Ancient Aliens

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by BillJ, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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?)
     
  2. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    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.
     
  3. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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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.
     
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    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.
     
  5. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    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.
     
  6. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    The problem is trading on one's credibility and reputation to make a prediction they aren't actually qualified to make.
     
  7. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    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".
     
  8. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Oh, this thread's revived? Cool

    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...
     
  9. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  10. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  11. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Yes. Yes it has.
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And when Stephen Hawking decides to come onto this board and share his opinions about human evolution, he's welcome to do so. The thing is, as an astrophysicist by training and career, he is no more an authority on human evolution than anyone else on this board. It would be no different if Hawking were, say, the world's most successful car salesman or an incredibly famous accountant. There's nothing about being a PHYSICIST that makes you inherently better informed or even more intelligent on matters unrelated to physics.

    The funny thing is, we recognize this in most cases. Physicists are treated as inherently mentally superior to everyone else, simply because physics involves math, and math is hard. Evolution, AFAIK, doesn't involve a whole lot of math, and what little it DOES involve is of a very different type than used in physics.
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and call bullshit on this one.

    You know and I know that if Stephen Hawking announced with a straight face that the next phase of human evolution is likely to involve the genetic engineering of a race of enormous amazonian women, ALOT more people would take him seriously than they would if that prediction was being made by a pizza delivery guy from New York, even if the delivery guy used the exact same arguments and the exact same research.

    Famous observation: "Back where I come from, we have universities -- seats of great learning -- where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep, deep thoughts -- and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma!"
     
  14. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I refer you to post 387
     
  15. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed, which is why it complements these so well and should be consulted more often.

    No, I think archeology is underestimating how important it is, and so are you. But still, an engineer specializing in reverse engineering (perhaps with a minor degree in archeology or vice versa) would be better qualified to do it than your average archeologist.

    Documented by whom? I don’t think your average archeologist could even be able to read modern blueprints or engineering diagrams, what makes you think they would do any better with ancient ones, even if they could be found and accurately translated? Besides, there are no documents for the ancient structures I’m referring to. If you know of any, why not mention a few?

    I don’t think that’s a very apt analogy, but let’s be clear; I’m not saying that reverse engineering can tell us everything about ancient cultures and their beliefs, only that it is one way we can glean a better context in which to interpret them, and perhaps a better respect for what they were capable of.
    Only if he (or she) could read the originals, or have said records translated accurately, which is a task for a philologist, not an archeologist. And even then, it’s still a matter of interpretation, which is where preconceived notions are often imposed, almost out of necessity.
    Actually, this is not -as I’m sure you’ll agree- their primary goal; while it’s always a bonus when archeologists recover written records, these will still need to be translated, which in many cases proves futile. Besides, many megalithic structures were built by people who apparently had no written records.
    And as far as a technical term for tools and/or techniques goes, an engineer could indeed help with translations pertaining to how the pyramids were built, especially if he or she had a minor in philology.
    Not for a tomb, but there’s no evidence that the (Egyptian) pyramids were originally tombs! Their design, in most cases, certainly isn’t conducive to that function.

    Your conditioned bias that the pyramids must have been tombs prevents you from seeing clearly that, without any evidence, there is no real reason to have ever assumed they were tombs in the first place! People are buried in and around churches too, but that doesn’t mean that they were originally built for that purpose.



    This is precisely where a little interdisciplinary cooperation would help to clarify things tremendously.

    This has nothing to do with whether they have, or have not, been “inundated”, only that they won’t even listen to any other possibility.

    Perhaps you should be more specific about whom in the archeological or Egyptology community are “quite open” the idea? I know of none, although there may be some archeologist who aren’t so closed minded; leading Egyptologists’ such a Hawass and Lehner insist on the “tombs and tombs only” function, or words to that effect, and have referred to anyone with an alternate theory as a “pyramidiot”.
    No, it doesn’t. You’re over-generalizing, I’m speaking specifically of Egypt and the Sphinx and its enclosure. This monument was weathered by rain, (a lot of it) of which there was none in the time when Egyptologists say the structure was carved and its enclosure built. But there was plenty of rain to account for the weathering several thousand years (minimum) earlier, ergo the monument was made during the wetter period of pre-history.
    Of course paleo-climatology comes into play here as well, so we have two relatively “hard” sciences contradicting the “soft science” of Egyptology, whose ideas on the matter were basically guesswork in the first place.
    It tells me at least two things; (1) that most astronomers are not interested in archeology (no surprise there); and (2) that both archeology and astronomy still suffer under the misconception that our ancestors were primitive simpletons who could not understand precession or build monuments that accurately track the stars.
    Again, not a very apt analogy, but in any event, it’s not so much a matter of the amount or quality of the evidence, but the proper interpretation of that evidence we have that counts, and for that an interdisciplinary approach is often helpful in seeing “the big picture”.

    I disagree, but would it make any difference to you? According to your extreme reductionist way of thinking, there is no one person –scientists or otherwise- that you would consider qualified to analyze it all.

    Again, who’s going to be qualified to fairly and expertly disentangle what’s relevant or not? For that we need an interdisciplinary panel to consider the data, something that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. When it comes to things like Atlantis, we’re all amateurs.

    And what is “garbage data” anyway? Sounds like a term for anything we don’t understand, kinda like “junk DNA”.

    throwback beat me to this one; the only thing that exists is Herodotus’ work and as already said, its accuracy is doubtful, and in any case, is not anywhere near an original or first-hand account.

    But the fact that he mentions that Khufu was buried under the pyramid –not in it- is, if true, suggestive that this is also another case of intrusive burial, and that Khufu only claimed the GP for himself and was not the builder!

    Incidentally, Herodotus also said that Khufu prostituted his daughter in order to pay for the construction of his pyramid! So I think we can safely ignore him on this and related matters.

    Then how would you define it then?

    Here’s how I define it, “the logical and systematic collection and organization of raw data, followed by hypothesis formation to explain the data (without preconceived bias), which leads to designing experiments to validate or falsify the hypotheses, which then leads the most successfully tested hypothesis being elevated to the status of theory, and after standing the test of time (and more conventional testing) becomes tacitly accepted as provisional fact”.

    Give me your definition and we'll compare notes and see if, in actual practice, archeology fully qualifies.


    Not in my experience, what you’re talking about is the Ideal, not the actual practice.

    Archeology is a sub-branch of Anthropology, and its practitioners are just as guilty of what you describe, especially the further back in time their investigations take them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  16. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Confirmation bias is alive and well and inhabiting the above post in quantities which rival the mass of a, well a pyramid.
     
  17. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And so the pot calls the kettle black.

    I see you like to play it safe and make vague hit-and-run posts so as to avoid being contradicted.

    Why don't you specify for me what you see as confirmation bias in my previous post, so I can make a rebuttal? After all, if it's in such quantities as you suggest, it shouldn’t be hard for you to pick at least one example.

    I'm not advocating a firm belief in any one subject, just pointing out the flaws in over-specialization and the advantages of an interdisciplinary approach (in some cases).

    Do you even know what confirmation bias is? The only confirmation bias on this board that I've seen has come from those defending the status quo, such as yourself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  18. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You call bullshit a lot - based on nothing.

    Your post is straw-man because:
    Did "Stephen Hawking announced with a straight face that the next phase of human evolution is likely to involve the genetic engineering of a race of enormous amazonian women"?
    If yes - let's see the proof. If such a prediction exists (:rofl:) and is supported by no arguments, Stephen Hawking just wasted his credibility and reputation - which are his to waste, NOT yours to dictate about.
    If not - your post is a straw-man.


    And I noticed that your arguments in refuting scientists' predictions are ad personams or other superficialities, NOT anything relating to the actual arguments.
    Not very convincing - quite the opposite, newtype_alpha.
     
  19. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Though this is based on my experiences with the mental health clinic in my area, I think it has some wider resonance.

    I noted that people are loyal and will defend people based on some perceived superiority. This superiority could be based on a title alone. The man is a psychiatrist, so he is above reproach.

    I noted that people blindly follow methodology, even when that methodology can cause harm or slow progress. The medicines aren't working, so let's increase them. Uh, doctor, I am reverting back to what I was before, and the medicines aren't working. Trust me, I am a psychiatrist, and you are not, so go along with what I tell you. I am increasing the medicines.

    I noted that the process of change is slow. It will take five to six weeks before I hear whether or not my request is accepted. In the meantime, if I have issues, go to the emergency room.

    These three issues are seen in the other scientific fields, including archaeology.
     
  20. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Well, putting astro in front of any field means you possess superior, more advanced knowledge. An astro-sociologist, for example, pointlessly speculates about the cultures on many worlds, not just our own, and an astro-economist is completely wrong about more than one planet. And of course an astro-cosmotologist, which sounds technical, knows what kind of highlights and eye shadow goes with blue skin. Somehow a few instances of astro upgrading became accepted, and astro-biology would be one of them.