I was glad to see that they had Ian Tattersal, an actual scientist, on Ancient Aliens tonight. Unfortunately he didn't get to rebut any of the more nonsensical comments from the usual Ancient Alien theorists and the directors made it out to look like he was agreeing with some of their more outlandish claims.
For instance, if you don't study anthropology avidly you would probably come away from the show thinking that all the speakers on the program are in agreement that the size of man's brain abruptly went from ape-size to the size it is now, and that the hominid brain suddenly split into two hemispheres. In actuality, it's the fringe speakers who believe this; Ian only affirmed that symbolic thought seems to have happened suddenly in homo sapiens after leaving Africa.
The hominid brain did not grow in size in an unfathomably quick time period. From the fossil records, we can see that the brain increased from 400cc to around 1200 cc in about 6 million years at a relatively constant rate. Also, the brain didn't form into two hemispheres suddenly in homo sapien sapient as the show implied.
Furthermore, Ian's stance on symbolic thought is disputed; other scientists claim that there is evidence of symbolic thought in stone carvings, musical instruments, and religious practices dating long before the Upper Paleolithic...and in some cases even before the reign of the Neanderthals over 300,000 years ago. The progression of symbolic thought, when looked at in light of this, has a marked and gradual developement process which grows more complex through the ages; it didn't just happen one day, or one millenia, or even over a few thousand years. It began and grew as our minds became better and more adapted to it.
The show also put forth the concept that we had to have been altered in order not to lose our hair, only briefly describing the dynamics that the mainstream uses to describe our nakedness. Neither did it mention other theories such as the "Aquatic Ape Theory," which some consider fringe science but which is still more popular and accepted in scientic circles than "the aliens had to do it!"
Giorgio Tsoukalos, editor of the Legendary Times, says it makes no sense that man should lose his hair just to immediately go into the north and have to make clothes to replace it. But in reality, hominids were confined to mostly tropical areas for at least the first 5 million years of their existence and we don't know when they lost their hair. It is only 750,000 years ago that we Homo Antecessor first ventured into the north, past the treelines, and into the tundra. And it isn't until 40,000 years ago that homo sapiens sapient followed in his footsteps, coming there from the new species 140,000 years of previous development in the tropics.
In the program, Giorgio also mentioned the FOXP2 gene as being the catalyst that brought speech to mankind, stating that it had no precursors and came from nowhere.
A simple search in Wikipedia will show anyone who is curious that FOXP2 protiens are found in other mammals as well as songbirds, reptiles, and fish.
"We found that contrary to previous reports, FoxP2 is not highly conserved across all nonhuman mammals but is extremely diverse in echolocating bats."
Mr. Legendary Times seems to be reading Sitchen and Van Donniken books published decades ago without bothering to check recent updates in science before getting on national TV, and History Channel doesn't even allow real scientists or critics to call him on it. It's all in the ratings I guess.
Next, the show made it out to seem that the larynx and other organs that contribute to human speech cannot be found in any other animal and that it appeared suddenly with no evolutionary steps. Actually, it is controversial whether neanderthal and erectus could form all the words that we do because there isn't a lot of fossil evidence left that can tell us that. While other hominids may have had a more "primitive" larynx than we do if you're looking at it from our perspective, most scientists agree that even early forms of the genus homo had some kind of language. Other wise things we know that the did, such as mass sea travel and upholding larger communities than apes, would not have been possible.
The show makes it out as if without a human larynx, speech is not posssible, and that there is no reason for us to have formed our type of larynx, and that it could only have been introduced to us via visitors from outer space.
The truth is that walking upright necessitates an alteration in the larynx because of the way it would be repositioned. I imagine that if our larynx had evolved in a different way to compensate an upright posture that we would have had to create different words to go along with our voices...while the ancient alien theorists seem to believe that we wouldn't be able to speak at all. Even apes can speak with in sign language, you guys. I mean gimme a break.
Also, if the formation of a larynx that can produce human language must needs to be helped along by genetic engineering from aliens...I wonder why those aliens needed to genetically alter parakeets and parrots and other "talkin" birds?
Something to think about.
To sum up my complaints I'll say this: it took a lot of coincidences for life to form on this planet, and for that life to ultimately produce mankind. The Big Bang in still inconceivable without an Unmoved Mover, the conditions for life on a planet cannot even yet be duplicated in a lab with forced coincidences being introduced by scientists, and if a meteor hadn't struck Pantagonia during the age of the dinosaurs then mammals would never have become bigger than a mouse. Indeed, if that meteor had struck during the time of the dinosaurs but just a little bit sooner than it did, there would have been no mammals yet and reptiles would have just re-populated the earth again. And if Africa had not slammed into Eurasia at the exact perfect time in the evolution of apes, hominids would never have formed. And maybe if the Ice Ages hadn't proceeded exactly like they did,hominids would never have become as intelligent as we are now.
But I see no need for any genetic altering in order to explain the very documented progression of human evolution. There is no longer any "missing link" to speak of and the timeline has all transitional forms in the human record pretty well documented, with no miraculous genetic links evident.
Not saying there's no life on other planets, or even that they didn't visit (or are visiting) here. Just that we don't need them to explain our evolution, and that we'll always still need God to explain it...aliens or no.
We need God to explain life because without an Unmoved Mover, there can be no movement, and hence no "Big Bang." We may need God to explain the global coincidences I listed above, but not to explain why we are different anatomically from the animals; there's still no evidence or reason for genetic alterations of the human species.
And believing that aliens produced the coincidences, genetic or otherwise, that led to mankind is no less scientific than believing in a Creator. After all, if you explain it all with aliens then how do you explain why and and how the aliens themselves evolved? You still need an Unmoved Mover for the Big Bang. And in order for aliens to be going around the universe altering life, you still need natural evolution to have happened in order for those aliens to have formed. The first aliens to have gone around altering worlds would have had to have evolved without any help from outside forces at all, or by the help of a supreme being.