Ancient Astronauts/Headscratchers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • It is more than a little insulting to humanity as a whole (and particularly the cultures involved) to imply that in ancient times humans could not have been capable of their great accomplishments without some help from a more "advanced" civilization. The Mayincatec in particular have a long "history" of being taught their technology by aliens. [1] (Not to mention that if we can only have advanced civilization because of aliens, did the aliens need to have another, more ancient alien race teach it to them? And an even older one to teach them? Actually David Brin got a lot of mileage out of just this elaboration). The Unfortunate Implications are further enhanced when you note that, aside from perhaps Stonehenge, hardly anyone ever suggests Europeans had extraterrestrial tutors and the Greeks and Romans obviously did all their stuff on their own (though this is partially due to the lack of impressive Greek/Roman/European buildings and structures that have survived to present day. Pyramids are big and obviously awesome; the current Parthenon ruins are less so).
    • Not to mention, honestly, aliens traveled all the way to Earth, and advanced our various ancient civilizations, and the best they could do is pyramids? Granted the pyramids were big and impressive, but honestly they're just really big crypts when you get right down to it; they're not indicative of advanced technology in the slightest. Apparently, Sufficiently Advanced Aliens are incredibly bored and have nothing better to do that teach primitive civilizations how to waste resources on elaborate gravesites. One suspects that this trope survives because space-traveling Egyptians and the like are really, really cool.
      • Maybe the aliens didn't want to be colonialists and tell us what to think and do but still wanted to help us, so they came down and said, "We'd like to help you, what would you like to know?" And the humans said, "We want to build mausoleums. REALLY big ones! Can you teach us how to make those?" And the aliens said, "(sigh) Okay, sure." As for why Europe isn't mentioned often with Ancient Astronauts, it's probably because Eurasia had iron, beasts of burden and wheels, which make large construction projects much easier. The assumption is that without these, you simply could not build things to the size and accuracy of the Pyramids.
  • How come, if these Ancient Astronauts were inclined to teach ancient humans the fine arts of civilization, they never thought to mention, oh, say... "By the way, guys: the Sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma, it rains when water vapor condenses at high altitude, plagues happen when you don't keep your food, water, and living spaces clean enough, and eclipses or comets are mundane astronomical phenomena. Cutting other people to bits won't affect these things in the slightest, so knock off that sadistic crap with the human sacrifices, why don't you?" All over the world, whether it's cutting out hearts or strangling people in peat bogs, a little basic honesty with us monkey-boys could've saved countless lives! Yet believers in Ancient Astronauts never call them out for the violent results of letting primitives think that "the gods on high" need sucking up to. Why aren't they all considered Abusive Precursors by default, for not telling ancient people how futile such slaughter was?
    • For the same reason that every religion says killing is bad and every religion has had their followers kill. You can tell humans all the rational and ethical things you'd like and they're still going to screw it up.
    • How many people today would be able to tell you about the sun and incandescent plasma. There's something to your point but many of these wouldn't mean anything. Its not like there weren't Ancient Greeks who were spot on about the whole Earth revolves around the Sun... and lost that debate in Ancient Greece.
  1. Or visitors from Europe, which may be even worse.