I feel it is appropriate to attach here a welcoming comment I read at the 1999 World Conference of the Ancient Astronaut Society, on June 25, at the Hotel Maritim in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, relevant to the same topic I present below.
The concept that extraterrestrial intelligence visited Earth has a history of well over 2500 years. But the world at large had only a fleeting cognizance of the importance of what was then considered to be myth. It was not Plato's writings, religious tomes, other mythological tales of a bygone era, and certainly not present-day scientists' discoveries of other planets outside our solar system that awakened the world to the A. A. S. Hypothesis.
It was, rather, Erich von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods" and subsequent writings, and all our courageous farsighted physicists, writers, engineers, philosophers, anthropologists, and many other scientists and technologists, many of who long ago and even recently authored a host of books and articles on the subject. All of them joined together to embark upon a venture that has awakened the world's consciousness to the highly probable truth of the hypothesis.
And now we have the Archaeology, Astronautics, and SETI Research Association (A. A. S. RA) - founded by Erich vonDaniken, Ulrich Dopatka and Giorgio Tsoukalos, to push the boundaries of our work even further.
Many members of our society have researched museums throughout the world uncovering the existence of ancient artifacts requiring a technology we cannot yet equal. This is clear evidence indicating a highly advanced civilization. The question not yet answered, and yet to be answered, is "What was the source of the intelligence required for that advancement?" Are we to assume that it evolved here on Earth and then somehow those civilizations ceased to exist? There seems to be no evidence supporting that hypothesis.
There are two opposing theories regarding the evolution of intelligence in Homo sapiens. 1) a slow and gradual one over millions of years and 2) there was a sudden leap of intelligence. Was the evolution of primitive societies interfered with by extraterrestrial intelligence with no Star Trek Prime Directive to worry about disobeying? Was there genetic interference?" We need to know! But we will not find the answers without continued research.
Scientists and government officials finally accept the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligences or they would not be spending vast sums of money to get evidence of them. And, in our favor, foreign scientists do not appear to be as skeptical about our hypothesis as most, or at least many, American and German scientists.
We have succeeded in getting grudging admissions from the latter, however. Now we must convince particularly those people in seats of power. They have finally admitted publicly the probability of existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. It follows logically, then, that there are Ancient Astronauts. There cannot be extraterrestrial intelligence without at the same time there being ancient astronauts even of they never visited Earth, unless of course they never achieved space flight, an unlikely probability for civilizations far more advanced than are we. What can we do now, beyond what we have done and are doing? Erich von Daniken has certainly shown the way with his concept of an Adventure Park, "Mysteries of the World.? that he conceived, designed, and created. (Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be as popular as he had hoped. Perhaps, time will reverse the misfortune.)
However, as individuals, we must search our imagination for other ways to improve our relationship with the scientific community and its leaders. It is not enough merely to collect evidence for the Ancient Astronaut and Paleo-SETI Hypotheses).
One of the techniques of skeptics is to offer opposing theories in order to undermine the evidence offered for the hypothesis. To my knowledge none of those theories has held or will hold up under scrutiny. We must be able to offer evidence showing the weaknesses of their opposing theories with which they attempt to undermine the evidence offered for the two hypotheses.
Consider, for instance, the following:
Perhaps we should invite some skeptics. So that we can offer our criticism of their attacks! Such an approach would show that we are willing to listen to reasoned opposition and , in the process, possibly persuade them to listen to us. Otherwise, we may appear "to be preaching only to the converted."
We must make certain that our lectures and publications be of the most objective and serious nature based upon research, discovery, verifiability, and logical conclusions to be drawn from them, rather than on unsupported conviction and conjecture alone. We must encourage our friends and acquaintances, many who are probably professional and influential people., to join with us. We must show them the excitement of the research.
We must bring pressure upon those in possession of hidden archives, which presently are withheld even from researchers, to make them available to the public.
We need to investigate the mysteries our members have uncovered because too many academic scientists are unwilling to tear themselves from their funded programs in order to investigate a concept no government seems willing to support financially.
Perhaps now that extraterrestrial intelligence is widely being accepted., formally trained archaeologists will divert some of their funds, from the study of artifacts of past civilizations such as vases, pots, and arrows, and direct them to a study of the evidence that our community of researchers has uncovered in support of the A. A. A.-Paleo-SETI hypotheses.
On July 28 I read a paper for the fifth world conference, in Chicago, Illinois at the Chicago Marriott, entitled, Proof, Science, and the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis. The following is revisiting of that reading. It was prefaced by a note of concern. It, too, is worth repeating here.
I must confess that I approach my subject with some apprehension. Philosophy is a difficult subject . More so because so much of it is discussed in what appears to the general public to be everyday language. Those of you who are inclined to science may be displeased. Those of you who are annoyed at science may be pleased.
My remarks, however, are directed at science, if I may speak in analogous terms, as one who loves his country and criticizes it out of love in order to encourage its self-improvement. I would like to emphasize, therefore, that this examination of scientific criticism of our efforts is in no way to be interpreted as a lack of faith in science, even though now it seems to be leaning in the direction of unverifiable concepts and especially those mathematically derived ignoring the admonitions of Einstein, Hardy, Bertrand Russell. and others that it must not be conflated with reality.
That said, I have as much faith in the scientific method as some people have in the existence of an anthropomorphic God. The difference is that my faith in science evolved from the testable and verifiable achievements of science, from its preponderance of the available evidence it has offered, however non-absolute it may be, both in fulfillment of its predictions and in support of scientific beliefs.
Faith in theistic concepts, however, such as the existence of immaterial gods, angels, cosmic minds, and intelligences, has evolved out of primitive concepts, irrationality, superstition and reification of the unknown or in other words that which lies beyond the comforting light and warmth of the campfires. It is a faith born out of and borne upon beliefs for which there is not an iota of evidence. Such faith is a faith without evidence and too often in spite of evidence to the contrary. The Ancient Astronaut hypothesis, however, is subject to evidential inquiry.
With this perfunctory remark then, please understand that I am an ardent proponent of science who becomes deeply disturbed by dogmatic scientists who destroy the credibility of science by claiming for it more than it can deliver and refusing to give the ancient astronaut hypothesis the scientific consideration it deserves.
Last year, 1996, scientists made the announcement, with much fanfare, that there probably is life on the planet Mars. Jim Lovell, who was the commander of the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission, then expressed what ancient astronaut theorists have been saying for over a quarter of a century. Lovell said, "How little effort we are putting into solving one of mankind's greatest mysteries: Are we alone"?
I find this somewhat disingenuous. It is a failure to give credit where credit is due. We can only hope that he was not referring to the efforts of Erich von Daniken and so many others who have been trying so hard and long to bring evidence to the attention of the world that we, very probably, are not alone.
In recent years, with notable failure, millions of dollars have been spent trying to tune in to messages possibly sent, from the vast reaches of the universe, by civilizations on yet undiscovered distant planets. In the past, professionals, scientific and academic, in both the hard and soft sciences, took great pleasure in showing their disdain for the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis. What the critics have unintentionally succeeded in doing is to convince the world that they now believe what they formerly scoffed at; that is, that "extraterrestrials," i.e., ancient astronauts, may indeed exist.
If a civilization had evolved to the point where it could broadcast such messages, considering the time lapse involved receiving them from a planet billions of light years distant, the probability follows, as the night the day, that it is a near certainty that their scientists had long ago achieved interstellar travel -- certainly interplanetary. And if, as some scientists believe, traveling faster than the speed of light may be attainable, the probability that there were extraterrestrials capable of interstellar travel rises enormously.
There has been little doubt amongst Ancient Astronaut theorists of the probability that we are not alone. We have repeatedly said so in voice and in literature only to be ignored by those who have the power but not the will to research age-old mysteries suggesting extra-terrestrial visitation. Those same powers-that-be preferred to listen to the derisive voices that fear having it revealed that we are, as Einstein has been reported to have said, only an insignificant aspect of our universe.
Few people notice the interrogative punctuation at the end of the title of Erich's first book, Chariots of The Gods?. They miss the point of it entirely. It is not a declarative claim. Rather, it is a questioning indicator, the very basis of a scientific attitude. Even though von Daniken is not a schooled scientist, to his credit he has assiduously maintained this attitude throughout his pursuit of evidence to support the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis. Many of his critics, to their shame, have abandoned the principle of maintaining an open mind. In the past their voices rang out like the cry of embattled authority proclaiming "truth" anxiously and loudly. In the face of these mysteries, they either offered flimsy solutions, many of which in the course of time have been shown to be false, or they blatantly ignored plausible inductive possibilities.
Failing to disprove the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis with indisputable evidence, the same critics repeatedly dredge up the same old tired criticisms, blind to the tantalizing millennia-old mysteries. Generally, a few notable personalities convey negative vibes toward the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis though not directly. Often, it is difficult to determine what they believe. I suspect that throughout the world there are closet Ancient Astronaut enthusiasts who haven't the courage to let others know their true beliefs for fear of facing the derision that the media, playing to the powers-that-be, foist upon the general public. How else can it be explained that hundreds of millions of people around the world read about the subject? It is akin to the stance taken by closet antitheists who do not wish to bear the scorn of those who claim, without proof, to know the absolute truth.
Some years ago, at a previous Ancient Astronaut convention, I intimated that among the millions who have read von Daniken's books, and I might add, examined the research of many other writers on the subject, are scientists, philosophers, archeologists, anthropologists, engineers, scholars from every field. Some of these professionals themselves are authors of books and/or articles sympathetic to the Hypothesis. They refuse to be intimidated.
A half century ago the existence of intelligence beyond Earth received little credibility. But, as is well known, intelligence exists on this planet, so why not on others? With a science still in its embryonic state compared to the age of other possible extra-terrestrial civilizations, we have, nevertheless, succeeded in extending our intelligence beyond the confines of our planet. Evidence of our intelligence exists on a space platform orbiting the earth, on the moon, Venus, Mars, and even now traveling within and beyond the bounds of our solar system. Active intelligence will undoubtedly exist, in the foreseeable future on the moon and Mars. Moreover, it will probably be extended throughout our solar system in the form of manned space platforms around others of our sister planets. We will surely wish to study them up close and will probably build orbiting homeports for the equipment we shall need for robotic mining of them. These technological possibilities have given science the persuasive edge for suctioning out of government coffers considerable sums of money both for legitimate purposes as well as for enterprises, labeled "scientific research," which are either on the fringe of credibility, or of minimal practical value.
Consider the time, effort, and money spent on a computer search for prime numbers and the absolute value of pi. Likewise, others are in pursuit of psychic phenomena such as pre-cognition, psycho kinesis, and the like. Scientists spend inordinate sums of money on discovering and creating subatomic particles with a billionth-of-a-second life span. There are other enterprises, however, which, though labeled "scientific research," are sometimes tinged with unverifiable claims and, indeed, are on the fringe of credibility. Clearly it is "the pot calling the kettle black" when we are accused of not being able to prove the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis.
To date, science has spent millions of dollars researching point particles, multi-universes (an oxymoron, to say the least) gravitons, quarks, gluons, tachyons, black holes, brown holes, worm holes anti-matter, super-strings, cold dark matter, shadow matter, different dimensional worlds and much more too numerous to list here, many of which are little more than concepts with little, if any, verifiable evidence to support their existence. Some of them are stabs in the dark -- or mathematical constructs lacking support from empirical data. Today, it is evident that a number of scientists are delving into too many untestable bootstrap theories. Science News, one of the reviewers of the book, The edges of Science, by Richard Morris, refers to them as ". . . some current science activity and . . . the controversy generated as the boundary between physics and metaphysics becomes blurred." Credible scientific claims must be falsifiable or verifiable. They must be able to be tested, to be subject to direct or indirect observation. If they are not, such so-called theories are epistemic gobbledygook, fanciful speculation -- not theories. To the extent to which scientists resort to metaphysical claims supported by mathematics, they cannot meet the requirements of science. The Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis, based on a physical world and physical evidence, does.
As any analytic philosopher can attest, there can be an infinite number of mathematical models of the universe. In 1921 Einstein said, "As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality." Bertrand Russell, one of the great philosophic minds of our century, said, "Mathematics is the subject in which we don't know what we are talking about nor whether what we're talking about is true." And Godfrey Harold Hardy, a noted mathematician of both the 18th and 19th centuries, is quoted as having said, "A mathematician is someone who not only does not know what he is talking about but also does not care."
Let me be clear about this. I do not wish to denigrate mathematics. Without it, we would never "reach the stars," not to mention develop the technology that runs the world today. However, there seems to be a tendency to confuse the expanded language of mathematics with an expansion of knowledge of reality. For instance, in math, it is possible to prove there are, as some mathematicians have said, ten dimensions. In math there may very well be. But the principle of verification indicates that there are only four: length, width, depth, and time. In my philosophy, from the point of view of knowledge, there is a fifth dimension, i.e., mind. It is, after all, our minds that determine how each of us measures, that is, perceives, the world, not, however, as Protagoras proclaimed, that "Man is the measure of all things."
I do not insist that "mind" correctly describes the physical world. Likewise, anyone who claims that the ten mathematical dimensions describe the physical universe ignores the admonitions of Einstein, Russell and Hardy. I know that this smacks of an appeal to authority, but here, we must distinguish between dogmatic authority, which cannot offer verification, and expert authority that does. In the realm of expert authority, there are always other experts who are ever ready to research and to test the claims of their fellow experts. In other words, in the matter of epistemic claims, a self-corrective principle is our watch dog against those who, in place of verifiable knowledge, would misuse their positions of authority through a corruption of language; i.e., make claims that cannot be -- note, I did not say, "are not," -- hat cannot be verified.
It is clear, then, that mathematics does not exist somewhere in the universe in the absence of intelligence. On Earth it was conceived in the mind of man, perhaps with a little help from ancient astronauts. (Of course, I suggest the latter idea with absolutely no evidence to support it.)
History seems to support the thesis that pre-scientific man had not yet conceived and evolved such a high order of mathematics. How the Sumerians or, for that matter, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica cites, "How the Egyptian obtained his correct [mathematical] results is a matter of conjecture." How the cubit, the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, and all its consequent diverse and confusing real measurements was dispensed with has never been clearly explained. Though the Greeks are given credit for having invented mathematics, the period out of which their form of mathematics emerged is clouded in uncertainty and mystery and extends a few millennia, about 4000 years approximately, prior to the emergence of math as we now practice it. Perhaps those who are searching for evidence of the source of mathematics on Earth will one day present us with irrevocable proof. Certainly the evidence acquired so far for the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis clearly indicates that space travel could not have been achieved without a sophisticated knowledge of mathematics.
In any case, mathematics is only a tool, albeit a very powerful one, that helps us to deal with our environment in the broadest sense of that term. There are limits to the correlation between math and the physical world, however. Yet, these limits are no excuse for withholding funds for research into what, for now, appear to be metaphysical concepts. I reiterate, however, that mathematics must never be equated with reality.
I surely do not object to funds being appropriated for fringe enterprises or what may appear to fall into that category. As is well known, many of the ideas leading to today's technology were once heaped with ridicule. At one time the idea of heavier-than-air flight was laughed at. It has been reported that even so great a mind as Lord Kelvin, a noted British physicist of the nineteenth century insisted that the atom would never be smashed. To cite the instances of ridicule and ridiculous concepts from the minds and mouths of the great thinkers of the past would fill volumes. In progress, ever has it been so. But, except in instances of unfalsifiable claims, as intelligent beings it is incumbent upon us all to withhold judgment until the evidence is in. To the critics, I direct a paraphrase of Einstein: Reflect on how you have treated great men and their ideas, and how you now follow their teachings.
The end result of research is often too open-ended to predict in advance what will or will not be beneficial. This is what so many do not seem to understand. If the history of research and discovery, with all its strange conclusions and errors, were not ignored, skeptics regarding the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis might be less adamant about ridiculing it.
Why doesn't the scientific community and our government use their massive powers to pursue research and demand access into sources and hidden archives wherein lie possible solutions to many of the mysteries that have plagued us for centuries? Is it because they see no practical value to be achieved? Are they fearful of worldwide mass panic? Do they fear the reaction of competing governments or of religious institutions that are the caretakers of these archives? Perhaps they do not wish to upset the clergy of the world who have conditioned the masses to believe in an unverifiable divine guidance in order to maintain their power over us.
Why are the documented empirical descriptions of ancient astronauts in the great religious tomes of the world ignored selectively or called the mental meanderings of crazed or hyper-imaginative minds while other non-observable and unverifiable claims in those same works are espoused and claimed to be the absolute truth? Consider how frequently visitation has been referred to in the course of history. It extends back not only before the birth of Christ, but well before the age of Plato. Moreover, it has been extensively researched for well over half a century by the community of Ancient Astronaut theorists throughout the world, espousing the probable existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, who have authored and published well-documented evidence that is collated in the library of the Archaeology Astronautics SETI Research Association. It is certainly not beyond reason or possibility that Earth has been visited in the remote past.
My point is: surely it makes sense to investigate possible sources of knowledge, here, in our own back yard, that might answer the question, "Are we alone in the universe?" at considerably less expenditure of funds that the millions of dollars we spend on fringe enterprises as a search for radio messages from outer space. The chances of making contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence by our present methods are infinitesimal. The millions being spent are being wasted because they are but a drop in the bucket compared to the vast sums of money required to make a meaningful effort, of this kind, with some chance of success.
Though science has the political clout, the expertise, and the power of authority to sway the holders of the purse strings, to support research of the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis, they are reluctant to do so. This attitude is a residue of their culpability in the past. They were, and many still are, responsible for establishing a skeptical attitude regarding the possible existence of other civilizations in the universe. It is only recently that science seems, to some small extent, to have come to its senses. What has undermined public acceptance of the possibility of extraterrestrial visitations in the past are the criticisms that are colored more by what is left unsaid than by what is said, more by what has not been researched than researched. Such is the case also with the American media hardly, an example par excellence for open-mindedness, that heaps scorn upon professional people, philosophers, scientists, and the like, who support the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis, wreaking havoc upon their reputations and careers.
Such critics find their strength of argument in innuendo, intimidation, suggestion, and half-truths based, more on what they don't investigate than on what they do. They do not want to divert their time and energy, more particularly, their funds into documentary, linguistic, and astro-archeological research. Nor do they want to risk having funds diverted from their pet projects.
A common practice of such critics is to emphasize a few (the same few) errors of the hypothesis implying that it follows that any evidence presented must be suspect. In philosophical language, this commits the "fallacy of the small sample." But they carefully avoid discussing the evidence about those findings for which they have no warranted explanations. Furthermore, they ignore the simple principle of logic: To prove someone wrong in some things does not prove one wrong in everything.
We offer no threat to science or to reason. We are not trying to form a cult in which the modus operandi is to open the gates to Heaven. We wish only that the facts and evidence uncovered by research be judged on logical and scientific principles without prejudice -- and particularly without preconceived outdated concepts and convictions.
As a matter of fact, increasing social acceptance of the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence clearly is a direct result of the authors among us, particularly Erich von Daniken's publication of Chariots of the Gods?. Public awareness seemed to awaken upon the unfair attacks by critics, particularly by Carl Sagan. As we all know, von Daniken's writings are read by hundreds of millions of people. The public soon became aware of the literature and research that had been available but ignored from so many years earlier. Even though the hypothesis is older than the time of Plato, there was little acceptance, excitement, or credibility connected with it prior to the popularity of von Daniken's writings. No other author succeeded in raising the public consciousness as to its possibility.
Why aren't scientists directing their attention to eliminating acceptance of supernatural and/or metaphysical concepts, concepts that are beyond verification? This is a task worthy of their ability. Such ideas are still undermining the development of human reason. The critics might then be working in concert with us who are deeply concerned to explain beliefs founded on physical evidence.
The good news is that public criticism of the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis seems to be waning. That is not to say that a negative frame of mind is not basic to our critics' thinking. Recall the showing, last year, of von Daniken's film, Chariots of the Gods? The mysteries Continue. There was not the hue and cry that followed his first publications. And thanks to the continuing and admirable efforts of the A.A.S.R.A., there is greater acceptance of the possibility of visitations in the past. What seems to be taking place is that large segments of society are no longer as skeptical about the possible existence of extraterrestrials. After all, the government and noted scientists are willing to spend our hard-earned money to get in touch with them. Obviously, it is but a short step in logic, in the minds of our fellow men that ancient astronauts probably exist. If we are not alone, and if man is such a young species related to the age of the universe, and if the universe is 10 to 15 million years old, surely evolution could have taken its course on the other distant planets, or near-by ones, hundreds of millions or even a few billion years before man made the scene on Earth. This is so particularly in view of the fact that there is a high probability that there are billions of other planets, habitable and uninhabitable, which went through the evolutionary process hundreds of millions of years before Earth was even formed.
But the presence of planets is not the only necessary condition for the evolution of life. Certain natural conditions are necessary to initiate and sustain the evolution of life as we know it. The very chemicals out of which those necessary for life must evolve, must first, themselves, be able to evolve. A planet must be big enough and its gravity strong enough to prevent the atmosphere from escaping. The proximity of a planet to a sun determines the intensity of molecular movement, hence, the density, pressure, and stability of an atmosphere affecting the planet's ability to retain it. It is crucial that out of the inorganic matter, the ingredients for life must evolve in the right proportions of such chemicals as carbon dioxide, oxygen, water, and amino acids. Constituents damaging to life must not be extensively present. From this emergence of life, evolve intelligent technologically advanced civilizations capable of intergalactic space flight on about a third of a billion planets in our galaxy alone, according to one statistic. Moreover, millions of those civilizations surpass ours in age by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years.
Such civilizations with a history of science far surpassing ours would surely be capable of terraforming dead planets or at least of creating artificial environments that would sustain them indefinitely as generation after generation of them wander throughout the galaxy. If we can do it on a space platform, surely they can do it on life-barren planets and generational-occupied spaceships. However the question arises, "Where is the evidence that any of this has ever occurred?"
Even considering that question, there has to be an explanation for the literary, pictorial, and observational accounts, extant from the past to the present throughout the world, of a superior technology of beings from space. That we may not have conclusive evidence does not eliminate the possibility and the circumstantial evidence that we have been visited.
Only a cynical or irrational skeptic could be irresponsible or illogical enough to suggest that all such claims of observation must be attributed to insanity, fantasy, and imagination. Of such critics we can only note, with sadness, that "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."
SEE FILE 21: PERENNIAL QUESTIONS