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

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Old November 9 2012, 06:11 AM   #346
Silvercrest
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
You don't see a lot of archeologists producing articles/books/interviews about astronomy, for example, except to the extent it's pertinent in their field.
Trying to come up with a really witty line that will connect this back to the Ancient Aliens topic.





Okay, I got nuthin'.
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Old November 9 2012, 07:53 AM   #347
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Re: Ancient Aliens

^ That kinda WAS meant to be on topic. It appears there's a really large number of researchers who are really into the ancient aliens theory, but very few of them are actual legitimate archeologists doing any useful work in that field. All the support for that theory has come from a collection of intelligent but overly imaginative people WITHOUT any real expertise in the field (mis)interpreting research done by people who do.

I dare say paranormal studies tend to have this feature too, except paranormalism has become a field in its own right (sort of like astrobiology, ironically). Basically, you have a bunch of people who have PhDs in some totally unrelated field telling themselves "I'm smart enough to do Einstein field equations in my sleep, I can surely figure out what kind of device was used to build that stone building!" and then coming up with all kinds of erroneous conclusions based on second-hand data they are not trained to deal with properly; in that case, the PhDs are no better than amateurs, made worse by the fact that when critics figure out that they're bullshitting, they can fall back on their advanced degrees in their ACTUAL field and appeal to authority.
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Old November 9 2012, 05:19 PM   #348
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
^ That kinda WAS meant to be on topic. It appears there's a really large number of researchers who are really into the ancient aliens theory, but very few of them are actual legitimate archeologists doing any useful work in that field. All the support for that theory has come from a collection of intelligent but overly imaginative people WITHOUT any real expertise in the field (mis)interpreting research done by people who do.

I dare say paranormal studies tend to have this feature too, except paranormalism has become a field in its own right (sort of like astrobiology, ironically). Basically, you have a bunch of people who have PhDs in some totally unrelated field telling themselves "I'm smart enough to do Einstein field equations in my sleep, I can surely figure out what kind of device was used to build that stone building!" and then coming up with all kinds of erroneous conclusions based on second-hand data they are not trained to deal with properly; in that case, the PhDs are no better than amateurs, made worse by the fact that when critics figure out that they're bullshitting, they can fall back on their advanced degrees in their ACTUAL field and appeal to authority.
Ancient aliens on Earth: Waste of time, I think most of us agree on that.

Looking into space with radio telescopes and other instruments is ironically a form of cosmic archaeolgy since we're looking back in time the further we peer.

Anyone can speculate about these topics whether they are scientists or not, though I may give some credence over above a laymen when it comes to a scientist even its not their normal field.

Interesting that you are so fixed and unimaginative with integration in scientific fields. I just saw a video recently with scientists discussing how important it is these days not to overspecialize, so that researchers in different fields can more usefully share relative information. I believe this will be happening more and more, and often in a speculative context, which to me is a fantastic exercise in the imagination. Simply to dismiss interested parties because they dont have a PHD in a certain field seems counterproductive.
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Old November 9 2012, 05:39 PM   #349
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Re: Ancient Aliens

RAMA wrote: View Post

Anyone can speculate about these topics whether they are scientists or not, though I may give some credence over above a laymen when it comes to a scientist even its not their normal field.
Why? I am a leading expert in a certain field (within the information science) - it means I know a lot about a very narrow thing and I know very little more than a layman or maybe an undergraduate about some subjects within my own discipline and I'm certainly no more than a layman outside of my discipline.

There are simply not enough hours in the day to keep on top of the cutting edge in a number of fields, all you generally do is dilute yourself by trying.

Most of your posts have this weird uncritical view of people in white coats - it's an underlying theme with you.
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Old November 9 2012, 05:58 PM   #350
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Re: Ancient Aliens

RAMA wrote: View Post
Interesting that you are so fixed and unimaginative with integration in scientific fields.
That's because I'm too familiar with some of those fields to imagine that they can be integrated. Your point about overspecializing is VERY interesting, since as far as I can tell the only people touting the benefits of cross-field integration are the people who are highly specialized in a particular field and want to be able to speak authoritatively outside of it.

There aren't many generalists in the world now, but you don't see them showing a lot of support for that idea. There's a reason for that: when you spend a lot of time studying multiple disciplines, you get a firsthand look of how fundamentally different they all are, the different methodologies, the different contexts, the different applications. It's much easier to think that, say, quantum gravity might have implications for geology if you don't actually know anything about geology. This is because geologists and physicists study COMPLETELY different things that only overlap on the conceptual level; they collect their data differently, they experiment differently, they come to different conclusions on different subjects and for very different reasons. The few ways where physics dovetails into geology treat geology as the "senior officer" in such cases; you cannot, for example, make accurate predictions about a volcanic eruption using fluid dynamics alone, you would first have to account for empirical evidence gathered by geologists about what kinds of things happen during a volcanic eruption. Once you do that, you're no longer studying geology, you're studying fluid dynamics in a geological context.

Simply to dismiss interested parties because they dont have a PHD in a certain field seems counterproductive.
It seem that way, but it isn't. That is, in fact, the entire purpose of HAVING a PhD in the first place.
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Old November 10 2012, 09:15 PM   #351
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Re: Ancient Aliens

As for alternative theorists not being archeologists; let’s turn that argument on its head. What makes archeologists (or anyone else, for that matter) think that archeology is the field qualified to judge how and why the Great Giza Pyramids (among others) were built, when they are not engineers or architects? Instead they hold fast to the “tombs and tombs only” dogma that has never had a shred of convincing evidence to support it!

This is precisely what justifies the trend of the last decade or so, in reinterpreting the age of other monuments such as the sphinx for example, if they had consulted geologists in the first place, archeologists might have realized that at least the body of the beast was probably carved much earlier than they thought, and so saved themselves some embarrassment later on. The same goes for Archaeo-Astronomy, if archeologist had consulted astronomers about the alignment of these and other ancient monuments, they would have come to quite different conclusions about when and why they were built, and what level of sophistication our ancestors were capable of at those remote times.

The problem with many such “fringe” or “borderland” areas of investigation such as Atlantis and ancient aliens is precisely that they tend to “fall through the cracks” left by the separation disciplines; and no single discipline by itself is qualified to evaluate all the pertinent evidence. Therefore, it’s not so much a question of individuals having multiple areas of expertise, but simply that the experts from various relevant fields need to work together and exchange ideas more often.

More on topic, most criticisms of the “aliens did it” theory mostly boil down to things like the vastness of space and the limiting factor of the speed of light and so forth, which are the purview of astrophysicists, so in order to refute these alternative possibilities,
sceptical archeologist must speculate outside their field of expertise, as is their habit apparently.

So more to the point, why should we regard archeology as the sole field to look to for relevant answers about aliens, ancient or otherwise?
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Old November 11 2012, 07:36 AM   #352
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I would like to talk about my experience with science. I am mentally disabled.

To me, sociology and psychology and psychiatry should be integrated. Instead, these three sciences are separated into three boxes. I was once in a room with a psychologist who dismissed the effect of society's perceptions of people on the mentally ill and disabled. How society views people does have an effect. When a person who has no friends reads in a popular magazine that people who don't have friends is a loser, this has an effect on the person. Loners are treated in movies as either savants or violent sociopaths of psychopaths. Try getting a job or loans without friends or references. In most cases, it won't happen. Psychiatrists tell a mentally disabled person to go to a therapy group, and their job is to give medication to people. Psychiatrists treat medicine like candy - have a problem, take a pill. The pill isn't working, increase the dosage. Psychologists attempt to help people with mental illness by assigning causes to the illness from a person's history. The person is isolated from context and studied. It's like attempting to glean a history of an object by putting it in an empty room and doing tests on that object. Archaeologists would be against this, because the context is lost. Context is where the object was found and what was found with the object. For humans, context is the environment and the society we live in. The result is that people who are mentally disabled like me are given treatment that doesn't address fully the disability, because we are treated with less respect and less care than a common everyday vase.

I don't know if aliens visited our world in the past. Most of our history has been lost through various causes. And, sometimes, people don't understand what they are looking at. For instance, I was reading about a piece of thread that was found in Canada. Scientists weren't sure what they had, and placed it in a box in a museum and forgot about it. A decade ago, another scientist who was familiar with the sewing methodology of the Vikings identified the thread as being a relic of their civilization. Her investigations would lead to the discovery that the local Dorset culture was trading with the Vikings.

I personally believe that aliens have visited our system, either directly or indirectly, and have determined that contacting us is not in their interest. We have nothing of value to trade, and we are not at their technological level. The aliens may even have their own version of the Prime Directive.

I doubt very seriously that our world will ever be invaded. One of the benefits of us finding other worlds is that we realize how little value our world has in the broader scale. There are an unknown number of worlds, and an alien civilization would rather take resources from a world that is not populated by an intelligent species that can fight back.
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Old November 11 2012, 08:57 AM   #353
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Re: Ancient Aliens

For Stuffing!!!
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Old November 11 2012, 10:58 AM   #354
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Re: Ancient Aliens

There is another possibility - one that has been raised by our own technological development. We can find planets outside of our system. We are determining the atmosphere of some of those planets; scientists believe that we will be able to determine if a planet has life through that planet's atmosphere. Eventually, we will be able to image some of those planets. I believe that if we can do this, then an alien civilization could have done the same.
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Old November 11 2012, 11:06 AM   #355
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I think y'all are seriously misinformed about how archaeology works. That is all.
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Old November 11 2012, 11:42 AM   #356
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Shall I be defensive and tell you where I get my information, or dismiss your generality comment? Hmm.
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Old November 11 2012, 01:42 PM   #357
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Re: Ancient Aliens

It wasn't specifically aimed at you, since you are not the only one broadcasting ignorance in here.
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Old November 11 2012, 02:28 PM   #358
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I understand how archaeology works. I spent a semester working on a dig site. The professor was an experienced archaeologist. She had worked at sites in the Mediterranean.

I have read reputable archaeology magazines (Archaeology, BAR, National Geographic) and have watched programs that have focused on the methodology of archaeology.

Archaeology is a slow process. A site is selected. The site is divided into grids. A team is broken up into units; each unit is assigned a grid. They use trowels to remove the dirt. Shovels are frowned upon as they might damage an artifact. The dirt recovered is sifted for the smallest artifact. Context is vital for archaeology. That is why an artifact that has been removed from its location has lost value.

Archaeology is also influenced by the personalities of the people involved. And archaeology has become specialized. There are people who study the botany of a site, there are people who study the artifacts, there are people who study the language of a people, and so on. All these different specializations are integrated. Archaeologists are expected to file a report; many don't and this has created an issue in the community. Or someone can have an opinion that is wrong and that can slow the understanding of an ancient people. This person may hold great clout during their life and after they died. I know of one linguist who held up the translation of the Mayan language for fifty years.

So, my dear madam, before you state that I am ignorant or anyone else is ignorant, maybe it would be better for you to explain what you think people are not understanding before going into full judgment mode.

Last edited by throwback; November 11 2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old November 11 2012, 04:44 PM   #359
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I don't know why you've decided to take one for the whole team, since you weren't really talking about archaeology but how shite psychologists are because they don't look at a person in context. This despite just saying that they look at the person's history; and if a person's history isn't context then one of us doesn't understand what context is.
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Old November 11 2012, 05:50 PM   #360
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I have found an article that explains in better terms what has happen and what I am talking about. It is from wikipedia.

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

Here is the definition of context:

http://www.archaeologywordsmith.com/...&terms=context

Here is the definition of an artifact:

http://www.archaeologywordsmith.com/...terms=artifact

Using the example of a vase, Americans study the vase (the artifact) and the Europeans, along with studying the vase, study the environment in which the vase was made (the context).

Years ago, I was hospitalized for attempted suicide. When I was in a group therapy session, another patient talked about, in her opinion, that she believed that society had a negative view of her because of her mental illness.. The psychologist told her that whatever society believes doesn't matter. She essentially dismissed what this person perceived because American psychologists are not interested in the ways that society influences individuals.

If I take your avatar name as an indication, then you are in Europe. Europeans view matters very differently than Americans, so it may be difficult for you to understand just how bad our mental health system is here. Mentally ill people are treated as shabbily as the homeless. We are the undesirables in this nation. One of the first people to suffer from budget cuts is the mentally ill. Their services are cut, and, in some severe cases, as what happen with California in the 1960's, they are thrown onto the street.

Do you understand now, madam?
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