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    No, There Are No Alien Bar Codes In Our Genomes
    By Michael White | January 12th 2011 12:23 PM | 71 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Michael

    Welcome to Adaptive Complexity, where I write about genomics, systems biology, evolution, and the connection between science and literature,

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    Even for a physicist, this is bad: Larry Moran, in preparation for the appropriate dose of ridicule that this situation deserves, quotes physicist and pop-science author Paul Davies:
    Another physical object with enormous longevity is DNA. Our bodies contain some genes that have remained little changed in 100 million years. An alien expedition to Earth might have used biotechnology to assist with mineral processing, agriculture or environmental projects. If they modified the genomes of some terrestrial organisms for this purpose, or created their own micro-organisms from scratch, the legacy of this tampering might endure to this day, hidden in the biological record. Which leads to an even more radical proposal. Life on Earth stores genetic information in DNA. A lot of DNA seems to be junk, however. If aliens, or their robotic surrogates, long ago wanted to leave us a message, they need not have used radio waves. They could have uploaded the data into the junk DNA of terrestrial organisms. It would be the modern equivalent of a message in a bottle, with the message being encoded digitally in nucleic acid and the bottle being a living, replicating cell. (It is possible—scientists today have successfully implanted messages of as many as 100 words into the genome of bacteria.) A systematic search for gerrymandered genomes would be relatively cheap and simple. Incredibly, a handful of (unsuccessful) computer searches have already been made for the tell-tale signs of an alien greeting.
    (Yes, that's me you're now hearing, banging my head against the desk.) Larry uses this opportunity to pose the obvious question, for his molecular evolution students and everyone else:
    Assume that the aliens inserted a 1000 bp message in the same place in the genomes of every member of our ancestral population from five million years ago... If you were to sequence that very same region of your own genome what would the message look like today?
    (Go leave your answer in the comments over at Sandwalk.) Anyone who has the slightest comprehension of natural selection ought to see that the most implausible part of Paul Davies scenario is not the bit about aliens engineering the DNA of terrestrial organisms. From the context of the full article (go to Sandwalk for the link), it's not clear how seriously Davies takes this. I'm really, really, really hoping that this does not reflect the biological understanding of a public scientific figure, but I'm afraid it does.

    Comments

    Hank
    Finally, a scientific explanation for my peptide.  



    And, no, I am not going to leave this comment on Dr. Moran's site.    The Davies stuff is funny enough for one posting.
    Gerhard Adam
    Yeah ... what a shame if the greeting turned out to be "Sucks to be you".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Why do aliens always have to be involved in our history and/or evolution. It's OKAY to have just evolved all on our own. And how is it simpler to just fly across intergalactic space to muck with genomes that may or may not mature to sentience than it is to just build a powerful, solar powered radio outpost in their own system and just let it blast away to whoever can pick it up?

    And the aliens begat the aliens who begat the aliens..ad infinitum

    I think the point of invoking aliens is to explain some of the megalithic structures around the world. For example, the ruins of Puma Punku are made from diorite and granite, which are two extremely tough minerals. Furthermore, the rocks weigh in excess of 500 tons and show signs of mass fabrication, with precise "drilling" evident on many stones. Finally, the entire site is built 13,000 feet above sea level with no obvious quarry nearby.

    And that's just one example. There are dozens of these kinds of sites all over the world precisely aligned to stars and other astronomical events supposedly made by people one step out of the stone age. Personally, I would not be surprised if aliens had a part in humankind's development. Some of these theories are far more outlandish though.

    Gerhard Adam
    Why is it that we can never credit people with ingenuity?  It appears that we use statements like "one step out of the stone age", as if these people were incapable of anything without modern technology.  In truth, these people were much hardier and innovative than most of us today, so let's not be so quick to write them off as being incapable of such achievements.
    Mundus vult decipi
    yes, that's true. But the evidence for some sort of technological help is pretty strong. Seriously, read about Puma Punku. It's some pretty impressive stuff.

    Gerhard Adam
    It is impressive, but another interesting question to consider is that if aliens were responsible for this, why would they use 800 ton stones any more than we would today?  Isn't it much more likely that they would've used materials that they manufactured?

    After all, the idea of aliens doing work like this is that they effectively discarded their own technology regarding materials and building, just to use these massive local resources and then simply disappeared.  In the same way that it is argued that there is no writing or plans left behind by these people, wouldn't it be even more unusual that no trace of aliens remains?  This would be especially significant since it is highly probable that a people visited by aliens would have kept some artifact as a reminder or token.

    In the same way that we can see how strong these materials were, it would be never be an effort we would engage in today because our technology would enable us to use steel supports, concrete, etc..  So regardless of how difficult it is to imagine how people during this period could've built such a structure, it seems even more implausible to imagine an alien civilization (or visitors) using their technology to build something that would still be a difficult achievement rather than use something more technologically friendly.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Maybe the aliens thought it was cool :P

    we can barely understand different cultures of the same species. Trying to fathom the thought processes in an entirely different species is out of the question.

    Gerhard Adam
    Trying to fathom the thought processes in an entirely different species is out of the question.
    True enough, but postulating a different alien species that constructed buildings and visited Earth in the past is even less explainable.  So unless they had a lot of time and energy to burn, it seems like a pretty incredible waste, to travel millions of miles, just to put up some unusual structures and then leave without a trace. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    I think there's an unspoken assumption that if or since aliens were invloved it was easy for them to just levitate the stones, after all they traversed the galaxy to get here so clearly they have the technology. One fallacy supports the other.

    Gerhard Adam
    The point remains.  If you had such advanced technology, why would you apply it to such a primitive set of resources, such as carving and placing stones?

    As I said, with all of our modern technology, we certainly don't go out and use it to quarry and form stones in solid shapes to build with.  Instead we use alternative technologies that make the entire process much easier as well as using alternative building materials.

    It seems a peculiar use of advanced technology.
    Mundus vult decipi
    adaptivecomplexity
    You've reached the heart of the matter!

    It is remarkable that, instead of artifacts such as, say, 5000 year old steel I-beams or lengths of PVC pipe, all we've got are structures made out of the exact same materials humans were using back then. Somehow the evidence for this sort of thing is never really what would be obviously convincing.
    Mike
    OBVIOUSLY THE STUFF THEY WERE USING LAST FOR A VERY LONG TIME! Perfectly verticle ettifices made of metal are not necessarily better suited for longevity than stone structures. Obvioulsy the stones at Puma Punku and the Pyramids at Giza have lasted thousands of years without the chance of rusting. Stone beats metal everyday.

    The only thing science has to refute ancient astronaut theory is Occam's Razor, which OS a totally flawed concept. The simpler answer is almost never the correct one. If you knew anything about natural selection, you would know that physical change only occurs in the necessity for survival. When did it become necessary to grow a prefrontal cortex to survive on this planet? I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of thousands of species on Earth that survive without it. For some reason people can't step back and realize how unnatural homo sapiens are to the planet.

    Gerhard Adam
    See, that's just goofy.  You seem to think that it is so unreasonable for a species to develop a prefrontal cortex on earth, and yet you seem to think it's perfectly reasonable that it would have developed on another planet (for which you have no evidence at all).

    So, it seems reasonable to you that what you consider to be an implausible adaptation should've occurred on another planet, and then that species was transplanted to earth.  Yeah .... that makes sense...NOT!
    Mundus vult decipi
    No sir, I was not saying it could not happen. I was saying that according natural selection, the formation of a prefrontal cortex is not necessary to the survival of a species on this planet. In fact, with the use of our prefrontal cortexes, we have ended up not just hurting our species, but our ecostystem. Im a graduate student in Biological Anthropology at the University of Kansas, and have given multiple lectures to undergraduate students on the possibility of Ancient Astronaut theory, and believe me, the only evidence supporting the counter is Occam's Razor. I've dealt with Ph.D's and Professors and had this same argument. For example, the only explanation for the megalithic sturctures such as the ruins of Puma Punku in the highlands of Boliva is something called forgotten technology. Do you know what that is? Archaeologist can't explain how ancient people lifted hundreds of tons worth of weight and moved them miles upon miles, except to say we forgot how to do it. It takes more speculation to believe we just up and forgot how to lift thousands of pounds then to say something that was here and left helped us. I could go on and on about how unnatural we are as a species. Do you have a child? Do you know about child birth and how complicated it is for a human to fufill its one natural purpose, to prolong it's species longevity? When you put every single thing together (which is the exact opposite of what science does, by the way) it almost harder to think people did it on their own than had help. We aren't saying our ancient ancestors where stupid. We are saying they weren't superman.

    Gerhard Adam
    Quite frankly, I don't believe your story, nor do I believe that you've had any serious discussions about this.  Lifting such stones has been demonstrated in numerous "primitive" cultures around the world and is certainly achievable. 

    As for "forgotten technology" .... what?!?  Are you serious?  Do you know how to make a bow&arrow?  No ... "FORGOTTEN TECHNOLOGY".  Give it a rest.

    There's nothing unnatural about humans as a species, nor about the things that were done historically.  However, I will agree that if you're a graduate student in Biological Anthropology, that would be unnatural.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Honestly you can believe what you want. I don't know you or care to know who you are. I do NOT know how to make a bow and arrow, but my species still does. AND YES YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE DEMONSTRATIONS! But that is just as specualtive as Ancient Astronaut theory. You want my credentials though? Talk to Professor John Hoopes or Profesoor Bart Dean at the University of Kansas. O wait, I forgot, you don't know how to investigate, you only know how to speculate. If you would have paid any attention at all to what I said, you would know that I never said Ancient Astonaut theory is the right answer, I just think people like you make yourself look stupid for saying that it's not possible. Do I think it's possible that our ancestors could have developed a technology at the same time in all different parts of the world that do the exact same thing and then never left a record of mentioned technology? YES!!! IT IS VERY POSSIBLE! Not probable, but possible! The issue is that it is all speculative, and when you apply OCCAM"S RAZOR (Entities shall not be multiplied beyond necessity) then you go with the one that takes less speculation! THAT IS HOW IT WORKS! THAT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CHALLENGE ANCIENT ASTRONAUT THEORY! ANYTHING ELSE YOU SAY CAN BE REFUTED AND CAN BE CHALLENGED. So you give it a rest, because you will never win. There is no answer and obviously you've closed your mind to other possibilties, which to me is very sad

    Gerhard Adam
    You just don't get it.  You do not solve scientific problems by postulating something that pushes the problem back to a different level.  Even if your idea were true, you haven't answered anything because you would be stuck with the origins of the "ancient astronauts".  You can't simply sweep that under the rug and scream "Occam's Razor". 
    Do I think it's possible that our ancestors could have developed a technology at the same time in all different parts of the world that do the exact same thing and then never left a record of mentioned technology?
    That's another problem.  You seem to think that unless someone wrote it down, it didn't happen.

    The simple reality is that people are quite ingenious and capable of many things without being compelled to record it for future generations.  However, it is equally interesting that this same condition doesn't affect your conclusion regarding "ancient astronauts".  In short, if such a major event did take place in the past, then why is there no coherent history of such a visitation?

    However, as a graduate student you better learn to differentiate between speculation, a hypothesis and a theory.  There is no Ancient Astronaut Theory.  There isn't even a hypothesis.  There is purely idle speculation without a shred of evidence to support it.  To suggest that you even have a theory that needs to be challenged suggests that you don't really know what you're talking about.

    Since you proposed the "theory", how about providing some evidence?  Some indication (beyond your personal speculations) that suggests that such a hypothesis might be a reasonable point for exploration?  All you keep saying is that humans are "unnatural" which is probably the most ridiculous thing someone that purports to understand biology can say.  Once again, the evidence clearly points to humans being an integral part of the genetic tangle that represents biological evolution. 

    Why is it that every crackpot idea closes with the accusation that anyone that doesn't give it credence must have a "closed mind"?  Since you are claiming to be a graduate student, then perhaps you need to begin taking your chosen vocation a bit more seriously and present evidence instead of running on like some stoner or Von Daniken disciple.
    Mundus vult decipi
    You must understand that absolutely nothing is set in stone! Science is used to explain natural phenomena, and empirical evidence can in turn be speculative in some cases. Have you heard of metaphysics? The entire reason Occam's razor exists is because in some situations, the majority of evidence is speculative. Therefore you must have a principle in place to choose one of those situations as right or more right. Occam's Razor, once again, is a principle that states "Entities shall not be multiplied beyond necessity." Therefore, you shall not speculate that extraterrestrials helped human production because it is easier to speculate that ancient humans just figured it out on their own. EVEN THOUGH BOTH HYPOTHESES ARE SPECUALTIVE! And I would appreciate it if you would not insult my intelligence. Do you need me to define Hypothesis, theory, and speculation for you in order to prove that I have a shread of brain power? Ancient Astronaut Theory is not a technical scientific theory, it is a hypothesis. A proposed explanation for an ovservable phenomena. it is not a SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESIS because at this point in time, there is no way to apply the scientific method to the hypothesis. But that does not mean the hypothesis is false. Are you a scientist?

    How about you provide some empirical evidence that humans did it on their own. Provide evidence that the Incan Indians built Puma Punku and the debate will end. Until then, everything is speculation.

    And real quick, lets talk about this Forgotten Technology thing that you seem to know so much about. When did we stop using bow and arrows? When we developed firearms. When did we stop using carriages as transprotation? When we developed cars. You don't abandon a technology until you develop one that is significantly more effective. I don't really see a way to better lifting hundreds of tons without using any type of machinery. Use some common sense real quick. Do you really believe our species would have forgotten how to do that? And if you can answer how Puma Punku was done by the Inca without a system of writing, then I will shut up forever. Until then, I will always give some credit to the theory. It makes sense. I don't run around advocating it, I won't appear on the history channel, but I will forever acknowledge it as an explanation for "gods" and unexplainable natural phenomena. It's funny that it explains almost everything that science cannot.

    Gerhard Adam
    Perhaps you need to do a bit less speculating and a bit more research.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K7q20VzwVs
    Mundus vult decipi
    Actually, archeologists DO explain how to lift, and move these stones around very well. In Egypt methods were postulated using what's available in the environment, like big logs and sandpiles, then by doing some very clever techniques, they stood up a very large obelisk. On Easter Island, it was redmonstrated how those statues were quarried, moved around, capstones put in place, using lots of logs and clever techiniques. It was also shown how building that many structures depleted and destroyed the forests that used to exist on the island. It that case their bigger grains got them into trouble to where they couldn't survive there any longer. Their creativity ruined their environment. As for "forgotten technologies", notice I've been using the word "techniques" in this paragraph. There is an important distinction there. Techniques don't require advanced or "alien" technology, hardware and/or machinery. Clever techniques only require advanced THINKING(!!) and some imagination. While some cranks "imagine" (or maybe "halucinate" would be a better descriptor) aliens coming here as a catchall explanation for wonderous human achievements, real scientists imagine and build real solutions to space travel and the multitude of engineering challenges which forever seem to face us. The hard thing for them is they actually have to pay attention to the physics involed in getting things done. This is what people have done since the earliest hominids. Don't overlook that working stone was THE major scientific expression for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of years before reaching it's zenith in the megalithic stoneworks. And methods do get forgotten or abandoned when the culture that prcticed them die out due to catastrophic natural events, invasions or whatever. But over time the mega stone structures weren't really worth doing. The methods they used gave way to more refined techniques and more elegant designs.

    I can't really comprehend why you keep avoiding my points! Obviously we are having this conversation because it's more than your so called crack pots who are thinking about this stuff. You have this random cognition that I am one of those who wants it to be aliens and nothing else. I've explained multiple times now that I am talking about the possibility of some help from something else out there. You, for some reason, are intent on saying it did not happen. That is the extent of my argument. Do I need to put it in logical format for you? Ancient Astronaut theory is speculative. Forgotten tecchniques are speculative. Occam's Razor is the priciple used in the event of two contradicting hypotheses that are both specualtive. Forgotten techniques are less specualtive than Ancient Astronaut theory. Therefore, science accepts forgotten techniques as the explanation for ancient feets because it is less speculative. That is all. Are you saying that without a doubt humans did all of this without the help of anything else? Like I said before, if you can provide empirical evidence that every single megalithic structure was built by humans alone, then I will change my argument. But as long as all you can provide is reenactments done by modern man or ideas of how they were done, then you are not presenting anything more than a hypothesis. And I never mentioned Egypt, or even Easter Island. I said Puma Punku. 17,000 years old. No writing. But somehow moved blocks of diarite and granite weighing over 100 tons over 10 km, then used some random knowledge of advanced geometry to cut and measure these stones. Oh and did I mention that the only thing harder than diorite and granite is diamond? Please, for the love of whatever you call god, explain that part to me, and I will shut up!

    Gerhard Adam
    You're not interested in an explanation and your name expresses exactly where you sentiments lie.  I provided you a simple video that clearly demonstrates how ONE man could move a 10 ton object with minimal effort.  Yet you keep insisting that somehow our ancestors had to have help.

    You can speculate about anything you like and it can't be proven wrong.  Instead of aliens, consider fairies, or hobbits, or magical elves.  It makes no difference since none of them can ever be proven to not exist (it's sort of a fundamental concept - proving a negative).
    ...then you are not presenting anything more than a hypothesis.
    Which is still better than what you have.  What you fail to grasp is that no claims are equal.  The more plausible one explanation becomes and the more extraordinary the other is, then the greater the burden of proof on the exceptional explanation.  It doesn't get easier, it gets harder.  You can't simply ignore a plausible explanation because you have a pet idea that you think is cool.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. 

    Therefore when I can provide you a reasonable explanation that such feats as moving stones, etc. are not just possible but demonstrably so.  Then there's a reasonable basis for invoking Occam's Razor.  Since this also illustrates how such objects can be lifted and set upright, then, once again, we don't need any additional explanation.  It doesn't mean that this is the precise techniques used, but it indicates that it isn't nearly as difficult as its been made out to be.  In short, everyone that has ever claimed that our ancestors could not have possibly made these structures is clearly wrong and needs to seriously rethink their claims.  It is self-evident that no modern technology (or even the wheel) is required.

    You're assuming that because YOU don't know how to manipulate such stones, that it must've come from an advanced alien technology.  That's a perspective that only occurs from the arrogant, "superior" attitude of modern man.  It turns out, primitive people aren't nearly as primitive as most expect. 

    Your assumptions require not only that life exists on other planets (which we have no evidence of).  It also requires that interstellar travel is possible (which we have no evidence of).  It also requires that such a civilization came and interacted with people here (which we have no evidence of).  It also requires that if they were here, they left no evidence of their visit and neither did the people here.  In short, you've got a lot of conditions that have to be met, and not a single shred of evidence to argue that it is plausible.

    The only argument you have, is that the stones at Puma Punka are cut very precisely.  So ???  It may be a question, but it is no basis for claiming extraterrestrial assistance.  You said you never mentioned Egypt or Easter Island, but in truth, that's all such claims have talked about.  However, now that it is effectively debunked, they hunt for another example that they can point to.  The simple reality is that your speculation has no traction.  It isn't plausible and you can offer no explanation beyond your own inability to build it.   Just because you don't know, doesn't mean they didn't and there's plenty of evidence to suggest they did know how.
    Mundus vult decipi
    No you just proved in your own writing that you haven't listened to me at all. The Incan's had no writings, so logically they didn't know how to plan a megalithic structure. Your first statement in your last message was "You're not interested in an explanation and your name expresses exactly where you sentiments lie. I provided you a simple video that clearly demonstrates how ONE man could move a 10 ton object with minimal effort. Yet you keep insisting that somehow our ancestors had to have help."
    I never ever ever ever said they HAD TO HAVE HELP. THE NAME I USED FOR THIS WANNABE SCIENCE BLOG IS IRONY.
    I've said everything I want to say. Whether you agree or not, a reenactment is speculative. Maybe not as speculative as Extraterrestrials, but still speculative. I argued for Ancient Astronaut theory because I know of it. I know of the possibilities of it. You say I'm the one who is insisting that our ancestors had to have help, but the truth is you are insisting that they couldn't have had help, which is what is wrong with this entire situation. I've now said multiple times that this isn't necessarily the answer, it just makes as much if not more sense. Reread everything we talked about and you will find where you are mistaken. You obviously are very intelligent and very knowledgeful with biology, but you seem to have forgotten common logic, and the way a hypothesis works. You also seem to not understand my point, obviously. Like I've said a thousand times. This isn't a problem for science....YET! It may/will become a SCIENTIFIC hypothesis once the SCIENTIFIC METHOD can be applied. As of right now, SCIENTIFIC METHOD can only be applied to "fogotten technology." But it is still a huge speculation. Argue all you want, its logic.

    Gerhard Adam
    You can apply the scientific method.  It has been applied.  We can illustrate that the ability to manipulate these stones is not impossible, and it doesn't require any special technology.  That's the science part.

    If you want to speculate about the historical accuracy of how it was done, or what their society was like, then knock yourself out, but there's no additional science required to demonstrate that the original claims that it was constructed by humans is valid.  I don't have to see a T-Rex turn into a bird, or watch the big-bang before I can incorporate a scientific theory around it, so don't use the argument that speculation is valid unless one can view historical data personally.

    You're mistaking the falsification of a theory as being a requirement of a theory.  That simply isn't true, as long as it has predictive capability, which this does.  Therefore, until you have a better explanation with more proof ... you're just out of luck.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    THE NAME I USED FOR THIS WANNABE SCIENCE BLOG IS IRONY.
    Perhaps you'd care to invite one of your professors on this site to examine the arguments? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    I understand of the possibilites of there being a technology that could lift ten tons. Maybe even a hundred tons. I understand the POSSIBILITY! But just because we can do it today does not mean we could do it back then, whether our ancestors were as smart as us or not. You think I'm saying that they couldn't. I'm actually saying we don't know if they could or not, we just suspect that they could. How do you not understand what I am saying?

    Gerhard Adam
    Oh and did I mention that the only thing harder than diorite and granite is diamond?
    Once again, you're misinformed.  Diorite was used in many ancient locations, of which one of the more famous is diorite stele on which the Code of Hammurabi is inscribed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Code-de-Hammurabi-1.jpg

    You can also drill into diorite using diorite powder, water, and a stick.  You'd be surprised.  Once again, the problem is that you're simply assuming that "hardness" equates to modern power tools required instead of recognizing that this stone had been worked for centuries all over the world with a considerable amount of intricate detail.  It really isn't a mystery.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Once again you are speculating that somehow these people randomly knew how to use diorite powder, water, and a stick to drill. Not impossible, but still speculation.

    Gerhard Adam
    This is a joke, right? 
    Mundus vult decipi
    No its not a joke. Are you telling me that it's not speculation? You haven't once argued that.

    Gerhard Adam
    Please stop abusing words like "random"... and stop behaving as if everyone in the past was an idiot.  This was clearly knowledge that many people (in many different societies) possessed, so it was hardly "random".  Anyone that has been alive for more than 10 minutes, knows about the power of water to cut rocks.  As for using a stick .... seems kinda obvious.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Actually I've shown you evidence that my hypothesis (no extraterrestrial help was necessary and all could be readily accomplished by humans without sophisticated tools) is likely true.  

    So, it's not speculation unless you're looking for an additional explanation you haven't mentioned.

    However, your idea is still lacking some basic evidence.  You started off by stating that humans are "unnatural" and that these structures could not have been built by them.  Both of these assumptions have been shown to be incorrect.  Now you're just clinging to some notion of speculation, but you need to show that there's some basis for why your speculation should be treated as a hypothesis.  What evidence do you have that any of it should be taken seriously?
    Mundus vult decipi
    I'm sorry Mr. Adam but you are continually mistaking what I am saying and ignoring parts of my posts. I've never said that they couldn't do it by themselves, once again. Unnatural was obviously the wrong word choice, since you seem to be clinging to that one part. I explained the evidence of the unnecessity of a prefrontal cortex, which you also seem to be ignoring. Why must you cling onto little parts of my conversation instead of reading the whole thing? Nevertheless, I am done arguing. Thanks for the scholarly debate.

    Aitch
    Just as an addition, since you didn't reference it, I would offer 'Worlds in Collision' and 'Earth in upheaval' by Immanuel Velikovsky

    http://www.knowledge.co.uk/velikovsky/index.htm

    His theories and scientific evidence have been ridiculed but not entirely dis-proven

    He also proposed Alien help for our megaliths, amongst other unexplained/disputed theories

    Aitch
    Gerhard Adam
    No alien help is necessary
    Mundus vult decipi
    Okay, Mr. Alien, now you've added to the list an erroneous assumption involving god. in the first place, I don't call anything "god". And, for the love of what you call "Ancient Astronauts", your arguments for the plausability of ancient astronauts having anything to do with earthly stoneworks are as empty as any arguments for the plausibly of god having come down and done them all. We're reading everything you say. It's just that the lack of any clear signature of alien intervention is emprical evidence that there is no evidence. That's not the same as not looking for evidence or ignoring evidence. It means the gross weight of all of the evidence is on the side of human effort. If your giving lectures on this topic, then may I make the assumption that you're getting paid to do so? I guess it's not illegal to pander to the scientifically naive for a living, but it is irresponsible to call it science. This is "B" movie stuff. Sure, it's plausible, that the dna coding language could be used to write some kind of message like a bar code. When you find one, after, of course, you succeed in running a test that that actually passes scientific muster, peer review, etcetera, I'm sure scientific consortiums around the world will be very interested in helping you to translate it. I'll admit my qualifications on this topic are that of a musician and electronics technician, and when it comes to science I'm mostly an armchair enthusiast. But, I think i can tell the difference between one who lectures real science an one expresses a lot of bull. And you, sir, sound like one of the latter. Why don't just write a good sci-fi? The more plausible the better.

    vongehr
    Yes, that's me you're now hearing, banging my head against the desk.
    That made me LOL. But seriously, if you want to bang your head against the desk every time yet another well known scientist comes up with completely idiotic rubbish, your head is going to be a mushy pulp very soon. Switch to face palms please.
    adaptivecomplexity
    Thank you for the very necessary helpful suggestion. My head still hurts after reading that a recent French Nobel laureate is moving to China (where he can get funding) in order to study the homeopathic signature of extremely dilute bacterial DNA.
    Mike
    Gerhard Adam
    I'm trying to figure out how to use water memory in place of an iPod.  Since there's so much more water on the planet, I could store a lot of songs and movies.
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    Thump, thump, thump - Geez - damn it - what you are hearing is my head-desk collisions. This is not just disgusting but undermining my credibility as a researcher in China. Jiaotong is close; I should go over there and kick his ass all the way back to France.
    Why must it be rubbish? If you are a scientist, then provide evidence against it instead of formualting an opinion and using methodical words like "RUBBISH" to get your point across.

    If the aliens are anything like us, the message is mostly advertising. Followed by a disclaimer.

    adaptivecomplexity
    Sadly, that's probably true.
    Mike
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I would have thought it was more likely that aliens would have used DNA  from this planet to further engineer and create their own genomes than the other way around. They might see the phenogenetic tree of life as a DNA fruit tree to be sampled on their occasional trips to the planet?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Maybe the aliens were just showing us how we can achieve off of our environment with out abusing the environment by manufacturing tools.,using what we already have to be in a environment with abundant resources, everyone had their environmental resources to uses on earth and mold earth as they please. We learn different now soon will see the difference between our technology and our ancestor technology. Why would Aliens cheat humans out of a learning experience unless these aliens was teaching humans who learned by experiencing life in a fast paced action pack Tunisia type of way.

    Truth is both of you have good ideas but fact is there is no hard evidence to even support that we evloved. How do you just forget that there is a missing link truth is they dont know how we got the way we are now and evolution dosnt come close to proving it.............Study the missing link then understand why it wouldnt make since for us to have just evolved it would have takin way more time to get this point if that were the case truth is we dont truly know how we got here

    Anonymous, do you have a reason for stating that 3.5 billion years is not a long enough time for life to have evolved, or is it just a gut feeling? How long would you say is long enough? Would 5 billion years be long enough? 10? How about if you had 50 billion years available - could life evolve in 50 billion years, in your opinion? Or by "not long enough" do you really mean "never".

    Gerhard Adam
    You really don't have any idea what you're talking about.
    Mundus vult decipi
    The logical fallacy that springs to mind here is the god of the gaps.

    "Study the missing link then understand why it wouldnt make since for us to have just evolved..."

    Are you saying that if I study evidence that is not available for study in the first place, the truth will come to me by intuition? Perhaps as a vision? If that doesn't happen is it just as valid to make something up according to some scared text or have a good, fairly original hallucination and call that the truth?

    The gaps you are referring to are long gaps in time between one well preserved fossil and the next. Unfortunately, the vast bulk of fossilized remains on the planet are only available as coal and petroleum, which are the only truly profitable types of fossil to invest any time in hunting. It's funny how the qualities of fossil fuels them the only kind of fossil the anti-evolution proponents seem to really appreciate. Tell me, if you can, what is the gap theorist's understanding of how, when and why those fossil fuel deposits came into existence?

    "....it would have takin way more time to get this point if that were the case truth is we dont truly know how we got here"

    The fossil record, gaps and fossil fuels included, really does show a long progression from the simplest, most rudimentary life forms up to the most complex and diverse forms. Yes, there has been enough time. And while it's a good thing to contemplate the gaps in our knowledge and the lack of some evidence, end the end, the more rational, objective conclusions must be based on the evidence that is available.

    in reality everything we have worked for to date will come to an end when the sun dies, even if we do find a way to travel and live in some other planet/solar system, that sun would also die.....in the end every single star born will die but logically speaking we as a species would probably die out long before that happens from the birth of our planet to the end of all life ever created on earth all our history would be lost it would be as if we didnt exist at all however 'cycles' seem to be constant within natural things - sure we can claim life to also be a 'cycle' we can also say aliens helped us modernize - what if i said all life created in various solar systems is just part of some experiment to observe behavioral patterns under different circumstances. ofc this all seems ludicrous.it does not matter if we evolved on our own or if we were 'helped' by aliens ( which to be honest even tho we cant prove there is other life out there im pretty sure there is to claim that our little planet being the only 1 in the universe to sustain life would just be ignorant.) because in the end we will end up non existent. im not here to argue with anyone's belief i honestly think anything is possible - we did it ourselves - had help - whatever other random things u think there is its all possible until 1 is proven to be fact over others.

    It's a shame that a majority of this discussion has focused on the issue of megalithic structures, as opposed to some of the more compelling items, such as: 1) early astronomical knowledge (especially as it pertains to the creation of calendars), 2) the overnight explosion of Sumerian acquisitions of domesticated crops/animals, written language, advanced math, 3) evidence of early land maps which would only be possible from a vantage point that would suggest the potential for human flight, 4) extensive artwork which may depict elements of space travel - such as "space ships", helmets and goggles, etc., as well as, potential "spacecraft" flying in the horizon of many pieces of art. The issue of technology/knowledge required to construct megalithic structures, in itself, is not the amazing thing to me. It is the fact that this technology (or knowledge) was spread across the globe, when this type of human interconnectedness around the globe did not exist. These are the issues that make me, at the very least, entertain the possiblity of elements of the ancient alien theory.

    Gerhard Adam
    I would suggest that you take a more simple view before entertaining such ideas.  (1) Astronomical knowledge is rather obvious when you observe the stars/planets every night.  Without having modern technology, possessing the knowledge about seasonal river floodings, etc. would've made your knowledge of constellations, etc much more keen than you might think.
    (2)  Define "overnight".  (3) Land maps even up to Christopher Columbus' time weren't that accurate, so perhaps you might indicate where you find such a map?  (4)  Such "artwork" is highly suspect since there is ultimately so little of it for something alleged to have such a dramatic impact.

    What technology do you think was spread worldwide that required something special to disseminate it?
    Mundus vult decipi
    1) The fundamental discipline of astronomy in any age is persistent observation. From persistent observation comes naming star patterns (constellations), and recognizing temporal patterns seasons, and so on the science of astronomy develops. Calendars, such as the Mayans created on their own, are artifacts of human scientific behaviour.
    2) There was no such "overnight explosion". I refer you to the book "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond to get a more realistic sense of the progression from hunter/gatherer to agricultural settlements and civilization. This is a natural progression that follows the development of agriculture. For the ancient South Americans the breakthrough was the development of corn.
    3) an ancient aerial photograph of about 100 square miles or an entire hemishere would be impressive as "only be possible".
    4) I will concede that there is some archeoloogical evidence for the Nazca Indians of Peru having been the original inventors of hot air ballooning. And that they entertained themselves with it in part by creating their wonderful ground drawings to observe while taking a ride. The story goes that the practice was observed by a Portugese missionary in the 1500s. His son returned to Portugal and demonstrated the feat to the Catholic Inquisition (big mistake) who freaked out and jailed him until death. 100 years later the French succeeded in re-inventing it. Whether this is due in part to the persistence of rumors or not is obscure. But again, hot air ballooning is a simple technology born of scientific observation, critical thinking and creativity. I like to think this is a true story and believe that if civilized Europeans could invent it, so could have the Nazcans.

    Much of the knowledge that was possessed required a knowledge of astronomical events that occurred over thousands of years. These could not be known by "early: man, with his limited capacity for knowing astronomical events that occur over long periods of time. Approximately, 4000 B.C., the Sumerian culture emerged - with the ability to farm (domesticate plants), domesticate animals, manipulate a complex writing system, possess complex systems of recording societal information/figures. Most experts agree that these take many thousands of years to develop. There is no known precursor to these Sumerian events.
    Maps have been obtained, one which was in a Cairo museum before its destruction (and predated Christ), that clearly showed an accurate dipiction of the European and African continents. This would not have been possible without the ability to be suspended far above in the air (or space).
    There are many pieces of art, both found in the Eastern and Western hemispheres that illustrate, what appears to be, space related depictions - such as space helmets, goggles, rockets, space ships, and the like. These are not few in number.
    If you suggest that it would have been easy for early man to have spread knowledge of megalithic construction, why weren't other elements of culture also exchanged (from the Middle East to South America, for instance), so that peoples from around the globe would much more culturally similar (from these exchanges) ? One would have to assume that as people slowly migrated from the Middle East to the areas of present-day South America, the knowledge of megalithic construction was carried along for the ride (with little/no evidence of its use along the way). Remember, you're assuming that nomadic travelers (with no need for megalithic construction) were the ones who dispensed this knowledge over long distances, over the course of many thousands of years.

    Gerhard Adam
    You have no idea what knowledge they had, or what was required.  Nor, I suspect, do you actually know what is being claimed beyond that of the people like Von Daniken.  This sounds suspiciously like the "ancients couldn't have built the pyramids (or insert your favorite structure) because the engineering is too complex, and they couldn't have moved such large stones).

    See this link to debunk that last claim.
    http://www.science20.com/gerhard_adam/ancient_astronauts-75884

    The truth is that people were far more clever than we tend to give them credit for, and we also tend to assign significant important to things that are ultimately trivial (such as the alignment of the pyramids with stars).

    This is the same nonsense regarding the Nazca plains, and most other purported evidence regarding ancient visitations.  There is no evidence beyond our arrogant assumption that they couldn't possibly have done it, because they were "primitive" (i.e. we don't know how to do it).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    What are you talking about?  The link talks about nothing but how inaccurate the maps are.
    North America is frankly a mess on this map.

    We can see that Europe and Africa are pretty good but with lots of inaccuracy in detail.
    http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pseudosc/piriries.htm
    Mundus vult decipi
    Many rebuff the AA theory since they claim no artifacts of the alien technologies exist. My question is this - Where is the evidence of how early man achieved these feats ? For all of the early recordings/artifacts that exist pertaining to trivial matters, one would think that these would , at the very least, exist for feats such the construction of megalithic structures. We have nothing. You seem to suggest that modern man has some sort of vested interest in portraying early man as dismissively "primitive." If periodic evolution was capable of producing early man with capabilities beyond ours currently, I'd be the first to embrace that idea.

    Gerhard Adam
    If you had read the links I'd provided, you'd see how easy it is to deal with megalithic structures.  Early man didn't need capabilities greater than ours, just different.  With our modern technology it's difficult for people to think of how a particular problem might be solved, without resorting to that same technology.  Older civilizations had to rely on their ingenuity.

    Mundus vult decipi
    I did view the Wally World video. Unfortunately, this video, which portends to replicate a Stonehenge type scenario, leaves so many important elements out:
    1) Wally is using poured concrete pillars. His video fails to show how immense rocks were "shaped to fit" (as would have been the case in megalithic structures in Egypt and South America) to perfection.
    2) The rocks at Stonehenge were quarried from a site 200 miles away. How were the rocks transported over that distance ?
    3) Timeline - Archeologists and historians agree that the great pyramids were build over a period of time covering 100 years. For this to have been possible, stones (hundreds of tons each) would to have been quarried, "chiseled" into perfect shape, and moved into place - one rock every few hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 100 years, with NO days off for poor weather. Ths is simply not realistically possible.
    4) Again, I ask, where is roadmap which indicates HOW these things were done by ancient man - the art illustrations, the recorded information, etc ? We have nothing.

    Gerhard Adam
    You obviously don't want any answers, but rather just to continue your speculation.  Unfortunately, there will never be enough proof for someone that wants to believe in alien technology.  It should be clear that the issue of moving these stones is basically solved (in the sense that it is achievable without alien technology). 

    In your mind you've already decided that aliens must've built these structures or at least assisted.  Of course, you don't address why an alien technology would work with stone in the first place, or why they would bother to quarry stone if they had the technology for more advanced materials available, but that's the way these speculations always go.
    Mundus vult decipi
    What is the limit that you would place on the abilities of ancient man ? Or is there a limit ? If time travel had taken place, would you insist that it was achieved through the actions of ancient man - without any assistance, even though there is nothing to suggest that they had any knowledge of it ? By the way, you suggest that the Wally World Circus, naturally dovetails into the ability to move Stonehenge rock 200 miles. It's like saying that since a baby can crawl, it's natural to assume that they can also fly the space shuttle.

    Gerhard Adam
    Your example of a baby crawling makes no sense, since it's an apples/oranges comparison.  Why should the ability to move a huge rock by yourself a few feet, become an intractable problem with perhaps hundreds of people (including animals potentially) over 200 miles.  It's not a difference in kind, but only of degree.

    If you want to demonstrate alien involvement, then you'd have to find something that clearly involves technology that signifies a major departure over the technology that actually was in use.  Find even one old laser level and you've got an argument.  Until then, everything that was done was achieved using the tools they had and the means available.  There is nothing supernatural or highly technological about it.  It simply required persistence and some ingenuity.

    Two hundred miles is not an insurmountable distance, so why behave as if it is?  Instead you want to postulate that aliens traveled hundreds of millions of miles for no better purpose than to help out some folks that wanted to build some big buildings.

    Which seems the more absurd?
    Mundus vult decipi
    "Two hundred miles is not an insurmountable distance, so why behave as if it is?" When the weight of thee stones vary between 150-250 tons each, this distance is insurmountable. As far as proof of technology, archeologists have found "circular sawblade" marks on the cut surfaces of some of the megalithic structures in South America. What would man's energy source have been to generate enough power to move a blade through rock like this ? Where is the evidence of these "tools" today ? If you follow the entire AA theory, it's a bit more involved than bored "aliens" traveling hundreds of millions of miles to build a number of megalithic structures around the globe.

    Gerhard Adam
    No it's not.  It's completely speculative with not a shred of evidence to support it.  You don't think if some archaeologist found some alien technology he wouldn't be all over it?  His fame and fortune would be assured (and please don't tell me that this is some conspiracy of silence to keep this information away from the public). 

    Instead all we have is the word of a bunch of speculators that have no evidence but tell a good alien story.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Actually, it is. The AA theory isn't just about "Early man cound not have constructed such and such, with limited technology..." That's just one component of the THEORY. Much of the genesis of the theory comes from thousands of Sumerian tablets (dating to the 4th millenia B.C.) that were discovered in archaelogical digs in the 1970s. These tablets were interpreted by Zecharia Sitchin. The Sumerians tell a story of "gods" and the technology/actions/arrival/reasons for their arrival on Earth, etc. of these "gods". AA theorists hold out the potential that these "stories" may be interpreted literally (as opposed to symbolically, as most would do), and that the "gods" spoken about were actually extra-terrestrial visitors, that just possessed superior technologies, since they were far more along the evolutionary path than life on Earth at the time. It is theorized, that these ETs (for lack of a better descriptor) gave the early Sumerians many of the anachronistic elements that they possessed. The theory suggests that the first arrival was approximately 450,000-500,000 years ago and the original purpose was mining for gold (which took place in Africa), that was to be returned for use on the "home planet", due to a depletion of their own resources. These are the "stories" that were recounted on the Sumerian tablets, not an invention of AA theorists. If this seems farfetched, we speak of mining the moon and other planets today. Incidentally, archeaological digs have recently recovered evidence of mining in Africa dating to 450,000 years ago - which was completely unexpected, but consistent with the Sumerian stories.
    AA theorists do not suggest that this is known fact, but have decided that current explanations are not satisfactory. So, there is much more to the AA theory than stating that, since early man was incapable of certain feats, then aliens must be responsible for it.

    I don't know anything about ancient aliens but if I wanted to leave a message in DNA I'd trap samples of the DNA in an amber-like substance to ensure that it bypassed the whole "how many mutations does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop" question.

    How long should an ancient message persist? We're struggling to figure out how to tell people 10,000 years from now "Keep out! Danger!" before we store any radioactive waste in Yucca Mountain (meanwhile, we just let it pile up in our backyards to protect the environment).

    Given the limitations of our own ability to send a message into the future, are we ready to decode a message from the past (should one exist)?