The ‘Ancient Aliens’ TV series (now on the cable channel H2 – History 2) is not popular because it is actual history nor even recognized as well thought-out scientific speculation. Certainly, the scientific community has shown its disdain for certain ‘facts’ presented in the show. On the other hand, scientifically, we have projects like the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) or the Kepler planet finding satellite. There are clearly some contexts where the thought of potential alien life forms is a compelling idea worth further exploration. Where to draw the line, as far as science is concerned, is changeable as the evidence or new theories emerge over time.
Actual history demonstrates that so-called ’scientific’ speculation can lead to actual science because the baseline speculation seems possible and it is compelling enough to spur theorists and researchers to act. We, as a species, tend to forget about all the abject failures and these rarely get many lines in the history books unless they further along an eventual break through. We do enjoy science fiction, nowadays, for more than a hundred years. Jules Verne and his submarine. Star Trek communicators and cell phones. It is important that as many minds as possible are afforded the opportunity to examine and think about emerging ideas. We may laugh about that crazy TV show centuries from now, but, what if some irrefutable ‘ancient alien’ evidence does turn up. The whole game does change.