Friday, April 22, 2011

Chariots Of The Gods : Erik Von Daniken

A couple of days ago, I read this e-book, Chariots of the Gods, By Erik Von Daniken.
It presented an interesting idea, of Gods being some aliens who had visited us in the past. And I found the concept really really interesting.

NOTE : To understand the rest of the blog, reading the book is a good idea.
Or at least google/wiki about it.

At First, the idea seems very fascinating and convincing. I mean, just give it a serious thought, once.
  • Here is the possible answer to how there are so many religions in the world: Different aliens, thought of as local gods, protected their followers and worshipers
  • The possible answer to how there are thousands of Gods in some religions, while just one in others: some aliens were more powerful, hence one sufficed, rest were team workers and believed in team spirit.
  • Even a possible window to the construction of some of the most fascinating ancient structures: from the pyramids and the Stonehenge, to strange scientific methods and  weird mathematical calculations.
  • A possible explanation for the numerous unreasoned geographical patterns on the earth: some would have signified a landing spot, others were giant billboards giving directions.
On Second thoughts, however, I found the idea flawed, and full of shortcomings. A lot can be questioned and debated in general. It is like outsourcing Gods to some aliens.

This is because, in the general discussion, there are some 6-7 important questions that I find unanswered
  • If our gods were some aliens, then who were the aliens' gods ?
  • If they too had some other alien gods of same sort visit them in their past, then in this cycle of sorts, who were the Gods of the first such civilization?
  • And if at some level, there was a first civilization in Universe, why can't we happen to be the first civilization in Universe? 
  • How do we know, that among such, say 1000s of civilizations, which numbered civilization are we? i.e., how technically advanced are we?
    This question reminds me of a Turing Machine Problem: How does the TM know when it is going to stop, or what state it will be in, or will it ever stop, until its execution actually stops? Its like life: You are sure will die one day, since you were born on earth, but when do you think you will die?
  • What if the aliens were like, say the spiders?
    Note that the author only considers the aliens as man-like, Because most caves' walls  have human like figures.
    I mean, on earth itself, there are so many species, of which humans are in domination. So why on some other planet also, human like species will have to be in domination?
Finally, There is a third thing in my afterthoughts: Should we pursue alien intelligence as actively as the book advocates?

Suppose, there are 2 alien worlds, say world "A" and "B". Now, in this whole universe, the nearest possible civilizations, unaware of each other's existence could be some 10s or 1000s of light years apart, say "X" light years apart. Further suppose, world A guys start thinking of them as smart, and want to pursue alien intelligence and thus want to communicate to World B guys via some mechanism.

Now neither A knows about presence of B or value of X, nor B knows about presence of A or value of X. In this situation 3 cases are possible:
  1. A is technically more advanced :- In this case, world B will simply not possess the technical know-how to decode world A message. In fact, it may never even know that there was actually some message.
  2. A and B are on similar levels:- In this case, the 2 can interact like any 2 random species on earth. The mutual relationship could range from coordinative to war-like - it will depend on how like or alike the races are.
  3. A is technically less advanced than B :- In this case, any message sent by world A will be easily decoded by world B. Since world B is superior, world A is at risk of attack, subordination, slavery, being expanded upon, annihilation. This case is similar to what happens when a technologically advanced nation meets a backward nation (replace nation with species, tribes, or anything) - exploitation.
For option 2, the existence and growth rate of the 2 worlds should be similar - this has slim chance of happening - since as humans we have progressed into today's technological advances only in the past 500 years or so, while the lifetime of entire universe is estimated at 13 billion years.
For option 1, earth is believed to have come in existence 4 billion years ago, which means there is smaller probability of it happening given age of universe, and hence, option 3 has very high priority of happening.

Thus, pursuing alien intelligence appears more harmful than beneficial, at least in simplistic test. Overall, the book serves as good fodder for the grey cells, and is must read to form your own opinions :)

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