I was brought up with a healthy respect for academia. My parents were educated. My family is mostly educated. Although I am not a scholar by trade I admire many scholars. Most of them, especially teachers, are overworked and underpaid and underappreciated.
I am someone who appreciates science, history, archeology and sociology. I’m just a layman but I understand the discipline of it all. I understand the concepts of legitimate research, peer review, and toiling for years to work out an idea.
Which brings us to this —
I was around ten years old when I first encountered Erich von Daniken’s book “Chariots Of The Gods?” I was already growing into the sceptical skin I would eventually be comfortable with wearing so reading that book was not something akin to a religious experience for me. I recall thinking that it all made for a pretty neat story. I even indulged in a few what ifs. Then I went out, played some baseball, and forgot most of it.
Years later I was surprised to stumble on Ancient Aliens: The Series. You see, in the years after reading that book, I had discovered just what legit scholars thought about that book and its ideas — and completely justified for thinking it too.
A great philosopher in a Coen Brothers’ flick once said that everybody was looking for answers. It’s the only reason I have why anybody would watch that show and take it seriously. The academic credentials of most of its participants are mostly slim to nonexistent.
Do you want to be an expert in Ancient Alien theory? Read Daniken’s book, two hundred pages give or take that has been largely debunked by the legitimate scientific community in the decades since it was first published. Read Zecharia Sitchen’s “Earth Chronicles”, a series of books so full of crap that they could bankrupt a toilet paper company. Don’t forget to bend logic to its breaking point, forget common sense, and play so fast and loose with the facts that they fly around the room like the cards do when you try to play poker with a lunatic.
Oh, don’t forget to make sure everybody knows that all those stuffy, pipe-chomping professor types out there just aren’t ready to accept your ” radical” ideas and Indiana Jones vibe.
I think, deep down, the majority of folks out there know that Darth Vader didn’t help the Ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramids —
Yet the popularity of the show persists; it’s in something like its eighth season now. And the popularity of other shows like it — bigfoot hunters, spook hunters, monster hunters, fake documentaries about mermaids and yetis eating hikers. The list goes on and on.
Look, when not bugging people with the blog, I write fiction. I get the attraction to a world of the unknown — a world where magic exists and 2001 will eventually happen. But we’re 14 years past 2001, and while magic exists, it is not in the form of the paranormal.
I do believe that life exists out there. Some fairly well-learned people even think that we’re on the verge of discovering some of it. Do I believe that Aliens genetically engineered humanity, helped ancient folks build stoneworks, and routinely abduct John Boy and Billy Bob from rural areas? Of course not.
I’m not Fox Mulder who “wants” to believe. Let’s just say I would like to believe. But I’m not buying into any sort of sweeping hypothesis about the origins of mankind without better proof in the pudding. Dig up a UFO somewhere then call me. We’ll have lunch.
It’s not that I am not a truth seeker. I too seek the truth in my own humble way. Simple truths like somebody worth coming home to or actually managing to bake a pan of brownies that my boys will scarf down. I seek answers to simpler questions. Where do the missing socks go? How the heck do I still not check pants pockets for magic markers, candy and gum before doing laundry? Why doesn’t a gallon of milk last longer than two days in my house?
None of these might be as awesome sounding as E.T. chiseling out a stone monument, but hey, they beat trying to teach Bigfoot how to use the litter box