I was pretty surprised to see that von Däniken was still on the lecture circuit, since I read Chariots of the Gods 30-odd years ago, and it originally published 40 years ago. And, based on the lecture summary, he's still talking about the "proof" that ancient humans were visited by aliens.
Apparently "the scientists" do not believe what he says. By the way, during his whole lecture, he is always talking about "the scientists" or the "wise guys" without mentioning any names -- in contrast to his supporters who are always introduced by name and in detail. However, those unbelieving scientists apparently say thatIf you watch the SciFi channel the idea that the ancient gods were actually aliens should sound pretty familiar, since the Stargate movie and the Stargate SG-1 television series were both based on this premise. Sadly, though, there aren't any actual stargates that would have allowed ancient Egyptians, Celts and other peoples to have spread across our galaxy, so those three objections that von Däniken lists sound pretty reasonable to me. But of course he has another explanation :
- Aliens do not exist,
- Aliens would look completely different from humans, and
- Even if they do exist, they could never reach Earth because of the large distances.
Däniken also has an explanation for the similarity between humans and aliens: panspermia! This theory, proposed by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, states that life on Earth came from space. Simple life forms may survive even in space and travel to Earth e.g. with meteorites. Däniken specifically stresses the point that Arrhenius won a Nobel Prize (which in fact he received for other achievements). However, Arrhenius never mentioned any aliens involved in panspermia. Däniken would have done better to cite another authority: Fred Hoyle, who believed in "directed panspermia". Aliens have purposefully sent seeds of life into space to spread life to as many planets as possible. This is also Däniken's claim. He then states that evolution will proceed in the same way in similar environments and thus it should be not surprising that aliens look similar to humans.That scenario is pretty improbable, but I suppose not completely impossible. However, convergent evolution of non-human aliens on Earthlike planets isn't the focus of von Däniken's claims. What he believes is that there is hard evidence that aliens have actually come to Earth - not just to visit, but to mold the human race. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like his "evidence" has improved much over the past 40 years - it's still bits and pieces lifted from ancient religious texts, geometric analyses of the positions of cities and structures (pyrimids!), and other pseudoscience wildly extrapolated into spaceships and aliens. See, for example his "accurate" space ship drawings based on the Book of Ezikiel and the Mahabharata.
But there's good news (or bad, depending on your point of view): the aliens/gods will return on December 21, 2012, so spread the word!
Image: Skull from the Museum of Ica, Peru from daniken.com. The caption in English is "Human (?) skull" (question mark in the original), while the German caption says roughly "Human skulls were deformed in many cultures around the globe. Who were the people trying to imitate? Here is an example from the Museum of Ica, Peru." Obviously the answer is supposed to be "aliens".
Tags:Erich von Daniken, aliens