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Old 7th March 2012, 10:50 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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As for aliens throughout history, surely if they don't make a showing before the end of 2012 then the case for their past involvement is severely damaged.
Not sure about that. People will always want to believe in conspiracies. Gullible people will always believe in other manipulating people. Take Pastor Camping as an example. He predicted the end of the world twice last year. His followers sold their homes and possessions. All he said was "We all make mistakes." I guarantee that those followers still do not doubt that the end is nigh.

Or as another example, take the prophecies of Michel de Nostredame. Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power and yet his book has never been out of print.

There will always be unexplained things. We don't like unexplained things. The existence of aliens is an easy way to explain away a whole host of those.

I'll make a prophecy. In a few years time, someone will look again at the Inca calendar and determine that it never ended in 2012 in any case. A mistake in the calculation of the starting date was made and we really have another 20 years to go.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:11 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

Agree with you there Dave. In the past we attributed unexplainable phenomena to gods, demons, fairies, spirits, etc. and now we've just added aliens to the list.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:23 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

Oh, I dunno. My calendar ends in December. I have a plotline for my books that originally ended in 2343. I have a wall chart that tells me what I plan to do until July. And the Mayans thought that a couple of thousand years was enough accuracy for their purposes, too.

The 2012 "conspiracy" is as much bunkum as every other year's "end-of-the-world" predictions. In my lifetime, I've been made aware of 1999, 2000 and 2001 as definite dates to not bother planning beyond. I daresay, the same was said of 1899, 1900 and 1901. And who knows but maybe one of these years it'll prove to be true.

But here's the real question: If we keep saying something is going to happen and we keep putting dates on it, eventually someone is going to be right. Eventually, aliens will make unequivocal contact with us and we will say, "Harry Warbucks had that date marked in his diary!" and Mr Warbucks will follow this with a career on TV making predictions which will be so general as to be impossible to prove wrong.

Aliens will make contact with us. I don't doubt it any more than I doubt that the human race will eventually become extinct. We've had 200,000 years of easy living so far. The dinosaurs had 150,000,000 years before something wiped them out. Perhaps the fairies owned the world for a million or so years after them. A few million years before dinosaurs, perhaps it was Atlanteans or Limurians or something. Between the death of the last dinosaur, 65,000,000 years ago, and our emergence, a mere 200,000 years ago, what was there? The history of our planet is big enough for practically anything. 4,000,000,000 years so far - and counting. Whether our extinction comes in the next twelve months or the next twelve millennia, it'll come - and someone will have that date marked in their diary. (And that'd still only be 262,000 years of human reign. Compare that with the dinosaurs 150,000,000 and see how tiny we are?)

But after us, who will it be who rules the world? Cockroaches? Ants? Alpha Centaurans? Parallel Dimensionites? Will the Great and Terrible Lizards make a come-back?

"Were aliens responsible for achievements?"

Could be. Some. Not all. Genetic memory might have helped, too.

Human existence is a blip on the radar. It's here for a second, gone in another, replaced, replenished or reduced to atoms, it hardly matters. Are we aliens, are we visited by them, are we going to be destroyed by them? Knowledge is what keeps us entertained and the more entertaining we make our lives the more important we feel we are. I love speculation and fiction because it isn't hide-bound by paltry and unnecessary facts. But if life ever becomes more exciting and more interesting than the things I imagine, then I think I'll have to just give up imagining things. So I hope we don't have visiting aliens or magic angels or sentient dinosaurs in my life-time. I'd much rather invent them.





Erratum:

Earlier, I said:
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Originally Posted by Interference View Post
....Somewhere in St Paul's letters ....he talks of a year being a thousand years to God....
That should, of course, have been "he talks of a day being a thousand years to God", the actual quote being: "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day...."

That said, my arithmetical skills being what they are, I could still have got my conclusion wrong to within a few thousand years, but I think the thesis still stands

Last edited by Interference; 7th March 2012 at 11:44 PM. Reason: The search for perfection
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Old 8th March 2012, 02:06 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

Hi Inter!

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Oh, Peter, Peter, must you be so literal?
Not always!

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Somewhere in St Paul's letters - or possibly his addresses ... maybe even a postcard - he talks of a year being a thousand years to God,
But he doesn't say "and so every reference in the Good Book to a year must be interpreted as really meaning 1,000 years". If we must apply that interpretation, do we not have to do so consistently? If so, Methuselah must have been born before the Australopithecines (sic) were troubling the world. And Moses would have been wandering around the desert for quite a long time.

This sort of thinking is a fine example of what Von Danniken, Hancock and conspiracy theorists everywhere get up to. Decide the conclusion, then work back to interpret the evidence in whatever way it needs to be interpreted to fit the conclusion. Ignore the rest. If earth was visited by aliens, then of course the Nazca lines are there to flag up the runway.


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No idea. Maybe they're left-over Atlanteans or perhaps they could be a race of human-like intelligences which evolved and mostly died out before the dinosaurs - or maybe they're dinosaurs who survived the holocaust in a parallel dimension.
This is all fine as far as it goes - but it doesn't go very far. You raise hypotheses, but a hypothesis without a shred of evidence to back it up is neither here nor there. Perhaps there is an invisible goblin behind my pantry door.

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Or maybe they're myths we invent to make sense of inexplicable things whose actual explanation is boringly mundane.
This one we can test. Are there any other examples in human history of myths being invented to make sense of inexplicable things? Given that rainbows are bridges to Valhalla, lightning bolts are signifiers of the rage of Jupiter, the Sun is pulled across the heavens by Ra in his chariot, the earth is encircled by an enormous snake and Britain is named after a survivor of the Trojan Wars, I think we can reply with a resounding "yes".

Best regards,

Peter
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Old 8th March 2012, 04:09 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

*regards Peter - closely *

What you say is absolutely true. I've subsequently found quite a number of Biblical references to the 1000 year day, and it seems that Paul was himself indirectly referencing one of these. The mistake I don't wish to make is to assume that the conversations of a man should be literal all the time, and that neither Paul nor I want people to think we know or knew everything. After all, neither St Paul nor I have had every word we've spoken written down, neither has the series of thoughts that gives rise to what we say or write been, necessarily, shared.

Among the differences I've deduced, off my own bat, between the Old and New Testaments is that the NT books are ascribed to individuals and read like the writings of individuals, while the OT books seem somewhat less attributable. The NT books occur in what seems like Real Time, while the OT books are written some time after the events they describe. The NT books are people making sense of the New Religion and the OT books are histories and, I believe, allegories.

Authors of the Old Testament had no access to fossil records or museums but were, nonetheless, expected to provide their reader with a History of the World from God's point of view. How impossible a task must this have seemed? How could anyone know the mind of God, let alone what he did when he was alone. So Moses, the man to whom the tablets were given, the man who led his people out of Egypt, the man who assumed the responsibility for the survival of the Children of Israel, sought inspiration from his God and his God told him this story of the seven-day creation to pass on to his illiterate, frightened and wayward followers.

Perhaps it was a story to satisfy the unscholarly inquisitions he may have been enduring from his followers, or perhaps it was merely a project he undertook to complete a picture of God for any who were still uncertain of their dependence on Him. Whatever the reason, it must be remembered that most other gods of the times were created by and for a very rich elite. Pharaohs were, themselves, gods - by default. But this was a rationalisation, within the confines of the knowledge of the day, of why (a) people exist and (b) this tribe is important.

"But," someone must have said one day, "I can choose to believe you or not. If God really exists, why does he allow us to disbelieve in Him?"

To which the answer has always been, "Because he gives you the right to choose and will reward you when you choose correctly; punish you if you go the wrong way."

God-given free will.

Not being either a Bible scholar or a paleontologist (or whatever - but then, neither was Moses) I can't put precise dates to either the emergence of the Tribe of Israel or the evolution of Man, but I suspect they parallel each other quite closely. I suspect that Adam refers to Homo Sapiens, Knowing Man. I suspect that Moses realised that there must have been a point in human history prior to which Man was as innocent of right or wrong as the animals. I suspect he deduced that, at some point in history, there came a time when Man became sentient. And he described this moment, poetically, as "eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge". I suspect that the longevity of the OT characters refers more to eras than to lifetimes. God had to limit the length of Man's life: "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." And yet we know that not many people live so long. So how long is God's year? How was that word translated? Or is it, too, purely poetic licence? Let's say He means 120,000 years, does that fit anything we know about ourselves? And so the search begins from, as you say, "Decide the conclusion, then work back to interpret the evidence in whatever way it needs to be interpreted to fit the conclusion."

A despicable way to go about scientific research! you suggest.

Well, yes and no. It is in the nature of research to work towards a conclusion, and oftimes we have an impression of what that conclusion is going to be. But in science, as in crime detection, it's better not to decide the outcome before the investigation begins. However, what we're actually discussing is how people make sense of a series of observable data. The world is here. Who or what put it here? Why does it behave the way it does? The outcome is observable, only the steps leading to it are uncertain. So, we leap to the conclusion that God put it here and then try and shoe-horn what we know into that all-embracing conclusion. This isn't crime detection, neither is it science, but it is amazing how, once a paradigm is established, everything can seem to fit it quite neatly. Ask a quantum physicist about this phenomenon, because it has happened many times in laboratories and led to the construction of the LHC, which hopes to retro-actively prove some of the conclusions already reached.

"For this to be, this must also be" is the reason we had theories for Black Holes and for Dark Matter. Until the theory breaks down, it will be held on to. If it fails to break down under every test, then it will become a Law. And this is what religion believes it has achieved: a theory unbroken by the test of time, ergo God is Real.

But perhaps it fits better in the category of Untestable Theories - like the Nazca lines, Nibiru, Anunnaki, Illuminati, fairies, pre-historic intelligences, aliens and Kennedy's magic bullet. So we speculate and consider and fantasise and share our "conclusions" and some people go "Wow, that seems so plausible" while others say "More proof or I'm gonna mock you". But to say we "ignore the rest" is not the same as to say "we are ignorant of the rest", which is actually what most people would say. It's impossible for everyone to know everything and so there will always be strange theories and popular fiction like X-Files, Fringe and Star Trek. There will always be unprovable hypotheses that will make intriguing at best and risible at worst reading - and no hypothesis, perhaps, can go very far until someone makes a discovery that turns it into a theory. We say, "maybe this" or "maybe that" and that's as far as we ever intend to take it, anyway. Unless someone says, "You know, I found this evidence that one of your 'maybes' could actually be a 'might be'." The more diligent of us will, of course, seek that evidence for ourselves, but I don't have any vested interest at the moment in proving the existence of parallel dimensions that harbour surviving dinosaurs. If I get around to writing such a story, though, I hope I'll be able to fudge the facts sufficiently to allow my reader to suspend his or her disbelief long enough to finish the book. Of course, my concluding sentence in the paragraph you quote was intended to dispel any notion my reader may have had that I was positing serious hypotheses in the first place. The Rule of Three, you'll notice, with an appended rationale

I seem to spend a lot of time, these days, defending my writing style rather than my suggestions which takes a considerable effort, and I only deem it worthwhile when the respondent doesn't seem to realise that I share much with their position. Often I just say, "You're right" and leave the topic altogether since it's clear that the suggestions I would make are already made or are about to be and I have faith in the wisdom of the others who will come after me. In this case, however, I think it's not about facts so much as it's about speculation and I always, always encourage imaginative flights of fancy whenever I can and weep copiously when I see imaginations tethered by such mudane things as - bleughh! - facts



With respect and kind regards,

Stephen.
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Old 9th March 2012, 09:57 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

Hi Stephen

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*regards Peter - closely *
Don't look too closely - you'll see the welds and the stitching.

Quote:
The mistake I don't wish to make is to assume that the conversations of a man should be literal all the time
I heartily applaud this. But at the same time, you also need to be alive to the possibility that the connversations may never have happened at all and may have been attributed after the event for some other purpose - the alleged final words of Pitt the Younger are a fine and comic example of this.


Quote:
Among the differences I've deduced, off my own bat, between the Old and New Testaments is that the NT books are ascribed to individuals
So are some of the books of the OT. So are later writings (non Biblical) such as Nennius. The attributions are often incorrect.


Quote:
The NT books occur in what seems like Real Time,
They do, but the core of the canon is the gospels, the earliest of which was written anything from one to threegenerations after the events they purport to describe.

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the OT books are histories and, I believe, allegories.
The line between history and myth has been blurred up to very recent times - and still is, in many cases.

Quote:
So Moses, the man to whom the tablets were given, the man who led his people out of Egypt, the man who assumed the responsibility for the survival of the Children of Israel, sought inspiration from his God and his God told him this story of the seven-day creation to pass on to his illiterate, frightened and wayward followers.
If he existed, if the tablets existed, if he spoke to God (assuming God exists) and if God told him what Moses said he had and if the record has been preserved through innumerabale translations and copies over the subsequent thousands of years.


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To which the answer has always been, "Because he gives you the right to choose and will reward you when you choose correctly; punish you if you go the wrong way."
But just think about this. He creates us with the purpose of loving him, deliberately equips us so that the vast majority of us will fail (atheists, agnostics, non-Christians and everyone who died before Christianity had bene invented) and then punishes us for doing what he set us up to do in the first place. If we fail, it is his fault. He is repsonsible for he we act and how we are becaise he created us. And why would a creator want to create people just to love him? Isn't that a rather pointless and narcissistic act?

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God-given free will.
Only to the extent that leaving a toddler alone in a room to play with an uncocked, loaded gun and then holding the toddler entirely responsible if she blows her own foot off amounts to free will.

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A despicable way to go about scientific research! you suggest.
Yes - and to get back to aliens, one which is all too prevalent amongst the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists.

It comes down to faith, the essence of which is belief without proof. If you have faith, then starting at the end and working back is perfectly valid, because you already "know" the conclusion to be true.

Regards,

Peter
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Old 9th March 2012, 04:20 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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the OT books are histories and, I believe, allegories.
I disagree, think allegory is formulaic and easy to spot.
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Old 9th March 2012, 05:03 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

Hi again, Peter.

Regarding your additions to my "essay" - it was as if you were adding footnotes. I agree, but in the interests of brevity didn't want to go down the various roads you kindly did. It was in my head to talk of the attributed OT books, but it would have distracted me and confused the reader, which I'm quite capable of doing without such diversions.

Yeah, the whole first five books are attributed to Moses himself. Many others are named after their main character but attributed to someone else. Yet others are supposedly written by the character. And a bunch of prophets get in the act here somewhere as well. No scholar, me, so not about to say which are which. One of the differences I hoped to highlight is that, for the most part, the OT doesn't give several descriptions of the same tale, as the Gospels do.

Christians hold that the Gospel of John, at least, is contemporary to the events they describe, but I think I heard somewhere that it was actually written a couple of decades later. John's Gospel, two letters (or is it three) and Revelations are all attributed to the same geezer. Revelations is said to have been written while he was in prison.

Detours I am avoiding include: Matthew, Mark and Luke may not have actually written a word, only had their recollections collected; Revelations would make a trippily great Prog Rock album; attributions can often be incorrect - Lennon didn't contribute to all of McCartney's songs and vice versa; early Christians had a profound need for secrecy and much of what we have comes after miscopies and errors have gone on to become accepted fact; choosing four books to tell the same story was intended to highlight the points that were generally agreed.

We never have to look too far back to find histories that have been adopted as parables. We might even, ourselves, use a slight re-working of a past experience to either entertain or instruct others. Only occasionally do we describe these edited highlights as lies. The fact, however, remains that the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" can only ever be subjective. Apply salt to taste.

And re: Moses: Yes, a whole bunch of "if"s - plus one or two "oh, yeah?"s. The fact remains, though, that Moses provided the guidance, whatever the source or origin, for the moral deportment of his followers. Which may account for the profound self-absorption of the first three commandments. God is, but this account, not short of ego.

It's bad enough when your girlfriend tests you by leaving you alone in the house with her sister and soft music on the hi-fi, lets her cook for you, encourages her to wear something silky, revealing and then moans at you for sleeping with her, but God doing (more or less) the same thing - well, what does He expect will happen? Yeah, it seems awfully unfair. But we're (apparently) supposed to say, "Sorry, Louise, your sister and I are in love" and not, "Rebecca must never hear of this." Apparently.

You know. If that ever happened. Which it didn't. And I've no idea how she found out about it in the first place. And do I have to spend the rest of my life apologising? *harrumph!*


Yep. Faith is binding, apparently


I think sometimes, River Boy, that allegory can come across as being fact. Just try speaking to your girlfriend in parables about that night with her sister that didn't actually happen, but she read it on your computer screen after you'd typed it and gone to get a cup of tea and now - yes - seems you'll have to apologise for it for all eternity..... And it never happened!!!!!!!!
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Old 9th March 2012, 05:12 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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And it never happened!!!!!!!!
If it never happened, except in your mind and on the computer screen, then it's entirely your fault, and so all the blame (which is not lessened by the lack of a real incident) comes your way.
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Old 9th March 2012, 08:28 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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I think sometimes, River Boy, that allegory can come across as being fact. Just try speaking to your girlfriend in parables about that night with her sister that didn't actually happen, but she read it on your computer screen after you'd typed it and gone to get a cup of tea and now - yes - seems you'll have to apologise for it for all eternity..... And it never happened!!!!!!!!
I'm sorry to hear about that!

So what you're saying is that a load of ancient geasers went out and had a few wars and conquests, but when they came back and told their wives about it they dressed it up as noble and religious and those were the tales passed on to their descendants and eventually to the writers of the Old Testament?
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Old 10th March 2012, 01:18 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

That works for me

You know how it is, you go out for a night with the lads, have a bit too much to drink, before you know it you've accidentally laid waste to the walls of Jericho, but you can't tell the judge that story, so....
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Old 8th April 2012, 11:52 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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There's another problem too - Graham Hancock (I think this is the chap you mean) talks utter rubbish pretty much every time he opens his mouth ...
He does nowadays, unfortunately. I liked him better before he started preaching the 'ayashkura' vine (sp?) ... shame

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... Graham Hancock, Von Danniken(sp) and others of that ilk ...
Which is why he's landed himself in the position of now being equated with Von D, because in fact Graham Hancock does not bring aliens into it ...
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:57 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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He does nowadays, unfortunately. I liked him better before he started preaching the 'ayashkura' vine (sp?) ... shame

Which is why he's landed himself in the position of now being equated with Von D, because in fact Graham Hancock does not bring aliens into it ...
My favourite G. Hancock moment is when I was watching his program on BBC on ice-age coastal cities (and how there could be vastly old civilisations submerged on the sea bed all over the world.) He for some reason is flying in a plane above Nazca, and on camera he looks out and points out some big mounds and tells us something along the lines of
"These mysterious mounds could be cities. Who knows what secrets are buried under the earth there."

Then the very next program on the channel is about the Mummies of Nazca and the decades long archeological research and digs in the very same place. And it tells of a very interesting civilisation and probable history from the evidence.

If only Graham had done a little bit of research he would know! But I think it suits him for it to be 'mysterious' instead.


I think this highlights the madness of the Hancock's and Von D's, despite maybe occasionally coming out with some interesting minor thoughts, they believe that by themselves and brief visits to sites, they can fathom the 'secrets' of the ancient world. (and not just randomly connect up vast numbers of unconnected ideas to form a blockbusting hypothesis that sounds sexy...)

Instead you need decades of detailed and painstaking work, digging and recording, measuring and deducing to piece together hypothesis and probabilities.
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Old 5th May 2012, 03:20 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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... Instead you need decades of detailed and painstaking work, digging and recording, measuring and deducing to piece together hypothesis and probabilities.
You see, I don't think that's quite fair. Oh I know GH spouts off when he talks, but 'Fingerprints of the Gods' is a startling book, extremely well researched and reasoned, which has nothing to do with aliens.

To me it's a very powerful, what's the word: hypothesis?

He's done himself no service spouting off on platforms about his psychedelic experiences with jungle hallucinogens.

I believe 'Fingerprints' is an important work that has thrown open a whole new door.

Graham Hancock can't fairly be boxed with Von Danikien
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Old 5th May 2012, 03:32 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Re: Were aliens responsible for achievements?

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Graham Hancock can't fairly be boxed with Von Danikien
Although the title he's chosen rather suggests a desire that the people who read von D's books might at least pick up his own.
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