- uploaded: Dec 7, 2008
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In their 1966 book Intelligent Life in the Universe astrophysicists I.S. Shklovski and Carl Sagan devote a chapter to arguments that scientists and historians should seriously consider the possibility that extraterrestrial contact occurred during recorded history. However, Shklovsky and Sagan stressed the idea that their ideas were speculative and unproved.
Shklovski and Sagan argued that sub-lightspeed interstellar travel by extraterrestrial life was a certainty when considering technologies that were established or feasible in the late \'60s; that repeated instances of extraterrestrial visitation to Earth were plausible; and that prescientific narratives can offer a potentially reliable means of describing contact with outsiders. Additionally, Shklovski and Sagan cited tales of Oannes, a fishlike being attributed with teaching agriculture, mathematics and the arts to early Sumerians, as deserving closer scrutiny as a possible instance of paleocontact due to its consistency and detail.
In his 1979 book Broca\'s Brain, Sagan suggested that he and Shklovski might have inspired the wave of \'70s ancient astronaut books, expressing disapproval of \"von Daniken and other uncritical writers\" who seemingly built on his and Shklovksi\'s ideas and evidence not as guarded speculations but as \"valid evidence of extraterrestrial contact.\" Sagan argued that while many legends, artifacts and purported OOPARTs were cited in support of ancient astronaut theories, \"very few require more than passing mention\" and could be easily explained with more conventional theories. Sagan also reiterated his earlier conclusion that extraterrestrial visits to Earth were possible but unproven, and perhaps improbable.