Tag Archives: UFOs

Review of “The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture,” by Jason Colvato

The Cult of Alien Gods is the worst book I’ve read all year.

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Colvato’s basic claims is that much of modern UFO pop culture is concerned with the twin ideas of lost civilizations and alien visitation. Colvato claims bot of these ideas were created by H.P. Lovecraft, and that the modern UFO flap is a confused retelling of these stories.

It’s easy to prove this wrong, because he completely ignores pre-20th century expressions of these ideas. For instance, Mormonsim. Colvato seems completely ignorant of this tradition. I don’t know how old the ideas of lost civilizations and alien visitors are, but they are at least as old as Mormonismi, and when Colvato traces these ideas, he seems ignorant of that fact.

For instance, on he lists “racists” pseudo-scientists who theorized of pre-Columbian contact with “Vikings, Druids, or wandering Irish monks.” He ignores Jews, who both Mormons (like Joseph Smith) and pre-Mormon thinkers (like Solomon Spalding) claimed visited America.

Colvato also claims that Ignatius Donelly, an American politician, “planted the seed” for the idea that “the gods were not mental creations but were once flesh-and-blood features.” As Mormons believe this, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are spiritually advanced space aliens, this cannot be true

Colvato’s writing is highly repetitive, and he makes many sloppy mistakes along the way. He also comes across as mean. He accuses others of racism and sexism, he is ignorant of philosophy (confusing Nietzsche’s philosophy on the acceptance of personal suffering with aryan supremecacy) and explains only the footnotes that he’s had prior professional involvement with some of the writers hes criticizing.

I don’t believe that paleo-SETI, the idea we might find aliens by looking at our own history, has been successful. Or that “ancient alien” researchers have produced serious research. But that doesn’t make lazy and dishonest criticisms of them valid. Nor does it make Colvato’s ignorance of philosophy, theology, and history anything but painful to slog through.

I read The Cult of Ancient Aliens in the Kindle Edition.

The Search for Academic Utility

Over the past few weeks I talked a lot about “paradigms.” Paradigms are “research programs” that focus on a few exemplars of high quality work. This allows science to make progress, and breaks up “old boy” networks by privileging results over connections. The need for progress also allows students to have better lives after they graduate. Professors, like all people, crave money, power and respect.

Thus, normal science, paradigms, research programs, and exemplars align our the need for progress, student’s need for good lives, and professor’s need for professional accomplishment. This is how academia works. Science is not a cartoon. It is a great human achievement that gets human beings to predict, control, and improve variation of the objects scientists study.

Normal Science is good because it is useful, not because it is True.

Consider three areas of work: race-based explanations for school performance, my UFO theory, and the ancient astronaut theory of Great Pyramid construction. If I had to bet, I would bet a great deal of money there’s a very strong impact of race in academic performance not explainable by income, I would bet a small amount of money the aliens at Roswell were from Japan, and I would bet against someone claiming that the logistics of Great Pyramid construction was designed by creatures from beyond the Moon.

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But attempting to found an academic career on either of these theories would lead to a failure to gain tenure. The reason is all are currently outside of the normal science in educational psychology, digital humanities, and Egyptology. None of these theories are currently useful in the field, so none are pursued.

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Normal Science is just part of Science, which along with Inquiry are two of the ways of knowing about the world. There’s more to this world than captured in data sets. My friend Mark Safranski recent captured readers after linking to a data set, stating “ there are hidden qualitative decisions in who did the counting, how and by what yardstick.” Indeed, Normal Science has even more limitations than that.

A lot of grief is caused by considering Science the search for Truth. It may that, but Normal Science is the search for utility in an academic context.

My UFO Theory

Perhaps this is where I go off the deep-end, but I have developed a comprehensive theory of UFOs that accounts for Nazi experiments, the Foo Fighters, flying saucers, flying lights, and lost time. I first described this theory in a face-to-face chat with Catholicgauze. I became more convinced after listening to a podcast about the Rendelsham Forest Incident.

Basically, I assume that UFOs are a product of a series of government experiments on ultralight, nonkinetic “shock” weapons. That is, intelligently-guided UFOs (up to the late 1980s) shared several common features

1. they possessed much less mass than other, human-produced flying vehicles
2. they were incapable of physical attacks
3. they were designed to disrupt C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance)

The classic UFO came in several phases. The first phase was the Foo Fighters of World War II. The second phase was the ‘flying saucer’ of the late 1940s and 1950s. The third phase was the lights in the sky, of the 1970s and 1980s. The two gaps in UFOs – the 1960s and 1990s to 2000s — are accounted for by two now widely known (but once experimental) flying technologies: turboshaft helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

PHASE ONE
Common Name: The Foo Fighters
Who was behind it? The Nazis
When did it occur: 1944-1945
Explanation: The collapse of Nazi Germany occured in the face of breathtaking innovations. Some of these concerned mililitary strategy, such as Nazi suicide troops. Others were primarily military, such as an increase in yearly German industrial production notwithstanding heavy Allied bombardment. Some were horribly cruel, such as the Holocaust. Another was the Foo Fighters.

German researchers, searching for ways to turn back allied bombers, decided to research ways of terrifying Allied pilots. The Germans developed ultralight manned craft, perhaps consisting of nothing more than a wing coated with nonreflective paint and a peddle-powered floodlight. On an individual level, the pilots would either turn back (best case, less likely) or drop their munitions in panic with minimal damage (more likely case). On an operational level, Allied High Command may determine that the Germans were on the verge of developing very advanced weaponry which would make the costs of an ‘unconditional surrender’ unacceptable high. Unfortunately for the Nazis, the pilots were jocks who were more curious than afraid, and the U.S. was developing the nuclear bomb (which would make more advanced aircraft irrelevant).

PHASE TWO
Common Name: Flying Saucers
Who was behind it? U.S. Department of Defense
When did it occur: 1947-1959
Explanation: In January 1947 President Harry S Truman rejected the Morganthau Plan and began outlining a Cold War strategy that accounted for the Federal Republic of Germany and Japan as allies of the United States. America was in the middle of a four-year nuclear monopoly, and American scientific prowess (buttressed by German exiles and emigres) was an important advantage. In a classified operation, perhaps partially subsumed by parts of Operational Alsos and Operational Paperclip, German researchers in ultralight non-kinetic flying shock weapons were brought to the United States. Following the apparent failure of the ‘flying lights’ Foo Fighters strategy, the flying vehicles were made to be visible in the daylight. Perhaps taking advantage of earlier U.S. research into Coanda Effect, the flying saucer debuted.

The first published sighting of a flying saucer occurred on June 24, 1947, outside Seattle. The first sighting kept the brightness of the Foo Fighters, though later revisions would lose the light. Another flying saucer crashed on July 8, 1947, in Roswell, New Mexico. The crew was comprised of Japanese Volunteers, chosen for their small stature and low weight, who decided to not come back to Japan in the 1947 repatriations because of the fear of shame of surrendering. (One such self-disappeared Japanese POW, Ishinosuke Uwano, was found in 2006 in Ukraine). The death of the test pilots would have been extraordinarily sensitive (for personal and diplomatic reasons), and was covered up, first with the weather balloon hoax, and later (either in a MIHOP or LIHOP action) with the alien mythos.

In the 1950s, flying saucers investigated as pat of a problem to disrupt C4ISR in nuclear installations. In the event of a nuclear war, even a five minute breakdown in normal base operations could materially impact the post-exchange balance of forces.

INTERIM ONE
Common Name: Turboshaft Helicopters
Who was behind it: Kaman Aircraft / U.S. Department of Defense
When did it occur: 1951 – Present
Explanation: On December 11, 1951, the Kamen K-225 became the first turboshaft helicopter in the world. The Turboshaft Helicopter rendered the Flying Saucer irrelevant, as it opposed greater offensive, defensive, and shock value. While knowledge of what a Flying Saucer actually was would render the ship harmless (no one is scared of balsa wood), knowledge of what a Turboshaft Helicopter was left the fear intact (it is a flying machine designed to kill you). While the emergence of the Alien Mythos saved the Flying Saucer project for a number of years, the greater lethality and economies-of-scale of the Turboshaft Helicopter ended research into ultralight non-kinetic shock weapons. However, the invention of the controlled laser on May 16, 1960, combined with unknown research into Tritium, would lead t a reemergence of the flying lights phenomenon.

PHASE THREE
Common Name: Lights in the Sky
Who was behind it: U.S. Department of Defense
When did it occur: 1951 (first public sighting) – 1970s/1980s (mass sightings).
Explanation:

Three sub-phases of the Lights in the Sky were the Earliest Flights, Intersecting Lasers, and Black Triangles. Two related aspects were Missing Time and Cattle Mutilations.

Research on self-illuminating flying lights in the sky may have began as early as 1951, as demonstrated by the Lubbock sightings: The Lubbock lights “appeared to be about the size of a dinner plate and they were greenish-blue, slightly fluorescent in color. They were smaller than the full moon at the horizon. There were about a dozen to fifteen of these lights…they were absolutely circular…it gave all of us…an extremely eerie feeling.” Unlike the Foo Fighters (which created curiosity) and the Flying Saucers (which inspired awe and the Alien Mythos), the Lights in the Sky succeeding in evoking disquieting emotional reactions. These early lights in the sky continued the ultralight design of the Foo Fighters, though with the addition of radioactive self-illuminating decals.

The invention of the laser allowed the separation of the light source and the position of the light. Unlike the Foo Fighters and the early lights in the sky, systems that incorporated lasers created entirely new possibilities. For instance, in the Rendelsham Forest incident, lights in the sky appeared to fly through objects. That is, the emitted light travelled in an arc at a certain velocity, was not projected during the time that the arc would intersect with a physical object, as was projected once the arc passed the object, making it appear that the light continued through the object. Using an unknown method (perhaps intersecting lasers, whose constructive interference would allow them to pass the threshold of vision in their intersection, but not elsewhere), lights could also appear to soundlessly circle houses, barracks, bunkers, and other sensitive areas. Tests were conducted both on military personnel and on civilian populations, to investigate the breakdown of police, fire, and military communication networks during lights in the sky sightings.

Flying Triangles are comprised of three lights in the sky in a stable formation to form the points of a triangle, with another light in the middle. Light pollution is generated to make it impossible to see the stars behind the triangle forms by the outer three lights, while the presence of the fourth light tricks the observer into imagining seeing the underside of a craft. Unlike the Foo Fighters, the Earliest Lights, or the Intersecting Lasers, Flying Triangles could appear to be massively large. Therefore, even for observers who did not believe the Alien Mythos, Flying Triangles could be perceived as serving as enemy ultraheavy lift capacity.

RELATED PHENOMENA
Common Names: Missing Time, Cattle Mutilations, Conspiracy Theories
Who was behind it: U.S. Department of Defense / others
When Did It Occur: 1970s – now

However, like all such UFOs to that point, Flying Triangles were kinetically harmless. Three aspects to the Lights in the Sky emerged around the 1970s that served to either physically disrupt C4STAR or increase the fear of doing so. These were Missing Time, Cattle Mutilizations, and Conspiracy Theories. These related phenemona do not neatly fit into the timeline of ultralight shock weapons, as they may be ancillary tactics that serve as force multipliers for ultralight shock weapons. Missing Time may be similar to photosensitive epilepsy and the bucha effect, caused by exposure to some patterns of light sources used in the Lights in the Sky. Cattle mutiliations may have been an attempt to study the propagation of information about horrific attacks against inessential personnel. Conspiracy theories, such as MJ-12 (and related ideas of both a Deep State and exopolitics) were created (either through MIHOP or LIHOP) to divert attention from the ultralight shock weapon program, which would have been rendered harmless if people realized they were physically harmless.

INTERIM TWO
Common Name: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles / Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles /
Killer Robots
Who was behind it: U.S. Department of Defense
When did it occur: 1916 (invention of UAV) – 1960s (first armed
drones) – 1970s (Project: HAVE LEMON) – 1991 (Gulf War deployment) –
2001 (Afghanistan public debut) – Present
Explanation: Just as the Turnoshaft Helicopter rendered the Flying Saucer irrelevant, the UCAV rendered the Lights in the Sky irrelevant. UAVs in formation cold duplicate the effects of the Lights (such as Flying Triangles, etc) with greater maneuverability and economies of scale. Further, while knowledge of what Lights in the Sky actually were would render them harmless, knowledge that UCAVs are actually Killer Robots make them more terrifying. For the first time in the history of war, a non-human intelligence that felt no pain, held no honor, experienced no regret, and knew no fear patrolled the skies and rained death down to the earth. While UAVs and UCAVs are typically under remote human control (in additional to nonhuman automatic systems), the human is likely to be in a comfortable air conditioned room and be emotionally detached from the events in battle.

When the Alien Mythos first became attached to the UFO phenomenon, many began believing they could face armed attack from nonhuman enemies. The UCAV makes this belief a reality. As such, the UFO (as an ultralight non-kinetic shock weapon) is an obsolete technology, and will be into the indefinite future.