DARWINISM : A Crumbling Theory
Part 1 of 2
An overlooked explanation for why the fossil record shows primitive and complex life appearing suddenly on Earth, with no predecessors, is extraterrestrial intervention.
Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 10, Number
1 (Dec '02-Jan 2003)
Since writing my first essay for NEXUS in mid-2002 [see 9/04], I've been bombarded by emails (nearing 200) from around the world, many offering congratulations (always appreciated, of course) and many others requesting more instruction or deeper insight into areas discussed and/or not discussed.
Let's face it: nearly everyone is interested in Darwinism, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the new kid in town, Interventionism. Because of length constraints, this essay must be in two parts. Here, in Part One, I'll go over the basics currently known about the origin of life on Earth. Later, in Part Two, I'll discuss what is known and what can be safely surmised about the origin of humanity.
We begin by understanding that Charles Darwin stood on a very slippery slope when trying to explain how something as biologically and biochemically complex as even the simplest form of life could have spontaneously generated itself from organic molecules and compounds loose in the early Earth's environment. Because that part of Darwin's theory has always been glaringly specious, modern Darwinists get hammered about it from all sides, including from the likes of me, with a net result that the edifice of "authority" they've hidden behind for 140 years is crumbling under the assault.
Imagine a mediaeval castle being pounded by huge stones flung by primitive, but cumulatively effective, catapults. Darwinism (and all that term has come to represent: natural selection, evolution, survival of the fittest, punctuated equilibrium, etc.) is the castle; Darwinists man the battlements as the lobbed stones do their work; Intelligent Designers hurl the boulders doing the most damage; Creationists, by comparison, use slings; and the relatively few (thus far) people like me, Interventionists, shoot a well-aimed arrow now and then, though nobody pays much attention to usÉyet.
Remember, a well-aimed (or lucky--in either case, the example is instructive) arrow took down mighty Achilles. Darwinists have heels, too.
LIFE, OR SOMETHING LIKE IT
In Charles Darwin's time, nothing was known about life at the cellular level. Protoplasm was the smallest unit they understood. Yet Darwin's theory of natural selection stated that all of life--every living entity known then or to be discovered in the future--simply had to function from birth to death by "natural laws" that could be defined and analysed. This would of course include the origin of life. Darwin suggested life might have gradually assembled itself from stray parts lying about in some "warm pond" when the planet had cooled enough to make such an assemblage possible. Later it was realised that nothing would likely have taken shape (gradually or otherwise) in a static environment, so a catalytic element was added: lightning.
Throughout history up to the present moment, scientists have been forced to spend their working lives with the "God" of the Creationists hovering over every move they make, every mistake, every error in judgment, every personal peccadillo. So when faced with something they can't explain in rational terms, the only alternative option is "God did it", which for them is unacceptable. So they're forced by relentless Creationist pressure to come up with answers for absolutely everything that, no matter how absurd, are "natural". That was their motivation for the theory that a lightning bolt could strike countless random molecules in a warm pond and somehow transform them into the first living creature. The "natural" forces of biology, chemistry and electromagnetism could magically be swirled together--and voilà!Éan event suspiciously close to a miracle.
Needless to say, no Darwinist would accept terms like "magic" or "miracle", which would be tantamount to agreeing with the Creationist argument that "God did it all". But in their heart-of-hearts, even the most fanatical Darwinists had to suspect the "warm pond" theory was absurd.
And as more and more was learned about the mind-boggling complexity of cellular structure and chemistry, there could be no doubt. The trenchant Fred Hoyle analogy still stands: it was as likely to be true as that a tornado could sweep through a junkyard and correctly assemble a jetliner.
Unfortunately, the "warm pond" had become a counterbalance to "God did it", so even when Darwinists knew past doubt that it was wrong, they clung to it, outwardly proclaimed it and taught it. In many places in the world, including the USA, it's still taught.
TOO HOT TO HANDLE
The next jarring bump on the Darwinist road to embattlement came when they learned that in certain places around the globe there existed remnants of what had to be the very first pieces of the Earth's crust. Those most ancient slabs of rock are called cratons, and the story of their survival for 4.0 billion [4,000,000,000] years is a miracle in itself. But what is most miraculous about them is that they contain fossils of "primitive" bacteria! Yes, bacteria, preserved in 4.0-billion-year-old cratonal rock. If that's not primitive, what is? However, it presented Darwinists with an embarrassing conundrum.
If Earth began to coalesce out of the solar system's primordial cloud of dust and gas around 4.5 billion years ago (which by then was a well-supported certainty), then at 4.0 billion years ago the proto-planet was still a seething ball of cooling magma. No warm ponds would appear on Earth for at least a billion years or more. So how to reconcile reality with the warm-pond fantasy?
There was no way to reconcile it, so it was ignored by all but the specialists who had to work with it on a daily basis. Every other Darwinist assumed a position as one of the "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" monkeys. To say they "withheld" the new, damaging information is not true; to say it was never emphasised in the popular media for public consumption is true.
That has become the way Darwinists handle any and all challenges to their pet theories: if they can no longer defend one, they don't talk about it, or they talk about it as little as possible. If forced to talk about it, they invariably try to "kill the messenger" by challenging any critic's "credentials". If the critic lacks academic credentials equal to their own, he or she is dismissed as little more than a crackpot. If the critic has equal credentials, he or she is labelled as a "closet Creationist" and dismissed. No career scientist can speak openly and vociferously against Darwinist dogma without paying a heavy price. That is why and how people of normally good conscience can be and have been "kept in line" and kept silent in the face of egregious distortions of truth.
If that system of merciless censure weren't so solidly in place, then surely the next Darwinist stumble would have made headlines around the world as the final and absolute end to the ridiculous notion that life could possibly have assembled itself "naturally". They couldn't even be sure it happened on Earth.
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
The imposing edifice of Darwinian "origin of life" dogma rested on a piece of incontrovertible bedrock: there could be only one progenitor for all of life. When the fortuitous lightning bolt struck the ideally concocted warm pond, it created only one entity. However, it was no ordinary entity. With it came the multiple ability to take nourishment from its environment, create energy from that nourishment, expel waste created by the use of that energy and (almost as an afterthought) reproduce itself ad infinitum until one of its millions of subsequent generations sits here at this moment reading these words. Nothing miraculous about that; simply incalculable good fortune.
This was Darwinist gospel--preached and believed--until the bacteria fossils were found in the cratons. Their discovery was upsetting, but not a deathblow to the Darwinist theory. They had to concede (among themselves, of course) that the first life-form didn't assemble itself in a warm pond, but it came together somehow because every ancient fossil it spawned was a single-celled bacteria lacking a cell nucleus (prokaryotes). Prokaryotes preceded the much later single-celled bacteria with a nucleus (eukaryotes), so the post-craton situation stayed well within the Darwinian framework. No matter how the first life-form came into existence, it was a single unit lacking a cell nucleus, which was mandatory because even the simplest nucleus would be much too "irreducibly complex" (a favourite Intelligent Design phrase) to be created by a lightning bolt tearing through a warm pond's molecular junkyard. So the Darwinists still held half a loaf.
In the mid-1980s, however, biologist Carl Woese stunned his colleagues with a shattering discovery. There wasn't just the predicted (and essential) single source for all forms of life; there were two: two types of prokaryotic bacteria as distinct as apples and oranges, dogs and cats, horses and cowsÉtwo distinct forms of life, alive and well on the planet at 4.0 billion years ago. Unmistakable. Irrefutable. Get over it. Deal with it.
But how? How to explain separate forms of life springing into existence in an environment that would make hell seem like a summer resort? With nothing but cooling lava as far as an incipient eye might have seen, how could it be explained in "natural" terms? Indeed, how could it be explained in any terms other than the totally unacceptable? Life, with all its deepening mystery, had to have been seeded onto Earth.
PANSPERMIA RAISES ITS UGLY HEAD
Panspermia is the idea that life came to be on Earth from somewhere beyond the planet and possibly beyond the solar system. Its means of delivery is separated into two possible avenues: directed and undirected.
Undirected panspermia means that life came here entirely by accident and was delivered by a comet or meteor. Some scientists favour comets as the prime vector because they contain ice mixed with dust (comets are often referred to as "dirty snowballs"), and life is more likely to have originated in water and is more likely to survive an interstellar journey frozen. Other scientists favour asteroids as the delivery mechanism because they are more likely to have come from the body of a planet that would have contained life. A comet, they argue, is unlikely ever to have been part of a planet, and life could not possibly have generated itself in or on a frozen comet.
Directed panspermia means life was delivered to Earth by intelligent means of one kind or another. In one scenario, a capsule could have been sent here the same way we sent Voyager on an interstellar mission. However, if it was sent from outside the solar system, we have to wonder how the senders might have known Earth was here, or how Earth managed to get in the way of something sent randomly (à la Voyager).
In another scenario, interstellar craft manned by extraterrestrial beings could have arrived and delivered the two prokaryote types. This requires a level of openmindedness that most scientists resolutely lack, so they won't accept either version of directed panspermia as even remotely possible. Instead, they cling to their "better" explanation of undirected panspermia because it allows them to continue playing the "origin" game within the first boundaries set out by Charles Darwin: undirected is "natural"; directed is "less natural".
Notice it can't be said that directed panspermia is "unnatural". According to Darwinists, no matter where life originated, the process was natural from start to finish. All they have to concede is that it didn't take place on Earth. However, acknowledging that forces them to skirt dangerously close to admitting the reality of extraterrestrial life, and their ongoing "search" for such life generates millions in research funding each year. This leaves them in no hurry to make clear to the general public that, yes, beyond Earth there is at the very least the same primitive bacterial life we have here. There's no doubt about it. But, as usual, they keep the lid on this reality, not exactly hiding it but making no effort to educate the public to the notion that we are not, and never have been, alone. The warm pond still holds water, so why muddy it with facts?
A PATTERN EMERGES
In my book, Everything You Know Is Wrong, I discuss all points mentioned up to now, which very few people outside academic circles are aware of. Within those circles, a hard core of "true believers" still seizes on every new discovery of a chemical or organic compound found in space to try to move the argument back to Darwin's original starting point that somehow life assembled itself on Earth "naturally".
However, most objective scholars now accept that the first forms of life had to have been delivered because: (1) they appear as two groups of multiple prokaryotes (archaea and true bacteria); (2) they appear whole and complete; (3) the hellish primordial Earth is unimaginable as an incubator for burgeoning life; and (4) a half-billion years seems far too brief a time-span to permit a gradual, step-by-step assembly of the incredible complexity of prokaryotic biology and biochemistry.
Even more damaging to the hard-core Darwinist position is that the prokaryotes were--quite propitiously--as durable as life gets. They were virtually indestructible, able to live in absolutely any environment--and they've proved it by being here today, looking and behaving the same as when their ancestors were fossilised 4.0 billion years ago. Scalding heat? We love it! Choked by saline? Let us at it! Frozen solid? We're there! Crushing pressure? Perfect for us! Corrosively acidic? Couldn't be better!
Today they are known as extremophiles, and they exist alongside many other prokaryotic bacteria that thrive in milder conditions. It would appear that those milder-living prokaryotes could not have survived on primordial Earth, so how did they come to be? According to Darwinists, they "evolved" from extremophiles in the same way humans supposedly evolved on a parallel track with apes--from a "common ancestor".
Darwinists contend such parallel tracks don't need to be traceable. All that's required is a creature looking reasonably like another to establish what they consider a legitimate claim of evolutionary connection. Extremophiles clearly existed: we have their 4.0-billion-year-old fossils. Their descendants clearly exist today, along with mild-environment prokaryotes that must have descended from them. However, transitional forms between them cannot be found, even though such forms are required by the tenets of Darwinism. Faced with that embarrassing problem, Darwinists simply insist that the missing transitional species do exist, still hidden somewhere in the fossil record, just as the "missing link" between apes and humans is out there somewhere and will indeed be discovered someday. It's simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
For as expedient as the "missing link" has been, it's useless to explain the next phase of life on Earth, when prokaryotes began sharing the stage with the much larger and much more complex (but still single-celled) eukaryotes, which appear around 2.0 billion years ago. The leap from prokaryote to eukaryote is too vast even to pretend a missing evolutionary link could account for it. A dozen would be needed just to cover going from no nucleus to one that functions fully. (This, by the way, is also true of the leap between so-called pre-humans and humans, which will be discussed in Part Two).
How to explain it? Certainly not plausibly. Fortunately, Darwinists have never lacked the creativity to invent "warm-pond" scenarios to plug holes in their dogma.
DOING THE DOGMA SHUFFLE
Since it's clear that a "missing link" won't fly over the prokaryote-eukaryote chasm, why not assume some of the smaller prokaryotes were eaten by some of the larger ones? Yeah, that might work! But instead of turning into food, energy and waste, the small ones somehow turn themselves--or get turned into--cell nuclei for larger ones. Sure, that's a keeper! Since no one can yet prove it didn't happen (Thank God!), Darwinists are able to proclaim it did. (Keep in mind, when any critic of Darwinist dogma makes a suggestion that similarly can't be proved, it's automatically dismissed, because "lack of provability" is a death sentence outside their fraternity. Inside their fraternity, consensus is adequate because the collective agreement of so many "experts" should be accepted as gospel.)
To Interventionists like me, the notion of prokaryotes consuming each other to create eukaryotes is every bit as improbable as the divine fiat of Creationists. But even if it were a biological possibility (which most evidence weighs against), it would still seem fair to expect "transition" models somewhere along the line. Darwinists say "no" because this process could have an "overnight" aspect to it. One minute there's a large prokaryote alongside a small one, the next minute there's a small eukaryote with what appears to be a nucleus inside it. Not magic, not a miracle, just a biological process unknown today but which could have been possible 2.0 billion years ago. Who's to say, except an "expert"? In any case, large and small prokaryotes lived side by side for 2.0 billion years (long enough, one would think, to learn to do so in harmony), then suddenly a variety of eukaryotes appeared alongside them, whole and complete, ready to join them as the only game in town for another 1.4 billion years (with no apparent changes in the eukaryotes, either).
At around 600 million years ago, the first multicellular life- forms (the Ediacaran Fauna) appear--as suddenly and inexplicably as the prokaryotes and eukaryotes. To this day, the Ediacaran Fauna are not well understood, beyond the fact they were something like jellyfish or seaweeds in a wide range of sizes and shapes. (It remains unclear whether they were plants or animals, or a bizarre combination of both.) They lived alongside the prokaryotes and eukaryotes for about 50 million years, to about 550 million years ago, give or take a few million, when the so-called "Cambrian Explosion" occurred.
It's rightly called an "explosion", because within a period of only 5 to 10 million years--a mere eye-blink relative to the 3.5 billion years of life preceding it--the Earth's oceans filled with a dazzling array of seawater plants and all 26 of the animal phyla (body types) catalogued today, with no new phyla added since. No species from the Cambrian era looks like anything currently alive--except trilobites, which seem to have spawned at least horseshoe crabs. However, despite their "alien" appearance, they all arrived fully assembled--males and females, predators and prey, large and small, ready to go. As in each case before, no predecessors can be found.
THE PACE HEATS UP
Volumes have been written about the Cambrian Explosion and the menagerie of weird plants and animals resulting from it. The Earth was simply inundated with them, as if they'd rained down from the sky. Darwinists concede it is the greatest difficulty--among many--they confront when trying to sell the evolutionary concept of gradualism. There is simply no way to reconcile the breathtaking suddennessÉthe astounding varietyÉthe overwhelming incongruity of the Cambrian Explosion. It is a testament to the old adage that "one ugly fact can ruin the most beautiful theory". But it's far from the only one.
All of complex life as we understand it begins with the Cambrian Explosion, in roughly the last 550 million years. During that time, the Earth has endured five major and several minor catastrophic extinction events. Now, one can quibble with how an event catastrophic enough to cause widespread extinctions could be called "minor", but when compared to the major ones the distinction is apt. The five major extinction events eliminated 50% to 90% of all species of plants and animals alive when the event occurred.
We all know about the last of those, the Cretaceous event of 65 million years ago that took out the dinosaurs and much of what else was alive at the time. But what few of us understand is the distinctive pattern to how life exists between extinction events and after extinction events. This difference in the pattern of life creates serious doubts about "gradualism" as a possible explanatory mechanism for how species proliferate.
Between extinction events, when environments are stable, life doesn't seem to change at all. The operative term is stasis. Everything stays pretty much the same. But after extinction events, the opposite occurs: everything changes profoundly. New life-forms appear all over the place, filling every available niche in the new environments created by the after-effects of the catastrophe. Whatever that is, it's not gradualism.
In 1972, (the late) Stephen J. Gould of Harvard and Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History went ahead and bit the bullet by announcing that fact to the world. Gradual evolution simply was not borne out by the fossil record, and that fact had to be dealt with. Darwin's view of change had to be modified. It wasn't a gradual, haphazard process dictated by random, favourable mutations in genes. It was something else.
That "something else" they called punctuated equilibrium. The key to it was their open admission of the great secret that life-forms only changed in spurts after extinction events, and therefore had nothing to do with natural selection or survival of the fittest or any of the old Darwinist homilies that everyone had been brainwashed to believe. It was the first great challenge to Darwinian orthodoxy, and it was met with furious opposition. The old guard tagged it "punk eek" and called it "evolution by jerks".
TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES
What Gould and Eldredge were admitting was the great truth that evolution by natural selection is not apparent in either the fossil record or in the life we see around us. The old guard insisted that the fossil record simply had to be wrongÉthat it wasn't giving a complete picture because large tracts of it were missing. That was true, but much larger tracts were available, and those tracts showed the overwhelming stasis of life-forms in every era, followed by rapid filling of environmental niches after each extinction event. So while parts of the record were indeed missing, what was available was unmistakable.
Arguments raged back and forth. Explanations were created to try to counter every aspect of the punk-eek position. None was ever particularly convincing, but they began to build up. Remember, scientists have the great advantage of being considered by one and all as "experts", even when they haven't the slightest idea of what they're talking about. That allows them to throw shot after shot against the wall until something sticks, or until the target of their wrath is covered in so much "mud" that it can't be seen any more. Such was the fate of the punk-eekers. By the early 1990s, they'd been marginalised.
One can hardly blame the old-guard Darwinists for those attacks. If granted any credence, the sudden radiations of myriad new species into empty environmental niches could have gutted many of the most fundamental tenets of gradual, "natural" evolution. That idea simply could not become established as a fact. Why? Because the warm pond was drained dry, biochemistry was rendering the "small-eaten-by-large prokaryotes turned into eukaryotes" story absurd, and the Cambrian Explosion was flatly inexplicable. If "sudden radiation" were heaped onto all of that, the entire theory of evolution could flounderÉand where would that leave Darwinists? Facing righteous Creationists shouting, "See! God did do it after all!" Whatever else the Darwinists did, they couldn't allow that to happen.
Speaking as an Interventionist, I don't blame them. To me, God stands on equal footing with the lightning bolt. I see a better, far more rational answer to the mysteries of how life came to be on planet Earth: it was put here by intelligent beings, and it has been continuously monitored by those same beings. Whether it's been developed for a purpose or toward a goal of some kind seems beyond knowing at present, but it can be established with facts and with data that intervention by outside intelligence presents the most logical and most believable answer to the question of how life came to be here, as well as of how and why it has developed in so many unusual ways in the past 550 million years.
So now we come to the crux.
Darwinists go through life waving their PhD credentials like teacher's pets with a hall pass, because it allows them to shout down and ridicule off the public stage anyone who chooses to avoid the years of brainwashing they had to endure to obtain those passes. However, their credentials give them "influence" and "credibility" with the mainstream media, who don't have the time, the ability or the resources to make certain that everything every Darwinist says is true. They must trust all scientists not to have political or moral agendas, and not to distort the truth to suit those agendas. So, over time, the media have become lapdogs to the teacher's pets, recording and reporting whatever they're told to report, while dismissing out of hand whatever they're told to dismiss out of hand.
Despite Darwinists' rants that those who challenge them do so out of blithering idiocy, that is not always the case. For that matter, their opponents are not all Creationists, or even Intelligent Designers, whom Darwinists labour feverishly to paint into the "goofy" corner where Creationists rightly reside. So Interventionists like me have few outlets for our ideas, and virtually none in the mainstream media. Nevertheless, we feel our view of the origin of life makes the best sense, given the facts as they are now known, and the most basic aspect of our view starts with what I once called "cosmic dump trucks". However, that term has been justly criticised as facetious, so now I call them "cosmic arks".
Imagine this scenario: a fleet of intergalactic "terraformers" (another term I favour) cruises the universe. Their job is to locate forming solar systems and seed everything in them with an array of basic, durable life-forms capable of living in any environment, no matter how scabrous. Then the terraformers return on a regular basis, doing whatever is needed to maximise the capacity for life within the developing solar system. Each system is unique, calling for specialised forms of life at different times during its development, which the terraformers provide from a wide array of cosmic arks at their disposal.
With that as a given, let's consider what's happened on Earth. Soon after it began to coalesce out of dust and gas, two forms of virtually indestructible bacteria appeared on it, as if someone knew precisely what to deliver and when.
Also, it would make sense that every other proto-planet in the solar system would be seeded at the same time. How could even terraformers know which forming planets would, after billions of years, become habitable for complex life? And guess what? A meteorite from Mars seems to contain fossilised evidence of the same kinds of nano- (extremely small) bacteria found on Earth today. All other planets, if they're ever examined, will probably reveal similar evidence of a primordial seeding. It would make no sense for terraformers to do otherwise.
THE RUST ALSO RISES
So, okay, our solar system is noticed by intergalactic terraformers as the new sun ignites and planets start forming around it. On each of the planets they sprinkle a variety of two separate forms of single-celled bacteria they know will thrive in any environment (the extremophiles). But the bacteria have a purpose: to produce oxygen as a component of their metabolism. Why? Because life almost certainly has the same basic components and functions everywhere in the universe. DNA will be its basis, and "higher" organisms will require oxygen to fuel their metabolism. Therefore, complex life can't be "inserted" anywhere until a certain level of oxygen exists in a planet's atmosphere.
Wherever this process is undertaken, the terraformers have a major problem to deal with: iron. Iron is an abundant element in the universe. It is certainly abundant in planets (meteorites are often loaded with it). Iron is very reactive with oxygen: that's what rust is all about. So on none of the new planets forming in any solar system can higher life-forms develop until enough oxygen has been pumped into its atmosphere to oxidise most of its free iron. This, not surprisingly, is exactly what the prokaryotes did during their first 2.0 billion years on Earth. But it had to be a two-part process.
The proto-Earth would be cooling the whole time, so let's say full cooling takes roughly 1.0 billion years. So the extremophiles would be the first batch of prokaryotes inserted because they could survive it. Then, after a billion years or so, the terraformers return and drop off the rest of the prokaryotes, the ones that can live in milder conditions. Also, they have to keep returning on a regular basis because each planet would cool at a different rate due to their different sizes and different physical compositions.
However many "check-up" trips are required, by 2.0 billion years after their first seeding of the new solar system the terraformers realise the third planet from the sun is the only one thriving. They are not surprised, having learned that a "zone of life" exists around all suns, regardless of size or type. Now that this sun has taken its optimum shape, they could have predicted which planet or planets would thrive. In this system, the third is doing well but the fourth one is struggling. It has its prokaryotes and it has water, but its abundance of iron (the "red" planet) will require longer to neutralise than such a small planet with a non-reactive core will require to cool off, so it will lose its atmosphere to dissipation into space before a balance can be achieved. The fourth planet will become a wasteland.
The terraformers carry out the next phase of planet-building on the thriving third by depositing larger, more complex, more biologically reactive eukaryotes to accelerate the oxidation process. Eukaryotes are far more fragile than prokaryotes, so they can't be put onto a forming planet until it is sufficiently cooled to have abundant land and water. But once in place and established, their large size (relative to prokaryotes) can metabolise much more oxygen per unit. Together, the fully proliferated prokaryotes and eukaryotes can spew out enough oxygen to oxidise every bit of free iron on the Earth's crust and in its seas, and before long be lacing the atmosphere with it.
Sure enough, when the terraformers return in another 1.4 billion years they find Earth doing well, but the situation on Mars is unimproved: rust as far as the eye can see. (Mars is likely to have at least prokaryotic life, because there wouldn't have been enough oxygen in the surface water it once had--or in the permafrost it still has--to turn its entire surface into iron oxide.) Earth, however, is doing fine. Most of its free iron is locked up as rust, and oxygen levels in the atmosphere are measurably increasing. It's still too soon to think about depositing highly complex life, but that day is not far off now, measurable in tens of millions of years rather than in hundreds of millions. For the moment, Earth is ready for its first load of multicellular life, and so it is deposited: the Ediacaran Fauna.
Though scientists today have no clear understanding of what the Ediacarans were or what their purpose may have been (because they don't exist today), it seems safe to assume they were even more prolific creators of oxygen than the eukaryotes.
If, indeed, terraformers are behind the development of life on Earth, nothing else makes sense. If, on the other hand, everything that happened here did so by nothing but blind chance and coincidence, it was the most amazing string of luck imaginable. Everything happened exactly when it needed to happen, exactly where it needed to happen, exactly how it needed to happen.
If that's not an outright miracle, I don't know what is.
MAKING BETTER SENSE
Assuming terraformers were/are responsible for seeding and developing life on Earth, we can further assume that by 550 million years ago at least the early oceans were sufficiently oxygenated to support genuinely complex life. That was delivered en masse during the otherwise inexplicable Cambrian Explosion, after which followed the whole panoply of "higher" forms of life on Earth as we have come to know it. (The whys and wherefores of that process are, regrettably, beyond the scope of this essay, but there are answers that have as much apparent sense behind them as what has been outlined.)
During those 550 million years, five major and several minor extinction events occurred, after each of which a few million years would pass while the Earth stabilised with environments modified in some way by the catastrophes. Some pre-event life-forms would persist into the new environments, to be joined by new ark-loads delivered by the terraformers, who would analyse the situation on the healing planet and deliver species they knew would survive in the new environments and establish a balance with the life-forms already there (the Interventionist version of punctuated equilibrium).
We've already seen the difficulties Darwinists have with trying to explain the flow of life on Earth presented in the fossil record. That record can be explained by the currently accepted Darwinian paradigm, but the veneer of "scholarship" overlaying it is little different from the divine fiat of Creationists. And it can be explained by Intelligent Designers, who claim anything so bewilderingly complex couldn't possibly have been arrayed without the guidance of some superior, unifying intelligence (which they stop short of calling "God", because otherwise they are merely Creationists without cant).
Considering all of the above, we Interventionists believe the terraformer scenario explains the fossil record of life on Earth with more creativity, more accuracy and more logic than the others, and in the fullness of time will have a far greater probability of being proved correct. We don't bother trying to establish or even discuss who the terraformers are, or how they came to be, because both are irrelevant and unknowable until they choose to explain it to us. Besides, speculating about their origin detracts from the far more germane issue of trying to establish that our explanation of life's origin makes better sense than any other.
We will continue to be ignored by mainstream media simply because the idea of intelligent life existing outside Earth is so frightening to the majority of those bound to it. Among many reasons for fear, the primary one might be our unfortunate habit of filtering everything beyond our immediate reality through our own perceptions. Thus, we attribute to others the same traits and characteristics we possess. Another bad habit appears when we discover new technology. Invariably our first thought is: "How can we use this to kill more of our enemies?" Collectively, we all have enemies we want to eliminate to be done with the problem they present. Like it or not, this is a dominant aspect of human nature.
Because we so consistently project onto others the darkest facets of our nature, we automatically assume--despite ET and Alf and other lovable depictions in our culture--that real aliens will want to harm us. Consequently, we avoid facing the possibility of their existence in every way we can. (Here I can mention the obstinate resistance I have personally found to serious consideration of the Starchild skull, which by all rights should have been eagerly and thoroughly examined three years ago.)
So Interventionism is ignored because it scrapes too close to UFOs, crop circles, alien abductions and every other subject that indicates we humans may, in the end, be infinitesimally insignificant in the grand scheme of life in the universe. There is much more to say about it, of course, especially as it relates to human origins, but that has to wait until the second instalment of this essay.
For now, let the last word be that the last word on origins--of life and of humans--is a long, long way from being written.
But when it is, I strongly suspect it will be Intervention.
Continued in Part 2 next issue ...
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