I thought it was worth highlighting something I mentioned in passing in my previous blog post. In an article on the Legendary Times website carrying the official byline of the Archaeology, Astronautics & SETI Research Association, and therefore representing the official position of the premiere Paleo-SETI research society, the ancient astronaut theorists' own organization announced that Atlantis did not exist!
And there could not have been any Atlantis (i.e. a very advanced civilization comparable to ours) either, or else we would find traces of its infrastructure worldwide - not to mention the untenable theory of a geologically recently sunken continent.
Now, I agree with this statement 100%, but I suspect it comes as news to many ancient astronaut theorists, especially David Hatcher Childress, whose bread and butter has been promoting extreme claims that imaginary civilizations like Lemuria, Mu, Atlantis, and the "Rama Empire" reigned in the deep past, mostly on vanished continents. Additionally, the "alternative archaeologists" who appear on Ancient Aliens, including Fingerprints of the Gods author Graham Hancock, must be shocked to learn that the leading ancient astronaut research organization considers their research moot.
Of course, the ancient astronaut theory, being no theory in the scientific sense, refuses to simply reject findings (however ridiculous) that contradict the theory. Instead, they are incorporated in a completely different form:
Whenever findings, imitations of findings or descriptions thereof [i.e. of an Atlantis-like civilization] appear in old cultures, they seem to come up suddenly as if "dropped from the sky". But where were the manufacturing sites if not on Earth?
Thus, after rejecting Atlantis for lack of evidence, the AAS-RA simply relocates it into the depths of space. The very fact that no evidence for it exists somehow has become evidence that a force not from this earth was responsible!
But here's the really interesting thing. The AAS-RA is run by Giorgio Tsoukalos, who is a consulting producer on the History Channel's Ancient Aliens, on which he appears as the primary talking head. Season 2, episode 3 of that series (Nov. 11, 2010) was devoted to "Underwater Worlds," including a long discussion of aliens and Atlantis, primarily discussed by Childress and UFO Magazine publisher Bill Birnes. The narrator begins the episode asking: "Are underwater monuments examples of mankind's earliest civilizations, or is there evidence of skills far beyond that (sic) of primitive man, and if so where did it come from?" The episode's talking heads make plain their belief in Atlantis.
Tsoukalos himself argued in the episode that Atlantis did not "sink" but rather "lifted off" as a UFO, but his was the minority opinion in this episode, which went on to identify many proposed "Atlantis" sites underwater. But even Tsoukalos' view contradicts the AAS-RA's online article, since Tsoukalos' position is that Atlantis existed (presumably for centuries) and therefore would (and should) have left "infrastructure" and "traces" of its trade networks and acquisition of raw materials. (After all, even aliens must obey the laws of physics and would need some kind of energy input, be it food, fuel, etc.)
So which is it, ancient alien theorists? Is your cable series right that there are underwater ruins of Atlantis and fabulous, advanced lost cultures, or is your website right that Atlantis and its ilk could not have existed?
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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