agendas, so anything about "origins in a common event" for ancient texts from different cultures, etc. , should be taken with a grain of salt or at least checked elsewhere if you're truly interested. Both appear to be operating in good faith, though, and the expert's claimed training seems real and mostly from credible sources.

Amazing piece of work, however. Bookmark for the curious teens in your life, and then send them on to that awesomely ridiculous Voyager episode for better entertainment than the History Channel has to offer.
posted by Wylla at 6:52 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's been years since I've owned a TV. Every so often I start to think that's a bad thing, and maybe I'm missing out on something. Then I remember the time I had to travel for work, and was stuck at the hotel one night trying to find anything remotely entertaining and not insultingly stupid on TV. Ancient Aliens was the best thing I could find. (It did meet one of the criteria...)
posted by gueneverey at 7:06 AM on October 8, 2012


Random channels urging never gives good TV. The best you can hope for is one of the Law & Orders doing a riff on Fifty Shades of Grey or some shit like that.

BTW, talking of Star Trek, wasn't it established in TNG that some Ancient Astrobaut types seeding the galaxy were responsible for all the forehead bump aliens?
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if you killed belief in the possibility of ancient aliens, it could well take public support for space exploration down with it.

And silly me, I thought much of the support for space exploration comes from the fact that the space agencies keep outdoing themselves with cool shit like weather satellites for the sun, robots with laser beams on Mars, and the first interstellar man-made object.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:31 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the comments section of the linked Smithsonian blog that rips the episode about dinosaurs a new one:

"Thank you History Channel for great and factual documentaries like Ancient Aliens. I’m an 8th grade science teacher and since this show started I have adjusted my syllabus to spend 1/3 of the semester on this show. 3rd year now and going strong – my kids love it!"

Well, now, that explains a lot.

Meanwhile, over at the US House of Representatives, another unsurprising realization surfaces when the Chairperson of the House SCIENCE subcommittee (Rep Paul Broun from Georgia) says:

"God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the big bang theory; all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there’s a lot of scientific data that I’ve found as a scientist that this really is a young earth. I don’t believe that the earth is but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was made in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible tells us."
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:32 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]




I'm actually curious how the The History Channel and The Learning Channel have gone so awry. Were they granted airspace and licenses based on a certain mandate and have now been allowed to deviate from it? What exactly happened?


Interestingly enough, I just read this:


People forget or did not know that once upon a time The Learning Channel was founded in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA as an informative/instructional network focused on providing real education through the medium of TV; it was distributed at no cost by NASA satellite.

Then it was privatized in 1980 (Reaganism) and was then named the Appalachian Community Service Network. In November 1980 this name was changed to “The Learning Channel”, which was subsequently shortened to “TLC.” From then on we have a sad decline to the abomination of child and poverty exploitation of the TLC’s current hit freak show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.

posted by dubold at 7:39 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Here's everything you need to know about TLC
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:41 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It seems like the overlap between category alien and category god is pretty wide given that any god not born on earth would by definition be an extra-terrestrial intelligence.
posted by Human Flesh at 7:54 AM on October 8, 2012


Then it was privatized in 1980 (Reaganism) ...

Sadly, that would have been Carter in '80. He really started the ball rolling on deregulation and privatization before Reagan did.
posted by octothorpe at 7:59 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Illegal aliens keep taking our jobs.

The Aliens Registration Administration advises all aliens that they must register now. Aliens must appear, however briefly, at the Administration's offices on Nooker Street.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:00 AM on October 8, 2012


Seymour Zamboni, here's a great physics/cosmology blog post built on that Paul Broun quote: Why I am a liar straight from the pit of hell.

Also, Thanks Metafilter! for the references to the Dogū images and the Jōmon period - that's another amazing thing about this planet I've never heard of.
posted by sneebler at 8:07 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


A History Channel producer explained to me that the network's brand focuses on "aspirational programming for blue-collar men." That explains shows like Ax Men and American Pickers and of course Ice Road Truckers, which celebrate demanding jobs done by real people (even though most of the action is in fact fairly scripted). As for why the History Channel has shifted so far from its original fare, the answer is simple: It's about selling advertising. The network is now reaching a younger, more male-skewing audience, which advertisers like.

Anything that has to do with conspiracy also does well with this audience, even if most of the conspiracy is admittedly manufactured by writers. In a show about Area 51, the producer explained, an old warehouse becomes a "secret bunker," old memos become "declassified documents," a group of retired kooks becomes a "cabal," and so on.
posted by bassomatic at 8:21 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who you guys going to believe? Some "scientists" or Frank Zappa ?







this just got complicated whoa
posted by louche mustachio at 8:24 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Cause there's no way the eighties could have happened without the fuuuuuuture!

The future owes us a goddamn apology then.
posted by aught at 8:33 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I actually kind of love and am fascinated by the history of this stuff, along with abductions and other SFish modern folklore, while considering it utter cobblers. If this show leaned just a tiny bit more in the direction of actually doing its job or being screamingly insane I'd be fascinated by it.
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And silly me, I thought much of the support for space exploration comes from the fact that the space agencies keep outdoing themselves with cool shit like weather satellites for the sun, robots with laser beams on Mars, and the first interstellar man-made object.

Unfortunately no. As an astrophysicist by training, I can tell you that the general populace finds that stuff cool, but only really cares about space travel or astronomy inasmuch as it involves finding life on other planets or putting our life on other planets. And you'll get a ton of crap from practically everyone if you say that aliens probably aren't flying around Earth abducting people and turning cows inside out.

I have one cousin who lists his favorite book as that Chariots of the Gods book. I have another (possible several) who honestly believe in the Mayan Apocalypse. I even have one who seems to believe in an actual zombie apocalypse. It seems like they'll believe anything the Man on the TV says.

And there's the anti-intellectualism. The hatred my mother (and others in my family, but especially her) has for school teachers is palpable. Part of it the general hate for anyone getting money from the government (that isn't her), but it is so above and beyond reason. And I'm rambling now, but we were watching one of those Brian Greene shows and they were going on about the LHC and how difficult it was and she turns to me and says, "Don't they think there are some things that we just weren't meant to understand?"

Anyway, I'm bordering on incoherent. Suffice it to say, I get more and more depressed the more I spend time with my family.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:40 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dammit, I can't stop. One of my guilty pleasures is Pawn Stars. It's one of the shows both I and my TV-obsessed mother both like (it's actually vaguely-stealth-educational-lite, which is about as good as it gets in the current American environment). But even after explaining the many fake things, she still doesn't get that it's fake and mostly scripted. She really thinks that some pawn shop in Nevada employs a deeply stupid guy named Chumlee in defiance of all business sense.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 AM on October 8, 2012


Who you guys going to believe? Some "scientists" or Frank Zappa ?

Ruth Underwood is a superior being from another place. That is all.
posted by tspae at 9:04 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately no. As an astrophysicist by training, I can tell you that the general populace finds that stuff cool, but only really cares about space travel or astronomy inasmuch as it involves finding life on other planets or putting our life on other planets. And you'll get a ton of crap from practically everyone if you say that aliens probably aren't flying around Earth abducting people and turning cows inside out.

I am sorry about your personal problems, but surely there is a legitimate place for the desire to discover extra-terrestrial life, and to colonize and explore other planets and star systems. Can't there be multiple motivations to explore space?
posted by michaelh at 9:27 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


sonascope: I should have been more specific in that the episode basically makes out modern microprocessors as being a future technology reverse engineered by Ed Begley, Jr. in the late sixties, as seen in the episode "Future's End."

'Cause there's no way the eighties could have happened without the fuuuuuuture!


Ah, right, "Future's End"--the one where, despite the ex-hippie having access to tech from 900 years in the future, and parceling bits of it out for 27 years or so, there's no visible difference between the alternate 1996 and ours, IIRC. Even for Voyager, not one of their better moments, and probably having more to do with Brannon Braga's fascination with time travel (which would mostly turn out to be a huge bust on Enterprise), and the only real lasting effect of which was to let the Doctor take part in away missions. My guess is that Braga got the idea from some former Army officer writing a book in which he claimed that all microprocessor tech, from the very beginning, was derived from reverse engineering the tech from the Roswell crash.

Also, and I know that this is a derail, but I wanted to comment on "the Berman/Braga don't-let-fags-into-your-marketing-franchise bit". If you're thinking of/referring to the clumsy, almost frantic retroactive heterosexualizing of Malcolm Reed, well, yeah, no argument there. In the franchise overall, though, I think that you have to count Jadzia Dax as bisexual, and the the arguments of some fans that she doesn't really count because she's an alien and things are different for joined Trill, blah blah blah, strike me as bisexual erasure, Trekkie style.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:28 AM on October 8, 2012


"Having watched the whole thing now, I'm slightly disturbed by the debunker's insistence on the Bible being the most accurate description of certain ancient events which may or may not have taken place, such as the Flood. I fear that we may have been trolled."

There is good reason to suspect that mesopotamian cultures all have a single flood event in common, or were each seperately obliterated by floods - this being an extremely flood and earthquake prone region. Floods are also common to everywhere it rains and when they happen they affect a region it can be easy to see how subsistence farmers might think the whole world is affected - their whole world could have been.

However, even aside from the total lack of geological record for such a flood in deserts and mountains that have been conspicuously dry for millions of years, just spend half a second thinking about how the biology of such an event could work. It was recently figured out that Giraffes are kosher animals. If there were seven males and seven females of every kosher animal, and thirteen known species of giraffe (nine extant), that is at least a notable number of giraffes for a boat smaller than a modern supertanker right? But then also, where did all the fresh water fish go? Fresh water bacteria? Shallow water and shore (littoral) creatures? How did Noah pick up Galapagos Lava lizards (incidentally also kosher)? Simultaneously care for them and polar bears? You might have trouble imagning the obvious of how Noah would need to take care of megafauna, but how many cubic kilometers of soil samples must he have included to house terrestrial microinvertebrates and bacteria? There are 400,000 described species of beetle, and at least 100,000,000 undescribed - where would they go? How would he care for the thermophiles, acidophiles and other extremeophiles from places like Yellowstone? But then how would he culture the viruses of everything mentioned so far?
posted by Blasdelb at 9:29 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ok, so I am about 2/3 of the way through. So far I find that the debunking is less than thorough. They are most certainly cherry picking arguments to debunk. They do not address the dogu sculpture, in fact, they do not address any non-western art that looks like what we think aliens may look like.

They need to do another two hours or so to address the vast array of african ceremonial masks that look like "greys".

I'm happy to say the controversy is still alive and well.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:30 AM on October 8, 2012


That's just what they want you to believe. The "truth", wrapped up in sound reasoning and presented with full evidence that can be verified is a biased liberal ideology.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:49 AM on October 8, 2012


Isn't the answer to all those questions obvious, Blasdelb? Aliens.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:51 AM on October 8, 2012


However, even aside from the total lack of geological record for such a flood in deserts and mountains that have been conspicuously dry for millions of years, just spend half a second thinking about how the biology of such an event could work.

If there is anything to be learned from Ancient Aliens it is that anything that could not be done by humans must have been done by aliens. It is pretty clear that Aliens built Noah's Ark. The only possible theory is that it was not a ship for floating on water, but a ship for going through stargates. This makes sense as all life on earth is of extraterrestrial origin anyway.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:54 AM on October 8, 2012


That ancient aliense show clearly needs a dose of Henry Silva.
posted by Gelatin at 9:55 AM on October 8, 2012


you will note that a stargate looks like the surface of the water. Cooincidence?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:55 AM on October 8, 2012


But....

What about Ghost Busters?

I mean, Ghost Hunters?


Get Mike Rowe back in here.
posted by mule98J at 10:00 AM on October 8, 2012


a group of retired kooks becomes a "cabal"

Watch your step now. There is no cabal.
posted by chavenet at 10:12 AM on October 8, 2012


[This is an aside to the main point, alas]

If you're thinking of/referring to the clumsy, almost frantic retroactive heterosexualizing of Malcolm Reed

Actually, it started way, way before that, when Roddenberry was giving interviews to the Advocate and other sources, saying there would be gay crew on TNG in the 5th season. Sadly, he died, the Berman/Braga team saw $$$ in being able to sell full-size bat'leth replicas to dot com millionaires and putting Klingons on the sidewalks in King's Dominion and the gay stuff was just too "edgy." That is why I didn't watch one single episode of Enterprise—I wasn't interested in their Pat Robertson-friendly future where faggotry had been genetically engineered out of existence except in parallel universes where everyone was mean and military. The franchise is dead to me.
posted by sonascope at 10:18 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am sorry about your personal problems, but surely there is a legitimate place for the desire to discover extra-terrestrial life, and to colonize and explore other planets and star systems. Can't there be multiple motivations to explore space?

Of course. My point is that there aren't really multiple motivations to explore space. To the general populace, if it isn't about finding extraterrestrial life or colonizing, it's a waste of time and money.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:21 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I tried to watch one of the ghost hunting shows during downtime in a hotel room, and couldn't get beyond, "hundreds of people died in a big flood here in the 19th century, it's raining, isn't that creepy!?!?"
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:25 AM on October 8, 2012


People actually pay to watch this shit? they pay to watch absolute fluff and then sit through commercials to find out what happened to the fluff? what kind of dullards are people, anyway?

I have never owned a television and don't understand why anyone would want to. the few good shows can be had via torrent, dvd or dvd via interlibrary loan.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:13 PM on October 8, 2012


1) I do not have fingers for the amount of times someone has asked me about Ancient Aliens.

2) Sometimes this takes place in a museum, when I am teaching their children.

3) Also they have started in on the mermaid coverup, for which I will always hate the desperate, tainted rags of the History Channel's curiosity.

Can I just say it is super touching to hear so many folks speaking out against this show? Because man, it is so bad. It is so tremendously bad, and it is spewing bad things from a position of authority. And archaeology is so cool! People have done throughly amazing things for thousands of years and these idiots can't bring any passion or fervor for learning just how goddamn cool humans actually are to their millions of viewers.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:33 PM on October 8, 2012


...and god not born on earth would by definition be an extra-terrestrial intelligence.

So that's why God needs a starship.
posted by mikurski at 12:52 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, you can either crack a beer and shout at your favorite sports team on TV, or you can yell at Ancient Aliens. And Ancient Aliens is on On Demand. I love the show precisely for its many faults. And wonderful hair.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Learning Channel

Silly hats only.
posted by davejay at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2012


Get Mike Rowe back in here.

He's busy making appearances for Romney, a man who knows a thing or two about an honest days work. And no, doesn't make sense to me either.

I'M NOT SAYING ITS ALIENS!

BUT ALIENS!
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:59 PM on October 8, 2012


Done. The film makes a pretty good argument that the Nephilim actually were the ofspring of angels and not the ofspring of aliens. The debunking takes the position that angels can swap bodies to enable them to have sex with human women. I never knew this about angels. In light of this new information it seems much more likely that one or more angels simply swapped bodies to get their freak on than aliens traveled all the way to earth to mate with human women.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:22 PM on October 8, 2012


Kim Kardassian is a leading feminist figure

BECAUSE ALIENS
posted by emmtee at 3:29 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Giorgio Tsoukoulas is still more credible than the Pope.
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 3:36 PM on October 8, 2012


I'm over halfway through the video (also, a bottle of wine), and I'm enjoying it. I really like the idea of Education Via Lies, that is, you have the big bold fabricated claims that grab your attention and spark your imagination, followed by the debunking filled with facts and citations. I just accidentally learned more about medieval tropes in painting than I expected to after watching a video making fun of a guy with grazygonuts hair.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:40 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nobody tell dhens about James Randi...

Hah. I know (of) Randi quite well, and really appreciate the man's work. I guess it never occurred to me to consider him and the producers of this video in the same light. It is a sad comment on the state of humanity that people like Randi can still find lots of material to debunk...
posted by dhens at 3:51 PM on October 8, 2012


In November 1980 this name was changed to “The Learning Channel”, which was subsequently shortened to “TLC.” From then on we have a sad decline to the abomination of child and poverty exploitation of the TLC’s current hit freak show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.

You Do, Of Course, Realize That This Is Going To End Very, Very Badly
posted by homunculus at 4:28 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just finished the video and I must say I enjoyed it considerably. I really enjoyed the way it uses the application of scientific thinking without inundating the viewer with "This is false BECAUSE SCIENCE".

In particular, I quite liked the bit where they said basically "This stone is really big. Is it to big to be moved by humans? Let's look around at other big stones. A few miles away, we find an even bigger stone that was moved by humans." That type of simple, scientific thinking is missed by many people.
posted by rebent at 4:33 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seymour Zamboni, helpfully quoting Rep. Paul Broun who is unfortunately a representative from my state: God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the big bang theory; all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.

And that is a huge reason why evolution, embryology and the big bang theory must be taught. Because people don't need a savior. They shouldn't be taught that for their lives to be complete they need magical aid from some authority, especially if that authority is inscrutable and tends to be used to push social norms onto people. I hate to sound like a libertarian in this because sometimes people do need help. But they don't need a servile attitude, and fundamentalist Christian circles are loaded with that kind of rhetoric.

dubold's link is great, although I kind of wish he didn't have to link to littlegreenfootballs.com to make it.

sonascope has batted 1.000 this thread.
posted by JHarris at 5:35 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think after 2009 LGF has done an about-face from neocon to surprisingly sane. The hyperbolic anti-Obama rhetoric, the rise of the Tea Party, and the nefarious aspects of the online "counter-jihad" movement have caused Charles Johnson to break with the internet right-wing.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:06 PM on October 8, 2012


But then also, where did all the fresh water fish go? Fresh water bacteria? Shallow water and shore (littoral) creatures?

They re-evolved from saltwater creatures after the floodwaters receded. It was faster the second time because the morphic field hadn't decayed.

The debunking takes the position that angels can swap bodies to enable them to have sex with human women. I never knew this about angels.

Reliable documentary reports indicate they can also take on the form of swans, showers of gold, etc.

'Cause there's no way the eighties could have happened without the fuuuuuuture

Mostly, sure. But those neon pastels? Came from the crashed saucer at Roswell. No human aesthetic could have created those.

Seriously you guys this stuff is all so obvious.
posted by hattifattener at 11:31 PM on October 8, 2012


"Giorgio Tsoukalos" and the rest of "Ancient Aliens", along with all the evidence they find, and indeed the entire phenomenon of modern "alien encounters" and the scene surrounding them -- it's all just a performance art piece organized by David Bowie.

The man's good.
posted by Drexen at 6:08 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am SHOCKED!
posted by clavdivs at 7:37 AM on October 9, 2012


God hates Aliens?
posted by HFSH at 11:24 AM on October 10, 2012


Discovery’s Embarrassing Embrace of Ted Nugent, And The Value of Public Broadcasting
posted by homunculus at 5:44 PM on October 10, 2012


My wife and I sat down and watched this yesterday. She was really impressed and will probably use it for her classes. Some background:

Mrs.Husk teaches high school science and always includes a section on the scientific method, even if they've been over it before, since it is so important. One thing she likes to do when she has "watch a movie" day (it's an art school so sometimes performances cause this) is show episodes of things like Monster Hunters or Destination Truth and then have the kids write or talk about what was done scientifically right and wrong in the shows. It makes for some nice weird fun mixed with practicing their understanding of scientific method.

She HATES Ancient Aliens, though. With the fire of 1000 burning suns. She is a geoarcheologist and has gone on digs in Egypt and the outright stupidity of it all irritates her to no end.

When the show first came out I watched it pretty religiously and used it to (I thought) humorously taunt my to-be wife at the time. I never believed any of it, but I've always been a collector of the weird, especially conspiracy theories. Also, my mother was big into von Daniken - I still have two of his old books from the 70's that she bequeathed to me. So I grew up with that stuff and always thought it made for a good story hook with regards to fantasy and scifi. At one point a friend bought me a newer book on the subject - it pissed me off because it all boiled down to 1000 pages of "people were too incompetent to do that!" I said, "fuck you, buddy" and put it down. Around that time I got serious with my then to-be wife and noticed that the picking on her I did the with Ancient Aliens stuff really was upsetting her. So I went from "this is silly and fun" to "this is bad to society srs bizness."

Anyways, what was I saying again? Oh, yeah. Good video. I got bored when they started doing the text stuff by Mrs.Husk loved that part. Thanks for posting this.
posted by charred husk at 6:24 AM on October 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


homunculus:
"Discovery’s Embarrassing Embrace of Ted Nugent, And The Value of Public Broadcasting"
Oh God, Ted Nugent. So when Mrs.Husk was growing up in Michigan, The Nuge lived in the area and was neighbors with one of their family friends. We'll call him Bob.

One day her dad was at the hunting club with the guys and they were watching The Nuge hunt bison in the wild for some TV show.
"Hey, Bob!" her dad said. "Isn't that your bison farm he's hunting on."
"Yep."
"Didn't know your farm was in Wyoming, Bob!"
"Neither did I, Ray. Neither did I."
posted by charred husk at 6:40 AM on October 11, 2012


The filmmaker has a blog and is engaged in a little war with one of the nutters in the series, it seems. Here's the bit that really caught my eye:
Speaking of motive: White is a Christian fundamentalist.

I got to give you credit on this one, you didn’t lead the article with it. I fully expected that to be in the first or second sentence, if not in the title.

So he will side with such topics as the Nephilim as being real, but claims they cannot be alien. As White is somewhat unclear about what he believes they are, I do believe he doesn’t consider them to be human. So if not human, what are they? By default, that makes them alien – though not extraterrestrial.

Right, that is I don’t believe that they are a highly technologically advanced race who came here from another planet. And whether my belief is the correct one or not doesn’t change the fact that the ancient astronaut theory is wrong on this point and others that I debunked.
I did not see this twist coming.
posted by nickgb at 1:10 PM on October 12, 2012


ULTRATERRESTRIALS!
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on October 12, 2012


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