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Talk:Ancient astronauts

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I propose we move this to "Ancient aliens" instead of "ancient astronauts," since this is more about aliens than astronauts. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 06:28, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Ancient astronauts was the termed coined by von Däniken in the 1970s and is the term most associated with the theory. - π 06:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I think both titles should stand; this one to discuss von Daniken's stupid, the other to cover other lunacy. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:39, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

The actual ancient astronauts[edit]

... were actually what are called 'dragons.' These creatures exist in myth 'collect things' (researchers), exist in different varieties, and do not resemple other Earth-originated species.

There is no logical reason why 'aliens' should be humanoid. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Given that dragons appear in ancient myths all over the place, but are not found in reality (or any creature on which they could be based) what is the likelihood that #they# are aliens (appearing in somewhat confused form in the stories)?

Precession/the apparent movement of the Pole Star is likely to invalidate most 'ancient astronaut direction guides' (Stonehenge etc) (talk) 18:44, 9 December 2010 (UTC)


Should we merge this with ancient aliens? Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:55, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Isn't "Ancient Aliens" only about that specific show? If there is a merge, it should be merged into this, not the other way round.--ZooGuard (talk) 19:23, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Analyzing and refuting?[edit]

"If someone presents these arguments to you, don't even bother responding, as you'll only validate their insanity and encourage them in their esoteric fantasies"

This kind of comments are certainly not what RationalWiki is about. Analyzing and refuting is not expressing offensive comments without arguments. It is not a constructive dialogue!— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs --BobSpring is sprung! 10:29, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

'Proof of ancient astronauts'[edit]

... would include 'basic Health and safety instructions and good advice - 'Wash your hands before eating, cook food properly', 'from each according to their abilities (and don't suppress women/damage slaves/otherwise harm members of your own species)', do not pollute the environment and destroy species' - siphlium, Tyrean purple, the trees of Easter Island...

Any other components of a viable 'Ancient Astronaut Prime Directive'? (talk) 19:39, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Rename to "Ancient aliens"[edit]

Since 1: "ancient astronauts" sound like an "undiscovered advanced ancient civilization" thing (despite von Däniken's name), rather than aliens coming to earth prehistorically or beginning-of-history-ically; 2: it's a better title. ʇυzzγɔɒтqoтɒтo (talk/stalk) 22:42, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

This is the term popularly used for it, I don't see any major problem with it. (talk) 02:42, 22 August 42015 AQD (UTC)

It's hardly ever white cultures who get science and technology from aliens[edit]

Let's talk about this. There seems to be a disagreement whether this is a coincidence. I say it is not. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Which came first? God(s) or aliens?[edit]

If Mr. Von Daniken et al believe that aliens were mistaken for gods, giving us our myths, then were did the concept of gods originate? The concepts would have to be mutually exclusive for the mistake to be made. Therefore, do the AA proponents believe that religion existed mythless and sterile before MarvinWikipedia and co. taught us how to paint? --Scherben (talk) 23:55, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

There's 2 alternatives: people could have previously believed in gods, then seen an alien, and thought "ah yes that's a god", afterwards constructing new myths out of a mix of what the aliens did and what they already thought gods were like. Or else without any pre-existing religion they could have seen an alien, not had any idea what it was, and gradually constructed the idea of a god afterwards based on the alien, but with later corruption. I don't know which version Von Daniken proposed, but religion of some sort (maybe animism, nature spirits, sun gods, or other magical thinking, rather than belief in all-powerful humanoid gods in the Judaeochristian or Norse/Slavic/Greek model) seems to have long predated pyramids and all the lovely things the ancient astronauts gave us. --Gospatric (talk) 09:12, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
I think you are missing out the far more likely third possibility that neither gods nor aliens were involved in anything.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 17:03, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Many thanks for your insights. I, however, should have been clearer in stating that it was the concepts I meant, rather than any actual gods or aliens. It seems to me that AA proponents are stating there would be no gods without aliens; yet, how could aliens then be mistaken for gods? --Scherben (talk) 18:21, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Given that we have no consensual descriptions of either gods or aliens - what with them both being imaginary and all - it's kind of difficult to engage with the question.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:17, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

What would aliens look like?[edit]

There are probably certain requirements to becoming long-distance astronauts (various limbs to manipulate the environment, sufficient 'mental capacity' to conceive of and construct interstellar spaceships, planets having a sufficiently long lifespan and suitable escape velocities etc) - and further constraints on those visiting Earth (gravity range, comfortable with the atmosphere and local lifeforms - HG Wells' Martians and a local disease etc).

However, as said above, why should they look human (including various 'otherfolk' such as elves) - and why wouldn't the locals 'appropriate all useful resources/decorative items etc? And why did the aliens disappear for several millennia until the 1950s (even allowing for 'no useful technology here and nothing equivalent to a repair station' remarks in the Galactic Guide to Habitable Planets')? No visits from the 'join our wonderful empire - we will give you all this' (with the locals sussing out that they can get a lot more by signing up to all and sundry and pleading ignorance of other offers). Anna Livia (talk) 18:43, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

@Anna Livia Huge sticky fingers with suckers on the end would be my guess. Is it PZ Myers who doubts any alien life would resemble humans due to divergent evolutionary conditions that would exist elsewhere? Then there's the plausibility of multi-cellular life even getting a foothold anywhere in the local vicinity. There's an excellent appraisal of the possibilities in this book; including a savage take down of the UFO nuts by Robert Sheaffer. --Scherben (talk) 21:07, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Shall we say that as the universe is very big there are likely to be entities elsewhere discussing the same topic on their version of RW. Several limbs capable of manipulating the local environment and a capacity to survive in a wide range of environments are probably also necessary for at least some part of the space-going communities (as crew or passengers).
Alternative possible ancient astronauts - dragons, sentient trees (hence the Green Man and similar); ecotourists ('leave no trace'), missionaries, gap year students... Anna Livia (talk) 23:35, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Judging by the amount of anal probing that occurs (mostly on rednecks) now, I think the ecotourists were replaced with other tourists, considerably more downmarket. --Scherben (talk) 00:56, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
There are no X was 'ere graffiti and dumpings of rubbish - so do you mean slashfic writers?
The ecotourist and 'those making suggestions which save many hours of work' will leave few traces. Also - the AAs could have left traces that only now make sense (whose ancient world voyage round Africa was dismissed at the time because he said the sun had been in the north - which is now used to prove that he had in fact crossed the equator?).
There would also be occasional cases of Ents, (Star Wars) Hutts and other creatures being stranded because they are no longer space-worthy. Anna Livia (talk) 17:44, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I was thinking sex tourists; the ubiquity of the probing makes me think they're not here for the science. The voyage round Africa you'll have educate me on. --Scherben (talk) 00:40, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
Having time to look it up here, Egypt section: there are probably other examples of 'oddities noted whether or not disbelieved at the time.' (And in which Isaac Asimov novel - a time traveller using a mushroom cloud logo to communicate to his own time?) Anna Livia (talk) 10:38, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm sceptical that the voyage round Africa is historical. I am willing to be persuaded to the contrary, however. I think the observation (given that they knew the world was a globe) that the Greeks would have known that the sun would be to the north eventually is probably the simplest explanation. The ancient world -like ours and the future one- had tall tales abounding. Going back the your stranded species, not AA, but there have been claims that alien became stranded in Varginha, Brasil; and,back to AA, the kangaroo and the duck billed platypus are suspicious, therefore, aliens --Scherben (talk) 19:44, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
Shall we say that there were probably more 'communications and trading networks and travellers' than were ever recorded - and some of the tall tales were based on reality and systems of logic that no longer apply (eg classifying whales as fish; religious and other belief systems - God commands you not to eat animals that might have parasites).
There is no reason why there should not be 'other sentient creatures in the universe' and there is equally no reason why they should be humanoid in form - though they are likely to have certain similar characteristics in order to develop technology: and there will be further constraints for potential spaceship constructors (with some wider flexibility for crew and passengers). The hurdle, of course, is 'viable space travel' (and possibly communication).
One generation believes Druids created Stonehenge and the next blames aliens - and the people who actually constructed them would have their own opinions on the subject, and most things do have local explanations.
It would be more logical for the aliens (keeping account of persons and objects) to leave representations of eg the periodic table/the Solar System etc which would only make sense much later. Anna Livia (talk) 21:01, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
There's the rub, aliens left nothing, not even an accidentally dropped artefact; and certainly posing for engraved selfies smacks of an absurd, wasteful narcissism (how human). There probably is life in the universe (definitely if its dimensions are infinite), but intelligence (in human terms, so not particularly high) is probably exceedingly sparse, and the constraints of relativity make interstellar and intergalactic travel problematic to say the least. Going back to your systems of logic comment (which is sound), surely all animals have parasites? I've never heard that being the reason for dietary restrictions in religions before (it's an interesting concept). --Scherben (talk) 16:11, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

(reset) The most one can say is that if 'viable SF-type space travel' exists/has existed for sufficient length of time then it is not impossible that the Earth has been visited by creatures which would probably look quite different to humans (but which would share certain characteristics such as those mentioned above and 'finding Earth type conditions acceptable'); and that they were very careful in what they left behind (and we would not be aware of 'observant local deciding to copy something'/being shown a way of getting round a sticking point).

And there are probably many more planets with 'nothing yet on land'/'too many trees'/'the resident big creatures with sharp teeth and plants consider us food' than ones where the locals are willing to trade/regard us as tourist-tat buyers etc. Anna Livia (talk) 12:29, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

I don't think alien visitation to E-Arth (Rick and MortyWikipedia reference) -either past, present or future- is impossible. just improbable. If we had some data about life elsewhere in the cosmos, and, therefore could make a reasonable assumption about how many space faring civilisations there are in the Milky Way, then maybe I'd revise that opinion. As it is, we could well be the most technologically advanced species in the vicinity; and it'll be a long time before we can travel to/colonise other star systems even at current rate of progress. If we do, then human evolution divergence should be quite a sight. --Scherben (talk) 01:59, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
Drake equation or not - most people would accept that 'the universe is a big place, we have emerged on Earth so it is logical that sentient life has emerged elsewhere - but viable long distance space travel has not yet been developed (or the last time they visited Earth there were no creatures to be traded with and develop resources for the next visit)' - and the 'evidence proposed' ranges from 'local explanations more likely (including 'this is obscure enough to charge applicants to our cult megabucks to be told what it means (and will confuse our descendants besides) and odd phenomena (whether or not involving altered mental states and optical/sound illusions)' to 'failing to reach the basic criteria for a Scottish Not Proven verdict.'
When viable space travel is developed the space going species will be far more diverse than the spaceship-developing species - pets (animal and plant), and a whole range of factors affecting sentient species (eg hibernation and size) some of which could be accommodated.
I forget where I came across the suggestion that 'religious dietary restrictions' might be based on actual observation - shellfish can cause food poisoning, and 'eating creatures which eat waste products is gross and probably bad for you' etc. Anna Livia (talk) 09:46, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
That has a logic to it, the dietary regulations, but that still leaves the question of why porcine products were consumed by the non-Jewish cultures (Greece, Rome), to take an example not really at random. --Scherben (talk) 15:45, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
Different physical environments or perhaps 'a particular local/regional infestation.'
A component of religious impositions and other culture-defining habits' may well have a learned health and safety component. Anna Livia (talk) 16:43, 22 August 2018 (UTC)

Ancient Aliens and local technology[edit]

I read 'somewhere' long ago that the Roman Empire expanded to where local technology was above a certain basic level (it is somewhat difficult to set up an administration over follow-the-herds tribes). To what extent would the same apply to space-travelling populations? The local blacksmith can only do so much, industrial revolution level factories may not be able to produce spare parts with sufficient precision - and populations need to be producing more than a certain amount to trade.

The ST Prime Directive would break down in practice ('Mgwmff reminded me of my dear old granny so I had to help her', 'the water supply they need is only just down the path so why not help them', 'I am the manager of X factory - give me your technology and #then# you can leave/I will be in a position to supply all your requirements on future visits' etc). Anna Livia (talk) 11:47, 22 August 2018 (UTC)

If a civilisation masters technology to the point where space travel is viable, then I can't see how they'd have a need for local technologies from the indigenous population. Their own technology would be so advanced that our own would in no way measure up to it? --Scherben (talk) 15:54, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
In one scenario 'the equipment' needs some repairs and the nearest service station is #very# far away - and it might be possible to get eg spares made locally/pay for a 3D printer etc. And - if you are going to develop local resources (for your own benefit) you need a sufficiently developed local population to do the work (you can teach a monastic scribal centre/the royal scribe-accountants and librarians to look after your records and even code them much more readily than the hunter gatherers) - space travel is likely to be relatively expensive.
And 'the local food is delicious'/traders and others find ways of selling overpriced amusing gizmos/setting up production of goods that suit spacetraveller as well as local requirements. (Anyone wish to develop 'the standard tome on interstellar economics and benefits of outsourcing to societies at different levels of economic development'? Anna Livia (talk) 16:43, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
AA proponents never seem to consider the logistics of venturing to another planet. The huge distances involved mean that a stopover of a few minutes (or less, as the UFO nuts have it) just isn't viable. That would then require a huge support apparatus which would certainly leave traces of its own, rather than just depicted in stone reliefs of cave paintings. Unless you succumb to ad-hoccery such as space stations (and where's the evidence again?), then your left with a huge, gaping argument from silence, as the engineering feats of ancient civilisations are difficult but perfectly attainable. --Scherben (talk) 21:53, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
If you have actual FTL travel you might as well have actual teleportation. There are likely to be many more 'traders, explorers, guidebook writers and suchlike' than Scientific Expeditions and Administrative/Military Investigation Ships (with a view to taxation and resources that can be exploited) - but even they would need a certain length of time to analyse the situation (have you arrived at the equivalent of Up Helly Aa or something actually serious?).
Most people will have no problem with 'the universe is very big, and as life and sentience has emerged on one planet it will happen elsewhere (and is probably far more robust and diverse than we expect) - and will consider viable space travel as 'still SF' rather than 'going down to the corner shop for a bottle of milk.' And most planets that space travellers will visit will fall into the categories 'nothing much, 'algae-like, plankton-like and flitting critters', 'assorted plants and creatures (some of which are 'eat-yous).' Those with creatures which can be communicated with (various categories of pre-industrial and industrial level society) are likely to be fairly scare, and 'you have sub-light space - you can now work towards joining the interstellar community' are going to be scarcer still.
As for what there is - 'the ancients and more recent people' had a different view of time to us (and could regard constructing something over decades and longer as A Good Thing For The Community etc) - and anything that can be reinterpreted and misinterpreted by succeeding generations will be (and several times if possible). Anna Livia (talk) 10:45, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
As well as wrong, I think the whole AA debacle can be summed up by one word: anthropocentric. --Scherben (talk) 22:29, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
Shall we say - the discussion and the actual article can be summarised 'sentients elsewhere in the universe - probable', 'sentients with viable space travel - not impossible', 'sentients with viable space travel, visiting Earth during Early Humans-the Ancient World period and leaving no traces other than can be explained by locals with more patience than we have and having no TV/internet LOL-cats deciding to build weird monuments and art which can be subsequently misinterpreted - close to zero' and 'capacity of humans to reinterpret and misinterpret the past and monuments and artefacts left behind - very high.' Anna Livia (talk) 18:31, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
Good post! --Scherben (talk) 20:04, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
Glad you like it :)
The only arguable point - the amount of actual deliberate intent in creating 'things which will puzzle the future' rather than 'the story and reference at the time being well known but forgotten thereafter': 5K years hence will there be arguments on 'the deeper meaning' of some road signs? Anna Livia (talk) 17:22, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
I can't see road signs ever being an issue to future people, as there is so much documentation and future civilisations are likely to retain current methods of cultural communicationWikipedia. We also have a fairly good idea what these alleged mysteries (pyramids etc.) actually are; with any differences in opinions being largely academic, when the people stating the explanations aren't cranks. --Scherben (talk) 00:07, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

(reset) I was using them as an example of something generally and universally familiar (wherever there are sufficient roads and users thereof to justify them): many but not all are self-evident (and even now - the UK child, brought up metric asking what 'yards' as a distance meant) - and will there be arguments whether there were insects and toads the same size as deer? (See the signs.) And just because examples of the Highway Code and Road Signs will survive does not mean that some people will not create 'correct theories on the hidden meanings.' Anna Livia (talk) 08:44, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

To take a modern example - on one of the Evil Overlord and Related Lists it is suggested that all computer documents be puffed up to 1.45 megabits - which will not make sense to most people now. Anna Livia (talk) 20:13, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

Will add to my comment nominated as a good post - chance that 'visiting aliens' looking externally sufficiently like humans (rather than dragons, tree people, swarm entities, mushrooms...) not to cause surprise - very low, and capacity to communicate immediately (rather than after a sufficiency of the local lingo has been analysed for the translation computers to work without causing inconvenient or unpleasant misunderstandings etc) - even closer to zero.

Changing the subject slightly - has the phrase 'take me to your leader' ever appeared in an actual visiting aliens story? Anna Livia (talk) 15:54, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

Following on from the LOL-cats comment part 2 - chances of 'sentient species elsewhere in the universe' having reached their equivalent of the late 20th century and having their version of 'ancient aliens' and 'the aliens among us/collaborating with the government' - very high. Anna Livia (talk) 10:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)