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

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Old November 12 2012, 05:31 PM   #376
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Re: Ancient Aliens

In terms of Egyptology...I think the pyramids at Giza can be accepted as being decoys (kings were actually buried in the ground), so there never was a real burial purpose for them. I think a secondary but important purpose was ceremonial/theological/cosmological, since they built the pyramids to roughly correspond with Orion's belt and the capstone is a solar icon. Finally, since most if any of the workers who worked on it were not slaves but skilled workers of varying levels, they served an economic purpose and to keep the populace busy and diverted lest they get their noses into state business.

http://robertbauval.co.uk/articles/a...gizaorion.html

As for ancient aliens...I think the fact that large numbers (40,000 to 200,000) of motivated people worked on the project, and they can predict how long those certain numbers of workers could complete the project, really takes the wind out of the sails of anyone claiming aliens helped them build it.
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Old November 12 2012, 06:00 PM   #377
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The usual spelling is "ditto."
Thanks, but I said as much.
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Old November 12 2012, 06:11 PM   #378
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Re: Ancient Aliens

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I disagree with the methodology. I believe that everything is interconnected, and, from my personnel experience, I feel that psychology and psychiatry do more damage than good.
You're confusing psychology with sociology. Psychology is about the problems of people -- INDIVIDUAL people -- not the society in which they dwell. Sociology looks at the bigger picture the way you prescribe, but there aren't alot of sociologists taking patients these days.

This article is closer to what I believe. It acknowledges the effect and raises questions on how patients should be diagnosed and treated. It does not dismiss the effect.
Nobody DISMISSES the effect. For most patients -- especially anorexics -- it's something that has to eventually take on a reduced importance in their minds in order to make meaningful progress. The only alternative is to go the alternate route and convince the patient and/or his friends and family to adopt different attitudes about his condition or about him as a person, and with some pathologies -- ESPECIALLY narcissists -- that can do more harm than good.

I don't understand this trend, but the medical profession is intent on creating new diseases.
Like I said, it has to do with America's healthcare systems. It's really hard to get reimbursed for treatment if you cannot give an insurance company a concrete diagnosis, so doctors make up new conditions that best fit the range of conditions or nonspecific disorders they sometimes encounter.

This is especially clear in the case of "autistic spectrum disorders." The idea of autism having a spectrum is something that psychiatrists rolled out relatively recently when they realized insurance companies and/or special education programs would fall for it (mainly because few people outside the mental health community really understand autism). The idea is, you have a young patient who has some sort of obscure personality or learning disorder -- say, some type of NVD or he has some anxiety issues, or maybe he's had a series of horrible experiences with his peers and is now terrified of social interaction. Psychiatrists don't want to work for free, but they cannot often justify the expense of working with a kid who "has a bunch of problems and can use some help." I have actually heard psychiatrists advising parents "You should try to have him diagnosed with aspergers or something, that way he'll qualify for special ed and we can help him a bit."
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Old November 12 2012, 07:04 PM   #379
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Re: Ancient Aliens

TIN_MAN wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Because the engineering and architectural designs for the pyramids are no longer accessible and thus engineers and architects would be ill-equipped to explore that question (especially the "why" which implies judging knowledge about ancient cultures, beliefs, religions and practices, something that is ALSO beyond the purview of engineering).
I disagree with both your points. As for the “how”; it is precisely because the engineering and architectural designs for the pyramids are no longer accessible that engineers and architects would be the best qualified specialists to “reverse engineer” how it was ‘most likely’ done, or not done, as is the case more often.
Reverse engineering is not so straightforward a process as people like to believe. It's a very specialized sub-field in engineering that is actually more similar to forensics and archeology itself. Reverse engineering an ancient structure is next to impossible, for the very reasons you mentioned: I think you're under-estimating how important knowledge of ancient technology and building techniques actually IS, and archeologists are in a far better position to examine those techniques than engineers, almost to the point that an archeologist would be able to tell how a structure was built just by comparing it with other structures whose construction processes ARE documented.

As to “why”; after -and only after- a proper reverse engineering analysis by qualified individuals has been done, would archeologists and Egyptologists be in the best position to judge how an ancient cultures presumed beliefs and religions practices relate to a given monument, or vise versa, or whether those presumptions need to be re-evaluated.
That's like saying archeologists 4000 years in the future won't be able to determine anything meaningful about capitalism until they reverse engineer the Golden Gate Bridge. That's just silly; you could reverse engineer half of San Francisco and it wouldn't tell you as much as a Tommy Friedman book. More importantly, even if you lacked the building schematics for the Golden Gate, you could determine alot about how it was built by comparing it with those of other suspension bridges you DO have data for; reverse engineering it is an interesting exercise for engineering sake, but it isn't helpful for archeologists.

Perhaps, but it would be an educated guess, which is more than what an archeologists and Egyptologists could offer on the subject.
An archeologist wouldn't have to GUESS. He'd be able to consult the ancient records to figure how how they did it. If those records don't exist, then the goal of the archeologist is to find those records and translate them. Reverse engineering the pyramids isn't going to help with that processes.

Sorry, but here’s where you’re flat out wrong and misinformed. The fact is no bodies have ever been found in any pyramid that are an original (that is non intrusive) burial!
I'm not sure why that makes a difference. About a dozen of my ancestors are entombed in a mausoleum in Kentucky right now; my grandmother plans to join them when she dies. As that would involve OPENING the mausoleum in order to place her remains there, "intrusive burial" doesn't strike me as an odd thing to happen in a building designed to function as a tomb.

More to the point, it's not really clear what else the pyramids could have been used for OTHER than that. There's not much room in there for much else; I could see them being used as the Pharaoh's panic room during an invasion, but as others have pointed out, they're not particularly effective as fortresses.
Even sealed pyramids with sealed sarcophagi have proven –when opened by Egyptologists- to be completely empty!
Which is sort of what I was alluding to by Pharaohs faking their deaths and/or pretending to be reincarnated in the personage of their offspring. That would certainly answer the question of why the Egyptians would have buried an empty casket (except for Pharaoh dying in a way that his body couldn't be recovered). Not much evidence for that, but I've heard that theory floating around before.

I never made any claims about the academic world not being inundated with theoriesas to what those alternate claims might have been! Where did you get this from?
From you, when you say things like "it’s not that archeologists have been unable to determine if they were used for some other purpose, it’s that they have been unwilling to try, or even to consider the possibility"

It seems to me they're quite open to that possibility. Perhaps you should be more specific about what you're referring to?

I was referring to Robert Schoch’s analysis of the water erosion on the Sphinx and its enclosure, indicating that the monument is at least several millennia older than Egyptologist thought. It has nothing to do with the geologic timescales you're thinking of.
It does, actually, since water erosion over stone is not something geologists typically use to determine the age of structures -- artificial or otherwise -- because it's extremely difficult to determine at what rate that erosion actually occurred.

Again I think your wrong on this one. It was, I believe, Sir Norman Lockyer –an astronomer- who first brought astronomy to the attention of archeologists as a means of dating and otherwise interpreting ancient monuments.
Never heard of this before, though I know Lockyer as one of the discoverers of helium (not sure who the other guys were).

Archeologists still have not fully embraced archaeo-astronomy,
Neither have astronomers. That may tell you something.

Bullshit! A few perhaps, but most avoid them like the plague.
In exactly the same way that most science teachers avoid problematic students. But in both cases it doesn't take a great deal of prodding to get them to admit "Well, I always hoped..." followed by a cautious, "But where's the evidence?"

as I said; again using Atlantis for an example, the evidence is spread out over many disciplines such as Paleo-Anthropology, Oceanography, and climatology to name just a few, so this is the problem.
Yes, just not in the way you're thinking. Most of the evidence you're referring to has been compiled by people who lack expertise in most of those fields and aren't really in a position to determine whether they are relevant to the legend itself or just odd coincidences related to something else entirely (or garbage data related to nothing at all).

It may seem that way due to my attempt at brevity, but not really. But what empirical data do archeologists have available from their own field that would be contradicted by “aliens did it”?
AFAIK, Egyptian writings contain an account of the construction of the pyramids, for example, or at least imply that the Egyptians didn't think there was anything particularly odd or otherworldly about the nature of their construction. This is even more true of the Mayan pyramids, for which somewhat more detailed writings exist on their significance as well as their construction.

I’m not even sure archeology qualifies as an empirical science, at least not in the strict definition of the term? It’s not really repeatable; you can only dig a site once. And it’s not really testable for the same reasons.
That's not really what "empirical" means, but the point in this case is archeologists cannot (or, as a rule, TRY not) to make claims that aren't supported by concrete findings. They don't make assumptions about what was going on in a particular culture unless they can find some clues that indicate as much.

I concede that you cannot always say the same about anthropologists, though. History records MANY cases where anthropologists chose to interpret the behaviors of ancient or isolated peoples through their own cultural lens and reached totally erroneous or inappropriate conclusions as a result. Things have gotten a lot better since then, but the tendency is still there to some degree.

The only people who AREN'T going to be useful in solving those questions are internet hobbyists who lack a solid background in any of those fields or have experience in a field that is totally unrelated to them.
Like yourself, for example?
Exactly.
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Old November 12 2012, 07:16 PM   #380
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Re: Ancient Aliens

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
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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.
While I originally was talking about educated men in one field speculating on other disciplines or using thier position as a forum to bring together other scientists to discuss a lot of these big questions we like to discuss here that don't neatly fit into one scientific field, science itself has become more specialized, my point is that they have to share information where these specializations overlap. This can happen in any one of the sciences, and even in the "soft" sciences. As pointed out in this Berkeley article, this collaboration I'm talking about is more common than ever too.

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/modern_science

This specialization (along with the complexity of the questions modern science investigates) has necessitated more cross-disciplinary collaboration than in the past. For example, a recent project investigating desertification in Southern Europe involved collaboration between sociologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, agronomists, biologists, and mathematical modelers.1 In addition, scientists today are now more likely to work in large teams — regardless of disciplinary specialization. In 1960, the average number of authors on science and engineering articles was around 1.9. As of 2000, that number......
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Old November 12 2012, 07:24 PM   #381
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Re: Ancient Aliens

RAMA wrote: View Post
While I originally was talking about educated men in one field speculating on other disciplines or using thier position as a forum to bring together other scientists to discuss a lot of these big questions we like to discuss here that don't neatly fit into one scientific field...
That's not a new thing. Scientists have been doing that since the enlightenment for one purpose or another (the first high profile case was the debates over whether or not meteor craters were caused by volcanic or meteorite action). That is a very different issue from scientists using their expertise in a specific field as a platform for speculation in a totally unrelated one (for example: when Stephen Hawking says something like "The biological, Darwinian phase of human evolution is over." WTF does a physicist know about evolution?)
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Old November 13 2012, 10:15 AM   #382
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I think you're over-egging the pudding a bit here. If people on this board are allowed to discuss evolution, then everybody is. Some people are more informed than others and I would suggest that Prof Hawking falls into the first category.
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Old November 13 2012, 02:25 PM   #383
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If there were writings by the Egyptians on the construction of the pyramids, they were lost. The first written surviving account we have on the construction of the pyramids was written by Herodotus, who claimed that slaves built the pyramids. Study of the pyramids themselves revealed that the construction teams were divided into units, and these units were assigned specialized tasks. The workers were conscripted in between the farming seasons to work on the pyramids.

As for the Mayans, if they too had writings on the construction of their pyramids, these too were lost. (The Spanish were very efficient in destroying Mayan writings.) The surviving documents were historical records and calendars.

As for Professor Hawking's belief, I think it was unfair to judge him without knowing where he got his information. He might have been reading books and scholarly papers about Human evolution, and formed his opinion based on these.
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Old November 13 2012, 03:53 PM   #384
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Deckerd wrote: View Post
I think you're over-egging the pudding a bit here. If people on this board are allowed to discuss evolution, then everybody is. Some people are more informed than others and I would suggest that Prof Hawking falls into the first category.
There is nothing wrong with a scientist discussing anything, however when a scientist makes claims--particularly predictive ones--they should take care to be clear about what they are predicting and what they are basing it on. American anti-intellectualism aside, people generally do trust scientists to know what they're talking about, and when a scientist of any stripe makes a claim about the future, they are inherently using their credibility as a scientific professional to reinforce it.
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Old November 13 2012, 04:38 PM   #385
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Re: Ancient Aliens

I still don't see what the problem is. He's making a prediction. It's either right or it's wrong but only time will tell.
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Old November 13 2012, 04:39 PM   #386
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Re: Ancient Aliens

The problem is trading on one's credibility and reputation to make a prediction they aren't actually qualified to make.
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Old November 13 2012, 04:42 PM   #387
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Oh come on. What's the worst that could happen? In 5,000 years time when an infinitessimal evolutionary change can be detected, everyone says "Jeez that Stephen Hawking, what a maroon".
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Old November 13 2012, 06:01 PM   #388
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Oh, this thread's revived? Cool

RAMA wrote: View Post
I think a secondary but important purpose was ceremonial/theological/cosmological, since they built the pyramids to roughly correspond with Orion's belt
There's certainly a seremonial/theological element to them, but in fact the similarity to the layout of Orion's Belt is pretty much entirely down to the geological structure of the Giza Plateau- you couldn't physically put three pyramids there in any other arrangement, because that arrangement is the only one supported by solid enough bedrock there...
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Old November 13 2012, 06:58 PM   #389
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The problem is trading on one's credibility and reputation to make a prediction they aren't actually qualified to make.
It's his/her credibility and reputation to trade.
As for the predictions - their value depends on the arguments on which they are built, not on the titles (and the domains corresponding to these titles) the predictors have.
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Old November 14 2012, 09:54 AM   #390
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Re: Ancient Aliens

Has it been concluded that the builders of the American and Egyptian pyramids were helped by a pre-Atlantean cataclysmic civilization that has since moved off planet and is observing Earth from a long range base on Mars?
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