Logical Fallacies of the Television Show “Ancient Aliens” and A Critique of The Video “Ancient Aliens Debunked” By Chris White

Written by IRG Director Theresa Byess

12/27/2014

I just spent the past 3 hours watching one of the single best videos I have ever seen on the Internet.  You can access the video by clicking here.  It can also be found on YouTube by typing in “Ancient Aliens Debunked Chris White”.

At IRG, we pride ourselves on our fervent objectivity when researching the beliefs and claims of others.  Having said that, I wish I could personally shake this guy’s hand.  This video is incredible and I would advise everyone to watch it.  When Ancient Aliens aired its first ever episode, I began watching the show with an open-mind and open-heart.  Almost immediately, I was utterly disgusted and could not stomach watching anymore.  The entire show has been inundated with outright lies and erroneous fallacies, some which are explained in this video.  Now, let me first mention the narrator is adamant about trying to remain objective as well in his analysis of the claims in the show and certainly does a great job.  He presents clear proof, not evidence but proof, of the lies and inaccuracies from both those who are presented on the show and by the show itself.  He presents FACTS.  Facts are defined as something that is indisputable and a truth by actual experience or observation.  I also want to mention that the show does not present any true experts so far as I can tell.  There are several doctors and PhD holders but none of them are archeologists, anthropologists, etc.  They appear to be predominantly authors of books.  However, I have not watched a single episode from start to finish because I cannot take the lies.  So, if I find out I am wrong about that, it will be retracted.

I would also urge everyone to visit the page of the expert presented in this video – Dr. Heiser.  His website is located here.  The majority of believers in the ancient aliens theories garner their conclusions, beliefs, and opinions, from the writings of Zecharia Sitchin, who, after careful scrutiny, has been completely and utterly discredited.  The same applies to Erich von Däniken, someone featured on just about every episode so far as I can tell.  Unfortunately, this gentlemen appears to have absolutely no idea what he is talking about.  Even if I had not seen this video, the outright false claims Erich von Däniken makes about certain biblical references would have been enough.  One such case is mentioned in this video toward the end about artificial insemination of Betenos, mother of Noah, and Enoch, his ancestor.  This is just one of many claims that are just plain false and there is no other way to say it.  And this is unfortunate.

I know there is currently no law of nature, physics, or mathematics which prevents the possibility of advanced civilizations on other planets in the universe/multiverse.  In fact, it is quite the opposite, although the common belief by many scientists is that life on other planets probably exists on a much smaller scale, such as micro-organisms, so far as I know.  Yes, there are pyramids and ziggurats all over the world with eerily similar characteristics, such as electromagnetic energies being channeled up and out into the sky or in the style of the construction itself.  Yes, there striking similarities and characteristics.  Does that mean they were created by aliens?  No.

Think about this logically for a moment.  We are talking about humans without television, cell phones, tablets, computers, etc.  We are talking about humans who spent their entire existence studying and observing the world around them, including the heavens.  Creating massive structures with unparalleled precision.  Predicting the motion of the heavens with extreme accuracy.   In the words of Theoretical Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, “even back then, 2,000 years ago, they [referring to the ancients and the Greeks] knew the earth curves and by looking at the shadows, they calculated the size of the earth to within about ten percent accuracy.  They actually calculated the distance from the earth to the Moon and the rough dimensions of the distance from the earth to the Sun.  So, in other words, the ancients were no fools”.  This actually coincides with statements mentioned on the video and previous beliefs regarding the idea the earth was flat.  Proponents of ancient alien theories claim medieval art depicts a rounded rendition of the earth but the common belief during those times was that the earth was flat.  Here, they are referring to the Middle Ages, which if my high school memory serves me accurately, was from about 500-1600 AD.  So, at what point during that time did the knowledge of the curvature of earth, mathematics, and observations of shadows change to a earth-is-flat mentality when the Greeks had already proven otherwise long before that time?!  This is extremely hard to digest despite the understanding that a lot of the knowledge and wisdom of the Greeks was lost when the empire fragmented.

Admittedly, I am absolutely furious with the underestimation of human potential in just about every single field out there – scientific or otherwise.

Another thing I would like to mention.  The video touches on this as well, mentioning the pyramids of Giza being constructed of granite.  First, as far as my research indicates, the pyramids are not constructed entirely of granite as some believe.  You can find this information on Geology.com if you would like to reference it.  Granite is formed from the “slow crystallization of magma beneath the earth’s surface”.  The blocks that construct the outside of the pyramids of Giza are actually made up of limestone and sandstone.  Limestone is also called calcium carbonate because it is mostly formed in water by the fossils of marine animals.  To quote Geology.com:

“Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the form of the mineral calcite. It most commonly forms in clear, warm, shallow marine waters. It is usually an organic sedimentary rock that forms from the accumulation of shell, coral, algal and fecal debris. It can also be a chemical sedimentary rock formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate from lake or ocean water.”

Furthermore,

“Most limestones form in shallow, calm, warm marine waters. That type of environment is where organisms capable of forming calcium carbonate shells and skeletons can easily extract the needed ingredients from ocean water. When these animals die their shell and skeletal debris accumulate as a sediment that might be lithified into limestone. Their waste products can also contribute to the sediment mass. Limestones formed from this type of sediment are biological sedimentary rocks. Their biological origin is often revealed in the rock by the presence of fossils.

Some limestones can form by direct precipitation of calcium carbonate from marine or fresh water. Limestones formed this way are chemical sedimentary rocks. They are thought to be less abundant than biological limestones.”

Now, scientists have already discovered that North Africa was once under water.  This is no secret.  When you examine the blocks that construct the pyramids, you will see that about 40% of each and every block used contains the fossilized remains of tiny marine animals called Nummulites.  The pyramids are constructed of different materials.  The outside consists almost entirely of limestone quarried from the plateau.  The inside, or inner shell, as well as the King’s Chamber, consists of the granite I am sure is being referenced in the video.  My guess is probably because of its stability and strength.

There is really nothing else I can say that is not already mentioned in this extensive video.  For anyone who is considering these theories based solely on this television show, I would strongly recommend doing your homework first so that you can come to an educated conclusion about what you believe.  To start, watch this video.

The one thing I will mention I disapproved of as far as the presentation of information in this video was the use of Wikipedia as a reference.  Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable.  However, there are a multitude of other credible resources available providing the same information as was presented in the video referenced from Wikipedia.

Rebuttal facts presented about Pumapunku is just one example.  In the video, the narrator presents a Wikipedia excerpt describing the composition of the stones of the structures in rebuttal to Erich von Daniken and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ claims.  Publications in journals and other sources support the narrator’s position, such as the Journal of Archaeological Science.  Archaeology’s Interactive Dig, which can be accessed by clicking the following link, has also posted detailed information regarding the site and excavation information directly contradicting the claims of proponents on the show about this site.  Those who are listed as participating in the research of the site include the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Archaeology in Bolivia, University of Wisconsin, University of Denver, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, students from the Bolivian University UMSA, and Harvard.  Alexi Vranich, the Director of the Tiwanaku project, in reference to a question about the stone quarries, states, “Ponce Sangines published an extensive study on the origin of sandstones at the Pumapunku temple and ideas on how they were constructed.  His book is called Pumapunku.  Pierre Protzen’s study is one of the best on the particulars of the masonry and construction method.  He should be coming out with a substantial publication on his several years of study on the site”.  Now, the Director has also gone on record stating that, yes, the structures are constructed of sandstone, something Daniken and Tsoukalos emphatically deny.  Really?

And another correlation to the reference in the video is the comment about the age of the Gateway at 14,000 years old:

“Tiwanaku is a magnet for Atlantis hunters and a variety of new agers. The idea that Tiwanaku is 14,000 years old is based on a rather faulty study done in 1926. Since then, there has been a huge quantity of work both on the archaeology and geology of the area, and all data indicates that Tiwanaku existed from around A.D. 300-500 to 900-1000.

Still, the Atlantis hunters flock to the site. I believe the Discovery Channel is even making another documentary on the possibility that the Andes is the lost continent described by Plato.

As for the elephants and other animals that are supposed to be on the Gateway, I really can’t find them myself. One carving that is frequently cited as an elephant (including by several guides) is in fact a condor”.–Alexei Vranich

As you can tell, the gentlemen in this video certainly did his homework and provided references that could be verified with additional resources as well.  Clearly, this is one person who knows what they are talking about, which is unfortunately more than I can say about those in support of these theories.  The theories have absolutely no basis in truth and would certainly not hold up in a court of law.

Here is another source of information that supports the truth:  Ancient Wisdom, Pumapunku Bolivia.  This site confirms the weight of the heaviest stone being about 131 metric tons and not the 800 number provided on the show by Daniken.  It also mentions the “sandstone slabs”.

As you can clearly see, the narrator is correct when he states the claims on the show are outright lies and deceptions and that those who are on the show, often viewed as “the experts”, are clearly falsifying information.  At best, their credibility is now ruined because they have utterly failed to consider evidence to the contrary.  In the paranormal field, we often to refer to such persons as pseudoskeptics or pseudobelievers, meaning they emphatically deny/believe despite evidence to the contrary.

There are logical fallacies involved with those on the show.  For those who do not know, logical fallacies are simply errors in logic.  It is derived from the Latin term fallere, which means “to deceive”.  Some logical fallacies are intentional and some are unintentional.   As it should be, the narrator in this video has identified these fallacies, which is an important step in accessing the validity and reliability of the claims.  Rightly, the narrator has attacked the validity of the claims and methods rather than the people themselves making his statements more persuasive and credible.  He maintains objectivity.  Therefore, he is not guilty of ad hominem.

Those on the show are guilty of ad populum, which simply refers to an argument that appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the masses as a method of garnering support for their claims.  The language used can act as a smoke screen, hiding a lack of ideas in an argument, which is something we can clearly see on the show when strong contradictory facts are presented in rebuttal.

Another fallacy, the Bandwagon Appeal, is also at play.  Just from this video alone, Daniken and Tsoukalos make many references to certain groups of people as a whole believing or thinking one way or another, such as archaeologists not knowing a lot about the site and claiming it still baffles them when, in reality, they have a far better understanding of the site than these two give them recognition for.  They are essentially presenting information without weighing or mentioning the evidence of what is being promoted in enough detail.

Other logical fallacies they are guilty of are:

  • Begging The Question;
  • False Analogies;
  • False Dilemma (which is mentioned many times in the video);
  • Hasty Generalization;
  • Non Sequitor;
  • Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc; and
  • Stacking The Deck, aka Data Beautification, (perhaps the number one fallacy they are guilty of, which is when only the evidence supporting a premise or belief is presented while disregarding or withholding contrary evidence).

The primary reason I support the information in this video is because it appears to follow the Toulmin model, a model for thinking and responding like a true skeptic.  Healthy skepticism provides a logical foundation on which to identify flaws in a claim thus promoting advancement in understanding and knowledge.  Approaching from a truly skeptical point of view, this model allows one to realize, weigh, and correct/address an argument’s logical structures allowing one to verify the major premises of the argument or accurately discredit the argument.  It also allows one to present supporting evidence needed to avoid logical fallacies in their own arguments, like those mentioned above.

Unfortunately, many people are passively accepting the claims of these theorists at face-value without conducting any research themselves into those claims.  The narrator of this video, Chris White, clearly is not one of them.  I am going to continue to monitor his presented information but, so far as I can tell, he is definitely a credible source of reliable information.  One I will look forward to hearing more from in the future.

 

 

 

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