There are three propaedeutic points we should discuss before responding to the question of whether alien technology was required to help build the edifices and monuments of ancient civilizations (e.g. the Egyptian pyramids and the Incan citadels at Machu Picchu).
First, it is possible that non-intelligent alien life exists in the universe. Indeed, it would be surprising if it did not, given the fact that there are a billion trillion stars with almost as many exoplanets within the habitable zone of those stars.
This does not imply anything about God’s creation, the human soul, or God’s salvific intention. It merely shows the heights and breadth of his imagination and creative power.
The Transphysical Soul
Secondly, it is a completely different question as to whether there is intelligent life in the universe that corresponds to human life. If so, I would contend that such a being would have a transphysical soul—and if they have a transphysical soul, it would have to have been created by God—who is a transphysical agent.
The evidence for this may be found in medical studies of near death experiences, Godel’s Theorem, David Chalmer’s Hard Problem of Consciousness, the five transcendental desires for perfect truth, love, goodness, beauty, and home, and the need for innate heuristic notions in human intellection.
I explain this fully in my book The Soul’s Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason, and I summarize the evidence in question #86 of the free study guide on the Magis Center website—called From Nothing to Cosmos.
This presupposes some knowledge of self-consciousness, the five transcendental desires, and the evidence of a transphysical soul from peer-reviewed medical studies of near death experiences. All of this evidence for a human transphysical soul is explained in previous questions in the same study guide. See also the article, “Science, Medicine, and Near Death Experiences”.
Would Aliens Have Souls?
Thirdly, if intelligent alien life (like that of humans) is found on another exoplanet, and if the above conclusions are correct—then it would imply a transphysical soul in those aliens.
We would have to infer a transphysical cause of their transphysical soul (i.e. God) just as we would have to infer a transphysical cause for our transphysical soul. As Christians we would be obliged to catechize those aliens, and if they consent, to baptize them. Christians believe that Christ’s redemptive act is sufficient not just for our planet, but for all eternally destined life on any planet.
Who Built Those Edifices?
With these considerations in mind, if intelligent aliens were really responsible for the edifices of ancient civilizations, then it would not conflict with belief in God, belief in creation of our universe 13.8 billion years ago, or belief that God has created each of our individual transphysical souls—rather, it would confirm these beliefs.
That being said, we must proceed to the question of whether there is truly evidence for alien technology creating the edifices of the ancient world. In my view, such inferences are highly exaggerated—and represent leaping non-sequitur’s – and an underestimation of ancient human technology and craftsmanship.
Let’s take one example concerning ancient aliens melting the stones of ancient Incan edifices to produce “perfect fits.” This conjecture has been seriously challenged by reputable archaeologists who show that ancient Incans did have the technology—and probably used their technology to build those edifices.
Incan Technology and Abilities
One website called AncientAliensDebunked.com has references to good archaeological evidence for this contention. Here is the conclusion to the article about Incan technology:
Every shaped stone at any Incan site has what archeologists call “pit marks” or “pit scars”. They occur when stone hammers are used to quarry and shape the stone. In addition archeologist have found a huge amount of lncan stone hammers at the quarries , and almost uniquely to the Incans, they are found at the building sites too, because the Incans only rough cut the stones at the quarries they did the finish work on site so the stones would perfectly fit with the stones around it.
Well how did the Incans accomplish these beveled edges? They used a smaller gauge stone hammer for the outer section. The evidence for this can be seen on every single stone that has these edges.
You can see that the pit scars are much more numerous and smaller on the edges, showing that more blows with a smaller stone was used to achieve the detail work. Another reason this is no mystery to archeologists is because there are a large number of stones in various stages of construction in the ancient Incan quarries. These stones reveal that indeed the Incan stone masons were using some of the most basic tools, even for their time.
If you want to learn more about the details I will link you to some peer reviewed papers that can tell you more than you’d ever want to know. Including details of experiments done. For example a single scientist in 90 minutes accomplished similar cuts with similar tools.
All this makes what Mike Dunn says here one of the most off the wall things ever said in the Ancient Aliens series.
Concerning the Pyramids
Let’s take another example. The well-known contention that the blocks used to build the Egyptian pyramids were simply too heavy to be pulled across lengthy stretches of desert (supposedly requiring help from aliens to do so) has also been debunked by a group of physicists in the prestigious physics journal Physical Review Letters.
They show that wet sand on the surface of the dragging planks cuts the friction in half allowing both animals and humans to collectively pull the blocks across long stretches so long as a person stands in front pouring water on the sand. There are pictographs of this procedure found in Egyptian artifacts. The article is summarized in the University Herald.
Virtually every contention concerning the need for alien technology to explain ancient edifices has been debunked by reputable archaeologists and physicists—who have examined the capacities of ancient technology (combined with both slave labor and precision craftsmanship).
These studies show that the hypothesis of ancient alien technology is very probably an invention of the imagination of non-professionals who have prematurely and precipitously leapt to their conclusions without a careful investigation of the capacities for ancient human technologies.
Even if there were aliens who helped ancient human beings (who apparently did not need any), it would not undermine the existence of God, the creation of the universe, or the creation of individual transphysical souls by God.
This article was first published on The Magis Center Blog. It has been republished here with permission.
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About Fr. Robert Spitzer
Fr. Spitzer was president of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009. While president, he significantly increased the programs and curricula in faith, ethics, service, and leadership. He has appeared on Larry King Live, The Today Show, The History Channel, and PBS. He appears weekly on EWTN in Father Spitzer’s Universe.