It’s an article that has all the trappings of a creationist strawman collection. Filled with random proclamations about the complexity of life, the mysteries of genetics, obscure references to unnamed experiments and filled with random quotes while heavily borrowing from Behe’s incompetent screed used by the Discovery Institute, funded by Templeton, and shown to be wrong again and again, you might think that its author is a lackey for the modern creationist movement. Just to drive that image home, his credentials state that he was enlisted in the Army as an intelligence agent, and after his military career ended, began to conduct “independent studies on human evolution” discovering that everything modern biology knows is just flat out wrong. And yet, he has no affiliation with the Discovery Institute and the modern creationist movement. Long time readers might even remember his name mentioned in a number of my popular posts. About the ancient astronaut theory.
You see, this article was penned in 1998 by UFOlogist and conspiracy radio celebrity Lloyd Pye, whose claim to fame these days rests in an odd, misshapen human skull which he says is proof of alien/human hybrids from the ancient past. He’s never had anything to do with the Seattle think tank, which was founded to cram a religious mythology into classrooms across the nation at the request of wealthy evangelicals who believe that scientists are immoral, evil liars whose only goal in life is to indoctrinate children into atheism. Instead, Lloyd has a keen interest in alien life and converted to the science fiction gospel advanced by van Daniken. So why was he borrowing from Behe and unleashing a logorrheic Gish Gallop of creationist word salad science and obscure mentions to some sort of designer? Was this a flirt with creationism before he substituted designers of the supernatural kind with those which are actually scientifically plausible, even if remotely so? And could we use this as a peek into the mind of an ancient astronaut theorist arguing against evolution to bolster a very personal belief in an alien creator?
Considering the similarities between them, I would actually argue that the fervent believers in the notion of a God acting as a scientist setting up the universe as an experiment in a very deist way which sees the deities working on a quantum level, and ancient astronaut theorists, are ideological siblings. The only difference is the entity in which they believe. Amusingly though, creationists actually apply critical thinking skills to tales of mysterious alien species engineering humans in their labs, H.P. Lovecraft-style and often dismiss the idea for its lack of concrete evidence, yet suspend all criticism when it comes to divine magic. Likewise, many ancient astronaut theorists rely on the same I-don’t-know-therefore-my-deity-of-choice arguments so favored by the creationists whose beliefs they dismiss as entirely baseless. And this is why this essay by Pye is quite interesting. It shows how easily high-minded creationists and passionate ancient astronaut theorists can be mistaken when you don’t know to what they say they ascribe loud and clear. And really, I could take intelligent design proponents as a tad more than transparent apologists for magic if they were to include aliens in some of their ruminations. At least then they’d say something at least tangentially related to real science.
[ illustration by Aaron Sims ]