Talk:Ancient astronaut hypothesis

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Theory?[edit]

I notice that the word "theory" is used a number of places in the article, contrary to this discussion from the archives:

Shouldn't we substitute other words most of these places? -- Brangifer (talk) 07:06, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

We need to alter the title[edit]

The current title can be interpreted as a statement of existence of ancient astronauts. Our titles usually indicate whether a subject is doubtful, a hypothesis, or a conspiracy theory. We need some type of added word or rephrasing of the title to indicate the doubtful nature of this subject. Ancient astronaut hypothesis is a possibility. What think ye? -- Brangifer (talk) 07:07, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I'm no fan of tweaky article renaming (Okay was recently moved to OK - sheesh!) but this seems reasonable, and your suggestion is a good one. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:35, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and make the move. -- Brangifer (talk) 04:55, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
I think after the move, this talk page's archives no longer work right (it says there are no archives, but there is a working archive link in the talk page section above this one). Does anyone know how to link the past archives back to here? (I briefly searched, but couldn't find how, and I don't want to risk messing up the page...) Zeniff (talk) 13:03, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

POV[edit]

First time I've read this article, and it seems full of POV. E.g. the introduction calls it a 'pseudo-scientific', even though it has been and continues to be advocated by respectable scientists. E.g. was Carl Sagan a 'pseudo-scientist'? No mention of him in the info box, which ludicrously cites Erich von Däniken as an 'original proponent' (even though he was writing after Sagan, and many decades after the hypothesis actually originated).

No doubt some proponents of it (e.g. von Daniken) were or are pseudo-scientific but that doesn't mean the hypothesis is. Also it is closely related to theories such as Directed panspermia which are considered perfectly acceptable. Ben Finn (talk) 14:05, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

"...a pseudo-scientific hypothesis that posits intelligent extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth and made contact with humans in antiquity and prehistory."
"...the possibility that extraterrestrial contact occurred during recorded history...Shklovski and Sagan stressed that these ideas were speculative and unproven."
The pseudo-science is the claim that extraterrestrials have visited Earth, along with the claims that these supposed visits influenced and created pretty much everything in human culture (language, the pyramids, Roxanne ... everything too advanced to have been created by mere humans, plus religion). Sagan stated, essentially that it is not impossible that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrials. Sagan likely also made it clear that it is possible there is/are a god(s). There is a world of difference between that and the belief that there is some loving grandfather type who created everything and wants nothing more than for us to believe that despite all evidence to the contrary.
The bottom line, though, is a lot simpler: If independent reliable sources said it was a pseudoscience created by Honey Boo Boo some time late last week, that is what we would report. If those sources said it was a proven fact discovered by Archimedes on July 25, 205 BCE... - SummerPhD (talk) 15:52, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Here and here are sources for you. XFEM Skier (talk) 23:20, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

I have removed the "pseudo-scientific" bit from the beginning of the article. It is not an unbiased and objective view of a hypothesis some people subscribe to. An hypothesis is a essentially an assumption and needs no proof anyway, therefore cannot be "pseudo-scientific", regardless of the lack of evidence supporting the Ancient Alien hypothesis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CFDC:C940:71E2:4C66:CFE3:41E5 (talk) 02:21, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Please see below. (One discussion on this, not two.) - SummerPhD (talk) 03:30, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Pseudoscience[edit]

Calling this legitimate theory pseudoscience is very insulting. This should be changed. I Am A Sandwich (talk) 19:01, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

See my above response to POV. XFEM Skier (talk) 23:21, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
XFEM Skier, it should be removed, regardless of your personal opinion. Wikipedia is not a sandbox for your personal opinions. It is designed to simply state an amount of objectively viewed information without editors putting their beliefs into articles. Whether or not evidence actually supports the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis has no bearing on its position as simply a hypothesis. Hypotheses require no further evidence and are simply a guess. Theories must be backed up by valid evidence, and the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis is not a scientifically proven theory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CFDC:C940:71E2:4C66:CFE3:41E5 (talk) 02:25, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
No, a scientific hypothesis (which this claims to be) is neither "simply a guess" nor "an assumption (that) needs no proof". (Your proposed definition would mean there is no such thing as "pseudoscience".) A scientific hypothesis is testable. A pseudoscience evolves to avoid all tests. But this is all off-topic.
More to the point: This is Wikipedia. Independent reliable sources from relevant, mainstream academics call it a "pseudoscience". It is, therefore, a pseudoscience. - SummerPhD (talk) 03:44, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure what part of me providing two sources that it is pseudoscience makes it my personal opinion. XFEM Skier (talk) 20:57, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

The sentence is sloppy and can be cleaned up.

By definition, hypotheses can not be pseudo-scientific. As a skeptic, I am not a proponent of either side of this issue. However, I do support the proper use of the English language and an objective presentation of the facts. It is my opinion that the misuse of the phrase pseudo-science in this context is illustrative of Wikipedia's institutional bias.

In fairness, there is a great load of garbage in the ancient astronaut community. Some of it is blatantly contrary to accepted notions of logic. However, the author of the sentence is overeager to debunk the subject and thereby does readers a disservice. The hypothesis is testable, the results are inconclusive. More troubling is the fact that many of the books proposing ancient astronauts rely on absurd conjecture. If the author would like to debunk, he should do so from within the guidelines of logic. Otherwise the article may fall prey to some of the same errors ancient astronaut proponents have made.

Historical narratives are always open to dispute. The hypothesis that the Roman empire declined due to monetary debasement has similar properties to ancient astronaut hypotheses in this regard. However, Wikipedia does not label the fields of economics or history as pseudoscience. Simply claiming adherence to Wikipedia's subjective guidelines may be sufficient for victorious bickering, but it is insufficient in the larger sense of composing high quality articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 36.252.95.61 (talk) 11:07, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia reflects the treatment of subjects by reliable sources. Not the other way around. It's considered a pseudoscience here because the scientific consensus considers it a pseudoscience. Period. Like I've said to someone else: neutrality means presenting the subject proportional to the views about them. You do not achieve neutrality by giving pro and con voices false equivalence merely by virtue of being on opposite sides of the spectrum. When something is overwhelmingly rejected as a pseudoscience by reliable source, neutrality dictates that Wikipedia must also reflect that.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:43, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and if you want the actual non-pseudoscientific hypothesis about this. We also have an article on that. It's called Panspermia. The difference between this and Panspermia, is that the latter does not claim ancient Egyptians gods were aliens, that the Nazca lines were landing signals, that drawings of ancient machinery were spaceships, or that Stonehenge was a beacon or something.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:48, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
"By definition, hypotheses can not be pseudo-scientific."
A hypothesis that "lacks supporting scientific evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status" would be, gulp, a pseudoscientific hypothesis. Reliable sources call this a pseudoscience. It is therefore verifiably a pseudoscience. - SummerPhD (talk) 18:20, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Alfred Russell Wallace[edit]

I have rewritten a section that was headed Alfred Russel Wallace, because Wallace never wrote anything about aliens - it refers to a modern writer, Craig Stanford, who thinks Wallace was unknowingly referring to aliens when Wallace posited a "creative intelligence" shaping evolution at times. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:17, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

The Craig Stanford Wikilinked clearly isn't an ancient astronaut theorist - see [1] Possibly there is another author with the same name? As to the merits of this material, the only source cited is Wallace himself - and he clearly cannot have written about ancient astronauts. Accordingly, I am going to remove the section as unsourced. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:13, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Looking into this further, it appears that the Craig Stanford our article refers to (a biological anthropologist) may have appeared in the Ancient Aliens TV series - see IMDb [2]. Assuming that this is the same person, we clearly can't under WP:BLP policy describe him as an 'ancient astronaut theorist' or ascribe specific views to him without citing a reliable source. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:38, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree - I had deleted it previously, but it was reinstated by [User:SummerPhD]. At best, it's somebody modern speculating about something said by somebody famous in the past, with possible confusion that the famous person also thought that way (that's how it originally read, at least to me). - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:54, 6 December 2014 (UTC)