Debunking Ancient Aliens
The History channel seemed like a great idea when it first debuted, particularly for educators. This seems like a great application for television, a clear, specific outlet for programming about History. Unfortunately the station went off the rails and started doing a massive amount of non-historical programming for which it has taken a great deal of criticism. There’s even a popular meme based about their now infamous show “Ancient Aliens.” But what I want to bring to your attention is a much better program that discusses debunking ancient aliens.
The show pushes the idea that humans in ancient times were too foolish or too primitive to actually build anything monumental. So we are talking about things like the Pyramids of Giza and other ancient monuments around the world. But I recently came across a great movie that takes the time to debunk a lot of the wildly inaccurate ideas in Ancient Aliens.
What’s wrong with a little mystery?
Nothing. I love stories of Aliens and Atlantis and ghosts. Even the ghosts of aliens from Atlantis! They’re fun and that’s fine. The danger comes when people actually buy into this sort of thing. Mystery is fun but buying into it wholesale without any critical thought slows our progress and steers it in all the wrong directions.
That being said, it’s hard for any one of us to be an expert on a wide variety of subnets such as science. Mysterious stories are fun and often spark a lot of conversation filled with fun speculation. That’s why they are so entertaining to talk about. So it’s easy to see why they become so popular. So how can we, non experts manage to have the best of both worlds? We want our students to engage in interesting conversation. But at the same time, we want them to be well informed.
One way may be to have students speculate how a particular place was created. Have them work in groups to propose their ideas. If possible show a segment of Ancient Aliens and have students discuss what they think about it. Later show a segment that helps debunk the ideas in the story.
There’s a lot of room for creativity here. There are plenty of countries and things to discuss and lots of culture to talk about. As for language points there’s so much to dig in to. Speculation, assertion, debate, agreeing, disagreeing, description and so on.
As for the History Channel, I’ll look elsewhere for my History.
For more on Debunking Ancient Aliens checkout: ancientaliensdebunked.com
and this video:
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