Give your species a little more credit

A long time ago, I wrote a piece about how my brother loves that show Ancient Aliens, on “The History Channel.” I use quotations because over the last few years, the channel seems more concerned with Bigfoot, pawn shops, and aliens than it does with actual history. But, suffice it to say, I don’t really care for Ancient Aliens and other similar shows. It’s not because I don’t believe that aliens exist, or even that I don’t believe aliens may have visited the earth. No, it’s because the arguments and “evidence” used on the show are absolutely ridiculous.

My brother and I were watching one such show the other day. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was hosted by the doofus with the spiked hair and goofy name from Ancient Aliens. You may recognize him from all of the memes out there that celebrate his bias toward aliens.


That guy.

Anyway, he was on some sort of expedition exploring the ruins of Puma Punku in South America. This place is home to some amazing architecture and construction…which obviously means that aliens did it. Duh. And that seems to be the fallback argument for all of these shows: “These structures are too advanced for ancient man to have built.” Here are some examples what was “too advanced for ancient man.”

Puma-Punku-Wall Puma_Punku_carvedrock_3

Here, the show provides some pretty stupid arguments about why ancient man couldn’t have built these:

1) The angles are too perfect.

2) The stones are too huge and there aren’t any trees around to move them via log rolling.

3) The natives didn’t even have a written language back then! How could they have built these?!

Let’s address these points, shall we?

As to the tree dilemma, the answer is fairly simple: just go get some goddamn trees. It doesn’t take much. You just have to, you know, walk down the hill and cut some down and then drag ’em back up. You know where else there wasn’t an abundance of trees? Egypt. You know, where the pyramids were built. They just imported them. Finding trees isn’t hard.

They didn’t have a written language? Oh, heavens! I guess it would impossible to draw out instructions. You know, like a blueprint. Seems pretty simple to me. In fact, we still do that. If anyone has ever assembled Ikea furniture, you know that all of their instructions are diagrams.

And that leads us to the first point. The stones are “too well crafted.” The bullshittiest argument of them all. You hear this a lot in these kinds of shows. Something is too advanced for ancient man to have done. They didn’t have the knowledge or the tools or whatever.

To listen to these shows, you’d think that 1,000 years ago people walked around blowing spit bubbles and smearing their own feces on cave walls, totally inept and devoid of any logic or critical thinking. Obviously, that’s not true. And anyone with a modicum of intelligence and the most basic of education would know that.

People 1,000 years ago were no different than you or I, biologically speaking. Same thing if we go back 10,000 years. No difference. They had the exact same brain capacity that we do now. They were capable of the same complex thinking and problem solving that we’re capable of today. There’s zero reason why they wouldn’t have been able to understand or innovate when it came to math, architecture, construction, astronomy, or anything else. They were functionally no different than any human being alive today.

In fact they had some advantages that you and I don’t have. For one thing, time. Back when Puma Punku was built, people didn’t sit around all day watching cat videos and playing video games. They actually spent time outside, in nature, doing things, understanding how it worked.

A prime example of this is the recent discovery that the Egyptians built the pyramids simply by using wet sand to drag the large stone blocks. See, it didn’t take aliens to build the pyramids, just good old fashioned human ingenuity. How do we know that this how the Egyptians did it? Because there are freaking hieroglyphics depicting it. See, pictures can be just as powerful for instructing as a written alphabet.

Another advantage they had back then: zero light pollution. They knew a lot about astronomy because they could see a lot more of the night sky with the naked eye, not because aliens gave them star maps or whatever bullshit these dumbasses on Ancient Aliens believe.


I guess ultimately what I’m trying to say is that ancient human beings had the same sense of curiosity, industry, and ability to reason that we do today. There’s no reason to suspect they were simpletons because they didn’t have modern hydraulics or the internet or telescopic observatories. In order for these ancient astronaut theories to work, the human beings living in the pre-modern world would have to have been complete morons. Unfortunately for spiky haired guy and others like him (I’m looking at you, Von Daniken), there’s zero evidence to support that, and all the evidence to support the idea that ancient humans were basically the MacGyvers of their day.


4 thoughts on “Give your species a little more credit

  1. The accumulation of knowledge creates more knowledge and the abilities of humans increases with knowledge. It creates an exponential increase. We currently live way up the curve from where ancient Egyptians lived but that doesn’t mean we’re at the top of it. 1000 years from now humans will wonder how we survived today…. and that’s a good thing.

  2. Agree with you 100%! Those shows are always ridiculous. Belief in these things is no different than any belief in a supernatural force. The unknown is explainable by God….don’t want to believe in God…just replace God with aliens and done.

  3. Arrrrg! Ancient fucking aliens. I despise everything about that show and damn near everything else the H channel does. An insult to the words logic and intelligence. I can’t be within earshot of AA for 5 seconds without having my bullshit detector blaring wildy, with lights and sirens “woop woop woop” “Danger! Danger! Idiotic logical fallacy alert!” I have a “break glass for tinfoil hat” station in the hall. It is to protect your brain from teh stoopid.

    I have to wonder if they are trying to make people stupid-er or simply cater to the stupid-er? Either way it hurts my head knowing what they are doing. No show on television irks me the way AA does. Dammit now I want to go pound steel in the shop just thinking about it…

    As an amateur astronomer I really appreciate the shout out to light pollution!

    Great post on one of my biggest pet peeves. AA my ass.

  4. It’s funny how these people never comment on some of the burial armor of these ancient civilizations; some of it looked really nice. Granted, most of the armor made was just a re-purposed horse shoe, but the stuff that was made for important people was gorgeous.
    Also, perfect angles? Seriously? It’s not that hard to chisel those out if you know how to use a chisel. You don’t need a compass to get those things done.
    You’ve also managed to make me miss my childhood home; you really can see the night sky really well when you’re 3 miles from the nearest town, especially when that town is stupidly small. I miss that.

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