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Unbelievable: The Myth of Alien Enlightenment

David Klinghoffer

I was mesmerized as a little kid by the documentary Chariots of the Gods, based on the book by Erich von Däniken. With its notion of “ancient astronauts” who visited the Earth in the past, it’s all too easy to mock. Yet as science historian Michael Keas points out, some scientists and “skeptics” like Michael Shermer push the idea that intelligent extraterrestrials, when we inevitably encounter them, will indeed be as gods to us:

In this myth, one of the seven that Professor Keas, a CSC Senior Fellow, writes about in his excellent book Unbelievable, the idea is that human beings will be granted a fantastic exchange. We will give up the old religions where human beings are special creations of a traditionally understood Deity, in return for “alien enlightenment, when we receive the wisdom accumulated over billions of years of cosmo-cultural evolution.” It’s the “most remarkable trade-in offer in the history of popular science.” It’s also a myth. Find out why.