Ancient Aliens, modern obsessions


Yeah, I hate it. I hate the “reality” shows too.

History Channel, I have an idea. How about having programs about history, actual history.


I only want to learn about it if it will help me kill it.

Charles Pierce, in his Esquire politics blog, calls Giorgio Tsoukalos (He of the wild hair), “the most amazing man on television.” He uses him as a foil to the likes of Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann. Tsoukalos used to be an announcer/interviewer in Pro Wrestling so he as come down some.

They tried that, this is a LOT more popular and profitable.

Because there are a lot more stupid people than smart ones.

The spread of trashy pseudoscience on television is really dispiriting, but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising in the current pseudoscience-friendly climate. Promos for this particular show make my blood boil… can’t imagine watching the program for any reason.

The hilarity and fodder for scifi fan fic factors are more than enough for me to love the shit out that show. Anyone mistaking it for even coming close to history or science deserves to live in a van…down by the river.

As long as people believe in the possibility of aliens, we’re going to be stuck with ancient astronauts, UFO hunters, SETI, and abduction claims.

Opinions seem to be pretty black & white in here… I haven’t watched this particular show, have only seen about half a dozen episodes in all, and I have not researched into the subject much…
Still I’m willing to entertain that in 6 years worth of episodes, there would be a few points of evidence that would demand further investigation.
Derisive dismissal is not my cup of tea.

One of those things is substantially less batshit-crazy than the others. I’d say there’s a strong probability of aliens, somewhere—it’s a pretty big universe. Just not aliens who stop by evert so often to build pyramids and probe our rectums.

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The first season does cover a few points that are hard to explain. Definitely mysterious, although not necessarily “evidence” of aliens. There’s an episode on Puma Punku (which I had never heard of before that show) that is amazing.

If you don’t know, Puma Punku is an Inca ruin. It features stone blocks that weigh over 100 metric tons, and were quarried 10 kilometers away from their current location. Also their current location is a a mountain top. The engineering and design of the blocks is almost modern, but it’s an ancient site.

Definitely mysterious, and the show was worth watching, but you could just as easily say that angels built it, or time travelers, or that the Incas had modern technology which has all disappeared.

The show has gone from attempting credibility by talking about real, honest mysteries such as Puma Punku, to bizarre theories about aliens and Nazis, or aliens and cults, or aliens and haunted houses.

Edit: fixed typos.

If you want to believe in the probability of aliens, I certainly can’t blame you. It is a big, mysterious universe, no question. But SETI is a massive waste of resources: we may as well spend hundreds of millions of dollars looking for dark energy, or quantum strings, or time travelers.

It’s hard to do a proper cost/benefit analysis with the limited data we have but spending $2.5 million a year on a long-shot with such a huge potential payoff isn’t really that much in the grand scheme of things.

I’ll agree with you, in the sense that I can’t prove that aliens DON’T exist, so I can’t prove that the money is a complete and total waste. The logic here is that, since no one can prove that heaven DOESN’T exist, tithing 10% of your net income for the potential payoff of going to heaven is equally logical.

And if SETI was getting 10% of my tax dollars I’d lobby to shut them down in a heartbeat, but $2.5 million a year doesn’t even amount to a rounding error when you’re talking about Federal spending.

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And like much pure research, there’s a decent chance of unexpected spin-off results.


We do spend hundreds of millions of dollars looking for dark energy and quantum strings, which is really, really easy to know if you really gave a shit. And I bet if you added up all the woo-spend, you’d find 9-figures for aliens.

But to your point, considering we’re now up to, what, a couple of thousand confirmed extrasolar planets, bitching about checking them out for life for a complete drop in the bucket figure like 2.5m sounds like the sort of asshole that complains about someone on food stamps buying potato chips and soda while ignoring that, say, Wells Fargo paid a negative tax rate for the last 5 years.


The Romans had a formula for concrete so good there are still blocks of the stuff around and in use, some of it submerged in saltwater for 2,000 years. It was a mystery for centuries, only recently deciphered.

Now, some people might say, oh but the Romans didn’t have modern tech, they didn’t have modern chemistry labs, they must have learned their tricks from aliens! How could they possibly have come up with roads that would last 2000 years when in the 21st century we can’t build one to last ten? How could they have devised concrete that set underwater and never fell apart? Or build aqueducts hundreds of miles long that still stand to this day?

The answer is that human beings are considerably smarter than a lot of modern, science-illiterate, tech-dependent humans can grasp. If the Incas managed to haul 100-tonne blocks of stone up a mountain, the overwhelmingly likely explanation is that they devised an ingenious engineering solution that was forgotten and hasn’t been unravelled (yet?), not that aliens came along and did the hard work for them.

Looking to aliens to explain stuff like this is lazy, sensationalistic pseudoscience and it always has been. That’s why I find shows like this offensive. The irony is that their fanciful speculations are actually the result of a spectacular failure of imagination.

I completely agree. Did you miss the part in the exact same post where I said,