Our Origins

Evolution, Natural Selection, Medicine, Psychology & Neuroscience.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Our Origins

#1  Postby Passer » Aug 27, 2016 9:38 am

What do folk on here think about the possibility that we were seeded here by extraterrestrials, perhaps placed here directly, or the DNA of our ancestors was modified to enable us to progress both physically and mentally?

Serious question, I think it's similar to panspermia and scientists haven't totally ruled out either possibility. Or so I believe.

EDIT: Apologies if this is in the wrong forum.
Passer
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 642

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Our Origins

#2  Postby Scar » Aug 27, 2016 9:41 am

Maybe?
Image
User avatar
Scar
 
Name: Michael
Posts: 3967
Age: 31
Male

Country: Germany
Germany (de)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#3  Postby Animavore » Aug 27, 2016 10:05 am

I think the idea, like the one that aliens built the pyramids, or that we need some extra, spooky spice to explain consciousness, are borne out of incredulity. We think, those of us who think like this, we're so far removed from animals, and special, that something else must be going on in order to explain us. I think it does a disservice to how powerful evolution, as a process, actually is. Similarly to undermining ancient Egyptians' abilities, or the mechanical complexity of neural networks.

But I work in IT, so that's none of my business.
A most evolved electron.
User avatar
Animavore
 
Name: The Scribbler
Posts: 38820
Age: 38
Male

Ireland (ie)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#4  Postby Cito di Pense » Aug 27, 2016 10:08 am

It's the replacement of a more-viable hypothesis (local abiogenesis) with a less-viable one (panspermia), for the purposes of intellectual entertainment. I personally fail to see the entertainment value of speculating about aliens fucking with the history of our planet. YMMV, Passer. Playing with shit ideas just because they haven't been ruled out is mainly the purview of philosophers, so you should probably first practice speculating about something that is of more immediate consequence to the fat part of the bell curve of theories (ones that are not quite so conspiratorial).
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
User avatar
Cito di Pense
 
Name: Ivar Poäng
Posts: 24324
Age: 6
Male

Country: The Heartland
Mongolia (mn)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#5  Postby zoon » Aug 27, 2016 1:06 pm

Passer wrote:What do folk on here think about the possibility that we were seeded here by extraterrestrials, perhaps placed here directly, or the DNA of our ancestors was modified to enable us to progress both physically and mentally?

Serious question, I think it's similar to panspermia and scientists haven't totally ruled out either possibility. Or so I believe.

EDIT: Apologies if this is in the wrong forum.

If aliens, or gods, made any noticeable modifications to our ancestors, they went to an astonishing amount of trouble to make it appear that they had not done anything, and that we had evolved by natural selection only, like all other living things. Anatomically and genetically, we are very similar to the African apes, as discussed for example here:
It has been historically difficult for people to accept that we are in fact just another primate species with African origins and that we differ physically only in degree from some of the others. The similarities can be seen throughout our bodies. The African apes and humans have essentially the same arrangement of internal organs, share all of the same bones (though somewhat different in shape and size), lack external tails, and have several important blood type systems in common. We also get many of the same diseases. Humans and the African apes have hands with thumbs that are sufficiently separate from the other fingers to allow them to be opposable for precision grips. Like all of the great apes, humans are sexually dimorphic--human men are 5-10% larger on average and have greater upper body muscular development. Like chimpanzees and bonobos, we are omnivorous. We kill other animals for food in addition to eating a wide variety of plants.

The comparatively minor anatomical differences between humans and apes are largely a result of our habitual bipedalism.........With the exception of these differences, we are quite similar to the African apes anatomically and genetically, especially to the chimpanzees and bonobos. Humans have 46 chromosomes in their cells while all of the great apes have 48. In reality, this difference is not as great as it would initially seem because the human chromosome 2 is a fusion of ape chromosomes 12 and 13 with most of the same genes. Research on learning the entire genome of common chimpanzees was completed in 2005. A comparison between this and the human genome (completed in 2001) shows that 96% of DNA base pair sequences of humans and chimpanzees are the same. Most of the 4% difference is in duplicated non-gene segments. If only gene segments are compared, there is a 98% similarity. The genes that differ mostly control speech, smelling, hearing, digesting proteins, and susceptibility to certain diseases. These dissimilarities are to be expected given that we have been on essentially separate evolutionary tracks for 6-7 million years. During that time, we have been subject to somewhat different natural selection pressures. These differences led to bipedalism for our ancestors along with a much larger brain and, ultimately, speech.


Coming light years from another star, to make changes which are so few and subtle that they are far more easily explained by the process of natural selection of occasional mutations over 5 million years or so, and then leaving again, carefully leaving no other trace of the visit, seems an extraordinary waste of effort. There's no way of ruling out any number of possibilities, for example, we may be in the Matrix, or brains in vats, or invisible pink unicorns might have created the universe last Thursday, or, as you say, aliens might have arrived with technology far beyond our current knowledge, made a few tweaks to the DNA of a population of apes, and departed again, leaving no sign of their arrival in the paleontological record, but there doesn't seem to be much point in pursuing those possibilities.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 2787

Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#6  Postby Calilasseia » Aug 27, 2016 1:45 pm

Indeed, with respect to the above Zoon, no less a person than Linnaeus wrote a letter in 1747, to fellow taxonomist Johann Georg Gmelin, in which he stated that the anatomical evidence alone warranted placing humans and chimpanzees in the same Genus.
Signature temporarily on hold until I can find a reliable image host ...
User avatar
Calilasseia
Moderator
 
Posts: 21031
Age: 55
Male

Country: England
United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#7  Postby Rumraket » Aug 27, 2016 1:50 pm

Passer wrote:What do folk on here think about the possibility that we were seeded here by extraterrestrials, perhaps placed here directly, or the DNA of our ancestors was modified to enable us to progress both physically and mentally?

I take it you mean the origin of anatomically modern humans, not the origin of life? If so, we know that it didn't happen.

We (Homo Sapiens) evolved here, we know this beyond rational doubt. That is to say, once you are aware of the evidence for it and you understand it, still having doubts that would cause you to consider your suggested alternative to have a smidgeon of a leg to stand on, would be irrational.

So if you believe there's a case to be made for human beings having been seeded here by extraterrestrials, that is either because you are not aware of the evidence that humans evolved here with the rest of life, or you don't understand that evidence, or you have some sort of underlying neuropsychological issue that prevents you from accepting it.
"Nullius in verba" - Take nobody's word for it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullius_in_verba
User avatar
Rumraket
 
Posts: 12596
Age: 36
Male

Denmark (dk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Our Origins

#8  Postby surreptitious57 » Aug 27, 2016 2:19 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
you should probably first practice speculating about something that is of more immediate consequence to the fat part of the
bell curve of theories ( ones that are not quite so conspiratorial )

How about this : a comet impacting with Earth that released frozen water from it to form an ocean bed from which life
could evolve. Apparently it is a mystery how Earth got its water. Mars which is further from the Sun and cooler is dry as
a bone. And so logically one would therefore expect Earth to be too

This is not my theory merely one I am aware of. But I am sceptical of it since I do not think a single comet carries enough
ice to form an ocean when it thaws. If it was not for that then I would be more inclined to give it some serious credibility
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
surreptitious57
 
Posts: 8544

Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#9  Postby laklak » Aug 27, 2016 2:29 pm

If panspermia means "building blocks of life" from comets or whatever then maybe. If it means big-headed Egyptian Pharaohs then no.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! - Chicken Little
I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that - Oscar Wilde
User avatar
laklak
RS Donator
 
Name: Florida Man
Posts: 16377
Age: 63
Male

Country: The Great Satan
Swaziland (sz)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#10  Postby zoon » Aug 27, 2016 3:04 pm

Calilasseia wrote:Indeed, with respect to the above Zoon, no less a person than Linnaeus wrote a letter in 1747, to fellow taxonomist Johann Georg Gmelin, in which he stated that the anatomical evidence alone warranted placing humans and chimpanzees in the same Genus.

Yes, I hadn't realised Linnaeus was clear about the similarities so early. He did have to worry about theologians, as shown in his letter quoted here:
Wikipedia wrote:Linnaeus classified humans among the primates (as they were later called) beginning with the first edition of Systema Naturae. During his time at Hartekamp, he had the opportunity to examine several monkeys and noted similarities between them and man.[86]:173–174 He pointed out both species basically have the same anatomy; except for speech, he found no other differences.[156][note 5] Thus he placed man and monkeys under the same category, Anthropomorpha, meaning "manlike."[157] This classification received criticism from other biologists such as Johan Gottschalk Wallerius, Jacob Theodor Klein and Johann Georg Gmelin on the ground that it is illogical to describe a human as 'like a man'.[158] In a letter to Gmelin from 1747, Linnaeus replied:[159][note 6]:
It does not please [you] that I've placed Man among the Anthropomorpha, perhaps because of the term 'with human form',[note 7] but man learns to know himself. Let's not quibble over words. It will be the same to me whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the principles of Natural History.[note 8] I absolutely know of none. If only someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline.

I did have in mind rather the "Great Hippocampus Question", when Richard Owen tried to show, after the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859, that humans have at least one structure in the brain, the hippocampus minor, which is not found in apes, and which might account for some god-given difference. He was eventually shown to be wrong, and that monkey and ape brains include the same structure, but the raging arguments over some years provided entertainment for the Victorians and useful publicity for evolution:
Wikipedia wrote:The Great Hippocampus Question was a 19th-century scientific controversy about the anatomy of apes and human uniqueness. The dispute between Thomas Henry Huxley and Richard Owen became central to the scientific debate on human evolution that followed Charles Darwin's publication of On the Origin of Species. The name comes from the title of a satire the Reverend Charles Kingsley wrote about the arguments, which in modified form appeared as "the great hippopotamus test" in Kingsley's book for children, The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby. Together with other humorous skits on the topic, this helped to spread and popularise Darwin's ideas on evolution.
The key point that Owen asserted was that only humans had part of the brain then known as the hippocampus minor (now called the calcar avis), and that this gave us our unique abilities. But careful dissection showed that apes and monkeys also have a hippocampus minor.
Last edited by zoon on Aug 27, 2016 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 2787

Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#11  Postby zoon » Aug 27, 2016 3:21 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
you should probably first practice speculating about something that is of more immediate consequence to the fat part of the
bell curve of theories ( ones that are not quite so conspiratorial )

How about this : a comet impacting with Earth that released frozen water from it to form an ocean bed from which life
could evolve. Apparently it is a mystery how Earth got its water. Mars which is further from the Sun and cooler is dry as
a bone. And so logically one would therefore expect Earth to be too

This is not my theory merely one I am aware of. But I am sceptical of it since I do not think a single comet carries enough
ice to form an ocean when it thaws. If it was not for that then I would be more inclined to give it some serious credibility

There's certainly a serious suggestion that large numbers of comets or similar extraterrestrial sources brought much of Earth's water, but current thinking seems to be that some at least was around from the beginning (from Wikipedia here). It's unlikely that anything like a functioning living cell arrived on a comet, as its structure would have been destroyed coming through the atmosphere. It's very possible that some of the building blocks of life, such as amino acids, arrived on comets, as described here, but this is consistent with terrestrial life having started on Earth, as far as we know:

New Scientist (2009) wrote:Comets and asteroids are thought to have bombarded the Earth early in its history, and the new discovery suggests they carried amino acids with them.

“We are interested in understanding what was on the early Earth when life got started,” Elsila told New Scientist. “We don’t know how life got started … but this adds to our knowledge of the ingredient pool.”

Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona agrees. “Life had to get started with raw materials,” he told New Scientist. “This provides another source [of those materials].”


The amino acid was found in samples returned to Earth by NASA’s Stardust mission, which flew by Comet Wild 2 in 2004 to capture particles shed by the 5-kilometre object.
User avatar
zoon
 
Posts: 2787

Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#12  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Aug 31, 2016 8:18 pm

Are you talking about the origin of Homo sapiens, or the origin of all life on Earth, Passer?
"You have to be a real asshole to quote yourself."
~ ScholasticSpastic
User avatar
ScholasticSpastic
 
Name: D-Money Sr.
Posts: 6354
Age: 42
Male

Country: Behind Zion's Curtain
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#13  Postby Passer » Aug 31, 2016 8:20 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:Are you talking about the origin of Homo sapiens, or the origin of all life on Earth, Passer?

Homo Sapiens
Passer
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 642

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#14  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Aug 31, 2016 8:29 pm

Passer wrote:
ScholasticSpastic wrote:Are you talking about the origin of Homo sapiens, or the origin of all life on Earth, Passer?

Homo Sapiens

Ah. Then it can't really have anything to do with panspermia. Panspermia is about the possible transmission of life between worlds, but we're far too obviously related to all the other organisms around us for us to have been a biologically recent transplant. That, and most of the mechanisms by which panspermia could work would be devastating for most organisms larger than unicellular life.

Our very large degree of relatedness, both anatomically and genetically, to all the other life on Earth also rules out extraterrestrial seeding- at least anything you could call seeding that doesn't, as has already been pointed out earlier in the thread, involve a bizarre amount of subterfuge. While it is possible that we were modified by an alien race that was so technologically advanced they were able to cover up all traces of the modification, where does that get us? The question contains its own confound and cannot be answered satisfactorily.
"You have to be a real asshole to quote yourself."
~ ScholasticSpastic
User avatar
ScholasticSpastic
 
Name: D-Money Sr.
Posts: 6354
Age: 42
Male

Country: Behind Zion's Curtain
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#15  Postby pelfdaddy » Aug 31, 2016 9:15 pm

So just to take human origins out of the picture for a moment, and to concentrate on the idea of panspermia itself, I have a question...

Suppose we were to explore (remotely or with un-manned drone-type craft) thousands of planets that could support some form of life, and we crafted some sort of genetic material that was custom-engineered to thrive on each of those thousands of worlds, and sent that material to those worlds in the hopes that it would do just that.

This suggests that civilizations on other planets that are comparable to ours in technological ability and exploration both could, and likely would, do likewise, meaning that for every comparable civilization in the universe, there are potentially thousands of inhabited worlds where life was originally seeded from somewhere else.

Which seems to suggest that every inhabited world might have a much greater chance (like...thousands-to-one) of having been, not the scene of a past abiogenetic event, but the object of a life-seeding experiment conducted from a great distance.

Right? Maybe?
pelfdaddy
 
Posts: 943
Age: 51
Male

United States (us)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Our Origins

#16  Postby tuco » Aug 31, 2016 9:19 pm

Maybe, after we will actually send such probes/carriers.
tuco
 
Posts: 13755

Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#17  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Sep 01, 2016 12:02 am

If someone can give me a very good reason why an alien species would travel hundreds, possibly thousands of light years to Earth simply to fiddle with our genetics then leave without a word, then I would entertain the idea.
Last edited by CdesignProponentsist on Sep 01, 2016 12:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
'The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man
knows himself to be a fool.'
- As You Like It - William Shakespeare
User avatar
CdesignProponentsist
 
Posts: 11845
Age: 50
Male

Country: California
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#18  Postby pelfdaddy » Sep 01, 2016 12:05 am

To make us more suitable as a food source.
pelfdaddy
 
Posts: 943
Age: 51
Male

United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#19  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Sep 01, 2016 12:15 am

Is long pig a galactic delicacy?
'The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man
knows himself to be a fool.'
- As You Like It - William Shakespeare
User avatar
CdesignProponentsist
 
Posts: 11845
Age: 50
Male

Country: California
United States (us)
Print view this post

Re: Our Origins

#20  Postby tuco » Sep 01, 2016 5:50 am

To conduct an experiment.
tuco
 
Posts: 13755

Print view this post

Next

Return to Biological Sciences

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest

cron