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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old June 20 2012, 10:09 AM   #16
smiki
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ancient Rome wouldn't be all that different from a modern superpower if they had mastered electricity or figured out how to make concrete,
I know this is completely off topic, and I apologize, but this just bugged me. Romans actually did invent concrete (that's how the Pantheon was built), but the knowledge was lost due to the barbarian invasions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_concrete

And to give this a more "ancient alienish" spin, I'll just say that this is a good example of how we underestimate the abilities of ancient civilizations. There's no need to attribute alien assistance to any of their achievements. Then again, that doesn't mean they haven't visited. But if they had, I'd be more inclined to believe we were for them more like an ants nest, or some monkeys or something, i.e. of no particular interest (given the age of the universe, and the relatively small time it would take for a civilization to develop, the chances of a neighboring visiting civilization being on the roughly same level as us are minuscule... then again, maybe not... maybe a relatively equally developed civilization from a somewhat more distant part of the galaxy developed FTL and bumped into us, but I'd wager they'd too just leave us alone... unless a couple of them crash-landed and the locals helped them, and they taught them stuff in return, but as I said that's more SF, and not science or history, it's not probable nor is there any evidence whatsoever.).

Last edited by smiki; June 20 2012 at 10:28 AM.
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Old June 20 2012, 11:56 AM   #17
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Ancient Aliens

On Rome. I think basic understanding of inflation would have gone a long way (given their advances, the complete cluelessness of something that seems common sense to us is hard to grasp).

On the show. It reminds me a bit of people who thought there was some lost civilization in the Mississippi River valley because Native Americans couldn't have built the Mounds. While I don't think this show is racist, I do think it undercuts genuine human achievement by wanting to credit an outside force. In that sense, it's a shame. We've done a lot of cool shit over the last couple thousand years. Nothing in our history needs aliens in order to have a satisfactory explanation. That doesn't mean there's never been any contact, but it does make pervasive contact unlikely.
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Old June 20 2012, 01:24 PM   #18
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Re: Ancient Aliens

There are really people who think Native Americans couldn't have built the Cahokia Mounds? I mean, they're big piles of dirt. Just takes a lot of dirt, time, and manpower--not any really special technology.

Likewise, the Pyramids were also quite doable with the available technology, it just took a lot of time and effort.

I think that's the part modern people (maybe just Westerners) have a hard time grasping: construction projects lasting for decades or even centuries, generations of workers participating. The idea of sticking with anything that long must seem a bit, well, alien.
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Old June 20 2012, 01:32 PM   #19
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Re: Ancient Aliens

BillJ wrote: View Post
I love their best argument: this rock was to heavy to move so it must've been aliens!

From another board I frequent:

My favourite caption for that picture is "I didn't hear your question but the answer is Aliens."

The show, for the most part, is a steaming pile of BS. My girlfriend and I watched the first few seasons and found it moderately entertaining and a few "theories" were intriguing enough to dig a little deeper into. Then the fourth season arrived and it was simply re-hashing the same old stories from the earlier seasons and neither of us could sit through an episode without groaning and turning it off.

Some of their guests are interesting choices and there seems to be some selective editing going on. In season one or two, they had Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval and neither of them have ever expressed a belief in ancient aliens. Last year, when we interviewed Duncan Lunan (who knows both of them), he stated that Hancock doesn't believe in aliens at all and that he believes in an ancient advanced human civilisation.

South Park did a lovely job sending the show up with their History Channel Thanksgiving episode.
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Old June 20 2012, 02:54 PM   #20
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Re: Ancient Aliens

BillJ wrote: View Post
I love their best argument: this rock was to heavy to move so it must've been aliens!

From another board I frequent:

If any of you have seen Babylon 5, that hair does make him look like a Centari.
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Old June 20 2012, 03:20 PM   #21
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Before I knew who he was, I actually did think he was a B5 Centauri or something.
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Old June 20 2012, 03:53 PM   #22
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Every producer, writer and on-screen personality associated with this show should be air-dropped into Antarctica wearing Speedos and each armed only with a plastic spork.
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Old June 20 2012, 05:32 PM   #23
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Re: Ancient Aliens

The Dominion wrote: View Post

This guy is a goldmine of bullshit. The hair is just the icing on the cake.
I love that dude. If he started a church I would go to it.
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Old June 20 2012, 09:11 PM   #24
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
in point of fact, our society is not a whole lot better developed or organized than ancient civilizations of 4000 years ago, the only difference is our technology is better and our populace and infrastructure is a lot cleaner. Ancient Rome wouldn't be all that different from a modern superpower if they had mastered electricity or figured out how to make concrete, and they missed out on those innovations only for lack of development time.
AND if the romans knew - and actually applied - such things as human rights (see the rights of slaves, peasants, etc) AND an equitable political system (see how patricians kept for themselves wealth, power and everything else worth keeping) AND science and technology (which is not even close to being reductible to only concrete - which they knew about - and electricity: these are details that fit into a MUCH larger scheme) AND were a LOT less aggressive (their entire economy was a raubwirtschaft, based on conquest of the subhuman - subroman, that is - peoples beyond the borders of the empire), etc.

You have an unaccurately high opinion of the Roman Empire.
No I don't, actually. Just because the Romans were assholes doesn't mean their society was unsophisticated, nor does it mean they wouldn't be on equal terms ECONOMICALLY with the modern world if the technological gap was bridged.

As a real world example, take Imperial Japan after the Meiji Restoration. This is what happens when you take a country that was -- socially, at least -- barely out of the iron age and open its borders to new technologies and new weaponry. Sixty years and a crash course of modernization later, Japan was an industrialized nation with a world-class military and a highly competitive modern economy. As for Rome... imagine, for a moment, if the Roman Empire had somehow survived in complete isolation until the turn of the 20th century, then suddenly opened their borders and absorbed nearly 2000 years of technological advancement overnight. They would be perfectly capable of wielding that technology and using it to remake their society in their own ideal, and even eventually to decide how much of their own ideal needed to be modified based on observations of the outside world.

IOW: Just because the Romans were assholes doesn't mean they were ignorant barbarians. There are asshole nations running around the world right now that we are able to safely ignore only because they are poor and powerless.

No political entity in history matches modern liberal democracies (imperfect as they are) when it comes to wealth, liberty, equality of chances, human rights, etc (as in, quite a few other highly relevant/objective criteria).
In history? This is not even close to being true. The most you can say is that the wealthiest and most prosperous nations in the world today are all liberal democracies. You might even be able to make the case that, adjusting for technological differences, Europe or the United States are much better off than Ancient Rome or even Alexander's Empire.

But I'm not claiming that economic or military prowess is indicative of an advanced nation. I'm saying it's indicative of a sophisticated society with a highly developed moral, religious, scientific and economic system. Just because they're dicks doesn't make them stupid.

Those human rights violations and wars implicating liberal democracies you hear reported about in outraged terms are all but jokes by comparison to what the romans (and pretty much everyone else) were doing throughout history (and someone daring to be outraged by them, if he had any influence was promptly executed/imprisoned in some hell hole/etc).
Which doesn't change the fact that ancient rome, given modern technology, would STILL be highly competitive on the world's stage today. They would be hated by the entire western world for precisely the reasons you named; on the other hand, there's a long list of countries RIGHT NOW that we barely tolerate only because they're poor and powerless.
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Old June 20 2012, 09:14 PM   #25
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Re: Ancient Aliens

smiki wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ancient Rome wouldn't be all that different from a modern superpower if they had mastered electricity or figured out how to make concrete,
I know this is completely off topic, and I apologize, but this just bugged me. Romans actually did invent concrete (that's how the Pantheon was built), but the knowledge was lost due to the barbarian invasions.
Yeah, I'd forgotten about that. Thanks for setting the record straight.
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Old June 20 2012, 09:38 PM   #26
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha

Talk about wild speculations/generalizations.
alpha, such large speculations don't constitute a credible argument - not even close. You could just as well say ~'if Jesus would not have been crucified, then - insert whatever you want'.


Even so, let's address these speculations:
Nobody gave modern liberal democracies their knowledge and freedom. The philosophy and societal structure that enabled them (and the thinkers/scientists that built their bases) to make these advances is also the one that lead to their system of governance.


If you give Rome modern science and technology (and the time, means and will to understand it) and economic knowledge (which it almost completely lacked) then it would not be Rome any longer - not in the least.

And even so, it would not be competitive in the modern world - slave societies are not conductive to innovation on the scale of free societies (not even close), nor are they economically as efficient (by a large margin - you need a LOT of highly trained labor - not slaves; also, slaves can't pay for their consumption, they don't contribute to the economic circle). War is not economically efficient efficient with a modern economy (as opposed to what the romans had, when it was highly efficient for gaining wealth), etc.


Notice the changes made in Japan's social structure in order to become competitive (hint - they went far beyond learning technology). Notice its system of governance and values today - an all but inevitable result of the changes it made in order to become competitive.


You make the mistake of assuming that 'sophisticated', overpolished rituals equal advancement.
The one area you can made the case that romans were advanced was their law; and the one area japanese were advanced was hygiene.
As for the rest, proud warrior societies or elaborate court etiquette are a dime a dozen; not that hard to develop the mind-set (as history repeatedly proved), and at most of transitory benefit (in wealth, freedom of people - as opposed to a small oligarchy -, other actually objective criteria for measuring advancement).


O, and modern liberal democracies ARE the most prosperous, the freest states in history. THAT'S A FACT.
Feel free to look up history books and come with counterexamples - that don't include hugely extravagant/uncertain speculations: ~'if you gave them this and that they would have been etc'.
You see, then I could just as well say - if ET would come tomorrow and give liberal democracies the secret to universal freedom and abundance, they would still be wealthier and freer.
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Last edited by Edit_XYZ; June 20 2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old June 20 2012, 09:58 PM   #27
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Re: Ancient Aliens

These nations are the core of the UN Security Council:
* United States is a federal presidential constitutional republic.
* United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
* France is a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic.
* Russia is a federal semi-presidential constitutional republic.
* China is a nominally Marxist-Leninist single-party system nation.

Excluding China, how are these nations liberal democracies?

I often heard people say that if the Roman Empire hadn't fallen to the barbarians, that our world would be a different place today. This I think is a fallacy. First, the Roman Empire in the east became the Byzantium Empire, and they certainly didn't advance the progress of humanity's technology. The people of Islam advanced humanity's technology, and it was their embrace of modern technology that led them to a successful win in the Battle of Constantinople in 1453. (During the same time, the people of Asia were making advances in technology (warfare, printing, etc) which aren't as well reported because of a bias in Western nations' history courses.) Secondly, the culture of Rome depended on a large illiterate population governed by a small literate aristocracy. If the technology benefited the aristocracy's interests, it was supported by an investment of money and was later spread throughout the empire. If it didn't, the technology was introduced and then promptly abandoned.

I don't think we will ever know how much the Greeks and the Romans knew about science or mathematics, nor what was actually attempted because of a dearth of literary sources.

I think it is wrong to place the majority of the lost of knowledge on the barbarian invasions. Christians share a responsibility in the loss of knowledge. They burned books deemed heretical to the faith, and, in the Byzantium Empire, they showed a preference for Greek writings, thus a great many Latin works that had survived were subsequently lost. And, finally, the major reason for the loss of knowledge must fall on the aristocrats who didn't educate the populace, and, when the aristocrats were killed, there was no one left to educate the populace in making concrete. This is to me is the biggest difference between the Roman Empire and the empires of today - everyone can be educated in a public school.
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Old June 21 2012, 12:51 AM   #28
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Two thoughts on this...one, there is clear evidence of human biological and cultural evolution on Earth, though it may have started as a chemical proccess supplied from space....there SHOULD be aliens old ebnough to have existed thousands or even millions of years ago, but there is just no evidence.
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Old June 21 2012, 01:42 AM   #29
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I believe there are other civilizations in the galaxy. I believe that a smaller number of these civilizations developed FTL flight and have colonized other systems. I believe that our civilization and theirs would be alike in many ways, but different in other ways.

I am dubious that an advanced civilization would send a crewed ship to explore a system. I think they would do what we are doing - first, explore a system using telescopes to see what planets are orbiting a system, then send a space probe to the most promising systems for an in-depth examination. I think colonization would come later, and I think expansion would come about like the Polynesians settled the Pacific Ocean.

I think it's possible that we have already been scanned by other civilizations. I think it's possible that our system has already been visited by one or more probes.

As for these civilizations being able to pick up and comprehend our radio transmissions, could they? The galaxy is filled with sound. Now, it's not sound like we know on Earth. This sound has to be picked up by specialized equipment that is designed to synthesize the sound into a form we can recognize. We can now hear the 'voice' of our star and its planets. I would think these sounds would drown out radio transmissions the farther out they are from our system. Furthermore, our space probes are designed specifically to respond to radio signals. Has anyone done an experiment where the space probe has to find a radio signal from all the other noise out there? I think it's foolish to think that an advanced civilization would dedicate its resources towards picking up a radio signal from another civilization. Even in our world, we are working on the next phase of communication based on quantum mechanics.
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Old June 21 2012, 03:22 AM   #30
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I love watching an episode or two after a joint, but I smoke so rarely that I don't watch this much. It is entertaining to me in part because of how bat shit crazy it is. But even as loony as the theories are I have learned a lot about strange archaeological finds which I looked up and read on later. Each episode has something pretty interesting even though I completely reject the premise. It is a fun show to watch as long as you are not expecting good evidence. I even enjoy yelling at him on my screen from time to time.
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