Bananas were introduced into the Atlantis debate by Ignatius Donnelly who adapted the views of Otto Kuntze and questioned[021.57] whether “it was more reasonable to suppose that the plantain or banana was cultivated by the people of Atlantis and carried by their civilised agricultural colonies to the east and the west?” Over a century later it was still being suggested that only the existence of Atlantis could explain the global spread of the seedless, sexless fruit that we enjoy today(a). David Hatcher Childress in his Lost Cities of Ancient Lemuria and the Pacific suggested that ancient genetic engineering led to the banana we have today. Theosophical belief is that “the banana was developed from a melon on the lost continent of Atlantis.”(d) Not to be outdone, Erich von Däniken claimed[0272.202] that the banana has been brought to Earth by extraterrestrials(e)!
>At the other end of the belief spectrum, Ray Comfort, a Christian creationist and televangelist, used the banana to demolish the theory of evolution. In 2006 video clip(f) he offered up the ‘ironclad argument’ that bananas are proof of God’s intelligent design of the natural world because “the banana and the hand are perfectly made, one for the other.”
“Behold, the atheists’ nightmare!” declares Comfort, before detailing the many user-friendly features of bananas, which include its “non-slip surface,” “tab at the top” for easy opening, and convenient shape which is “even curved toward the face to make the whole process so much easier.”(f)
I can only say that with such an idiotic statement, Mr. Comfort himself cannot claim to be the result of intelligent design.<
A more sober view of the diffusion of the banana from southeast Asia is to be found on the academia.edu website(b). The BBC also offers an article on the cultural importance of the fruit in the region(g).
(a) https://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/search/label/Bananas (link broken July 2018) See: Archive 3586
Erich von Däniken (1935-) is famous for his ancient astronaut theories. However, others, such as W. Raymond Drake preceded him. Similarly, George Hunt Williamson (1926-1986), who also wrote of alien visitors, was irked by Däniken being referred to as “the father of the ‘ancient astronaut’ theory”(g).
As a young man, I was influenced by Däniken’s writings and it took time to develop my critical faculties to the point where I could discount his ideas as ‘pure waffle’. I now see him as a guru for the lunatic fringe who cynically presents distorted collections of historical artefacts and data for financial gain.>One website(a) recounts his claim that the humble banana is evidence of extraterrestrials visitors.<The same source also deals with his lack of truthfulness, which along with one particular blog(c) from Jason Colavito are both well worth a read. Colavito has also reviewed the racism expressed by von Däniken(d).
Von Däniken had seldom touched on the Atlantis story until his Odyssey of the Gods published in English in 2000. He concentrated his discussion on the work of fellow Swiss writer, Eberhard Zangger, who identifies Atlantis with Troy. Von Däniken appears ambiguous about the actual existence of Atlantis, although he seems most reluctant to accept Zangger’s Trojan theory.>“Almost anything is possible where Atlantis is concerned. Only Eberhard’s assumption that Atlantis was nothing other than Troy is hard to sustain.”<
Von Däniken joined the many 2012 opportunists in his 2010 offering Twilight of the Gods. He claims that 2012 will not see the end of the world but in fact, the Mayan ‘prophecies’ relate to the return of the ‘gods’ in the form of alien astronauts. I hope Von Däniken meets them and expresses his gratitude for the good living that they have provided him with for nearly half a century.
Jason Colavito offers an extensive 7-part critique of ‘Twilight’. Colavito is also featured in Issue 8 of the English magazine Explore History which reviews 50 years of ancient aliens a la von Däniken. The article includes a number of references to Colavito’s criticism of Däniken’s theories(f).
E.C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles offers a highly critical review of von Däniken’s astronomical knowledge [1842.247]. However, in a balanced conclusion, Krupp candidly wrote “it would be very difficult to prove that ancient astronauts did not visit the earth. But evidence for their having been here is not convincing.”
Some of Daniken’s books are now available as free pdf files(e).