Myths, Legends, and Lies
“Pseudo” is a prefix applied to words under specific conditions. When applied to words like “classical” and “random,” pseudo basically means “sort of.” Pseudo-classical means sort of classical, pseudo -random equals sort of random. And so on. It looks like a duck and walks like a duck, especially to people who have never actually seen a duck before.
Today, two pseudos are more prominent than the rest: Pseudo-history and pseudo-science. Pseudo-history is sort of history. Pseudo-historians make statements about the past based on textual and artifactual evidence. Unlike regular historians, though, they often jump to conclusions that cannot be proven, being based on rather sketchy evidence.
“The marks on that stone in Nebraska sort of look like runes? Obviously Templar Vikings hid the Holy Grail in North America. See some weird stuff in a 60 year old film? Well, that just proves the moon landing was faked.”
Then there is pseudo-science, which is just like science, only without all the experimentation and peer review. That makes sense. Peer-review sessions were always the words part of school.
“Besides,” the pseudo-scientist says, “I know about evolution, and I know Bigfoot is actually an offshoot North American Gigantopithacus. No Ivory Tower will tell me different. Ivory has al the crystalline properties for brain control anyway.”
When someone uses the fact that they’ve heard of Templars before to prove some wild theory, they are probably a pseudo-historian. When someone uses big, vague words to describe their idea, like cosmic energy or quantum tunneling, they are probably pushing pseudo-science.
The best thing about pseudo-experts is they don’t play exclusively in their own fields. A great combination of pseudo-science and pseudo-history has gained a lot of attention as of late: The Ancient Astronaut Theory.
The ancient astronaut theory basically states that millions, or thousands of years ago, or whatever amount of time is convenient, aliens descended from the stars to influence humanity. They are responsible for everything from killing off dinosaurs to teaching people about beer.
Any giant stone structure, any weird pictograph, or any strange old story is evidence. Dragons breathing fire were clearly rocket ships. Stonehenge, the Pyramids, and Machu Pichu were built by aliens to control Earth’s cosmic energy. The missing link between humans and apes was an alien.
And, of course, its all been a big cover up.
There are a lot of problems with the ancient astronaut theory. Problems no amount of enthusiasm or hair gel can solve.
The time scales are always shifting around in ancient astronaut theory. Aliens killed dinosaurs 65 million years ago, then they just hung out for a while. Then, in 10,000 B.C. they taught the ancient Sumerians all about civilization. Then, thousands of years later, they went to the Americas and helped the Mayans build Pyramids. You would think aliens would be a little better at time management.
Also, if aliens can travel between stars, why do they need giant pictures on the ground to tell them where to land?
And, ultimately, the ancient astronaut theory is just implausible. It’s not a complete impossibility that aliens visited Earth in the ancient past, but there are much, much better explanations for everything that don’t require us to make as many assumptions.
Recently, as I waste time watching Ancient Aliens, one thing in particular has been bothering me about the ancient astronaut theory. Much of the theory relies on old stories and legends as its basis. Supposedly, this is out of respect for our ancestors. We should take them at their word. People don’t just make stuff up.
Except that people do just make stuff up. All the time. We should take ancient people at their word? Who do you know today that you would take at their word? What fantastic stories would you believe tomorrow?
Modern people and those from antiquity appear very different. But these differences are superficial. Deep down, humans have always been the same. The truth is, no matter what age they live in, people are liars. Especially storytellers.