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Monday, February 13, 2012

Apes or Astronauts: Who's Yo Daddy?

First off, let me be clear: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes no position on Evolution. So to say "The Church believes..." or "Mormons believe.." is nonsense. What the Church and the membership does believe in is free agency. Each person uses whatever information is available to him to make up his own mind. So I choose to believe in Evolution. Scriptures tell us that God created us, but how He went about it or how much time it took is left for us to figure out on our own.

So there are two conflicting theories -- at least. One follows Genesis or Darwin or some combination thereof, and the other follows Erich Van Daniken and his fellows. This second group has several explanations for the appearance of mankind on Earth. 1) The Ancient Astronauts used the Earth as
a laboratory: man is the result of one of their experiments 2) The A.A.s had strong sexual needs, so they mated with animals, particularly chimpanzees, and man is the resultant hybrid 3) Man was created, through genetic engineering, to be a slave to take over the hard labor, such as mining, because the astronauts had grown tired of it.

Put a few relevant terms into your search engine, and you will find endless explanations of our origins and subsequent major events. If you are film-minded, go to and look up the following: Ancient Aliens: Aliens and Evil Places Video Clip (44:13);  Ancient Aliens: Aliens and Deadly Weapons Video Clip (44:12); Ancient Aliens: Aliens and Lost Worlds Video Clip (44:12); Ancient Aliens: Aliens Plagues and Epidemics Video Clip (44:20); Ancient Aliens: Aliens and Ancient Engineers Video Clip (44:13).

                                     HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT (1890-1937)

Howard Phillips Lovecraft
(1890-1936) may rightly be called the father of the current extraterrestrial movement. During his New England boyhood, he was fascinated by the adventure stories of Jules Verne, the worlds-in-conflict tales of H.G.Welles, and the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe. His writing career took off in the heyday of the pulp magazines, long before actual space travel or moon landings. But if Jules Verne could take readers From the Earth to the Moon, and H.G. Welles could describe War of the Worlds, who could set limits on the ETs and their ways?

Lovecraft created Cthulhu, who led his people to Earth, where in time they either vanished under the oceans or returned to their home planet, from which they used telepathic powers to communicate with man. These people set up Atlantis and other ancient civilizations. He was the first to identify his fictional
characters with the ancient gods, using Egyptian, Sumerian and Greek mythology. He encouraged his fans to use his characters in their own writings, and there quickly grew up the "Cthulu Mythos," a term never used by Lovecraft himself. Soon, virtually everyone had heard of these Ancient Ones, even those who had never heard of Lovecraft.

New religions -- Scientology and the Raelian Revolution -- based consciously or not on Lovecraft's ideas, sprang up. Pseudoscience such as Worlds in Collision, by Immanuel Veilokovsky, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood, The Twelfth Planet by Zecharia Sicthin, and Erich Van
Daniken’s famous Chariots of the Gods (1968) are obvious outgrowths. 1976 saw the publication of The Sirius Mystery, in which author Robert Temple claimed that the Dogon tribe of western Africa had received knowledge of the two-in-one nature of Sirius from the ancient Egyptians.

It is clear that neither Lovecraft nor his followers ever expected anyone to actually believe a word of their writings. Lovecraft himself declared,  "This pooling of resources tends to build up quite a pseudo-convincing background of dark mythology, legendry, & bibiliography--though of course, none of us has the least wish to actually mislead readers." They were writing fiction, and having a lot of fun doing it. Who would have guessed that new religions, new ideas about space and alternative theories of science and history would come of it?

[All these books, and hundreds more, are available for purchase at our online store. Click on the Starlight Doorway, and put in a title, author or subject. Besides hardback editions, many are available in economical Dover paperbacks, online, and are even FREE in online editions.]
                                             Erik Von Daniken (1935--)

Däniken is a co-founder of the Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association (AAS RA), and designed the theme park Mystery Park in Interlaken, Switzerland, that first opened on 23 May 2003. Däniken's first book, Chariots of the Gods?, was an immediate best seller in the United States, Europe and India, with subsequent books [that] "according to von Däniken, have been translated into 32 languages and together have sold more than 63 million copies." Wikipedia
But how did Lovecraft get into the current UFO/ET craze? Von Daniken cites the German translation of Morning of the Magicians, (Aufbruch ins dritte Jahrtausend) as his basic source for Chariots of the Gods. "Morning" came about in this way: Besides the American pulp magazines, Lovecraft  was published regularly in the French magazine La Planete. In 1960, two editors there, Louis Pauwls and  Jacques Bergier, compiled his fictional concepts and presented them as reality in a book they called Le Matin des Magiciens (Morning of the Magicians). Thus did Lovecraft's make-believe construct enter the world of  pseudo-science. This citation is seldom noticed by American readers, probably because few read either French or German.  To this day,  Von Daniken keeps writing, appearing on TV, and making money from the gullibility of those who want to believe him, presenting the ideas he plagiarized from international jokesters.

We cannot doubt that Von Daniken knew what he was doing when he published Chariots of the Gods, and since. His conviction and jail-time served for embezzlement do not serve to make us confident of his honesty.

Even the History Channel (as previously noted) has been running a block of programs featuring Von Daniken and several other "experts" on the idea of ancient astronauts. Add to this Roswell, Area 51, chupacabras, Sasquatch, and the whole UFO scenario. Jason Colavito even wrote a book entitled The Cult of Alien Gods.

People's devotion to this idea is indeed cult-like.

It was actually a surprise to me to discover that it was Lovecraft’s imaginative horror stories that started the reading and writing public on the road that led to Chariots of the Gods, The Twelfth Planet and in time to The DaVinci Code.  If citations on the I-Net are any clue, Lovecraft is still a lot  more widely read than Van Daniken: while Van Daniken gets a listing of 34,500 sites, Lovecraft scores 1,790,000. Put him on my bucket list for reading.
But we must remember one thing: no one can prove a negative. If these writers can't prove that ETs have landed, we certainly can't prove that they haven't. One of my favorite phrases: the preponderance of evidence. I personally prefer ancient primates to ancient astronauts.

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