My guy, for whatever reason, gets a real kick out of those History channel shows where they talk about how all of humanity’s greatest achievements are all really because of the aliens, and aliens clearly exist because ancient mythology matches up to modern-day beliefs of what aliens would have to be.
Hogwash, I say, not because I particularly doubt the existence of aliens — I don’t — but because the so-called scientists on this show make a fundamental mistake that frustrates me immensely. Namely, they take bits of mythology and use them as scientific proof of not only the existence of aliens but that aliens have been intimately involved with humanity for millenia. One argument (and I use the term very loosely) included the notion that the Spear of Lugh is obviously an alien artifact because it shoots fire and light from its tip and can cut through ranks and ranks of warriors. Another argument put forth the idea that Chinese dragons were alien spacecraft coming down due to the fact that they breathed fire and were indestructible and bore a resemblance to rockets. A third involved Alexander the Great turning back from his invasion of India due to alien spacecraft spooking his war elephants.
Now, what I’m ever so not interested in is a discussion of the plausibility of whether aliens would get involved in human affairs in such a way, or why aliens would care, not because those conversations bother me but because I think they’ve been done before and I want to poke at something a little more meta. Namely, this notion that mythology in any way, shape or form provides scientific evidence. We live in a world in which psychologists have just about proven conclusively that eyewitness reports are usually contradictory and crappy, where the awareness test is a thing a bunch have people have been exposed to, where even before we get into the fact that we’re discussing mythology we’re looking at the evidence these scientists — namely, witness accounts — being skewed. Perception is one of those trisky things that you have to allow for, and these guys don’t.