First Lines: Chariots of the Gods

Long aeons before mankind rose to dominion of this planet, Elder Ones filtered down from the stars. They build Cyclopean cities and monuments that stand until this day, and in their benevolence, they passed on their superior knowledge.

For a change, I’m not talking about H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthuhlu-Mythos. This is pretty much what Erich Von Däniken presents as his hypothesis in his infamous 1968 pseudo-scientific best-seller Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. In the distant past, aliens came in flying saucers to the earth. Because, how else would you explain the Nazca lines, the pyramids in Egypt and Middle and South America, or the fact that all holy books claim the gods come from the sky? If only traditional archaeologists would look at these things with a space-age mindset! Then they would stop denying these facts, solely because they don’t fit in their conventional theories.

Von Däniken gets a lot terribly wrong is his book. His arguments are badly constructed, his claims and sources undocumented, his thought experiments spurious and assumes way too much. Reading al religious myth as history? Please.

He does get some things right, though: given the enormous scale of the universe, there’s rather likely that there are other forms of intelligent life out there. Why he would then insist that our ancient alien overlords used to cross-breed with early humanoids to embiggen our progress (and yes, that’s a perfectly cromulent word), is completely beyond me. But hey, the bible said said something about the giant sons of god, and the gods came from the heavens, so it must have happened, right?

No, about the only commendable thing about his book is that you should do scientific research with an open mind.

Erich Von Däniken — Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past (Erinnerungen an die Zukunft, translator unknown)
First Line
Is it conceivable that we world citizens of the twentieth century are not the only livbing beings of our kind in the cosmos?