Twilight of the Gods (Audiobook) by Erich von Daniken

High up in the Bolivian Andes—4,000 meters above sea level—lies Puma punku, an ancient ruined city that simply could never have been constructed by its Stone Age inhabitants.

“Something here really stinks to high heaven,” writes Erich von Däniken. “In Twilight of the Gods,” says von Däniken, “I document precisely what it was that left the first visitors breathless as they stood before the mighty stone blocks some 400 years ago. I will show you what archaeologist discovered hundreds of years ago and demonstrate how much has been destroyed over the centuries. Intentionally.

“I will also prove that Puma punku was not built by any Stone Age people. “And in December 2012, the gods will return from their long journey and appear again here on Earth. At least that is what the Mayan calendar would have us believe.

{3683FF0C-B680-4891-84E2-5592A9E40C34}Img400“The so-called gods—the extraterrestrials—will come again. We’re headed for a ‘god shock’ of major proportions. “But doesn’t anyone with half a brain know that interstellar travel is simply impossible because of the sheer distances involved? And that extraterrestrials would never look like us?”

I picked up this book thinking I’ll have a great read and I was absolutely enraged by the end of chapter 2, to a point where I nearly threw the audiobook out of the window.

This has probably been the best case of Confirmation Bias that I’ve ever seen in my life. von Däniken starts with a premise: “I will prove to you that Aliens were actually on Earth thousands of years ago and that the world will end in 2012.”
This book was written in 2009 so you can definitely tell it was designed to be a panic mongering book, riding on the popularity of the crazyness that was known as “Mayans predicted that the world will end in 2012!” as they didn’t continue a calendar more than 2000 years in the future.

That is not the only thing I hated about this book.
von Däniken is absolutely in love with himself. He spends most of the preface singing himself praises, how many papers he had written, how awesome he is in the scientific community and how well his theories were received by who I can only assume a group of conspiracy theory enthusiasts that claim that alien walk among us.
He uses as his main source of proof, an obscure document from the 1920’s written by a German in exile. He does not offer any proof. He only claims that “we don’t know as yet that there is any scientific proof”, but hey, it can all change in the future and you can see how amazing his claims were.

Due to the fact that he set out to prove something, all the half truths that partially match his view of the absolute, are treated as certain facts.
He proposes hypotheses that don’t stand up to hard scientific scrutiny and spends some good time making fun of “creationists” thinking that his “alien” source of humanity is the actual real thing. Apparently we are a lost colony of a super-advanced civilization that visited Earth on a space ship about 5 million years ago and had to evolve tools from scratch. But Mayans were re-visited later on and they were told truths about a return.
The truth in the matter is: people coming from a technically advanced civilization will look like Gods to primitive cultures and will be worshiped as such.
For von Däniken, everything in mythology will eventually get down to the level of flying saucers and visitors from outer space. Nothing is safe. Religious texts? The Angel coming down in a chariot was actually an alien beaming down in an UFO…

“Let us follow Ezekiel’s eyewitness account a little further: “Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went they went upon their four sides: and they turned not as they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.”

He goes all the way even to suggest the nature of God: (only to piss off creationists more)

“Could it be that God was an extra-terrestrial? What do we mean when we say that heaven is in the clouds? From Jesus Christ to Elvis Presley, every culture tells us of high-flying bird men who zoom around the world creating magnificent works of art and choosing willing followers to share in the eternal glory from beyond the stars. Can all these related phenomena merely be dismissed as coincidence?”

The Mayan calendar and 2012 are related to the 25,800 astrological cycle, the precession of the equinoxes, and also somehow ties in with the super massive black hole in the center of the galaxy. I don’t think von Daniken even mentions any of this or if he did it wasn’t much.

This book should not be listed under science but instead is a work of fiction.
Anyway von Daniken used to think the December 2012 date was valid.

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