"Chariots of the Gods?"

Ron Kephart (rkephart@osprey.unf.edu)
28 Sep 1996 00:56:44 GMT

Fellow sci.anthers,
I sent this to the Florida Times-Union today after watching the ABC-TV
program last night, and I thought I'd share it with you. I'll let you
know if it gets printed. -Ron Kephart

Readers who watched ABC-TV's program "Chariots of the Gods" on
September 26 were treated to a wonderful example of racism
masquerading as science. For years, Erich Von Daniken has been
trying to "prove" that the architectural, mathematical, and
astronomical knowledge displayed by the peoples of ancient Egypt,
Mesoamerica, South America, etc. were gifts of "ancient astronauts."
The assumption, stated by Von Daniken in the program, is that these
ancient peoples were too "primtive" to have done these things, so
they must have had outside help- and he means outside the Solar

First, none of the peoples mentioned in the program were "primitive."
The Mayans, Incas, Egyptians, even the gatherer-hunters of ancient
France, were all completely modern people. They were us, but with
different lifestyles. There was nothing inherent in them to prevent
them from figuring out anything we can figure out. Secondly, nearly
all the "impossible" achievements of these peoples have been explained
by archeologists and anthropologists, who of course did not appear
in the program. They were not allowed to appear because if they had,
Von Daniken's entire thesis would have been debunked in seconds.

Finally, on a personal note, for several years I studied Aymara, one
of the languages of the descendants of the Incas who live in what
are now Peru and Bolivia. Many of them consider Von Daniken's thesis
racist and insulting. It makes good TV, but it is not good science
and it does not give our ancestors the credit they deserve.

Ronald Kephart
Jacksonville, Florida