An Alien Library on Pluto and the Comet that Destroyed Antediluvian Civilization
A little more than a week from now Jon Stewart will broadcast his last Daily Show, and the media are eulogizing his tenure on the program the way they would a departing head of state. Amid all of the rhapsodizing about the comedian, it’s easy to forget that his show rarely attracted more than 1.3 million viewers, and a typical episode was closer to 1.1 million. What made the show so influential wasn’t the number of viewers but who they were, largely young adults and media and political insiders who liked watching a show about themselves. Almost half of viewers have a college degree, and most of the rest are in pursuit of one. The average Daily Show viewer is well off, with more than 40% earning more than $75,000 per year. The show’s combination of demographically desirable youths and upper class elites helped it punch above its weight. I mention this because Ancient Aliens attracted 1.392 million viewers last Friday, of which 300 thousand were in the adults 18-49. The difference is that Ancient Aliens has the wrong kind of viewers: older, poorer, less educated, and non-elite, indeed even anti-elite. In real terms, though, Ancient Aliens has a broader reach across a wider range of people than the more homogenous Daily Show audience. It’s sad, but true.
I would also be remiss if, while on the subject of ancient astronauts, I did not mention that Richard Hoagland has made some truly bizarre claims about the dwarf planet Pluto. Hoagland, who now has a radio program on Art Bell’s radio network called The Other Side of Midnight, is claiming that NASA is covering up the existence of structures on Pluto, which he claimed on Steve Warmer’s Dark City radio program (also on the Bell network) are likely to be a 65-million-year-old cosmic library of wisdom containing the “true” history of humanity. Hoagland’s space library seems to have some echoes of the ancient myth of the Pillars of Wisdom, but I’m intrigued by the unintentional (I hope) reflection of H. P. Lovecraft’s Yuggoth, which Lovecraft identified with Pluto. “There are mighty cities on Yuggoth—great tiers of terraced towers built of black stone…” he wrote in the “Whisperer in Darkness.” And indeed the Old Ones, in their role as the equivalent of the Watchers, brought a kind of cosmic Panopticon, the Shining Trapezohedron, with them from Yuggoth, where presumably other artifacts of universal wisdom and knowledge could also be found. On the plus side, there is talk of naming a feature on Pluto after Cthulhu in honor of Lovecraft’s early use of Pluto in the “Whisperer in Darkness” just months after the dwarf planet’s discovery.
But relocating Pillars of Wisdom to Pluto isn’t the only weird claim made for the dwarf planet. Terry Hurlbut, a conservative young earth creationist, claims that Pluto formed from chunks of the earth during Noah’s Flood! This is especially shocking considering that the new consensus on the non-creationist fringe is that Noah’s Flood occurred not because of a planet escaping earth but because of a different heavenly body crashing into it. Graham Hancock has been on the forefront of writers arguing that the alleged Younger Dryas Boundary event was actually a comet or meteor that crashed into the earth, causing the events known to myth as the sinking of Atlantis, the Flood of Noah, etc., just as Ignatius Donnelly and Edmund Halley had concluded ages ago. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that a new analysis of samples from four continents demonstrates a 95 percent probability that a comet or meteor did hit the Earth around 10,800 BCE (specifically 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P.), triggering a period of global cooling.
This study is perhaps the strongest evidence yet for such an impact, but there is still not a consensus that the impact event actually occurred since archaeology has not yet found evidence of the probable consequences of such an impact, such as large population declines among Paleoindians, while paleontology has yet to confirm a simultaneous extinction of megafauna.
It’s a bit beyond my pay grade, and certainly not something I have any way of evaluating. But let’s for a moment entertain the possibility that a space rock hit the earth and left at least some mark.
It’s particularly interesting how fringe writers like Hancock, who once argued that the end of the Ice Age and its subsequent rise in sea levels was responsible for drowning a lost civilization and sparking flood myths, now argue with equal conviction that a comet’s impact and the subsequent plunge back into an Ice Age, is responsible for the same phenomenon! In other words, to make their mythology fit with developing science, fringe theorists have moved their lost civilization back from the end of the Younger Dryas, around 9500 BCE—the time Plato alleges Atlantis drowned—to the start of the Younger Dryas, before 10,900 BCE. The shift is subtle, but it allows fringe researchers to give their claims a scientific gloss while claiming that their investigation of myth has somehow allowed them to be consistently right about human prehistory despite the bewildering variety of claims they’ve made for it.
What’s most interesting, though, is that fringe interpretations of myth follow science; they don’t precede it. If fringe research were leading us somewhere useful, it should have been able to identify and predict these scientific discoveries before they occurred. Heck, even Ignatius Donnelly managed that feat with his Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, and he was just making wild stabs in the dark based on popular science of his day and accidentally stumbled on a close parallel to the Younger Dryas Boundary Event as read in light of Graham Hancock’s lost civilization. (Note: Edmund Halley came to the same conclusion before Ice Ages were even known, so this isn’t a product of fringe research being right as much as it is the fact that enough wrong guesses will eventually hit upon a right one; witness all the competing ideas!) Somehow, though, most fringe writers tended to ignore Donnelly’s Ragnarok until science seemed to parallel its conclusions. When fringe writers did try to update Donnelly, they got it wrong. D. S. Allan and J. B. Delair tried it in the book When Earth Nearly Died (1995), where they tied a comet impact to Plato’s favored year of 9500 BCE.
Hoagland really has gone dotty. In a radio interview with Richie Allen last April, he said this:
7/29/2015 07:29:07 am
That surpasses Scott Wolter by a substantial margin
7/29/2015 12:42:38 pm
Hoaglund has been spouting that tripe for years. It is a bit curious that he's now insisting the technology is underground, though, since he's been harping on giant glass domes on the surface of the moon for decades.
Duke of URL
7/30/2015 06:37:07 am
Um... giant glass domes? Given that, since telescopes were first invented, Luna has been the main thing looked at by literally MILLIONS of people, and some of those telescopes now can resolve the image to 1 yard or less, WHY hasn't anyone ever seen them?
7/30/2015 08:21:00 am
You might have to go digging through his horrendous website (http://www.enterprisemission.com) to find the full explanation for the lunar domes, but the general idea is that Richard C. Hoagland sees whatever Richard C. Hoagland wants to see. It's mostly photographic "analysis" of 60s images and a bunch of selective filtering to make lens reflections out to be reflections off of something on the moon itself.
8/2/2015 02:37:09 am
20 mile high glass structures on the Moon. He had lots of proof of that, especially using reflections off the helmet visors of the astronauts. I got talked into attending a lecture Hoaxland gave at a community college in Memphis back in 1995. The man is in love with the sound of his voice. He talked for nearly 6 hours. I left after 4 when I went up to him during the only break and said that I had to clock in at 4am and could he tell me when his lecture finished. He of course gave me a smart assed answer so I left. I know way too much about him having spent a lot of time on the alt.fan.art-bell newsgroup in the late 90s and early 00s. If anyone of you ever spent time there you would have known me as DrPostman. Art Bell hated us because he claimed we controlled "his" newsgroup. My nickname came as a result of people calling into Bell's show and referring to Hoagland as "Dr" Hoagland, which neither Bell nor he ever corrected. I could list dozens of things that are terribly phony about him, especially that "Angstrom" medal he was "awarded". The University of Uppsala never gave it to him, but he convinced a relative, Lars Angstrom, to have a special one made. Hoagland is the poster child for pareidolia.
7/29/2015 04:27:17 pm
expat, I imagine you've been keeping a closer eye on Hoagland than most of us. Do you have any idea where he got this whole "archive on Pluto" idea? I mean, channeling, Edgar Cayce, or something else? It's just such a specific claim to make based on nothing more than how fast the probe is sending the pictures back, so he must have gotten the idea from somewhere.
7/29/2015 06:35:53 pm
Hoaglund is, for lack of a better term, a magical thinker. He sees patterns in any random astronomical feature that happens to coincide with the number 19.5: the key number in his Torsion Field Physics theories.
7/30/2015 02:00:39 am
I wonder if Hoagland is using a "stopped watch" approach. That is, if he claims an ancient civilization existing on every planet or moon, eventually he might just be proven right. His claims for Pluto don't sound all that different than his claims for Mars.
Duke of URL
8/3/2015 05:46:05 am
I must have missed something - when did X-ray telescopes go into operation? That's the only way I can imagine that Hoaxland would know there is "a ton of stuff in perfect preservation" 2 miles under the Lunar surface...
7/29/2015 07:47:46 am
"It’s particularly interesting how fringe writers like Hancock, who once argued that the end of the Ice Age and its subsequent rise in sea levels was responsible for drowning a lost civilization and sparking flood myths, now argue with equal conviction that a comet’s impact and the subsequent plunge back into an Ice Age, is responsible for the same phenomenon!"
7/29/2015 08:33:56 am
I was wondering the same thing. In fact (if memory serves me correctly) I thought Hancock proposed a continental shift placing Antarctica in an arctic zone.
7/29/2015 09:36:43 am
Yes, in "Fingerprints" (1995) he was all about pole shifts and crustal displacement. Then in "Underworld" (2005) he was all about catastrophic glacial melting. He gets a new cause for the collapse of his lost civilization every ten years. This time it's a comet.
7/29/2015 08:14:58 am
An Alien library on Pluto. I can believe this, but how do I get a library card? I just hope the books are written in English and not Kleon.
Duke of URL
8/3/2015 05:48:03 am
Clete, are you SURE you want one? You would REALLY NOT like the overdue fines!
7/29/2015 08:32:07 am
Objects from space come in, objects from Earth go out.
7/29/2015 08:48:30 am
And yesterday you had media outlets covering the EM engine tests and saying they showed it actually works ("to the moon in four hours"). We have such a hard science or critical thinking deficit in the media and among most Americans including the 'elites'.
7/29/2015 11:08:55 am
Stuff on the internet today would put Bertrand Russell to an early grave.
Duke of URL
7/30/2015 06:41:54 am
I am SOOO hoping (I'd be praying, but I don't believe there's anyone listening) that the EMF propulsion works! It would be a wonderful impetus for us getting off Terra and sending colonizing ships out before something terrible happens here (think: eggs:basket).
7/29/2015 12:59:57 pm
I like the comparison of Ancient Aliens to the Daily Show; only in that they're both misleading an entire generation.
7/29/2015 05:16:43 pm
I fail to see the comparison. "Ancient Aliens" is an obvious joke and "The Daily Show" is obviously joking.
7/30/2015 05:53:54 am
"I also don't see how comedy can be considered as being "misleading." "
7/30/2015 06:16:09 am
Reply to Joe Scales: Not to harp on the subject, but if you dislike the Daily Show because of it's liberal stance, just say so. Trust me, you won't be thrown into a FEMA death camp. ;-)
7/31/2015 07:12:59 am
It's true, I'm an independent and abhor politics in general, but The Daily Show can be touted as "an important news source for millennials" I have little hope for said generation.
7/30/2015 04:35:58 am
Here's a link showing that Daily Show viewers are actually more informed than viewers of other news media. The truth is, Daily Show always was and is a satirical news program.
7/30/2015 05:18:29 am
If you look closely, though, the also shows that viewers of the O'Reilly Factor are actually pretty comparable, so I don't know if that's saying much.
7/31/2015 06:20:21 am
Comparing Stewart with O'Reilly isn't saying all that much either. It's like comparing an apple and orange.
7/31/2015 07:39:49 am
I disagree. I don't think either of those guys is a good source of vitamin c, or a delicious treat when dipped in caramel.
7/31/2015 08:13:55 am
True, neither is a great source for news and information.
7/31/2015 12:28:59 pm
And they both make me laugh. =P
8/3/2015 12:46:20 am
Although one is a comedian and the other is just comedic.
7/29/2015 04:23:34 pm
So, if we manage to send probes successfully to the Kuiper Belt and get detailed scans of other known dwarf planets like Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris, is Hoagland going to make the same claims as he's making now? If so, he really needs to go away.
7/29/2015 06:47:14 pm
In a word: yes.
7/30/2015 03:17:25 am
But the pretty pictures and bad science are overshadowed by Hoagland's association with Mike Bara. That's a guy not even cancer wants to be seen with.
7/30/2015 08:30:56 pm
Quite so. It's scary to think that Hoagland actually appears to be the legitimizing force in that pairing, isn't it?
7/29/2015 04:58:26 pm
Unfortunately all books borrowed from the Pluto Public Library have to be returned within two weeks, and the overdue fines are astronomical.
7/30/2015 03:33:07 am
Duke of URL
7/30/2015 06:43:51 am
7/30/2015 07:12:21 am
But please don't let any of that put you off. Their periodical section is almost as exhaustive as Tralfamadore's.
8/2/2015 08:39:23 am
It's a long trip, but NASA just discovered a shortcut that takes 30 minutes off the trip. (Yeah,I stole that one.)
7/29/2015 08:59:35 pm
It isn't really that surprising that fringe authors work follows science not precede it, is it? Considering how they aren't really scientists, but readers and interpreters of other's work.
7/29/2015 09:43:50 pm
Out of All the CrAzY stuff I read on here--
7/30/2015 01:31:45 am
But in TV economics, demographics really really really matter, and expensive decisions are made based on what Nielsen etc. find.
7/30/2015 03:13:23 am
Hate-filled article? Not even remotely.
Duke of URL
7/30/2015 06:45:19 am
Er, RedHood? You seem to need to go back on your meds...
7/30/2015 08:28:05 am
They pretty much can and do nail the audience exactly. There has been a hundred years now in the science of audience identification and targeting and billions of dollars over that time spent on research. Do not underestimate how targeted the advertising is and how successful that targeting is.
7/30/2015 03:15:28 am
To take the 9000 years from the Atlantis story literally is always a flawed approach which easily comes clear if we see the parallel of Herodotus' more than 10000 years for Egypt. Both is wrong, and both talk of Egypt, so we have to consider the timeframe Egypt really had according to modern science, i.e. after approx. 3000 BC, but not before. All hypotheses with dates before 3000 BC can be excluded easily.
7/30/2015 11:14:21 am
George Noory host of Coast to Coast AM used to call Hogwash his science advisor. Now he calls Robert Zimmerman his science advisor. I guess Hog was got too far out for even Coast to Coat Am.
7/30/2015 08:26:06 pm
According to Hoagland's comments on his show last night (read: Thursday morning) he was "fired" by George Noory for refusing to alter his decision to cash in on a bet he made with Noory that would have let Hoagland host an episode of his choosing at a time of his choosing. Hoagland says he wanted to cover the Pluto flyby live and stay on the air longer than the usual runtime (Coast would have ended two hours before the flyby, according to Hoagland) and would not accept being moved to a different date; the 20th of this month to be aired in competition with Art Bell's return.
8/3/2015 06:49:24 am
I would like to hear some ideas about the dark side of the moon.
8/3/2015 07:55:29 am
You'll have to find that "dark side" first. It moves around a lot. Sometimes it's the far side of the moon, sometimes its the near side.
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