Never pass up some alien clickbait from NASA

Geez, NASA people, watch your language. People really believe this stuff!

Nasa: Strange Markings Across The Globe ‘Might Have Been Made By Aliens’.

Ancient rock carvings found across the globe were made by human civilisations, long ago, right?

Well…perhaps not. No less an authority than Nasa have suggested they could have been made by aliens, as a test.

The space agency has released a new book (which you can read in full here) on the subject of alien communications — and as you’d hope it tackles some of the more profound and complicated issues facing humanity.

Here is the quote that caused some tongues to wag:

“Consider again, therefore, the desirability of establishing symbolic/linguistic communication with ETI [Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence]. It is helpful to review some parallels from human existence that pose problems for us today. One of these is “rock art,” which consists of patterns or shapes cut into rock many thousands of years ago. Such ancient stone carvings can be found in many countries [...]

We can say little, if anything, about what these patterns [above] signify, why they were cut into rocks, or who created them. For all intents and purposes, they might have been made by aliens.”

Emphasis mine.

One of Puu Loa Petroglyphs in the largest petroglyph field in Hawaii with more than 23,000 images carved into lava, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, USA.

One of Puu Loa Petroglyphs in the largest petroglyph field in Hawaii with more than 23,000 images carved into lava, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, USA.

It’s obvious from the quotes that this “aliens” reference was used as a figure of speech. Earlier scholars didn’t recognize what rock art was. But nothing like a sensational headline to get clicks, right?

The free book appears to have been taken offline. The link no longer works. Was NASA so embarrassed that they pulled this legitimate book because of this ridiculousness? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Jeb Card contributed to this post. 

  9 comments for “Never pass up some alien clickbait from NASA

  1. Angela
    May 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Ahhh..Facebook. When I clicked on the link from there, two other “suggested posts” showed up…one from Sploid that is taking the–speculative approach. (I said that as nice as I could).

  2. Graham
    May 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM
    • spookyparadigm
      May 22, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      Good on Jason to find out more (I contacted him as well to alert him to this). But by the time it got to the Blaze, Daily Fail, and HuffPo, they were quoting the book, and the error on their part was obvious. But they didn’t care.

      I think the comments on The Blaze are the most interesting. On HuffPo and Daily Fail, there is a mix of “uh, it’s a metaphor” and usual comments bad jokes.

      But on the Blaze, in addition to the usual right-wing partisan hate posts about Obama and government, there is a massive amount of posts blending ancient aliens with biblical and quasi-biblical statements. Which is pretty common in ufology today, and is driving interest in ancient aliens, bigfoot, etc.

      One cannot understand American interest in antiscience without that perspective today. 40 years ago was something of a different story. But the Baby Boomer Sciencey style and the GenX “its all connected interdimensional consciousness” paradigms of occulture have largely given way to radical politicized para-conspiracy culture of giants, watchers, aliens, breakaway civilizations, reptilians, elites, NWO, etc. etc. etc. Jerome Clark referred to some of this stuff as The Dark Side of Ufology in the 1980s. Other than hucksterism and attempts to get on tv, it’s all there is for much of ufology, and increasingly cryptozoology.

      Where it goes next, well, go back and read Demon Haunted World and look at what Sagan’s ultimate fear was.

  3. brian
    May 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    I wish pictures could be put on here. I have JUST the pic for this article.

  4. May 22, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Colavito’s essay makes it entirely clear that the NASA author was speaking figuratively to dramatize the concept that really really old things are nigh impossible to understand by a modern intelligence:

    “We can say little, if anything, about what these patterns signify, why they were cut into rocks, or who created them. For all intents and purposes, they might have been made by aliens.”

    In a sense, it’s the reverse of the Arthur C. Clarke’s third “law” of prediction: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Thus I propose a 4th law: Any sufficiently old device or object is indistinguishable from alien intervention.”

    As an example: Try to explain a 45 rpm “spacer” (the plastic record adaptor) to a teenager who thinks music comes from a downloaded file on a smart phone. (When I show the 45 rpm graphic to my college students, their first reaction is invariably, “Illuminati!”)

  5. Bo Gardiner
    May 22, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    The link to the NASA book worked for me. Here it is: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Archaeology_Anthropology_and_Interstellar_Communication_TAGGED.pdf

    And yes, I see no problem with the NASA quote. I don’t understand how anyone could think the author was actually speculating about aliens.

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