A Response To The Yeti

I am flattered when anyone takes the time to speculate rationally regarding the nature of my existence, particularly when one goes to the lengths The Yeti obviously did in his missive to me. That having been said, I hope he does not take what I have to say about it as dismissive or disrespectful.

I have several problems with the theoretical premise and it begins in the very first paragraph. Cro-Magnon man likely did not suddenly arrive 35,000 years ago. The same mitochondria DNA evidence that excludes Neanderthals from the ancestry of modern man also pushes the emergence date for modern human beings back to as far as 200,000 years ago

Ignoring that for the moment (because evidence of this type is still in a state of flux) we have to understand that none of the “facts” are fully established. What archeologists present for both peer and public consumption are at best highly educated guesses and attempting to draw hard conclusions based upon those data, or for that matter attempting to categorically refute such theories is an exercise in futility.

Given the above, I am not going to argue the scientific merits of what The Yeti has proposed. I will point out that he and the authors he references seem to suffer from the common human predilections towards compression of history. “Suddenly, civilization appears in Sumer.” While Sumer and Pre-Dynastic Egypt certainly pre-date my memories I can assure you there was nothing “sudden” about their rise. Modern humans’ major advantage over Neanderthals seems to be an innate ability to deal in abstract concepts, particularly numbers, symbols and historical trends. When these abilities developed and were honed, the rise of civilization would seem to be a natural consequence. But it did not happen suddenly, of that I am certain.

The point I am attempting to make with the verbiage above is that the entire record of evolution and the birth of civilization are still too rife with holes to be bent to any one purpose or another.

Whenever I am confronted with theories about anything to do with human beings, or theoretical intelligences, I always fall back on a basic tool of analysis: motivation.

What motivated the hypothesized aliens to come to Earth? Mining metals is suggested, but it seems to me that any race capable of space travel, even if only within the Solar System, could much more profitably mine metals from the asteroids. Consider: once out of the gravity well of their own world, why descend in to another just to collect raw materials that are so much easier to obtain in space? If they can travel from their planet to Earth they can travel to the asteroids and reap the cornucopia of materials available there. As such, the idea that such beings would go to such lengths solely for metals seems unlikely. If they desired a race of slaves it seems to me they have been dangerously neglectful, as their beasts of burden have developed some interesting habits and abilities likely to make them unsuitable for coerced labor.

Perhaps these aliens acted out of mere altruism? They came across proto-humans and saw potential there, so they meddled in order to give them an evolutionary nudge in the proper direction? There is little to be gained in speculation on this point as we can easily imagine that such actions were taken and the theorized benefactors of humanity then moved on to let Homo Sapiens find its own way towards full sentience. Unless we uncover 100,000-year-old genetic laboratories buried under the ice cap of Antarctica (or elsewhere) there is no empirical method of proving or disproving such a theory and no profit in debating it.

But where does this leave me?

Am I a failed genetic experiment? A pet left behind and forgotten by my masters when they left this world? An autonomous monitor, unaware of my underlying purpose? I am viscerally inclined to reject all of these possibilities; however, honesty requires that I not do so. By my own admission I have no knowledge of my origins, or even of my true age. I claim thirty-five centuries, but this is merely an informed guess- perhaps I am far, far older, but my memories were erased when I suffered that head wound so very long ago? Short of submitting to full genetic analysis I am unlikely to come to any definitive answers in the near future.

3 Responses to “A Response To The Yeti”

  1. As long as we’re speculating, it’s worth pointing out the work of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has argued in all seriousness that we (and he) are living in some sort of computer simulation. I’m not sure that this changes any of the basic possibilities, but it adds some variations on the common themes.

    (The argument, in brief, is that one of the following has to be true:

    The human race will never advance much beyond its present level of technical development — which is to say, we’re doomed.

    Our descendants will be a lot less interested than we have already shown ourselves to be in running role-playing simulations.

    Almost all human-like consciousness will arise in the context of such a simulation, not the “real world”.

    It’s creepy, but fun).

    On a less academic level, anyone interested in this blog (including the author, if she hasn’t seen it already) would probably like the PJ Plauger short story, “Child of All Ages”. The protagonist is a kid who, as the story begins, is fourteen on paper but looks more like eight, and keeps getting in trouble for picking fights with her history teacher — most recently for suggesting that work in the dark Satanic mills of the English industrial revolution was a better deal than farm work. I can’t find the story online, but it won several major awards and has been anthologized quite a bit — including in a late ’90s collection called “Immortals” which I haven’t seen, but sounds like it might be generally apropos.

    At any rate, it’s certainly better SF than Velikovsky…

  2. And yet I wonder if indeed you ever would submit to a full genetic scan.

    Something accounts for your regenerative abilities.

    Maybe you should just feel grateful no one decided to fuse adamantium to your skeleton. Ignore that if you don’t get the reference.

    One would have to say that the very abilities you have are signs of something.

    Perhaps Sitchin was wrong – certainly his understanging of atrophysics could use some brushing up, and we have found many things in the last twenty years that change our view of hominids – but just as Velikosy pointed out that the then current view of the Egyptian dynasties was inaccurate – Sitchin may be on to the gist of the story and be way off on the details.

    Why does every culture seem to have ancient stories talking about Gods marrying with humans.

    Think of the Greeks. Gods, to Demigods, to the Age of Heroes.

    Utnaptshim(SP) and Noah in Great Flood Epics.

    Read that, and tell me it doesn’t sound like the Gods were real.
    or this

    I guess the question still comes to one of purpose. As you have had none but surviving, what then will your purpose be?

  3. The above comments were first posted on 08/26/2003 and 08/27/2003, respectively, before being re-posted here today.