by Lloyd Pye
Framing The Picture
How did life begin on Earth? More intellectual and literal blood has
been shed and spilled attempting to answer this question than any
other in any aspect of science or religion. Why?
Because the answer,
if it could be determined beyond doubt, would reveal to us the
deepest meanings behind ourselves and all that we see around us.
More importantly, it would demolish once and for all the thorny
tangle of conscious and unconscious thought and belief that causes
most of the bloodshed.
At present there are only two socially acceptable explanations for
how life has come to be on Earth. Science insists it has
by entirely natural means, using only the materials at hand on the
early planet, with no help from any outside source, whether that
source be divine or extraterrestrial. Religion insists with equal
fervor that life was brought into existence whole and complete by a
divine Creator called by different names by the worldís various
Between these two diametrically opposed viewpoints there is
no overlap, no common ground where negotiation might be undertaken.
Each considers its own position to be totally correct and the other
totally wrong, a certainty bolstered by the fact that each can blow
gaping holes in the logic/dogma of the other.
Science is quick to point to the overwhelming technical proofs that
life could not, and indeed did not, appear whole and complete within
the restricted time frame outlined in the Biblical account. Of
course, people of faith are immune to arguments based on fact or
logic. Faith requires that they accept the Biblical account no
matter how dissonant it might be with reality. Besides, they can
show that not a shred of tangible evidence exists to support the
notion that any species can transmute itself into another species
given enough time and enough positive genetic mutations, which is
the bedrock of
Charles Darwinís theory of incremental evolution, or
In the early 1800ís Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands and noticed
certain species had developed distinct adaptations for dealing with
various environmental niches found there. Finch beaks were modified
for eating fruit, insects, and seeds; tortoise shells were notched
and unnotched for high-bush browsing and low-bush browsing.
variation clearly remained part of the same root stock--finches
remained finches, tortoises remained tortoises--but those obvious
modifications in isolated body parts led Darwin to the logical
assumption that entire bodies could change in the same way over
vastly more time. Voila! Gradualism was conceived and, after
gestating nearly three decades, was birthed in 1859 with the
publication of the landmark
On The Origin Of Species.
Darwin and his work have been topics of intense, usually acrimonious
debate between science and religion.
The irony of a two-party political system whose members spend the
majority of their time shooting holes in each otherís policies is
that it becomes abundantly clear to everyone beyond the fray that
neither side knows what the hell it is talking about.
standing outside the science-religion fray do not grow belligerent
"Youíre both wrong. An idiot can see that. Find another
No! In this emotionally charged atmosphere nearly
everyone seems compelled to choose one side or the other, as if
seeking a more objective middle ground would somehow cause instant
Such is the psychological toll wrought on all of us by
the take-no-prisoners attitude of the two sides battling for our
hearts and minds regarding this issue.
Facts Will Be Facts
Because those of faith insist on being immune to arguments based on
facts, they remove themselves from serious discussions of how life
might have actually come to be on Earth.
So if anyone reading this
has a world view based on divine revelation, stop here and move on
to something else. You will not like (to say the least!) what you
are about to read. Nor, for that matter, will those who believe what
science postulates is beyond any valid doubt. As it turns out, and
as was noted above, neither side in this two-party system knows what
the hell it is talking about.
To move ahead, we must assign a name to those who believe life
spontaneously sprang into existence from a mass of inorganic
chemicals floating about in the early Earthís prebiotic seas. Letís
call them "Darwinists," a term often used for that purpose.
Darwinists have dealt themselves a difficult hand to play because
those prebiotic seas had to exist at a certain degree of coolness
for the inorganic chemicals floating in them to bind together into
Anyone who has taken high school chemistry knows that one of the
best ways to break chemical bonds is to heat them.
Given that well-known reality, Darwinists quickly postulated that
the first spark of life would no doubt have ignited itself sometime
after the continental threshold was reached around 2.5 billion years
ago. At that point land would have existed as land and seas would
have existed as seas, though not in nearly the same shapes we know
But the water in those seas would have been cool enough
to allow the chemical chain reactions required by "spontaneous
So among Darwinists there arose a broad consensus that
the spontaneous animation of life had to have occurred (again,
because they do not allow for the possibility of outside
intervention, divine or extraterrestrial), and it had to have
occurred no earlier than the continental threshold of 2.5 billion
These assumptions were believed and taught worldwide with a fervor
that leaves religious fundamentalists green with envy. Furthermore,
they were taught as facts because that is what science inevitably
does. It reaches a consensus about a set of assumptions in a field
it has not fully mastered, then those assumptions are believed as
dogma and taught as facts until the real facts become known.
Sometimes such consensus "facts" endure for a short time (Isaac
Newton's assumption that the speed of light was a relative measure
lasted only 200 years), while others endure like barnacles on the
underside of our awareness (the universe doggedly expands beyond
every finite measure given for it).
In the same way Newton's fluctuating speed of light was overturned by
Einstein's theory of relativity, the continental threshold
origin of life was blown out of the water, so to speak, by
discoveries in the 1970ís that indicated lifeís origins were much
older than anticipated. So old, in fact, it went back nearly to the
point of coalition, 4.5 billion years ago, when the Sun had ignited
and the protoplanets had taken the general shapes and positions they
Ultimately, 4.0 billion years became the new starting point for life
on Earth, based on fossilized stromatolites discovered in Australia
that dated to 3.6 billion years old.
For Darwinists that meant going from the frying pan into the fire,
literally, because at 4.0 billion years ago the proto-Earth was
nothing but a seething cauldron of lava, cooling lava, and steam,
about as far from an incubator for incipient life as could be
In short, right out of the gate, at the first crack of the
bat, Charles Darwin was, as they say in the south, a blowed-up
Limbo Of The Lost
stromatolites discovered in Australia had been
produced by the dead bodies of billions of
prokaryotic bacteria, the
very first life forms known to exist on the planet. They are also by
far the simplest, with no nucleus to contain their DNA.
relative terms prokaryotes are not simple at all. They are dozens of
times larger than a typical virus, with hundreds of strands of DNA
instead of the five to ten of the simplest viruses. So it is clear
that prokaryotes are extremely sophisticated creatures relative to
what one would assume to be the very first self-animated life form,
which can plausibly be imagined as even smaller than the smallest
(By the way, viruses do not figure into this scenario because they
are not technically "alive" in the classic sense. To be fully alive
means having the ability to take nourishment from the immediate
environment, turn that nourishment into energy, expel waste, and
reproduce indefinitely. Viruses need a living host to flourish,
though they can and do reproduce themselves when ensconced in a
suitable host. So it seems safe to assume hosts precede viruses in
Needless to say, the discovery of fossilized prokaryotes at 3.6
billion years ago left scientists reeling. However, because so many
of their pet theories had been overturned in the past, they knew how
to react without panic or stridency.
They made a collective decision
to just whistle in the dark and move on as if nothing had changed.
And nothing did. No textbooks were rewritten to accommodate the new
discovery. Teachers continued to teach the spontaneous animation
theory as they had been doing for decades.
The stromatolites were
consigned to the eerie limbo where all OOPARTS (out-of-place
artifacts) dwell, while scientists edgily anticipated the next
They didnít have to wait long. In the late 1980ís a biologist named
Carl Woese discovered that not only did life appear on Earth in the
form of prokaryotes at around 4.0 billion years ago, there was more
than one kind! Woese found that what had always been considered a
single creature was in fact two distinct types he named archaea and
This unexpected, astounding discovery made one thing
clear beyond any shadow of doubt:
Life could not possibly have
evolved on Earth.
For it to appear as early as it did in the fossil
record, and to consist of two distinct and relatively sophisticated
types of bacteria, meant spontaneous animation flatly did
This discovery has been met with the same resounding silence as the
stromatolite discovery. No textbooks have been rewritten to
accommodate it. No teachers have changed what they are teaching. If
you can find a high school biology teacher that religious
fundamentalists have not yet terrorized into silence, go to their
classroom and you will find them blithely teaching that spontaneous
animation is how life came to be on Earth. Mention the words "stromatolite"
or "prokaryote" and you will get frowns of confusion from teacher
and students alike.
For all intents and purposes this is unknown
information, withheld from those who most need to know about it
because it does not fit the currently accepted paradigm built around
Charles Darwinís besieged theory of gradualism.
The ongoing, relentless assaults on gradualism by religious
fundamentalists is the principle reason scientists canít afford to
disseminate these truths through teaching.
If fundamentalists would
keep their opinions and theories inside churches, where they belong,
scientists would be far more able (if not inclined) to acknowledge
where reality does not coincide with their own theories. But because
fundamentalists stand so closely behind them, loudly banging on the
doors of their own bailiwick, schools, scientists have no choice but
to keep them at bay by any means possible, which includes propping
up an explanation for lifeís origins that has been bankrupt for more
than two decades.
Another reason scientists resist disseminating the truth is that it
would so profoundly change the financial landscape for many of them.
Consider the millions and billions of tax dollars and foundation
grants that are spent each year trying to answer one question: Does
life exist beyond Earth?
The reality of two types of prokaryotes
appearing suddenly, virtually overnight, at around 4.0 billion years
ago provides overwhelming testimony that the answer is "Yes!"
Clearly life could not have spontaneously animated from inorganic
chemicals in seas comprised of seething lava rather than relatively
cool water. So billions of dollars of funding would vanish if
scientists ever openly conceded that life must have come to Earth
from somewhere else because it obviously could not have originated
A third reason scientists avoid disseminating this knowledge is that
spontaneous animation is a fundamental tenet of their corollary
theory of human evolution.
As with life in general, scientists
insist that humanity is a product of the same protracted series of
gradual genetic mutations that they feel produced every living thing
on Earth. And, again, all this has been done by natural processes
within the confines of the planet, with no outside intervention of
any kind, divine or extraterrestrial.
So, if spontaneous animation goes out the window, then the dreaded specter of outside
intervention comes slithering in to take its place, and that idea is
so anathema to scientists they would rather deal with the myriad
embarrassments caused by their blowed-up icon and his clearly
So What Is The Answer?
Life came to Earth from somewhere else--period. It came to
whole and complete, in large volume, and in two forms that were
invulnerable to the most hostile environments imaginable.
those proven, undeniable realities, it is time to make the
frightening mental leap that few if any scientists or theologians
have been willing or able to make: Life was seeded here!
There... itís on the table... life was seeded here.... The Earth
hasnít split open. Lightening bolts have not rained down. Time
marches on. It seems safe to discuss the idea further.
If life was actually seeded here, how might that have happened? By
accident.... or (hushed whisper) deliberately? Well, the idea of
accidental seeding has been explored in considerable detail by a
surprising number of non-mainstream thinkers and even by a few
credentialed scientists (British astronomer Fred Hoyle being perhaps
the most notable).
The "accidental seeding" theory is called
panspermia, and the idea behind it is that bacterial life came to
Earth on comets or asteroids arriving from planets where it had
existed before they exploded and sent pieces hurtling through space
to collide some millennia later with our just-forming planet.
A variation of this theory is called
directed panspermia, which
replaces comets and asteroids with capsules launched by
civilizations to traverse space for millennia and deliberately home
in on our just-forming planet. However, the idea of conscious
direction from any source beyond the confines of Earth is as
abhorrent to science as ever, so directed panspermia has received
little better than polite derision from the establishment.
as blatantly as undirected panspermia defies the scientific tenet
that all of life begins and ends within the confines of Earth, it is
marginally acceptable as an alternative possibility. There have even
been serious, ongoing attempts to try to determine if the raw
materials for life might be found in comets.
The point to note here is that no one wants to step up to the plate
and suggest the obvious, which is that some entity or entities from
somewhere beyond our solar system came here when it was barely
formed and for whatever reason decided to seed it with two kinds of
prokaryotes, the hardiest forms of bacteria we are aware of and, for
all we know, are creatures purposefully designed to be capable of
flourishing in absolutely any environment in the universe.
(Understand that prokaryotes exist today just as they did 4.0
billion years ago... unchanged, indestructible, microscopic
terminators with the unique ability to turn any hell into a heaven.
But more about that in a moment.)
If we take the suggested leap and accept the notion of
directed-at-the-scene panspermia, we are then confronted with a
plethora of follow-up questions.
Were all of the planets seeded, or
Why when it was a seething cauldron?
a couple billion years later, when it was cooled off?
all, and many more like them can be construed. But they all lead
away from the fundamental issue of why anyone or (to be fair)
anything would want to bring life here in the first place, whether
to the proto-Earth or to any other protoplanet?
And this brings us
to the kicker, a question few of us are comfortable contemplating:
Is Earth being deliberately terraformed?
Welcome To The Ant Farm
The concept of
terraforming does indeed conjure up images from the
recent movie "Antz." Nevertheless, for all we know that is exactly
what we humans--and all other life forms, for that matter--are,
players on a stage that seems immense to us, but (visualize the
camera pulling back at the end of "Antz") in reality is just a tiny
orb swirling through the vastness of a seemingly infinite universe.
An unsettling and even unlikely scenario, but one that has to be
addressed. Well, so what? What if we are just bit players in a
cosmic movie that has been filming for 4.0 billion years? As long as
we are left alone to do our work and live our lives in relative
peace, where is the harm in it?
Is this fantastic notion really possible? Is it even remotely
plausible? Consider the facts as we know them to be, not what we are
misled into believing by those we trust to correctly inform us. The
simple truth is that life came to our planet when it (Earth) had no
business hosting anything but a galactic-level marshmallow roast.
The life forms that were brought, the two prokaryotes, just happen
to be the simplest and most durable creatures we are aware of.
most important of all, they have the unique ability to produce
oxygen as a result of their metabolic processes.
Why oxygen? Why is that important?
Because without an oxygen-based
atmosphere life as we currently know it is impossible. Of course, anaerobic organisms live perfectly well without it, but they would
not make good neighbors or dinner companions. No, oxygen is
essential for complex life as we know it, and quite possibly is
necessary for higher life forms everywhere. If that is the case, if
oxygen is the key ingredient for life throughout the universe, then
from a terraformerís perspective bringing a load of prokaryotes to
this solar system 4.0 billion years ago begins to make a lot of
Letís put ourselves in their shoes (or whatever they wear) for a
moment. They are a few million or even a few billion years into
their life cycle as a species.
Space and time mean nothing to them. Traversing the universe is like
a drive across Texas to us... a bit long but easily doable. So as
they travel around they make it a point to look for likely places to
establish life, and 4.0 billion years ago they spot a solar system
(in this case ours) forming off their port side. They pull a hard
left and take it all in.
At that point every protoplanet is as much
a seething cauldron as the proto-Earth, so they sprinkle prokaryotes
on all of them in the hope that one or more will allow them to
What the terraformers know is that if the prokaryotes ultimately
prevail, then over time trillions of them will produce enough oxygen
to, first, turn all of the cooling planetís free iron into
Once that is done...after, say, a billion years
(which, remember, means nothing to the terraformers) ...oxygen
produced by the prokaryotes will be free to start saturating the
waters of the seas and the atmosphere above. When enough of that
saturation occurs (say, another billion years), the terraformers can
begin to introduce increasingly more complex life forms to the
This might include, for example,
eukaryotes, Earthís second life
form, another single-celled bacteria which clearly appeared (rather
than evolved) just as suddenly as the prokaryotes at (surprise!)
around 2.0 billion years ago. Eukaryotes are distinctive because
they are the first life form with a nucleus, which is a hallmark of
all Earth life except prokaryotes. We humans are eukaryotic
But those second immigrants (which, like prokaryotes,
exist today just as they did when they arrived) were much larger
than their predecessors, more fragile, and more efficient at
After establishing the first portion of their program, the terraformers wait patiently while the
protoplanet cools enough for
"real" life forms to be introduced. When the time is right, starting
at around half a billion years ago, higher life forms are introduced
by means of what today is called the "Cambrian Explosion."
of highly complex forms appear virtually overnight, males and
females, predators and prey, looking like nothing alive at present.
This is what actually happened.
The terraformers continue to monitor their project. They notice
Earth suffers periodic catastrophes that eliminate 50% to 90% of all
higher life forms. (Such mass extinction events have in fact
occurred five times, the last being the Cretaceous extinction of 65
million years ago, which wiped out the dinosaurs).
They wait a few
thousand years after each event while the planet regains its biotic
equilibrium, then they restock it with new plants and animals that
can make their way in the post-catastrophe environment.
is actually borne out by the fossil record, which scientists try to
explain away with a specious addendum to Darwinism called
For as outrageous as the above scenario might seem at first glance,
it does account for the real, true, literal evidence much better
Creationism ever have... or ever will. This
produces the bitterest irony of the entire debate. With pillars of
concrete evidence supporting outside intervention as the modus for
lifeís origins on Earth, the concept is ignored to the point of
suppression in both scientific or religious circles.
This is, of
course, understandable, because to discuss it openly might give it a
credibility neither side can afford at present. Both have their
hands quite full maintaining the battle against each other, so the
last thing either side wants or needs is a third wheel trying to
crash their party.
However, that third wheel has arrived and is
rolling their way.