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Episode 158 — Ancient Aliens


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:00 PM

The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens claims that all the great wonders of the world were built by aliens. Is that racist? Nick Thorburn & Andrew Ti figure this shit out! As always, leave us a message about anything you think is racist at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:33 PM

Am I racist? Whenever Nick is talking, I keep thinking of that kid going "Hey, I moved here from Canada and they think I'm slow, eh?" from The Simpsons.

#3 Cracktivity

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:05 AM

surprised they didn't make fun of the caller for thinking that the ancient pyramids in the Americas were built by "latinos"

#4 Shariq Torres

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:11 AM

Andrew is on point with this. Alot of these alien whackadoos obsess about monuments in South America and Africa because there has been little academic research to contradict their stupid ideas. So in this environment their crazy beliefs actually can gain some foothold. Now, the reason there is so little academic research into pre-Columbian South American or pre-colonized Africa (barring Egypt) is because of the prevailing sense in academia that brown and black people are stupid. I mean, the Olmecs built statues with African faces on them, and there is no research into whether there were African traders visiting Central and South America before Columbus. Like, the question is not even entertained, much less given money to study.

And the ancient alien nutjobs are disallowing for any human ingenuity to come from the populations of South American and Africa, etc when they posit that only aliens could have built the lasting testaments of these people's civilizations. None of them say that Issac Newton got the laws of thermodynamics from a being from another planet. Or that the Panethon was directed by Martians.

#5 Shariq Torres

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PostKevin Irmiter, on 23 May 2013 - 11:33 PM, said:

Am I racist? Whenever Nick is talking, I keep thinking of that kid going "Hey, I moved here from Canada and they think I'm slow, eh?" from The Simpsons.


This guest has the wrong energy for this podcast. He seems like he is very high or just took an Ambian.

#6 Hyde Parker

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:28 PM

There's actually plenty of research into non-alien-related pre-Columbian America and pre-Colonial Africa. The only reason Ancient Aliens cast its goofy gaze on the western hemisphere is that History realized it couldn't produce a multi-season television series on the pyramids and Stonehenge by themselves.

View PostCracktivity, on 24 May 2013 - 05:05 AM, said:

surprised they didn't make fun of the caller for thinking that the ancient pyramids in the Americas were built by "latinos"

Funny, I was just reading about the proud Latino emperor Trajan who rose to prominence out of Roman Iberia.

#7 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:21 PM

View PostHyde Parker, on 24 May 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

There's actually plenty of research into non-alien-related pre-Columbian America and pre-Colonial Africa. The only reason Ancient Aliens cast its goofy gaze on the western hemisphere is that History realized it couldn't produce a multi-season television series on the pyramids and Stonehenge by themselves.


I was going to post basically this.

There has in fact been plenty of research done on the pyramids. It turns out they weren't built by slaves. There were actually ENGINEERS who designed the things, and the people making it were CONTRACTED by the government and actually paid for their work. The first recorded strike in history was by people working on the pyramids! Now given, the work was not always entirely voluntary--most of the people there were required to go as a sort of tax system, and there probably were some actual slaves doing the simple menial tasks. But for the most part, they were not built by "slaves" as we think of them today.

I'm sure there is a lot of info about the pre-colonial American pyramids as well but I confess I haven't read about them.

#8 .....

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM

View PostShariq Torres, on 24 May 2013 - 11:11 AM, said:

Andrew is on point with this. Alot of these alien whackadoos obsess about monuments in South America and Africa because there has been little academic research to contradict their stupid ideas. So in this environment their crazy beliefs actually can gain some foothold. Now, the reason there is so little academic research into pre-Columbian South American or pre-colonized Africa (barring Egypt) is because of the prevailing sense in academia that brown and black people are stupid. I mean, the Olmecs built statues with African faces on them, and there is no research into whether there were African traders visiting Central and South America before Columbus. Like, the question is not even entertained, much less given money to study.


1. White people are part of the alien crazies conspiracies as well, viking runestones, stonehenge, etc. It's not limited to just questioning the achievements of darker people.
2. We don't have to investigate fringe theories like African -> Gulf of Mexico transit because we have genetic evidence now that wasn't present when the theories were developed. There is not significant African haplotypes in the native population of the Americas. We can also tell because they weren't wiped out... Africans are even more genetically diverse and disease resistant than European explorers (witness what happened to the people getting colonized in the Americas vs. the people getting colonized in Africa) so if there was regular trading contact the indigenous Americans would have wiped out by plagues before Columbus even got there.
3. I don't know about that "academia is against folks of color" either. Lots of historians are def. racist, but in my anthro classes 10 years ago we learned about Mansa Musa and Timbuktu and the Arabic contact with Zanzibar and East African trading with India/China (i.e., things we have evidence for instead of fringe wishful thinking) There is a large part of academia (even in the red-state public university I attended) that is open to exploring the achievements of African people and teaching them to students and it's disingenuous to portray it like it's still 1935, intellectually.

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And the ancient alien nutjobs are disallowing for any human ingenuity to come from the populations of South American and Africa, etc when they posit that only aliens could have built the lasting testaments of these people's civilizations. None of them say that Issac Newton got the laws of thermodynamics from a being from another planet. Or that the Panethon was directed by Martians.

4. If anyone says Isaac Newton got the laws of thermodynamics, it would have to be from another planet, because he was dead at least 50 years prior to people getting started on those. The earliest shit done to disprove caloric/phlogiston as far as I remember was Count Rumford in 1795 or 1797 and Newton was dead in 1727.
5. No one says the Pantheon (I assume that's what you mean by "Panethon") was directed by Martians because, quite frankly, it's not that impressive. It's 150 feet tall, and built in the middle of a very organized urban center, of hundreds of thousands of people, who we know had architecture to build aqueducts and mathematics, etc. The Great Pyramid is still one of the largest structures ever built, over 450 feet tall, and very difficult to imagine anyone building that far back, and would still be an incredible achievement today.

#9 clever username

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

Doesn't Atlantis get tied into the whole Alien Visitation thing? Those were Greeks and those dudes are "white". And I know Stonehenge does a lot too.

I don't think it's fair to chalk ancient alien theories up to racism, even if they are pretty ridiculous.

#10 clever username

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:07 PM

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:



1. White people are part of the alien crazies conspiracies as well, viking runestones, stonehenge, etc. It's not limited to just questioning the achievements of darker people.
2. We don't have to investigate fringe theories like African -> Gulf of Mexico transit because we have genetic evidence now that wasn't present when the theories were developed. There is not significant African haplotypes in the native population of the Americas. We can also tell because they weren't wiped out... Africans are even more genetically diverse and disease resistant than European explorers (witness what happened to the people getting colonized in the Americas vs. the people getting colonized in Africa) so if there was regular trading contact the indigenous Americans would have wiped out by plagues before Columbus even got there.
3. I don't know about that "academia is against folks of color" either. Lots of historians are def. racist, but in my anthro classes 10 years ago we learned about Mansa Musa and Timbuktu and the Arabic contact with Zanzibar and East African trading with India/China (i.e., things we have evidence for instead of fringe wishful thinking) There is a large part of academia (even in the red-state public university I attended) that is open to exploring the achievements of African people and teaching them to students and it's disingenuous to portray it like it's still 1935, intellectually.


4. If anyone says Isaac Newton got the laws of thermodynamics, it would have to be from another planet, because he was dead at least 50 years prior to people getting started on those
5. No one says the Pantheon (I assume that's what you mean by "Panethon") was directed by Martians because, quite frankly, it's not that impressive. It's 150 feet tall, and built in the middle of a very organized urban center, of hundreds of thousands of people, who we know had architecture to build aqueducts and mathematics, etc. The Great Pyramid is still one of the largest structures ever built, over 450 feet tall, and very difficult to imagine anyone building that far back, and would still be an incredible achievement today.


More genetically diverse doesn't mean they had more disease; that comes from having a high population density.

Also 450 feet is not "one of the tallest buildings in the world" by a long shot. We know how the Egyptians built the pyramids and it wasn't by getting aliens to do it for them.

#11 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:42 PM

It's not that the theories are based in racism, so much that people are more inclined to take the "aliens did it" explanation when there are brown people involved. Kind of an inherent bias to think it was too advanced for "those people" to come up with on their own.

#12 .....

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:51 PM

View Postclever username, on 24 May 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

More genetically diverse doesn't mean they had more disease; that comes from having a high population density.


Not true, it mostly comes from the varieties of livestock and domesticated animals you have around, along with some things that come from the wild. Tenochtitlan in the years before the white man got to it was a very connected, prospering city of 250,000-350,000 people and as dense as anything in Europe without having a ton of disease or resistances like the ones people across the Atlantic had.

As for African populations being resistant to and able to carry things that other populations can't, well, it's just a fact, you can't really argue... so many awful things come out of those jungles, even in our time, Ebola, etc. over time the people that live in those environs have to adapt protections like:
Posted Image

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Also 450 feet is not "one of the tallest buildings in the world" by a long shot. We know how the Egyptians built the pyramids and it wasn't by getting aliens to do it for them.

No one said "one of the tallest buildings in the world" so you shouldn't put it in quote marks. Obviously it isn't one of the tallest, and was exceeded a thousand years ago by certain cathedrals. It is, however, one of the largest structures ever built.

#13 Hyde Parker

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:19 PM

View PostKevin Irmiter, on 24 May 2013 - 07:42 PM, said:

It's not that the theories are based in racism, so much that people are more inclined to take the "aliens did it" explanation when there are brown people involved. Kind of an inherent bias to think it was too advanced for "those people" to come up with on their own.

I don't think people are inclined to think aliens did it, particularly not historians or anthropologists. The idea that post Levi-Strauss, post-Foucault academics wouldn't leap at the chance to prove (or assert, at least) a trans-Atlantic link between pre-Columbian Meso-America and Africa is ridiculous on the face of it.

#14 Kevin Irmiter

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:31 PM

I was mostly talking about conspiracy theorist nutjobs. And like I said, I don't think racism is making them believe that aliens created the pyramids of Egypt and Meso-America, so much as I think it affects the kind of theories they are more likely to accept. So when they hear "it's too advanced for them to have made on their own," the fact that it was non-white civilizations makes them more likely to take the claim at face value. Would they believe the same thing if white people had built them? Perhaps, but I would argue not as easily.

I think there is a very similar racism in a lot of the 9/11 deniers. "What, we're supposed to believe a bunch of Arabs managed to organize an attack like that? Much more likely that the FBI, CIA, and Jewish elite all worked together to arrange it, without making any mistakes or having anyone leak information about this massive conspiracy that killed thousands of people, even though they would have no discernible reason to do such a thing. But that still is easier to believe than a bunch of towel-heads destroying the World Trade Center, right?"

I do agree though that a lot of the time when academics try to make ridiculously far-fetched links between ancient civilizations and white people, that there is some racism involved. Like they just REALLY want to prove that white people were responsible for all of civilization.

#15 Shariq Torres

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:20 AM

View PostHyde Parker, on 24 May 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

There's actually plenty of research into non-alien-related pre-Columbian America and pre-Colonial Africa. The only reason Ancient Aliens cast its goofy gaze on the western hemisphere is that History realized it couldn't produce a multi-season television series on the pyramids and Stonehenge by themselves.



No, there actually is not. I did not learn about pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas until I was a sophmore in college. And the only reason I learned about that is because professor I took the class from had an interest in the subject and made it a good chunk of the curriculum. I later found out that other professors that taught the same class had a totally different emphasis. And one of the things she always mentioned in class was how hard it was to get funding to study. Hell, most universities didn't even have graduate programs dedicated to that field of study until the late 1960s. So, no, buddy its not anywhere near on the same level as research done in Eurasia.

#16 Shariq Torres

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:58 AM

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:


1. White people are part of the alien crazies conspiracies as well, viking runestones, stonehenge, etc. It's not limited to just questioning the achievements of darker people.


No, they are not a part of the conspiracies, Joshie. Not on the same level as brown/black people in Americas and Africa. Because at the heart of this alien conspiracy is that every thing that is substanstive coming from this black and brown civilizations is due to alien influence. There are things that the conspiracists don't touch in regards to European achievements. They never say that Pythorgras' ideas came from communion with aliens. They never state that Roman acqaduects are because of alien engineers. No, there are some things that are off limits because the conspiracits recognize that white people can be ingenious; something that they total discount in black and brown people.

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

2. We don't have to investigate fringe theories like African -> Gulf of Mexico transit because we have genetic evidence now that wasn't present when the theories were developed. There is not significant African haplotypes in the native population of the Americas. We can also tell because they weren't wiped out... Africans are even more genetically diverse and disease resistant than European explorers (witness what happened to the people getting colonized in the Americas vs. the people getting colonized in Africa) so if there was regular trading contact the indigenous Americans would have wiped out by plagues before Columbus even got there.


If you're discounting of a link between Mesoamerica and Africa based on genetics, then you are also discounting the theory of Viking explorers coming in contact with North America. But that little bit of historical fancy is being taught in classrooms as fact based on a lumps of sod found in Northern Canada. Nowhere did it speak of genetics as an establishment of the link. So, are both theories incorrect? Or does a link hinge on more than the assumption that the explorers were fucking the indigenous people? And if the establishment of a link does require more than this, then why should we not research it?

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

3. I don't know about that "academia is against folks of color" either. Lots of historians are def. racist, but in my anthro classes 10 years ago we learned about Mansa Musa and Timbuktu and the Arabic contact with Zanzibar and East African trading with India/China (i.e., things we have evidence for instead of fringe wishful thinking) There is a large part of academia (even in the red-state public university I attended) that is open to exploring the achievements of African people and teaching them to students and it's disingenuous to portray it like it's still 1935, intellectually.


So, lots of historians are racist but no one is racist because its not 1935? WTF?!
Your one experience doesn't mean jack shit, when you consider the state of public education in red states.

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

4. If anyone says Isaac Newton got the laws of thermodynamics, it would have to be from another planet, because he was dead at least 50 years prior to people getting started on those. The earliest shit done to disprove caloric/phlogiston as far as I remember was Count Rumford in 1795 or 1797 and Newton was dead in 1727.


Ok, I fucked up on this point. Alien conspiracy nuts don't claim that Newton's laws of motions were given to him by aliens. They allow that human thought and imagination to come into play when dealing with Europeans. But since you're the guy who mentioned retired and dead non-white senators when I was talking about the racial imbalance of the current Congress, we'll call this draw.

View PostJoshie, on 24 May 2013 - 02:46 PM, said:

5. No one says the Pantheon (I assume that's what you mean by "Panethon") was directed by Martians because, quite frankly, it's not that impressive. It's 150 feet tall, and built in the middle of a very organized urban center, of hundreds of thousands of people, who we know had architecture to build aqueducts and mathematics, etc. The Great Pyramid is still one of the largest structures ever built, over 450 feet tall, and very difficult to imagine anyone building that far back, and would still be an incredible achievement today.


Oh goodness, one of the great wonders of the world, proclaimed not to be a big deal by message board participant.

Posted Image

Edited by Shariq Torres, 25 May 2013 - 01:55 PM.


#17 Shariq Torres

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

View Postclever username, on 24 May 2013 - 02:59 PM, said:

Doesn't Atlantis get tied into the whole Alien Visitation thing? Those were Greeks and those dudes are "white". And I know Stonehenge does a lot too.

I don't think it's fair to chalk ancient alien theories up to racism, even if they are pretty ridiculous.


Atlantis is not a real place. And no, its totally fair to say that crazy shit is influenced by racism. Because these nutjobs take some European achievements at face value. They never say every great European civilization owes it technology to aliens, but they do say that about all of the pre-Columbian America and pre-colonized African civilizations.

#18 Hyde Parker

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:51 AM

Quote

But that little bit of historical fancy is being taught in classrooms as fact based on a lumps of sod found in Northern Canada.

That and things the Medieval Norse wrote down. Plus the well-documented settlement of Scandinavians in Greenland for five-hundred years.

#19 Hyde Parker

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:15 AM

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Oh goodness, one of the Eight Wonders of the World, proclaimed not to be a big deal by message board participant.

*Seven wonders, and the most popular version of that list was written two centuries before the Roman Pantheon was built. You could also be talking about the Parthenon, but that wasn't mentioned either.

#20 clever username

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:40 AM

View PostShariq Torres, on 25 May 2013 - 08:04 AM, said:



Atlantis is not a real place. And no, its totally fair to say that crazy shit is influenced by racism. Because these nutjobs take some European achievements at face value. They never say every great European civilization owes it technology to aliens, but they do say that about all of the pre-Columbian America and pre-colonized African civilizations.


I know Atlantis is not a real place; it makes it the perfect thing for UFOlogists to speculate about. And I suspect that, not racism, is why they focus on the civilizations/monuments they do.

Like Stonhenge. Not exactly the most complicated structure ever built, and the only mystery there was about it was how they got the stones all the way over there. A mystery we solved a long time ago.

Now, the reason we know less about non-European civs is definitely because of racism, either because of less interest or because conquering Europeans destroyed their languages and written records (as Spain did in the Americas).

But I don't see racism drawing people to UFOlogy. Ancient British people were white as can be and plenty of people don't think they could roll stones on logs. Some people just want to believe in aliens; they're like modern day gods.