untitled skeleton
January 18, 2008
Apologies for the format of this document, I think I got the core ideas down though

Savages roam the plain. Suddenly the low rumble which has been troubling them for the last little while rises into a scream, scattering them. A large black object appears in the sky and the noise abates; the object hangs there, barely emitting a hum. Two white lights come on and a beeping starts. The object descends. The savages watch. Beep, beep, beep! The object is landing. It pauses, hovering over a tree. Beep, beep, beep! The object rises a little, moving slightly to the right; abruptly, it completes its descent, crushing the tree. The lights go out. The beeping stops and there is silence.

The savages watch. An entrance appears in the side of the craft and two humanoids emerge. One speaks into his collar: "I need a 3-niner on a 6.4 at 2 degrees, do you copy?" A voice crackles out over a radio - "We copy. Nice job on the landing there." The humanoids gaffaw to themselves and start setting up their equipment.

The purpose of the story is to show how an "uncivilised" mind can attribute magical/godlike abilities to everyday objects, when it does not understand how those objects are functioning. It is an unscientific approach that none-the-less has been used down the ages by humans to explain the inexplicable. The point of the story is that these things are inexplicable not because they are actually magical/godlike, but because the savages are missing vital information. If that information is not missing, those things are not magical/godlike, they are simply outcomes of a logical process. The implication of the story is that mythology/religion is mainly filled with mis-interpretations of at-the-time unknown processes, and that viewed with modern eyes, those same processes would be routine and everyday.

Here is an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrita

"Amrit features in the Samudra manthan, where the gods, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. With the help of the asuras (demons), they churned the sea in order to find the nectar of immortality, amrit. After drinking it, the gods regained their immortality and defeated the demons."

Here's the same story seen with modern eyes:

"Visitors (origin unknown), had some kind of illness. They used machines to harvest a drug from the ocean, which they ingested, and this cured their illness."

Another modern interpretation:

"Visitors (origin unknown), had an engine which was low on fuel. They used machines to harvest fuel from the ocean, which they stored, and this solved their problem."

The cargo-cult [wiki] interpretation:

"Visitors (origin unknown), were fighting a war, and they needed supplies. They used machines to harvest supplies from the ocean, which they shipped home, and this helped them win the war."