ARE WE REALLY FROM HERE? OR SOMEWHERE ELSE?
There's an interesting book out apparently that while I have not read, bears mentioning since it seems to challenge some of the convenient assumptions of human origins made by mainstream science. Many of you sent this to me, and I think the subject matter is intriguing enough to pass along here, especially as, if one reads the article carefully between the lines, is using the standard idea of "evolution as environmental response" to argue against the idea that humans evolved entirely on their own, on Earth, and entirely naturally:
Now, frankly, I find the idea that my occasional bad back problems are an argument for anything else other than a poor mattress or particularly bad dreams is not very convincing. Other arguments - such as our inability to withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight without significant health problems - might be an argument of a human evolutionary response to a different environment than the earth. And similarly with the large size of human babies' heads, and so on. Most interestingly: our bodies' clocks or "circadian rhythms" are adjusted to a longer daily clock than the actual terrestrial day, which, of all the arguments surveyed in the article, I find the most appealing and compelling. (Interestingly enough, the Martian day - depending one whether one measures the sidereal day or the solar day - is between 24 hours and 37 minutes long, and 24 hours and 39 minutes long. In other words, the Martian day is more in line with the human body's natural clock and circadian rhythm than is the terrestrial day. When these last three things are taken together, it begins to argue somewhat more persuasively. At least, it should make one sit up, take notice, and entertain the possibility.
But there's another bit of science news arguing the same thing, and I referred to this in my most recent book, Covert Wars and the Clash of Civilizations, and it is this article from the prestigious science journal Icarus:
The Icarus article wastes no words:
They go on to argue that their detailed analysis that the human genome (map here) displays a thorough precision-type orderliness in the mapping between DNA’s nucleotides and amino acids. “Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language.” They say this includes the use of decimal notation, logical transformations, and the use of the abstract symbol of zero. “Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing,” they assert.
This interpretation leads them to a farfetched conclusion: that the genetic code, “appears that it was invented outside the solar system already several billions years ago.” This statement endorses the idea of panspermia, the hypothesis that Earth was seeded with interstellar life. It’s certainly a novel and bold approach to galaxy conquest if we imagine this was a deliberate Johnny Appleseed endeavor by super-beings.
However, there are other possibilities too. I’ve previously written about the far-out notion that the universe we observe was built just for us and exists inside a computer program (with apologies to The Matrix film trilogy). Therefore the idea that some programmer somewhere wrote the genetic code for life in their model universe is consistent with the authors’ suggestions.
Well, yes. The genetic code, and indeed the whole process of evolution, has to my mind more the appearance of design than not (sorry Mr. Dawkins), but the questions posed by the Icarus article in terms of Mr. Ellis' book are rather contradictory: if the "code" was intelligently designed, then why design such a bad code for human life here, inclusive of large babies' heads, back aches, inability to live so close to the sun, and body clocks off by an hour from the terrestrial day? Or, on the other view, why design such a code for an intelligent and conscious organism such as homo sapiens sapiens to live elsewhere, and then bring it here and strand it on Earth without tweaking the code a bit to allow a more harmonious existence? After all, if you can design it, you can tweak it.
The bottom line is this: the outlines of that deepest mystery - human origins - are being clarified by science. But in clarifying the outlines, the mystery isn't rendered less mysterious, it is merely made into a sharper mystery.
See you on the flip side.
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