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February 4, 2018 — Erich von Däniken and David Halperin

Discussion in 'Talk About the Show' started by Gene Steinberg, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Usual Suspect

    Usual Suspect USI Calgary

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Calgary Canada
    Home Page:
    Welcome to the forum. I'm still kicking myself for missing the opportunity to be on the show. I completly agree with the points you made, but if I may ask a couple of pertinent questions:

    If you can bear with me here they require a little setup:

    It's true that humans create fictional stories that are often fantastical in nature, and I tend to think that 99% of mythology ( including religious mythology ) is exactly that sort of thing ( as you suggest ). I don't know your position on UFOs as a topic of study in modern times, but for the sake of argument, if we suppose that they are really some sort of alien craft, and not simply fictitious, then:

    1. Why isn't it possible that the same phenomenon was observed in ancient times, and that it did contribute to the mythology?
    2. Given that the answer to question 1 is that it is possible, how might we separate actual observations from the myth and fiction?

    USI has a member who is a professor specializing in mythology out of Hawaii, and in my past correspondence with him, he doesn't see the reality of ancient sightings as all that far fetched. I also think it's entirely possible for us to look at ancient descriptions of alleged observations of things fantastical to them in their day, and realize we would see it very differently and probably more accurately and objectively. This does nothing to diminish our appreciation for the psyche of the ancient mind. We simply recognize that their interpretation is as primitive as a cargo cult looking at airplanes. Just because they saw airplanes as mystical flying creatures controlled by humans doesn't mean there were no airplanes.

    So I see your points. Do you think there is any room to meet somewhere in the middle? If not, then how is it that we can be 100% certain that no mythology contains even a single grain of truth that could be related to sightings of the same sort of craft numerous witness in modern times have observed?
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    technomage and Ron Away like this.
  2. David Halperin

    David Halperin Paranormal Novice

    Feb 9, 2018
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    Durham, NC
    Many thanks for your post. I very much appreciate the points you've made.
    To respond, I will need to get into my reasons for being so skeptical about the physical reality of UFOs today. I remember how, in the 1960s when I was a teen UFOlogist, the UFOlogical discourse anticipated some dramatic denouement to the UFOs' presence within the next few years--massive and undeniable contact, for example, or possibly an invasion. The years passed; nothing of the sort happened. Our own space program revealed nothing about extraterrestrial visitors, provoked no response from them. As far as their impact on human affairs went, the UFOs might not have been there at all.
    This did not suit what I would have anticipated from a space visitation--that it would turn out to be a major turning point in human history.
    We UFOlogists had our answers to the old why-don't-they-land-on-the-White-House-lawn question: we can't put ourselves in the ETs' position and ask why they don't behave as we would, because we don't know what their position is. It was only long afterward that I realized that this robbed the extraterrestrial hypothesis of any explanatory power it might have had. If absolutely nothing can be predicated of the space visitors, their motives, and their expected actions, then to say that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft amounts to the same thing as saying we don't know what they are. I would prefer an open confession of our ignorance.
    Going back to the "ancient aliens," I would ask: does positing their presence make anything within the ancient texts more intelligible? Or does it just create more problems of the why-didn't-they variety? My own view is: the latter. On the "Paracast" show, I touched on von Daniken's treatment of ancient myths and legends about giants. He writes near the beginning of chapter 4 of Chariots: "'Giants' haunt the pages of almost all ancient books. So they must have existed." He means, of course: "existed" as gigantic superhuman beings. But suppose they "existed" as the giants we all remember from our infancy, "giant" only in relation to our own smallness. (But anything is "giant" only by comparison with something else.) I'm not sure this is the full explanation of "giant" legends; in fact, I'm sure it's oversimplified. But it seems to me more promising than finding the reality-core of the legends in the extra-human world.
    I hope I've responded to the issues you've raised. Thanks again for posting.
    technomage likes this.

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