by Joan d’Arc
In his Book of the Damned, Charles Fort wrote, “the notion of things dropping in upon this Earth from externality is as unsettling and as unwelcome to Science as tin horns blowing in upon a musician’s relatively symmetric composition.” He wrote, “I think of as many different kinds of visitors to this earth as there are visitors to New York, to a jail, or to a church.”
One of the most persistent arguments against the reality of the Visitor Experience (alien visitation or abduction) is based on the Darwinian presumption that if the accidental, unguided evolution of the human form occurred on Earth, it is mathematically improbable that it could have occurred on another planet. The current consensus reality is, therefore, based on a Science of Exclusionism; the isolation of the Earth from its universal relations. Materialist doctrines describe the world as a closed system: isolated humankind on an isolated oasis in an isolated consciousness. In modern science, nothing enters this closed world from Externality.
NASA’s “Astrobiology Roadmap” website illustrates NASA’s focus on the search for past or present life on Mars and Europa, two solar system bodies that once supported water. Among the goals of Astrobiology are: to determine what makes a planet habitable and how common these worlds are in the Universe, how to recognize the signature of life on other worlds, how life arose on the Earth, and what are its future limits.
Part of understanding how life arose on Earth includes the possibility that “it arrived at Earth from elsewhere.” The Astrobiology website claims, “terrestrial life is the only form of life that we know, and it appears to have arisen from a common ancestor.” The discipline, known as Ballistic Panspermia, is apparently open to the concession that this ancestor (i.e. microbe) arrived in a meteor, but within the current Western cosmology, meteors, comets and other “smart rocks” are the only celestial flying objects that might harbor signs of life, i.e. microbial life.
But can the “seed” of life grow into a civilization of intelligent humanoids without intelligent guidance? Astrobiology clearly states that science has not ascertained whether life from one world can “establish an evolutionary trajectory” on another. Nonetheless, its goals include “the potential to engineer new life forms adapted to live on other worlds” and to “understand the human-directed processes by which life can migrate from one world to another.” This theory is known as Directed Panspermia.
Our Dusty Exile
It has been asserted that NASA holds a “religious conviction” toward space exploration, a conviction based on a centuries-old Christian belief that scientific technology is divinely inspired to take us closer to God. According to David Noble, in The Religion of Technology, NASA’s goals are based on Jules Verne’s implication that the nearer we go to the stars the more immortal we become. In fact, Ray Bradbury has stated, “At aerospace or NASA gatherings, Verne is the verb that moves us to Space.” Indeed, through Verne we have “romanced ourselves to the Moon” and through science fiction writers like H.G. Wells, we might “finally be freed from our ‘dusty exile’ on earth” (Noble 117),
The ultimate survival of a technological civilization lies in dispersing its genetic material into the Universe; seeding itself into unoccupied niches. While NASA is obviously following the dictates of this Darwinian theoretical stance in its study of “human directed” cosmic migration of life, it does not recognize (at least openly) that such could have already occurred. Neither does it openly recognize the anthropomorphic evidence that would indicate that such an intelligently orchestrated migratory pattern has been ongoing within our own solar system and on our own planet.
As we can safely deduce from the above discussion, NASA is interested in “life” in the solar system, but it is clearly interested in microbial life, not intelligent life (i.e. humanoid). The Darwinian evolutionary paradigm is the controlling factor, and is the reason for major cover-ups of potentially man-made artifacts on the moon and Mars. Indeed, the Brookings Report, commissioned by NASA in 1959 and presented Congress in 1961, warned that intelligently designed artifacts discovered on planets investigated by unmanned space probes would lead to the “disintegration of civilization.” The document recommended censorship of any future discovery of artifacts on planetary surfaces, fearing “religious fanaticism” would wreak havoc on social institutions. It is obvious that the discovery of humanoid intelligence would upset Scientism’s apple cart: Darwinian Evolution. But have we put the cart before the horse?
The long outdated “Fermi Paradox” states that Earth contains the only advanced civilization in the galaxy, “since if there were others we would know about them.” Conversely, other scientists have estimated that there could be billions of advanced technological civilizations in the galaxy.
The Space Travel Argument
The Space Travel Argument Against the Existence of ETI (Space Travel Argument), explained in detail by Barrow & Tipler in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, begins with the telling statement that those who propose that extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) probably exists in the Universe tend to be physicists and astronomers, and those who tend to argue against the probability for ETI are more likely to be evolutionary biologists. Thus, its insular premise is steadfastly grounded on the theory of Darwinian natural selection, the adaptation of creatures to their local habitats. As we will see, this local theory is then applied universally.
The Anthropic Principle is based on a biological argument: the minimum time required for the evolution of “intelligent observers.” The Anthropic Timescale Argument states that the types of processes allowed in the Universe must be of such an age that “slow evolutionary processes will have had time to produce intelligent beings from non-living matter” (Barrow 159).
The Anthropic Principle is a mathematical premise based on the assumption that a “communicating species” would evolve in less than 5 billion years and would eventually begin interstellar travel. This argument contends that “since 1 billion years is quite short in comparison with the age of the Galaxy, it follows from the absence of ETI in the solar system that such space-travelling ETI apparently do not exist, and have never existed in our Galaxy.” The authors note that this assumption is logically inferred from observed evidence, and from astrophysical observations and theories; in other words, “absence of evidence is evidence of absence.” If an advanced interstellar civilization did exist, “they would also have developed interstellar travel and thus would already be present in our solar system. Since they are not here, this implies that they do not exist” (Barrow 576).
Incredulously, the two footnotes following the statement “they are not here” reference the 1974 book UFO‘s Explained written by the most popular UFO debunker, Philip Klass. Thus, their proof that interstellar visitors are not here is the highly-regarded opinion of a member of The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), who has been labeled the most negative of the UFO debunkers.
This argument is a tautology: i.e. extraterrestrials are not here and never have been here, because they are not here and never have been here. The Space Travel Argument is a rigidly anthropocentric argument founded on the proposition that human intelligence evolved as a purely local phenomenon on an outback planet and, further, that this accidental (local) event has no Universal (i.e. external) relationship.
It would appear that Barrow & Tipler are happy to let any “evidence” other than radio signals stand as evidence of the absence of ETI. Cosmic signals from ETI might just as well be evidenced by physical structures we have chosen to explain in other ways: such as the complex mathematical fractals which make up crop circle designs, or Old and New World pyramidal structures, which appear to be built as aeronautical guides and are geometrically-aligned with the complex architecture of Mars’ Cydonia region. Indeed, serious researchers of these phenomena see this embedded structural geometry as a “deliberate technical communication.” (see Hoagland, Carlotto, McDaniel, et al.)
Von Neumann Probes
The Space Travel Argument utilizes the concept of the self-reproducing universal constructor; a computerized machine “capable of making any device, given the construction materials and a construction program.” Such a machine, called a von Neumann probe after its theoretical dad, John von Neumann, is by definition capable of making a copy of itself. A probe sent to another stellar system would include a self-replicating universal constructor with human-level intelligence, capable of self-repair and self-programming, with an electric or solar propulsion system.
The universal constructor would search for construction materials from which to build copies of itself, the rocket engines and other devices needed. Such building materials, for instance, nickel-iron and hydrocarbons, could be found in meteors, asteroids, comets and other space debris. Copies of the probe would be launched at the nearest stars, and the process would be repeated. The probes would then be programmed to explore the stellar system and relay the information back to the original probe.
Von Neumann became the generally recognized father of Artificial Life simulations, and produced some of the first Artificial Life programs, further developing his earlier theory of “self-reproducing cellular automata.” Some of this secretive work involved the transfer of human intelligence to machines. After Von Neumann’s death, Freeman Dyson went on to develop similar ideas surrounding self-reproducing factories on other planets.
In 1980, NASA began to explore these ideas. The aim of NASA’s Self-Reproducing Systems Concept Team was to “examine the feasibility of devising machines capable of production, replication, growth, self-repair, and evolution, machines that could be used to colonize the moon and beyond.” After writing a couple of “fanciful proposals” for the creation of a new “silicon species,” the team fully expected to receive funding, but instead the money went to President Reagan’s Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative (Noble 165-166).
At this point the species engineering project apparently went black, and this is what we’re told is going on. Essentially, they took a defunct meme like “strategic defense” and popped “Star Wars” in front of it, and researchers chased the lead down the wrong rabbit hole.
In the end, Barrow & Tipler concede that one possible reason for ETI not to build probes is the fear of losing control of them. They admit it possible that the program that keeps the probe under intelligent control could be accidentally omitted during the reproduction process, with the result that the copy “goes into business for itself.”
NASA’s Astrobiology website illustrates that its objectives are to seed other planets in our solar system with life forms from Earth, including humans. Indeed, the goals of its Objective 16 sound an awful lot like Directed Panspermia: “placing candidate ecosystems on extraterrestrial surfaces and document their evolution; establish permanent colonies of humans and other organisms in space and on another planetary surface; engineer life for survival, adaptation and evolution beyond Earth.”1
The launch of such universal constructor probes and space stations revolving around stars would increase the probability that the civilization will survive the death of its star, nuclear war, or other catastrophes. It would accomplish, in their words, “indefinite survival.” Barrow & Tipler cannot “construct a plausible scenario” which would explain why an ETI civilization with the technology for interstellar travel would not engage in it. Thus, if they can do it and they are not doing it, it follows that they do not exist.
But they do exist, and they’re doing it.
The Space Travel Argument is rigidly anthropocentric and circuitous. We cannot extrapolate the behavior of interplanetary citizens from Darwinian-based observations of our own behavior. Darwinian evolution cannot be used as a framework from which to argue against the co-existence of the humanoid form in the Cosmos, since this assumption places the cart before the horse. Indeed, a circular dilemma confounds the popular use of the Darwinian isolationist, exclusionist scenario, since we do not actually know that we are the only humanoids in the Universe, nor do we know the genesis of the humanoid form. We are simply extrapolating an earthbound premise from an Earth-centric theory. Indeed, Darwinian evolution is a tautology: a self-contained system of circular proofs, which are always true in a self-contained system of circular proofs (see Behe, Johnson, Midgeley, Milton, et al).
Perhaps the guided creation of all life forms is ongoing in the Universe, and the human form or something akin to it has been created or brought in from elsewhere many times and, as our catastrophic past indicates, destroyed many times. From this point of view, it’s fair to say, Darwinian evolution is “earthbound thinking” which serves to keep us from seeing our true ancestry from the “sky” rather than from the “water.”
Quarantine of Earth
It is apparent that a technology based primarily on killing, and secondarily on consumerism, has brought us down the wrong path with regard to our “indefinite survival.” It has and continues to stunt our growth as a truly intelligent species. Yet, the Space Travel Argument propagates the notion that this technology – basically only suitable for bonking each other over the head, or making threats to the same effect – is the apex of scientific prowess. This is an extremely anthropocentric attitude. We’re so primitive that we don’t know we’re primitive.
Nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman suggests in his book Top Secret/Majic, that extraterrestrials are here “to make sure that our brand of ‘friendship’ is not visited upon other civilizations in the neighborhood.” He asserts that space travel first requires that a civilization learn to be at peace with its neighbors. In terms of its own survival then, any advanced civilization that gets a load of our war behavior will surely have reason for serious concern. Friedman surmises that it would be to their advantage to keep us from exploring our solar system or beyond, since they see us as essentially a hostile race in the toddler stage of growth.
Ironically, while we might see space travel as survivalist behavior, an advanced civilization may see their survival threatened by such behavior and would do everything in their employ to keep the Earth children earthbound.
In The Sirius Mystery Robert Temple has also addressed the question of our readiness to join the galactic federation. He speculates that the only societies that might be carrying on an interstellar dialogue of any kind are so advanced that we are but “emerging primitives” in comparison. Indeed, ancient writings indicate that Earth humans are bound to the planet Earth. This is also a Gnostic idea. Temple discusses an ancient Greek reference to the babysitting of the human race, called “The Virgin of the World,” which describes the hierarchical principle of lower and higher beings in the Universe. This ancient treatise suggests that humankind has been “a troublesome lot requiring scrutiny and, at rare intervals of crisis, intervention.”
James Deardoff of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University has theorized about the possibility that the Earth is under quarantine. He has written that our “lack of detection” of ETI life forms could just as well be an indication that an “embargo” of sorts is in place. Deardoff has suggested that such an embargo might be based on our premature and sudden discovery of them, and our subsequent panic, which might end up in a nuclear exchange. The lifting of such an embargo must allow gradual disclosure of the alien message over a long period of time.
As Deardoff has also noted, any radio communications received by ETI would likely be heavily censored by government agencies. So, how can we accept “absence” of radio signals as “evidence of absence”? Furthermore, Friedman has pointed out that they would not necessarily be coming from millions of light years away, since there are about a thousand sun-like stars within 54 light years of Earth. In fact Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli in the constellation Reticulum are only 37 light years away from Earth. These stars are about a billion years older than the Sun, and such civilizations, says Friedman, would have had a billion-year head start on us; incidentally, a prerequisite of the Anthropic Principle.
The Zoo Hypothesis
Barrow & Tipler present the scenario that if an ETI civilization were reluctant to contaminate the culture of another species it might decide not to attempt radio contact. They propose that, “with probes it would be possible to study an alien species without it becoming aware of the species which is studying it.” The Zoo Hypothesis suggests that the messenger probes of an ETI species are present in the solar system but have not made their presence known (as far as we know).
Barrow & Tipler assert that the Zoo Hypothesis is “unlikely.” If it were true, they state, the entire solar system would be analogous to “an African game preserve” with the intelligent probes of an ET race acting as “game wardens.” Their argument, unfortunately, doesn’t prove the Zoo Hypothesis unlikely; it simply makes it more disturbing. If the solar system were a preserve, they surmise, “then all contact must have been rigorously prevented for as long as the robot game wardens were present in the Solar System, since there is not one jot of evidence for any contact in the past” (italics added).
Again we catch the high court of Science circuitously relying on the cult of UFO debunking as proof of evidence of absence. Clearly, the power to define what constitutes evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence is a critical part of the circuitous argument against its very existence. While propounding Directed Panspermia as the height of Darwinian survival of the fittest, they refuse to look around and see the profound evidence of the zookeepers in our own solar system.
In short, there is no sound argument that can be asserted against the existence of an ETI probe in the solar system, now or in the past, and it would, theoretically, explain the genesis of life forms on Earth. After having argued that a human being is essentially “a universal constructor specialized to perform on the surface of the Earth,” Barrow & Tipler explain that, “all the information needed to manufacture a human being is contained in the genes of a single human cell.” From this single cell, an advanced civilization could synthesize and disperse members of their species into other star systems. They go on to admit, using intelligent probes it would be possible for this civilization to covertly study a species within that system.
To take this seemingly preposterous scenario another step further, could the entire Earth biosphere be bio-engineered? Along these lines, H.V. Ditfurth has argued in Origins of Life (p. 51) that “it was not the case that life on Earth was dependent on only twenty quite specific amino acids (and countless other molecular elements) from among hundreds of possible ones.” He writes that the limits of the supposed “right conditions” should not be thought of as overly narrow. In fact, the reason these particular building blocks are present in the cells of all Earth organisms may not be because there was no other way for life to get started but, rather, because these particular building blocks “were present in great abundance.”
Might we say then that Earth’s habitat and life forms are constructed from a finite collection of material that was just hanging around in the area doing nothing? Recall that Barrow & Tipler’s “optimal exploration strategy” must utilize “otherwise useless interstellar resources.” Seen from this perspective, could all of Earth’s biological forms be the result of the bioengineering genius of an extraterrestrial species that has accomplished what we call “indefinite survival”?
Indeed, several researchers have argued that if ETI probes are present in the solar system they would likely be in the asteroid belt where building materials are most abundant. (Carlotto, www.psrw.com) One of the possible ways to detect the presence of an ETI probe is by searching for an excess of infrared heat in the area where building materials are most abundant. Barrow & Tipler seem amused by the fact that much of the observed infrared radiation does, in fact, come from the vicinity of Earth’s asteroid belt.
Their interest in this amusing factoid stops far short of labeling it as evidence of ETI, however, even though they affirm that such colonization behavior would be typical of any intelligent species with the means to do so. By admitting that probes could observe a society without its awareness, the Space Travel Argument undermines its own “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” premise.
All biological life forms on the planet are “universal constructors” from the point of view that they are self-replicating. If the job of a universal constructor is to construct other universal constructors ad infinitum, then the appearance of biological life on Earth could be a sign of the existence of an extraterrestrial universal constructor that has “gone into business for itself.” Thus, the Space Travel Argument’s circuitous structure, i.e. they aren’t here because they aren’t here, can be logically countered with the argument theyare here because we are here. P
1. I recently searched the Astrobiology website (http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/roadmap/index.html) and discovered Objective 16 to be missing. However, it does appear (for the time being) in a presumably older document:http://origins.jpl.nasa.gov/library/roadmap00/10_app.pdf.
References and Further Reading
Barrow, John D. and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford Press, 1988.
Behe, Michael J., Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996.
Carlotto, Mark, The Martian Enigmas: A Closer Look, North Atlantic, 1997.
Corso, Philip, The Day After Roswell, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1997.
d’Arc, Joan, Space Travelers and the Genesis of the Human Form, The Book Tree, 2000.
Fort, Charles, The Book of the Damned, Prometheus, reprint 1999.
Friedman, Stanton, Top Secret/Majic, Marlowe & Co., New York, 1996.
Hoagland, Richard, The Mars/Moon Connection (Video), Evidence of a Solar System Filled with Ancient Artifacts (Video)
Hoagland, Richard, Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever, North Atlantic Books, 1996.
Hoagland, “The Message of Cydonia” enterprisemission.com. See also lunaranomalies.com
Johnson, Phillip, Darwin on Trial, InterVarsity Press, Downer’s Grove, IL.
McDaniel, Stanley, The Case for the Face: Scientists Examine the Evidence for Alien Artifacts on Mars, Adventures Unlimited, 1998.
Midgely, Mary, Evolution as a Religion, Methuen & Co., London/New York, 1985.
Milton, Richard, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, Park Street Press, VT, 1997.
Noble, David, The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention, Penguin, 1997, 1999.
Temple, Robert K.G., The Sirius Mystery, Destiny Books, VT, 1987.
Joan d’Arc is the author of Space Travelers and the Genesis of the Human Form, and Phenomenal World, published by The Book Tree (www.thebooktree.com). She is also the publisher of the infrequently transmitted HunterGatheress Journal and former co-editor/co-publisher of PARANOIA The Conspiracy Reader .