Updated: September 5, 2011
We talked about UFOs in the past, so it's nothing new. All you need is a bored housewife from Cardiff, a wobbly camera and the most basic of PhotoGIMP skills to make the headlines in one of them Sun or Guardian or other newspapers. But we never talked about ancient aliens, aha!
There's also a television show called Ancient Aliens, capital A all the way, which discusses, debates and tries to prove the existence of aliens in the form of highly intelligent beings capable of interstellar travel visiting Earth in the times of ancient civilizations and sharing their knowledge with the primitive humans, helping them create wondrous thingies like pyramids, Nazca Lines and whatnot. And of course, the Roswell accident. All right, so let me show you why Ancient aliens, spelled however you want, are bollocks.
Before we can discuss any kind of aliens, ancient, modern or retro, we need to ascertain several things about aliens. First, their existence. Second, their intelligence. Third, their ability to travel across space. Fourth, find inhabitable planets. Fifth, communicate with the local life forms. Sixth, not utterly destroy and subjugate the primitive life forms. Seventh, leave bits of technology.
As I've written in my Alone in the Universe article, the likelihood of life out there is fairly small. Even if we assume that every single star system in our galaxy could support intelligent life for 100,000 years, the nearest inhabitable planet with an active and modern civilization is between 600 and 1,200 light years away. This means that even if intelligent life forms can travel across the space as fast as electromagnetic radiation, it still takes centuries to achieve even that very first contact.
Now, imagine you are a member of such an expedition. It would take you a millennium to reach the first inhabited star, assuming you knew which direction to travel, with slightest deviations taking you trillions of kilometers off your path in the end. Then, a millennium back. Give or take 40 human generations. How do you sustain that in space? How do you provide for a spaceship crew living and breeding for two thousand years in a gravitation-less environment? How do you sustain the mission goal? And worst of all, why would any space crew want to go back after finding a whole planet full of inferior monkeys where they can rule supreme and have ritual sex with the local population?
Oh, it turns out there's Drake equation, which offers pretty much the same numbers like my own model, which proves that I'm an utter genius. Not only did I come with my conclusions without any reference to this equation, the fact we found similar results is mind-boggling. All right, so we clearly see there are no aliens. Therefore, no intelligent aliens. Therefore, no visits.
Moreover, even if you argue that they could exist and chance their way here, then I tend to believe smart people like Stephen Hawking rather than bored semi-literate charlatans on TV shows directed for people with unpaired chromosomes. Stephen believes encounters with intelligent aliens would be devastating and should best be avoided. And I agree. What do you think would happen if some aliens found our planet? They would turn it into a massive biology class, dissecting us like cockroaches, doing all those lovely experiments they dared not do before. They would exhaust our resources, enslave us and make us their low-tech bitches. Ancient aliens would not help us build pyramids. They would rather use our bones to build pyramids. So we have fairly chunky bollocks right there. Now, let's debate some more.
If aliens indeed visited Earth on so many occasions throughout the history, why did they stop all of a sudden now that we have radio and TV and smartphones? If they bothered to visit Earth for some 5,000 years so frequently, in so many shapes and forms, you'd expect at least a trickle these days.
Moreover, how many different alien cultures did visit us really? Just based on these imaginary stories by ancient alien fans, you have hundreds of distinctly different manifestations of aliens and their technology. If there were a single technology, a single pattern showing up, say in both Alaska, Middle East and Australia, one could assume there is something beyond simple human migrations and variations. But aliens that visited the native Americans are nothing like aliens in Armenia or France. This is just like religion. Different versions negate one another.
If aliens did help us, so to speak, how come they gave humans stupid things and not meaningful stuff like advanced medicine, computers and alike. Why did they limit their help to things that ancient civilizations more or less did on their own? And why did 99% of all ancient civilizations vanish if they were so advanced?
If Inca were so advanced, how come a handful of Spanish conquistadors vanquished them with primitive medieval technologies like gunpowder? And if they had prophetic powers, how come they did not foresee the dangers and prepare in advance?
One of the best examples used by ancient alien fans are the Egyptian pyramids. They are claimed to be so wondrous and whatnot that humans could not have built them on their own without extraterrestrial help. Well, the argument is interesting, only it's bollocks.
Note: This image was taken from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Counter-argument: Navvies. The British railroad effort in the 19th century was so huge that in about twenty years, these navigational engineers moved, erected, flattened, and laid down about the same amount of land as all of Egyptian pyramids, using nothing more than raw human labor. In a handful of years, several thousand railroad workers accomplished as much as the ancient Egyptians did across several centuries. Not so magical anymore, eh? People drinking ale beating ancient aliens!
Now, let's examine some of the phenomena mentioned on the TV show. Indian Sanskrit texts mention Vimana. All right, Vimana means a boat. There you go, end of story. Egyptian megaliths seems to show precision cutting work thought to be too advanced for that time. Really? Thought by whom? Someone who's an expert in TV show makeup?
And one more thing - the fact you cannot explain something easily using current scientific evidence does not mean that anything unknown DEFAULTS TO STUPID ANCIENT ALIENS. So let's assume that the cutting work seems to be too advanced for that time. All right. So? You need to continue your investigation and find better answers. The lack of one thing does not automatically prove the existence of another. That's negative logic right there. To give you a simple example. Let's assume you try to prove that the cat's fur is white, but you're not quite sure. Using the bollocks rationale embraced by ancient alien fans, here's how it would sound like:
Evidence shows that the fur was most likely not white. Therefore it is black.
Now, in real science, the train of thought would go thusly:
Evidence shows that the fur was most likely not white. Additional research is required to ascertain the color, which could range from beige to dark gray and maybe even black, although black is not a color, per se. Moreover, there are certain doubts the hair sampled belongs to a cat or that it is even fur. Current research methods also need to be examined.
See the difference? How magical. Then, there's the mention of the mana machine. Oh, now we're talking Star Wars, full force!
Celebrations of Kachinas, helmets? Nope. Merely the fact there are only so many shapes you can use as a headdress to cover the head in any way that it can be worm without tripping or breaking your neck. Hybrid animals in Egyptian hieroglyphs? How exciting. They believed all kinds of things, and where are they now? Sumerian tablets describe ancient creatures that came to Earth to mine gold. Wow, really? Harry Potter is also described in the Amazon Kindle, which is a sort of a tablet too. Does it make him real? What about the Lord of the Rings? Surely that must be true. I mean there was a nine-hour film, that's evidence right there!
Christopher Columbus saw lights in the sky. So? The Sun, the Moon, the stars, lightning, Aurora Borealis, all these can be described as lights in the sky. There are a million atmospheric phenomena that result in emissions of radiation in the visible spectrum. The Bermuda Triangle? Inaccurate and embellished reports. This is probably the PhD of all bollocks right there. The Roswell UFO accident? Nothing more than a tragic air force accident involving either a high-weather balloon or an experimental aircraft technology. And some melted-plastic dummies. Eat that.
Legends of fiercesome monsters? See Harry Potter. Angels? Right. Unexplained structures around the world, showing construction techniques and mathematical concepts thought not have been known at that time? So bloody what? Someone wrote their PhD thesis and made a mistake. Boo-hoo. Research again. Fix your modern work rather than extrapolate into the feces phase space. Noah of the Great Flood? No problem, except that the same story is told over and over again in different cultures and religions, with the main character changing name. A bit of ancient plagiarism.
As a concept, ancient aliens are no different than any other pseudo-scientific religion-flavored mumbo jumbo designed to entertain people with two-digit IQ and aspiring Photoshop ninjas. Just as religious texts are full of discrepancies and absolute exclusion fallacies, so are the ancient alien stories. Potshot guesses, laced with just a tiny bit of would-be facts to create an illusion of science. One big hairy if, which stabs at logic with a rusty spoon.
It comes down to this: no aliens, whatsoever, hence none came here. If they had, we would be slaughter meat. All of the ancient civilizations managed what they could with what they had, and if modern researches failed to discover some of that, it's their problem. Ancient civilizations are also kaput, so they were hardly advanced, because they did not have things like the Internet or antibiotics or reality TV. Lastly, the crown jewel of bollockness, the fact something is not A does not mean it is B. It just means it is not A. Therefore, the fact you can't explain your primitive ancient thingies using facts at hand does not mean aliens exist. It means you're just playing with scientific bollocks.
P.S. The images of the Navvies and Aurora Borealis are in public domain.