So a lot of people call me an angry skeptic, because I get really frustrated with mumbo-jumbologists when they refuse to listen to reason and properly examine evidence. My problem is that I used to have a lot of fantastic beliefs, particularly of the occult kind, but once I learned more about science and history and what have you I realized that those beliefs were silly. The way I see it is if I can do it, why can’t they?
Anyway, nothing gets me pissed off more than the theory that human history was intervened upon by some sort of super-advanced race (either a previous terrestrial civilization or ancient astronauts). Until recently I tried to play along with folks when they brought this sort of jazz up, and I actually have at least two friends who believe this nonsense (although they disagree as to whether it was aliens or a lost civilization). However, I just started watching Season 3 of Is It Real? and it started off with an Atlantis episode and also includes an ancient astronaut episode, and I’m at my wit’s end. In my opinion, these people are not only deluded, but they are suffering from an extreme inferiority complex. The tacit premise in every one of these theories is that humans really aren’t all that smart. No way primitive Meso-Americans could have built complex cities or Egyptians could have built massive monuments. Humans are really the special needs kids in the class. How down on yourself do you have to be to believe this nonsense?
I’m especially offended as an artist and writer by these self-deprecating morons. Another tacit premise in their argument is that the human imagination simply isn’t expansive enough to create these myths; apparently humans (or at least early humans) were devoid of concepts of symbolism and metaphor and were completely incapable of advance visual stylization techniques. In other words, they had no aesthetic sense whatsoever. Preposterous! The human mind seems virtually custom-made to imagine things. Look at the nutjobs who believe in ancient aliens! If they can come up with something as absurd as pyramid energy with nothing to go on but some bizarre intuition, why couldn’t the ancients dream up beings from the sky? Myths were essentially the proto-science and proto-philosophy all rolled into one enchilada: they served to explain, predict, and instruct in the absence of more advanced forms of knowledge. They also had some entertainment value. A lot of myths are based on a kernel of truth, I’ll admit that, but they are usually so far divorced from that truth that it is absurd to interpret them as anything other than symbolic fables.
I am especially shocked that these people have apparently never studied any form of classical studies or anthropology. Before I switched to philosophy, I was studying art and classical studies and intended to go into either philology or archaeology. I’ve actually studied Egyptology at a legit academic institution with legit classics scholars; I’ve translated texts (well, photos of massive stone blocks) explaining how the Egyptians built the pyramids. It all makes sense to me. Was this some massive ancient conspiracy to take credit for extraterrestrial beings’ doings? I doubt it. Why can’t these pseudohistorians give credit where credit is due?
The only conclusion I’m forced to draw about these people is that they have a thought disorder of some form, perhaps a relatively benign form of psychosis. Not everyone who believes nonsense has a thought disorder; I used to believe that the Egyptians had advanced technology that we don’t know about. However, once I learned more about ancient Egypt, I realized that this was a childish fantasy not fit for academic circles. Reason and evidence caused me to see the light; why doesn’t it work for them? Mental illness is the only explanation for people who don’t give up ludicrous beliefs when presented with sound evidence to the contrary. This is the very reason I believe in a more outspoken (some would say aggressive) form of skepticism: we need to help these disturbed individuals live better lives.