Yesterday I blogged on the strange story of Dr. Sam Chang - the scientist who seems not to exist - who allegedly reported that junk DNA was "ET." Well, as I alluded to yesterday, the article swiftly made the rounds on the internet, becoming the basis for yet more wild ufological speculations, even making a brief appearance on the website of the late Zechariah Sitchin. Yet, as critics quickly poked holes in the story, it seemed to grow.
The story, to me, has all the hallmarks of a "dye the waters" sort of operation, a psychological operation designed to plant a "meme" in society - in this case, the "meme" of tying junk DNA to extraterrestrials - and then monitoring where that meme travels as it makes its way through the information-maze of the internet. Additionally, one of the hallmarks of such operations is to monitor the comments and information that is kicked loose because of it.
As the story grew, it was then revealed that Dr Francis Crick - yes, that's the Francis Crick of Watson & Crick who discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, thus providing the foundation for unraveling the genome of every species in existence, including the human - published in his 1981 book Life Itself that DNA might itself might be the result of extraterrestrial genetic engineering.
That raised the bar considerably; this was no non-existent scientist babbling unscientifically about junk DNA and extraterrestrials, this was the Nobel-prize winning decoder of the helix himself. For someone of his stature to weigh in on the matter - and to do so before there even was a Human Genome Project - does give one pause. If "they" were indeed looking for something of this nature, how might "they" go about doing it?
Well, for one thing, they would look at the ancient myths that talk about it, the Mayan and the Mesopotamia, for example. Those stories are fairly clear that the "divine" component was provided by the male donor and the human by a human female...in other words, they would look at the y-chromosome of males for one thing, and at old ones at that. But this process would be long and arduous, and highly speculative at that.
But this methodology implies something else about the Sam Chang hoax, and that is that other than a few posts by the ever-hysterical exopolitics crowd, there was no mention in the original story of any such things, either of the ancient myths nor of focused concentration on confirming them. We were left with a story with little scientific foundation, hovering in mid-air, making its rounds, being discussed and eventually denied, while elsewhere, geneticists were doing.... what exactly?
If you're like me, you sense a "smell" to this whole affair, a "paranormal bouquet" as Mulder once said in an early episode of the X-Files. Crick's comment is unsettling for precisely that reason, and he surely would have known, or at least heard of, those ancient stories. Watch them carefully.