Most of us know the History Channel show called Ancient Aliens. This show is based on the author of a book called Chariots of the Gods that was published in 1968 by Erich von Däniken. It was followed by other books on the subject. The ideas put forth in his books are rejected by a majority of scientists and academics, who categorize his work as pseudohistory, pseudoarchaeology, and pseudoscience. Early in his career, he was convicted and served time for several counts of fraud or embezzlement, and even wrote one of his books in prison. ~ See Wikipedia, click here for more. Here is a direct quote from Carl Sagan:
That writing as careless as von Däniken’s, whose principal thesis is that our ancestors were dummies, should be so popular is a sober commentary on the credulousness and despair of our times. I also hope for the continuing popularity of books like Chariots of the Gods? in high school and college logic courses, as object lessons in sloppy thinking. I know of no recent books so riddled with logical and factual errors as the works of von Däniken.
— Carl Sagan, Foreword to The Space Gods Revealed
There are many lessons about the art of deception that can be learned from both the books and TV show. Time and space do not allow me to go into them all.
One of my very good veteran friends and Trump supporter has been so impressed with the show he now accepts it as an article of faith and believes they are telling the truth. For a while, he insisted it was fact. After many hours of arguing and discussing he will now reluctantly admit it is faith rather than fact. It was a long hard road getting there. To clarify, I do not dispute the UFO phenomena. It is real but we do not have any evidence that allows us to finalize a conclusion.
Anyone who has watched a few episodes of Ancient Aliens on TV has heard Ad Nauseam: “Ancient Alien theorists say yes!” any time something is introduced that has a more practical explanation. There are tons of UFO sightings both real and fabricated. When it comes to the real ones one can only imagine they have been going on since the beginning of time. However, without mass media, there would be no way for a single sighting to go viral like it does today. There were no cameras, TV, radio or internet. If something was seen it would likely be talked about but no common experience would develop.
The problem I have with hoax UFO sightings is the get in the way of real or unexplained sightings. It is impossible to know how many hoaxes there are. It could be hundreds or even thousands to one. Just like in politics, the average person has a very hard time sorting truth from fiction especially when truth and fiction are mixed.