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What is the likelihood of alien hybridization at some early point in our evolution?

When I look at the huge evolutionary jumps our species made, I can’t help but look at the animal world (chimps and all) and speculate that something intervened at some point. What is the likelihood (from a scientific standpoint, considering there is vast potential for advanced alien life) of Alien hybridization occurring at some early point in our evolution (or even earlier)? Why should atheists care? Because many of us are trying to fill in that “why are we here” gap, and if you consider that question seriously, you can speculate a little differently as to why we are (in this purpose driven universe). Alien intervention?

Posted: May 11th 2009

Eric_PK

I don’t think that “alien intervention” is any different than “god did it” as far as an explanation.

If there’s a falsifiable theory there, then I think it might be worth investigation. To my knowledge there’s no unresolved issues in the area you refer to that require such an explanation.

Posted: May 12th 2009

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George Ricker www

There does not seem to be any evidence of such hybridization in the genetic history of life on earth. The common descent of all living terrestrial organisms, on the other hand, is well-supported by the evidence available to us. All living organisms share the same genetic history.

Writing in The Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins states, “We can be very sure there really is a single concestor of all surviving life forms on this planet. The evidence is that all that have ever been examined share (exactly in most cases, almost exactly in all the rest) the same genetic code; and the genetic code is too detailed, in arbitrary aspects of its complexity, to have been invented twice.” (p.7) (Note, the word “concestor” refers to “common ancestor.” The term was coined by one of Dawkins’ assistants, and he uses it throughout the work.)

It also seems highly improbable that an alien species would have engaged in such a project then abandoned it rather than sticking around to see what happened. I suppose there might have been some sort of drive-by planetary ejaculation, but it seems unlikely.

Finally, you need to support the claim we occupy a purpose-driven universe. I see no evidence to support that idea either. Certainly, human lives may be purpose-driven, but the purpose is supplied by the humans involved, not some external source.

It’s fun to speculate about things like alien hybridization, and there have been some interesting works of science fiction dealing with those themes.

But the evolutionary history of life on earth is well documented now, and we learn more with every passing day. The story of how we came to be human is one that is still emerging, and we have much to learn.

However, there does not appear to be any need for intervention in that story by either aliens or gods.

Posted: May 12th 2009

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Reed Braden www

I’d say more likely than an intervening god of the universe since intelligent extraterrestrial life could possibly exist, but less likely than getting struck by lightning every day for a year and winning the lottery every Friday.

Posted: May 12th 2009

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logicel

I can’t help but look at the animal world (chimps and all) and speculate that something intervened at some point.

In a way, you can’t help yourself. As a human, you have a great propensity to see intention everywhere. By all means, speculate. Speculation can be fun. However, the fact and scientific theory of evolution more than adequately explains common descent. I suggest in addition to playful speculation, also delve more into the most fascinating study of evolution (especially since it seems that you find it inadequate, and since it is not, there is some part of it that has eluded you so far.) Deepening your understanding of a solid scientific theory that has potent explanatory and predicting attributes can be fun also!

The only purpose of life that we can reliably identify is replication via the 'selfish’ gene. The human propensity to see intention everywhere just can’t warm up to the fact and scientific theory of evolution because evolution’s focus on non-intended though non-random influence of natural selection just short-circuits our brain. How can there be no intention! This intention-shaped hole in our brains pushes us to find deliberate purpose (after all, this focus has allowed us to survive via our own evolutionary history). Though an alien origin may not be divine, it still falls in the category of: THERE MUST BE INTENTION. As another answerer has pointed out, who intended for the alien who intended for us? Such an approach creates more questions than it answers.

I suggest reading The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and Climbing Mount Improbable, all written by Richard Dawkins to come to grips with this most human drive to desire intention and see it everywhere, even when it does not (and can’t) exist.

Posted: May 11th 2009

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SmartLX www

Directed panspermia, the seeding of Earth with life by aliens, is one theory for the origin of life here. Richard Dawkins brought it up as an example of intelligent design he’d actually consider, but it’s not a full explanation because you then have to explain the origin of the aliens themselves.

Alien intervention after the beginning of terrestrial life is the same, really. Whatever outside help you speculate in order to explain what you see as gaps in our understanding, you’re only complicating things unless you have an even more complete understanding of where that help came from.

Incidentally, the supposedly purpose-driven nature of the universe is an assumption you need to back up.

Posted: May 11th 2009

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