Re: Chariots of da Gods?!!

William Belcher (
1 Oct 1996 13:18:58 GMT

The problem is that we must be able to evaluate claims. Skepticism is an
important part of science, but so is wonder - that is the combination that
we have to balance - to be completely skeptical is to be incredulous and
believe nothing; yet, to only have wonder about the universe means that we
beliefve and accept everything.

von Daniken and the other members of the Ancient Astronaut Society have not
offered a single evidence of proof. For instance, some speculations from
Gold of the Gods (1972, Bantam Books):
"These admittedly poor copies of very early flying machines have been
promptly and without exception declared 'ritual attributes' on all sites
and in all museums....

The space traveler on the tombstone at Palenque was an Indian in a ritual

In the recent film, von Daniken, at least has decided that this space
traveler was a Mayan king, who just rode in a space ship - yet, if one
looks at the iconography of the Maya, we know that it is a depiction of
Pacal the Great poised between life and death - what he is grasping is note
a control panel, but the tree of life and the flames and such are really
the maw of the Underworld (those are flames, they are sylized teeth). We
know all of this in detail because the Maya writing system has been
deciphered since the 1980s. There is no mention of spaceships or
extraterrestrial beings (or anything that could be interpreted as such) -
what there is represents a much more fascinating story of politics, empire
building and great leaders. This is a much more fascinating story.

von Daniken speculates and goes by the assumption that his speculations are
just as good as someone who is trained to work with this material. I don't
believe so - why is it that people feel that we don't have to be trained as
archaeologists or anthropologists...they don't feel that way with doctors
or lawyers...but I guess archaeology and anthropology are "safe"...but
perhaps the stealing of someone's heritage is extremely dangerous - the
Maya now have a sense of history with names and dates behind all the great
portraits - to suggest that their civilization was created only because of
extraterrestrial intervention is sad and telling of the colonialism that
still exists throughout the world.

If von Daniken is serious about his claims, there is an epistomology of
knowing - the scientific method - he has not followed it and has only
ripped seemingly strange artifacts out of their cultural context and
applied his own 20th century interpretation on them - to let the voice that
we have for the Maya not speak and ignore the iconography is not science
and not even good speculation.