I started watching a program about people who believe extraterrestrials helped build our civilization, thinking it might be good for a laugh, but after several minutes of observing how much their method of collecting and presenting information was like the techniques used by creationists, I had to change channels or lose the will to live. When I first read Chariots of the Gods as a teenager, I thought it sounded kinda cool, but when I realized that it gave aliens credit for all the great works of civilization, reducing the humans to spectators or unskilled labor, it just pissed me off.
The show covered all the usual examples; the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Nazca Lines, Machu Pichu, Palenque, et cetera. The alien supporters first argued for what creationist would call irreducible complexity. These great works were far too complex, precise and big for measly humans to have created. The Nazca lines, they assert, are only visible from the air, so they must be for alien spacecraft and the sarcophagus lid at Palenque illustrates a man in a spaceship. Furthermore, all the petroglyphs and cave paintings show people in space suits.
The Great Pyramid must have been alien built because too many blocks had to be made and moved in too short of a time, the ramps would be too long, and the base is too closely aligned to the compass points. This makes perfect sense if you disregard the skilled workers’ village, the tools, the internal ramps, the ability to see the North Star, and previously built pyramids that clearly show their evolution of pyramid building.
The lines and pictures on the Nazca plain look a little like airport runways, they include drawn representations of animals that are hard to make out while standing on the plain and it’s weird because nobody lives there. The lines actually mark underground water sources, some of which are still there, all the designs are visible from the hills adjacent to the plain, so aircraft are not required, and even if they were only visible from above, most such art has a religious connection and many religions have sky gods who could be the intended viewers; spaceships aren’t necessary.
Machu Pichu is just amazing and no one is sure how or why it is there. Since Machu Pichu is largely still a mystery, space aliens is the only logical explanation, right?
The lid of the sarcophagus of King Palenque looks like an illustration of a man in a spaceship and he’s buried in the middle of a pyramid, so he must be really, really important, like a god from outer space. The biggest problem for alien adherents with this assertion is that the Mayans had a written language which has been translated, so we know exactly who King Palenque was (he was a king) and we know what the picture on the lid represents (the king going to his afterlife). While we’re on the subject of pictures, crude drawings of people with headdresses may look like they have space helmets, but we already knew that people wore headdresses.
Like I said, advocates of chariots of the gods are a lot like creationist; they start with a preconception and try to make the evidence fit their beliefs rather than basing their beliefs on accumulated evidence, they select the data that seems to fit and ignore, remain ignorant of, or disparage anything that doesn’t fit, and invent lies to cover whatever is left over. I wonder if the space alien gods taught them those techniques.