The Ancient Alien Question, by Phillip
Coppens (Softcover, 2011)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
A great read for the intellectually curious.
What I like most about this book is how the author seems to dance around a
point rather than bowl you over with only one side of an argument. So there I
am, reading what I think is his take on something. Thus far, the evidence and
argument have been compelling. I'm almost hooked. Then he calmly goes about
poking holes in what I just read. And he wraps up with "...maybe this, but on
the other hand maybe that. And what if....?"
You have to appreciate intellectual curiosity to like this sort of thing. I
suspect Mr. Coppens has been on a debate team. He's clearly able to research both
sides (and the middle, too) of an issue. This shows up in his discussions, but
also in the almost ridiculously long biography.
He goes into some of the old myths and arguments, pointing out where they are
weak and, in many cases, flatly wrong. But he extracts from many of those new
questions. The conclusion is false, he shows, but what does this set of facts
imply? What questions should we be asking? Then he asks some "keen insight"
Erich von Daniken wrote the foreword to this book. Something this book shares
with von Daniken's breakthrough best-seller Chariots of the Gods is the huge
number of questions. Not that Coppens is trying to imitate von Daniken. These are clearly two different writers and they clearly have two different ways of examining facts and anomalies. But they sure do ask a lot of questions.
Coppens does express his opinions in the book, and he's
entitled to do that. It seems to be clear from the text that he's drawing a line
between "here is what I looked up from a reliable source" and "here's my
conclusion." But in one case, he's way off course.
On page 226, he errs in his discourse about the theory of evolution. As with
many people, he mistakenly believes that when science calls something a "theory"
that means it's a thought they can't prove. This is not at all the case, and not
just in science. Many technical manuals describe the "theory of operation" and
electrical engineers refer to "electrical theory." This has nothing to do with
the veracity (or lack thereof) of the subject. You can think of "theory" in
these instances as an explanation of the underlying fundamentals.
The theory of evolution is not just Darwin. It's a broader concept, and most
of our science is based on it. Evolution is very real, and the overwhelming
evidence is all around us and even inside us. And it's in the technology we use.
It's even in our language, which is constantly evolving. As are our music,
culture, law, etc. We can see the universe evolve simply by looking back in time
with today's powerful telescopes.
Coppen's digression into error is a minor part of the book, but it was really
a nails on the chalkboard thing to encounter. And it just does not go with the
intelligent analysis found in the rest of the book.
Coppens brings up a line of inquiry I haven't seen written about very much.
That is the idea that aliens communicate with earthlings in a mode other than
physically. He looks at several anecdotes that are explained only by this idea.
But again, he avoids telling the reader "Here's your definitive answer, even
though actual evidence is scanty." And I appreciate that.
He does provide us with one of his own conclusions as the end of the book
nears, and he ends the book on that note. His conclusion is that we are the
aliens, having arisen (sans evolution?) from DNA that arrived here from outer
space. That may be true, but it's a well off topic from the other ideas explored
in this book.
Over all, a great read that will have you thinking "What if" questions and
not taking official dogma as beyond all reasonable doubt. There's plenty of
reasonable doubt provided by unexplained anomalies, coincidences, facts, and
artifacts. While we don't have conclusive proof that intelligent life exists on
other planets (or in Washington, DC), much less that it has visited here, we do
have plenty of reason to suspect that it does and it has.
This book consists of eight chapters and a conclusion in 289 pages. It has a
large bibliography, an index, and a foreword. It also contains some great color
photos, in addition to many greytone photos and illustrations.
Add it to your
collection. You won't be sorry.