In The Beginning
I find the idea completely fascinating, as incredible and crazy as it may sound. The idea is that the human race, in it's infancy, was helped along by a race of creatures from outside our solar system who introduced us to technology that allowed us to emerge from the caves and become the dominant species of the planet earth. Ancient aliens if you will. Some would even go as far as saying that these visitors manipulated our genes to produce the modern humans we are today..."and He created man in His image". Now I know that at first this seems quite ridiculous, some insane theory designed to sell books and make somewhat interesting TV documentaries. In fact, I myself was not that impressed by this notion at first and never gave it much thought until I started to allow myself to think about it a little more seriously. More recently, I have begun to see the error in judgment in dismissing ideas outright because they sound a little far fetched or obscure. We as people tend to do this instinctively because, I think on some level it makes us feel superior to those 'nuts' who promote these types of ideas. However, I realize now that if we always took this stance as a starting point, it would be pretty much impossible for any new discoveries and new learning to take place and therefore hold back our progress as a civilization (and in fact that is exactly what happened during the dark ages as we are all aware). So why not think about ideas and concepts a bit more deeply and keep an open mind even if they sound a little silly at first. The worst thing that can happen is that you may remain unconvinced, but at least you used your mind constructively and thought the problem through using your reasoning skills as opposed to taking the easy way out and believing that you already have reality all figured out. Using this new philosophy I now look at everything as possible and admit to myself that I can never know anything for sure, so I just forget the intellectual arrogance and go where the discussion takes me. And today it takes me out of this world and potentially into others, so lets just go with the flow.
I think the biggest obstacle for me concerning the idea that ancient aliens played a part in our beginnings is the fact that there is no general acceptance of this theory so therefore the tendency is to believe it must be wrong. Surely if this theory was in fact true we would all know about it and accept it just like the theory of relativity. Well I began to realize that even if these extraterrestrials did in fact visit in our early evolution, the less sophisticated humans of that time would probably not understand this concept as we would understand it today, they just wouldn't have the capacity to do so. If these visitors arrived before the invention of writing the ideas may have been passed down verbally through generations, referring to 'Gods' who came from the 'Heavens' to help man understand his place in the universe. So in other words when the organized religions of today's world discuss God perhaps they are so disconnected from the original inspiration of our ancestors that they do not realize who or what they are actually talking about. Wouldn't it be great if we could test this theory out in modern times using a less developed civilization to see how they would interpret visitors from the sky. Well in fact, in the early twentieth century a plane landed on a remote Polynesian island whose inhabitants were completely cut off from the outside world. The explorers left and when the island was visited a second time the explorers realized that the islanders remembered the aviators as Gods and had built a tribute to the aircraft they saw years before using twigs and branches. A very interesting look into how an isolated population would view new visitors from the heavens! Now imagine this civilization lasting another few thousand years in isolation and the story being passed on from generation to generation. Surely most of the facts would get lost along the way and only general concept of Gods from Heaven would remain. In other words I don't think that the idea of a heavier-than-air aircraft being propelled by a piston engine and piloted by people from across an ocean could be understood by the original inhabitants nor accurately passed down to future generations. Maybe only a vague picture or statue of the aircraft would remain, and in fact we do find some strange flying craft carved into the walls of ancient caves and painted in the background of some religious art. So it seems to me that the evidence that would be available to us in the present day would be pretty inconclusive and therefore I am not surprised that no consensus on this subject exists. Something to think about anyway.
Another interesting idea to consider is the story of Atlantis which discusses a very sophisticated population of early humans with incredible technology. It is easy to dismiss it as just a story but it is hard to imagine how ancient people came up with this tale out of the blue when technology was in its infancy. To me it's the equivalent of cavemen inventing ideas of people who use horses to pull chariots and live in walled cities... it is just a little too much of a mental leap for that point in time. When we compare the story of Atlantis to Biblical stories for example, I find we get into a situation of two very separate levels of sophistication with regards to the imagination of the writers, and therefore it leads me to believe that it's not just a story. So if we suppose the Atlantians did in fact exist we would then have to ask ourselves where did they get the advanced technology. Again, we cannot know for sure at this point if any of this really did happen so it is pointless to cling to this too strongly, but at least there are some technological marvels of the ancient past that still exist today that we can see with our own eyes.
If we turn our attention to ancient Egypt, the Americas, China, and even Japan among other locations we find many ancient structures such as massive pyramids, many of which are constructed to such exacting standards that we would not be able to reproduce them today with the same level of accuracy, and in the case of the giant structures off the coast of Japan they may be as old as 10,000 years. Now I don't know about you but I have a hard time accepting this. With all due respect to the highly intelligent civilizations of the past I just can't understand why that knowledge would not be passed on allowing us in this day in age to build on that knowledge and therefore surpass the ancients in every way. It's like we regressed in some areas and I cannot see how that could occur unless a certain technology was lost along the way. Was it the famed Atlantians who helped build structures such as the pyramids? Incredibly the Egyptians leave little to no writing about the pyramids even though everything else about Egyptian culture was very well documented. If you did in fact create the most incredible structures on planet earth wouldn't you want to brag about it? It's all very intriguing but again it's still speculation so perhaps we can gain something from the fossil record.
From my days in college I remember a very strange anomaly that existed in the fossil record of humans, a 'missing link'. In other words there seems to be a jump from ape-like creatures that may have walked on two legs to anatomically modern humans with large brains that walked upright. We would expect to see a record containing a smooth transition from one species to the next but this is not the case, there is an odd gap that still hasn't been filled to this day. Now we can assume that maybe it's just a matter of time that this fossil that will bridge the two species will be found, or we can suppose that it just doesn't exist...who knows? The interesting thing to me is that the fossil gap could have existed anywhere in our evolution but curiously it ended up right at that critical point where we seem to cross that threshold from 'animal' to 'man' if you will. Not before not after. I guess it would be safe to say that if the aliens did manipulate our genes then we would have progressed quickly at that point and a critical fossil link would be missing. How long they followed our progress after that and whether or not they are still around we just don't know, but what I do know is that the more we learn about the universe the more we realize that it is highly unlikely that we are alone in it. We are continuously discovering new planets and judging by how pervasive and organized life is here on earth (so organized in fact that it would be a good topic for another discussion) many scientists believe that life will exist anywhere that proper conditions exist. So if we look at the odds they will tell us that there is an overwhelmingly good chance that life exists elsewhere, the only real question is how advanced are the other civilizations? Are they capable of getting here? And if they are would they even be interested in us?
I think another way to look at it is from our human point of view. If we got to a stage in our evolution where we could travel to other worlds and interact with new civilizations would we? I believe that we most certainly would. We would take the opportunity to be on the other side of things, we would play the part of the Gods and try to spread our values and ideals throughout the universe. In fact that is exactly what the dominant empires of their times do right here on earth. So in summary, I think that strange sounding ideas are sometimes not so strange when you look at them from a different point of view. I'm quite certain that if someone tried to tell the American Natives 500+ years ago that white skinned people will arrive in huge ships from across the ocean they would probably be kind of skeptical to say the least. However, if just one of them kept an open mind and said "who knows, it could happen" he would have been right!