Mike’s not a ufologist, but FATE Magazine named Mike to its 2005 list of the 100 most influential people in the field. Mike is, however, a scholar in the fields of ancient near eastern religions. He’s also devoted more of his life than seems advisable to the scholarly study of western occultism and alternative religions oriented around the belief in aliens. Religion is religion — it’s all the same? Not true.UFO Religions RSS
Jason Colavito posted an interesting essay today where he checks up on an alleged UFO account in a 1461. His post begins:
Let us stipulate at the outset that the famed ufologist Jacques Vallée is French, so we should expect that his translation from his native language should be among the most accurate materials in the 2009 book he co-wrote with Chris Aubeck, Wonders in the Sky. Therefore, when I went to check on what the two authors claimed to be a medieval French account of a silvery flying saucer on the night of November 1, 1461, I was frankly surprised that it appeared that the authors had not actually read the original text they claim to cite.
I reviewed Wonders in the Sky way back when and noted that it at times engages in some pretty uncritical thinking. But Jason does the grunt work here of learning some Middle French to check up on this account. What did he find? Give it a read.
That’s the title of this short piece over at Top Secret Writers by Gabrielle Pickard. She writes:
The repository covers a range of US Government sources and reports from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Archives and the National Security Agency.
The UFO repository also includes international sources from the Ministry of Defence in the UK and the National Archives UFO Files, which are a collection of British government reports from 1981 to 1996.
There is also a handful of nongovernmental sources, including the Project Blue Book, a footnote database of the digitized material from the Project Blue Book and the NTIS CU, a database of UFO-related reports held by the Information Library.
The non-government sources also include the Declassified Documents Reference System CU, a database of declassified federal documents which contain full-text access to report on sightings and government investigations on UFOs.
The University of Colorado will forever be associated with UFOs because of the Condon Report of 1968, named after physics professor Edward Condon. The report was the product of the Condon Committee, a UFO research project funded by the U. S. Air Force from 1966-1968. Condon achieved infamy in ufology for opining that the study of UFOs wouldn’t produce any major scientific discoveries before the study even began.
The Condon Report was subsequently analyzed by serious UFO researchers. For example, in 1987 Dr. Peter Sturrock, for many years a professor of applied physics at the Center for Space Science and Astrophysics at Stanford, wrote a 26-page review of the report in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Sturrock pointed out a number of problems and inconsistencies in the report.
As many of you recall, I attended the International UFO Congress in Scottsdale, AZ a week ago. The trip had three purposes.
The first was publisher business. I wanted to promote my novels, The Facade and The Portent. I didn’t sell much. You never do at an event like this when your aim is to give people real data (even in story form) that might lead them to rethink their UFO religion. But the good news was being able to re-unite with two members of Miqlat, “Ward” and “Clarise” (those of you who have read The Portent will understand). We had a lot of interesting conversations during the week, including some that dealt with Christianity (the real kind, not its gnostic new age caricature or its demonization that one often encounters at events like this). Several Christians came up to the table and thanked us for showing up.
For me the most interesting moment was the conversation I had with Byron Belitsos, one of the folks who were in the booth next to ours promoting the Urantia book (sort of the ET-alternative history Bible). I of course don’t put any credence in the Urantia book (it feels like warmed-over theosophical literature). Byron was in a doctoral program years ago and planned to do his dissertation on the Urantia book but couldn’t because its foundation refused to allow any citation of it in any documents. Things are different now since the foundation lost a lawsuit over that, but it’s too late for Byron. He said he was anti-Sitchin and told me he’d given a lecture critiquing Sitchin at a Contact in the Desert Conference. I haven’t been able to find any description of such a lecture, though (but I’ve only put a few minutes into that). But at least in our conversation he had no enthusiasm for Sitchin. My guess is that he “corrects” Sitchin at points (whereas my advice would be to just ignore anything he says about ancient astronauts). At any rate, it would be amazing that the Contact in the Desert conference tolerated anti-Sitchin material since 2015′s event features basically all the members of the pro-Sitchin / ancient astronaut nuttiness pantheon (Giorgio Tsoukalos, Jason Martell, Michael Tellinger, Erich von Daniken, James Gilliland). The amount of verified data/truth from primary texts and peer-reviewed research you’ll find in their collective presentations would fit on the back of a postage stamp. Byron offered to ask the organizers to invite me to speak at one of those events. I wished him luck. It was a nice gesture, but one sort of like when Art Bell tried to arrange a debate between me and Zecharia Sitchin. That of course never happened because Sitchin was no fool.
The second purpose was to chat with a couple serious ufologists (yes, they do exist) about a further round of testing for the Majestic documents. I got some encouragement, direction, and promises of data that will help frame the project. At some point in the future I’ll announce what’s up.
The third purpose was vacation time. My wife and kids were along. We had a lot of fun, on-site and off.
More generally, for those who’ve never been to a UFO conference, this one was pretty typical: lots of unsubstantiated claims (the session on the Allaghash abductions was a textbook sampling) mixed with mind-numbing nonsense (James Gilliland is the new master of that domain), with a dash of thoughtful material (Rich Dolan’s session is one example). Here are some links with pretty good synopses of the IUFO lectures by Robert Sheaffer of the Bad UFOs blog:
A commenter on my site informed me of this recent news item of interest for UFO Religions:
The article is a serious one and not a parody. Here are the first two paragraphs along with the photograph referred to therein:
Scientists in the U.K. have examined a tiny metal circular object, and are suggesting it might be a micro-organism deliberately sent by extraterrestrials to create life on Earth.
Don’t be fooled by the size of the object in the microscopic image above. It may appear to look like a planet-sized globe, but in fact, it’s no bigger than the width of a human hair.
This is the sort of discovery that of necessity prompts a discussion of panspermia. As many readers know, panspermia was one of the content items the factored into the plot of my novel, The Facade.
In general terms, panspermia refers to the idea that life as we know it on earth was seeded from space. Usually, this idea is thought of in “undirected” or random terms; that is, involving no intelligent causation. However, this micro-organism has raised the subject of directed panspermia, the notion that intelligent extraterrestrials deliberately attempted to seed life on other worlds. And whenever directed panspermia comes up, the name of Nobel laureate Francis Crick, co-discoverer (with James Watson) of DNA. is sure to follow. In 1973 Crick and Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies published a short article promoting the idea:
F. H. C. Crick and L. E. Orgel, “Directed Panspermia,” Icarus 119, no. 3 (1973):341-346.
The abstract reads:
It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the Earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite. As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the Earth by intelligent beings on another planet.
We conclude that it is possible that life reached the Earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.
There are inherent problems with every discussion of directed (“intelligent”) panspermia. We have no evidence that intelligent ETs exist. If we did, we’d have to determine that those ETs indeed practiced panspermia. Then science would have to demonstrate that their efforts mattered for life on earth. And if we gained that information from them, we’d need to know they aren’t lying.
In the present vacuum of such knowledge directed panspermia is ultimately a view that requires a leap of faith, a swear word to many scientists. Let’s say that the micro-organism is indeed a “micro balloon” that could seed life on a planet like ours (same or similar parameters for life). By what means could we know it was intelligently sent? Because it’s “complex”? Because it contains living material? Neither of those speak to point of origin. So, on the one hand, believers in intelligent panspermia have to make a faith claim that intelligent ETs sent it to seed life. Theistic evolutionaists, on the other hand, would claim that God is behind the micro-organism (another faith statement). Sounds like the intelligent design discussion to me and not much more.
But of course all of this is speculation.
BBC Wants to be Even Less Worth Watching than American Main Stream Media – Hosts Debate Over Whether Jesus and Buddha Were Space Aliens
Jason Colavito has a short summary of this intellectual fiasco (on all sides, really).
Just more insanity from mainstream media. It’s hard to believe what actually passes for “serious” television these days. I guess the BBC is jealous of the way the Fantasy Channel in this country has padded its bottom line with ancient astronaut blather. It seems insulting the intelligence of viewers is now part of how programming is settled.
If you can find them, that is.
I don’t use iTunes or iBooks. My heart could no longer take the spike in blood pressure that happened when I tried to use their apps and search engines. But for those with an iron will …
Kirkdale has told me both novels and my Dare You Not to Bore Me with the Bible book are now available as iBooks. After two attempts at Googling the iBook store and getting zero results, someone told me how to find them, so I can tell you now:
Open i-books on a Mac or iPad or other i-device (I guess Windows people just use Kindle). Then make sure you’re in the iBooks store, then use the search box. You can find the books by title or (better) with my name: Michael Heiser.
That works — I just saw it myself on a friend’s Mac.
Just saw this link come up on Twitter:
Air Force UFO files hit the Web (USA Today)
The upload is the work of John Greenewald of Black Vault fame. John deserves thanks for his tenacious, twenty-year effort, via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to get the government to release information about UFOs. The Black Vault currently has a total of 1.3 million pages of de-classified material available for downloading and viewing courtesy of John’s requests.
Here’s the direct link to the Project BLUE BOOK files if you want to skip the USA Today story. (John has posted the files on the front page of the Black Vault site). You can browse by year or search by key word.
Just wanted to let you all know that the presentations will be recorded for audio AND video. The audios, so far as I know, will be available for free on the church’s website. Regarding video, there’s a bit of a catch. I’ll be bringing back the raw videos files on a hard drive. I don’t want to give people who don’t for me work to do, and wasn’t planning on creating DVDs with these. I will probably turn them over to my son and test his editing skills. He’s fifteen and really into video, so I want to see if he can make these watchable (he’s edited things before, but I’ll be sure to make copies of the files). If we incorporate slides, it’ll be a lot of work for him. There will be ten sessions, two of which are Q & A. That means I can’t yet tell you when they’ll be available or in what form. Uploading them for online viewing seems like the best way to go since I don’t have duplication equipment (does anyone watch lectures on DVDs any more?). Suggestions are welcome. I’ll probably charge a little for the lot or suggest a donation for my son — something to acquaint him with the concept of a job.
Anyway, that’s the plan.
Awesome – I always knew I’d make it!
Today I got an email that included this paragraph from the most recent Jim Marrs book (he’s known for promoting just about every conspiracy under the sun):
“Researchers that worked with Michael Heiser (that critic of Zecharia Sitchin) are government funded and they use a newer base to translate with, which is preposterous to do so, due to the changing meanings and subsets of civilizations over time. The originals were hundreds if not thousands of years older than the database that Heiser’s group was translating with.”
This is incredibly inept on so many levels.
His comment is in regard to my criticisms of Zecharia Sitchin’s absurd teachings about the Sumerian Anunnaki gods (which many – Marrs? – thinks are extraterrestrials / ancient astronauts). On my website devoted to exposing Sitchin’s nonsense, I made a screen capture video of yours truly going to the ETCSL site (Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature), typing in the term for Anunnaki, and then getting the search results — in transliterated Sumerian/Akkadian with English translations. I did that because I wanted to make the point that, when I say NONE of Sitchin’s claims about the Anunnaki exist in even a single tablet, folks don’t need to just believe me — they can check for themselves.
So Marrs somehow (this is the sort of research mistake grade-schoolers suffering under Common Core would make) thinks that I was involved in the ETCSL project. I wasn’t. I was in grad school in another discipline. I’ve never met anyone who worked on the project. (Hey Jim — there’s this thing called a phone you could use to verify that). But wait … maybe this nefarious plot to show Sitchin’s ideas were bogus was so covert, so utterly secret, that even I didn’t know I was part of the project and on the payroll. . . . Hmmm (I’m stroking my chin now).
Marrs also makes the ludicrous claim that the researchers who produced the database weren’t the original tablets. This shows a deeply flawed understanding not only of the project, but also of the source for the data (another clue for an expert researcher like you, Jim – read the front matter of the site to know what they did). The idea that a database of transliterated cuneiform tablets was really created from “other” tablets besides the ones cited in the database itself is pretty much the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Jim – what tablets did they use if not the real tablets? When they assign numbers, those numbers aren’t arbitrary — they correspond to known transliterations of known tablets published in scholarly literature since the turn of the 20th century. Any student of Assyriology or Sumerian would instantly know if the transliterations were bogus.
Maybe I’m wasting my time. I’m expecting Jim Marrs to even know what transliteration is.
In short, the tablets in the digital database of SUMERIAN literature are (dare I say) the SUMERIAN tablets. (Think about the absurdity of having to even write that sentence). There are no “older” Sumerian tablets hidden away by scholars (hey, Jim – how did Zecharia Sitchin get those real ones? … just a fun digression … I know Sitchin never translated anything … he used existing English translations of tablets that …. drum roll please … are the same as those in the database that Jim thinks is the result of “other” tablets). The circle of intellectual insanity is now complete.
I feel like I’m writing the script for the Inception sequel.
But there’s a lesson to be learned from Marrs’ stupefyingly dumb statement: this is the level of research quality offered by the ancient astronaut community. Statements so careless and misinformed that one wonders if they’re real. This one was published, so it’s real.
Finally, I’m not paid by the government (apparently Jim made the comment because ETCSL had government funding — like most humanities projects in the world). Since I was no part of it, I never got a dime transliterating tablets, even ones that don’t exist (again, hard to believe I even had to write that).
But just for fun, Jim, here’s something to which you can apply your investigative powers:
1. Documentation that I participated in ETCSL.
2. Documentation that I’ve ever gotten money from the government for services detrimental to the reputation of Zecharia Sitchin.
Will Marrs waste his time chasing these non-existent items? Maybe. After all, he wasted his time trying to prop up Sitchin’s non-existent claims. But seriously, Jim — how easy would it be to produce ONE line of ONE tablet that addresses the items in my open letter to Sitchin if I were wrong? Even easier than making up stuff like you did with your statement.
Be that as it may, it’s exciting to have earned the status of being a living testament to how lame ancient astronaut research really is. It’s a great first-person lesson for my kids and those of others I know — a real-life example that one has to dispense with all coherent thought to believe this stuff.
I did an interview today (1.5 hrs) with Josh Peck, host of The Sharpening. The focus was on The Facade and The Portent, but there are some personal details in the interview as well. It’s posted on YouTube but is audio only.