Ancient Aliens, a TV series on the History channel is one of my favorite shows. This show is essentially dedicated to analyzing ancient civilizations and presenting theories as to how these civilizations were capable of being so advanced in their time. The reason I chose this as an organization that promotes critical thinking is because they analyze evidence collected from multiple ancient civilizations and, through reasoned thought, present what they believe is a possible conclusion or answer to how each civilization was capable of being as advanced as they were. Although they aren’t advocating critical thinking about popular culture, this is popular culture itself and reflects historical events.
In a nut shell, the overall objective of the show is to explain that these civilizations couldn’t have been as advanced as they were without the help of, well, aliens. Not only do the speakers walk the viewers through why they think aliens assisted the ancients, after providing what they consider valid evidence, but also I think this show promotes critical thinking in another way, that is to say, by means of analyzing the evidence to prove that the ancient civilizations were in fact as advanced as we see through the remainders of their cultures. This show creates skepticism and interest in matters like how a civilization with no advanced machines could build pyramids.
One of the ways that this show appears to be headed in a promising direction, for me anyway, is that they use evidence from hieroglyphics. They analyze the writings, symbols, and paintings and have found images and passages that depict what could represent aliens, flying saucers, and first hand contact with extra terrestrials. Furthermore, they analyze and study the civilizations advancements in almost all of the sciences. They then incorporate the information into a verbal equation that sounds similar to: The ancients at this time hadn’t had the ability to construct monumental buildings/shrines until after we started seeing writings appear that suggest the visitation of other worldly beings. This could only mean one thing. Aliens! Now don’t get me wrong, they sound a lot more professional and believable than when I say it, but that is the jist of it.
Systematically, they approach just about every theory this way. They start off explaining the history behind the civilizations, then work their way into the improbable achievements, throw in a little alien spice, and conclude with, I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.
To me, whether or not I believe their claims, I find it fascinating to listen to a different perspective. I find myself evaluating the evidence, and several times I have gone out on my own to research the evidence they provide and see if I can come to the same conclusion. Furthermore, it seems as though the way they set up their arguments resembles the foundation of a great persuasive speech or essay. This allows the viewers to be critical of what they are producing as evidence and question the validity of their argument. With this being the case, I think this automatically becomes a more insightful program because at it’s core it encourages research, analysis, skeptical reasoning, and the ability to support your claims, no matter how farfetched they may seem. Many other programs on television don’t promote any of this. It is simply plot and encourages the audience to fall into the story and accept without consideration the situations at hand.
Here is a link to one of my favorite episodes of Ancient Aliens. To sum it up, its basically about how all of the ancient monuments were orchestrated on a global scale to match complex mathematical equations, even when the civilizations all existed at different periods of time and had no contact with one another. Trippy huh? Hope you enjoy!