Erich Von Daniken

Beer & Wine

Discussion facilitated by Dave

As promised, this book provoked some interesting discussion.

The moderator began the discussion noting that the intention of the discussion was not to challenge anyone’s religious beliefs, but rather to stimulate thought provoking exchanges.

Despite the fact that the book is almost 40 years old, some of the points raised by its author still are unanswered even today.

The moderator called the author’s credibility into question from the beginning due to his “checkered” background. Subsequent articles about the book’s content question the validity of the information, including an interviewer discovering that ancient pottery mentioned in the book was in fact made by a then present day potter.

Some of the questions put forth by the moderator included whether or not the supposition was supported by the facts, or whether the facts were made to fit the supposition.

Some book club members agreed that it was possible that we have been visited by extra-terrestrials at some point in our planet’s history……..but as there is not a tremendous amount of solid empirical proof……the question lingers…………


Chariots of the Gods

Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past is a controversial book written in 1968 by Erich von Däniken. It is centered on the theory that many ancient civilization's technologies and religion were given to them by space travelers who were welcomed as gods. The types of evidence he cites can be categorized as follows.

* Artifacts have been found which represent higher technological knowledge than is presumed to have existed at times when they were manufactured. Von Däniken maintains that these artifacts have been manufactured either by extraterrestrial visitors or by humans who learned the necessary knowledge from them. Such artifacts include the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge, the head statues of Easter Island and the Antikythera mechanism. Further examples include an ancient Turkish map allegedly showing the Earth as it is seen from space, and the Nazca lines in Peru, which he explains as landing strips for an airfield.

* In ancient art throughout the world themes can be observed which can be interpreted to illustrate astronauts, air and space vehicles, non-human but intelligent creatures, and artifacts of high technology. Von Däniken also points out details that are similar in art of unrelated cultures.

* Origins of religions as reaction to a contact of primitive humans with an alien race. The humans considered the technology of the aliens to be supernatural and the aliens themselves to be gods. According to von Däniken, the oral and literal traditions of most religions contain references to visitors from 'stars' and vehicles traveling through air and space. These, he says, should be interpreted as literal descriptions which have changed during the passage of time and become more obscure, rather than symbolic or mythical fiction. One such is Ezekiel's revelation in Old Testament, which he interprets as a detailed description of a landing spacecraft.

The two most controversial proposals were that Biblical characters were inspired by the extraterrestrials, and humans acquired their superior intelligence by mating with them.

Most scientists and historians did not take the ideas seriously, claiming that the book's conclusions were based on faulty, pseudoscientific evidence, some of which were later demonstrated to be fraudulent and/or fabricated, and often illogical premises. For example, Ronald Story wrote a book rebutting Däniken's ideas in 1976 titled The Space Gods Revealed.

The book was adapted for TV as In Search of Ancient Astronauts. It also served as inspiration for the feature film Stargate, its spin-off TV series, and the TV series Battlestar Galactica. The Ultimate Edition DVD of Stargate contains an interview with Erich von Däniken entitled, "Is There a Stargate?".

The concepts described above were also used in the Alien vs Predator film, where Yuatja came to Earth and "taught humans how to build".


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Last updated: 10/24/08.