The Birth of Civilizations and the gods, part 2

See part one here:

Part 2

The conceptualization in our time by a mushrooming group of writer-scholars who see the ancient gods as extraterrestrials guiding us to civilization is undermined by the in-depth picture developed by academics in their examining the rise of civilized societies.

My part 2 examination will focus on our transition from a roaming, hunter-gathering people grouped in bands up to 150 with a basically egalitarian culture to large scale settlements of thousands living in a stratified order under a centralized authority.

Historian Jared Diamond notes how the pace for this varied throughout the world:

“Vanished states tended to leave visible archaeological hallmarks, such as ruins of temples with standardized designs, at least four levels of settlement sizes, and pottery styles covering tens of thousands of square miles. We thereby know that states arose around 3700 BC in Mesopotamia and around 300 BC in Mesoamerica, over 2,000 years ago in the Andes, China, and Southeast Asia, and over 1,000 years ago in West Africa….” [1]

In this part 2 of “the birth of civilizations and the gods” I will focus on the rise of Sumerian city states 5500 or so years ago, the Egyptian order manifesting 5000 years ago, and the people of Israel 3200 and then 2700 years ago. Particular attention will be placed on the gods of these peoples.

Before taking a detailed look of the progress of developments of our species during a critical time of transition in the so-called “fertile crescent” (from the eastern Mediterrean to Mesopotamia), beginning around 13,000 years ago, some key factors of paleothic life will be noted in order to see precursors to later developments.

Around 40,000 years ago, the Neanderthals and Denisovans (a percent of whose DNA lives on us, due to interbreeding), disappeared, leaving us Sapiens alone as the intelligently creative species in the homo genus. With cave art and shamanism generally dated to 35,000 years ago and the oldest musical instrument (a flute made from animal bone) dated to 42,000 to 45,000 years ago, I will survey archaeologically based revelations from around 45,000 that shed light on later human cultural achievements. Stone tool use and the controlled use of fire date back to much earlier days among earlier species categorized as “hominins”. For the purpose of this paper, providing a context often missing in the presentation of ancient alien claims of ET engineering of our culture, I will focus on the developments that on the surface seem to be major and sudden leaps in our advancement.

Modern humans (sapiens) had significantly settled in Europe a couple of thousand years before a major climate change 40,000 years ago contributed to the demise of long-settled Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovans in Siberia. Homo sapiens were not geographically limited and, being more dispersed world-wide, survived.

Historian David Christian provides an overview of noteworthy developments before this time:

“Evidence of technological and cultural change from before a hundred thousand years ago is foggy and difficult to interpret. Our own lineage began to spread within Africa starting at least 200,000 years ago, which may point to the advantages of collective learning. But in a world of small, scattered communities, most of them little larger than extended families, change was slow, erratic, and easily reversed. Whole groups could die out suddenly, along with the technologies, stories, and traditions they had built up over many centuries. The largest catastrophe of this kind occurred about 70,000 years ago. Genetic evidence shows that the number of humans suddenly fell to just a few tens of thousands…Our species came close to extinction. The catastrophe may have been triggered by a massive volcanic eruption on Mount Toba in Indonesia that pumped clouds of soot into the atmosphere, blocking photosynthesis for months or years and endangering many species of large animals. But then human numbers began to increase again; humans spread more widely, and the machinery of collective learning roared into life once more.” [2]

But, later a clearer picture:

“In the past one hundred thousand years, we get some glimpses of how our ancestors lived and find clearer evidence for collective learning……Collective learning meant that, over the generations, human communities hunted and gathered with growing efficiency.

“Some sites also give us intimate glimpses of how our ancestors lived. At Blombos Cave, on the Indian Ocean shores of South Africa, archaeologist Christopher Henshilwood and his collegues have excavated sites dating from 90,000 to 60,000 thousand years ago. The inhabitants of Blombos Cave ate shellfish, fish, and marine animals as well as land mammals and reptiles. They cooked in well-tended hearths. They made delicate stone blades and bone points that were probably hafted to wooden handles with specially prepared glues. But they were also artists. Archaeologists have found ocher stones with geometrical scratch marks on them that look for all the world like symbols or even writing. They also made different-colored pigments and ostrich-shell beads…..” [3]

Christian notes that “the remains left by Paleothic communities offer grainy snapshots of their societies. But each snapshot represents an entire cultural world, with stories, legends, heroes, and villians, scientific and geographical knowledge, and teaditions and rituals that preserved and passed on ancient skills. This accumulation of ideas, traditions, and information was what allowed our Paleothic ancestors to find the energy and resources they needed to survive and flourish and migrate farther and farther in a harsh, ice-age world.” [4]

The key to addressing how we first went from living in small extended family bands to being part of city-states under centralized authority along the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates Rivers seems to require addressing the rise of religious ideation. Not only because the ancient alien theorists characterize the early gods as guiding ETs, but because that ideation was the basis for people granting and recognizing the newly formed centralized authority in those areas.

Historian Jared Diamond, in chronicling the movement “from egalitarianism to kleptocracy”, sketches out 4 basic types of societies:

Band: consists of dozens; nomadic; egalitarian decision making; religion does NOT justify “kleptocracy” (ie a centralized authority controlling and managing resources and large scale work projects).

Tribe: consists of hundreds, kin-based clans; fixed settlement, single village; decision making is either egalitarian or directed by “big-man”; religion not used to justify “kleptocracy”.

Chiefdom: thousands of people in one or more villages; bonded by class and residence: decision making centralized in the chief (a hereditary position) with rudimentary bureaucracy and conflict resolution now more formally centralized (as opposed to informally dealt with); religious ideation now begins to be used to justify “kleptocracy”.

State: over 50,000 people in multiple villages and cities under a centralized authority with a bureaucracy of many levels and control of information and force; existence of laws and judges; religious ideation justifies the kleptocracy of the states.[5]

Given that there is a growing popular adherence to the idea that the ancient gods were guiding and ruling extraterrestrials, it is helpful to trace the development of religious ideation over a long space of time in order to have a view of a context in which to evaluate that claim.

A 2016 paper surveying many studies related to “Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion” opens up its introductory abstract by boldly declaring:

“Recent studies of the evolution of religion have revealed the cognitive underpinnings of belief in supernatural agents, the role of ritual in promoting cooperation, and the contribution of morally punishing high gods to the growth and stabilization of human society.”[6]

Part one of this paper ended with the description of the genetic-based development for vocal learning capacity, which was the 3rd and final key duplication of the SRGAP2 gene around 500,000 uears ago in the common ancestor to Neanderthals and Sapiens. “A case can be made that transmission of religious concepts from one individual to another requires complex mental imaging, and a capacity for symbolic thought and communication that might include ritual, dancing, singing, gesture, art and ornamentation, as well as language. Some genetic and anatomical changes enabling speech and language can be traced to the most common ancestor of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans about a half million years ago. It has been argued that rudimentary language could be older than symbolic thought.”[7]

Modern humans began migrating in significant numbers from Africa around 60,000 years ago and were present in southern Europe 48,000 years ago. From the simple art forms of simple patterns carved on rocks and red ochre painted on sea shells 60 to 90,000 years ago, there is a clear leap in artistic signs evident in the sapien artifacts found in southwest Germany and dating to around 40,000 years ago. Again, here is historian David Christian’s description of the African artifacts 20 to 50,000 years before the German area ones: “Archaeologists have found ocher stones with geometrical scratch marks on them that look for all the world like symbols or even writing. They also made different-colored pigments and ostrich-shell beads…..” 

The Germany artifacts found at the ancient sapien cave settlement included ones that are symbolic in nature and with much greater elaborate detail and complexity: eight bone and ivory flutes; figurines of human and animal forms (the latter representing perhaps a deified supernatural force); and a human figure engraved on ivory, appearing with bent legs and bent arms raised above the head and a long tail or penis. This figure is “a similiar representation [on pottery] of dancing male figures [as] known from the Neolithic period [beginning around 12,000 years ago] of south east Europe and the Near East”. [8]

A factor in the development of our species that has been referenced by some as a possible sign of alien genetic engineering of our species is the introduction of an enhancing segment (the D allele) to the microcephalian hene related to brain size and capacities. [9] This entry of that segment occurred between 14,000 and 60,000 years ago with 37,500 the averaged out time assumed by scientists. This gene segment entered a hominim 1.1 million years that is not part of the hominim lineage that resulted in homo sapiens. Neanderthals have been ruled out as introducing this into the sapien genome which happened in Eurasia or Central Asia. Denisovans have not neen ruled out.

This genetic factor is referenced by some as a possible explanation for the evident leap in artistic quality from the artifacts of 60,000 plus years to those from 40,000 years ago. Another factor, that of the regard given to stories about high “sky gods” who regulate and engineer human affairs and advances in order to be in synch with a cosmic order, are mentioned by some ancient alien thinkers as signs of guiding contact with beings from extraterrestrial civilizations. To gain clarity on the viability of such a notion, we need to look at the development of religious ideation.

From artifacts also found in burials and painted imagery on cave walls some sense of religious type sentiments can be intuited. The limited information on this front from 10s of thousand years ago has been supplemented by examining hunter-gatherer societies (from 33 locations worldwide) sheltered and seperate from modern civilization: “[The] oldest trait of religion, present in the most recent common ancestor of present-day hunter-gatherers, was animism…[and then after] belief in an afterlife emerged, followed by shamanism and ancestor worship. Ancestor spirits or high gods who were active in human affairs were absent in early humans, suggesting a deep history for the egalitarian nature of hunter-gatherer societies….”[10]


I have decided to not finish this paper and will leave as is. Instead, I will focus on a paper analysing ce3 and 4 cases published by Ardy Clarke.


[1] Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, 20th edition 2018, p.267

[2] David Christian, Origin Story, 2018 p 176-177

[3] Christian, Origin Story, p 177

[4] Christian, Origin Story, p 179

[5] Diamond, Guns.Germs, and Steel, p 257

[6] Hervey C. Peoples, Pavel Duda, Frank W. Marlowe; Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion; Human Nature 27, pgs 261-282; 2016

[7] Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religions…..

[8] Yosef Garfinkel, Dance in Prehistoric Europe, Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2010

[9] Richard Dolan, The Alien Agendas: A Speculative Analysis of Those Visiting Earth; 2020; chapter one. Pgs 11-21. Dolan cites the work of a professor of the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology as proposing the alien hypothesis in her 2006 The Order of the Dragon: The Battle Between the “Other History” and the Accepted History by Dr. Collen Clements.

[10] Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion….