NOT ALONE IN THE UNIVERSITY
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
An international team has found sugars essential to life in meteorites. The new discovery adds to the growing list of biologically important compounds that have been found in meteorites, supporting the hypothesis that chemical reactions in asteroids, the parent bodies of many meteorites, can make some of life’s ingredients. If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth may have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life’s building blocks.
Other important building blocks of life have been found in meteorites previously, including amino acids components of proteins and nucleobases, components of DNA and RNA, but sugars have been a missing piece among the major building blocks of life.
The new study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research provides the first direct evidence of ribose in space and the delivery of the sugar to Earth. The extraterrestrial sugar might have contributed to the formation of RNA on the prebiotic Earth which possibly led to the origin of life.
The idea that terrestrial life has extraterrestrial origins has a long and sometimes distinguished history. The standard version goes something like this: a primitive alien life form, perhaps a bacterium, somehow hitches a ride through space aboard an object like a meteoroid, collides with our young planet and seeds it with life. Against innumerable odds, its descendants flourish and spread across Earth.
In 1871, Lord Kelvin hypothesized “that there are countless seed-bearing meteoric stones moving about through space”. In his 1908 book, Worlds in the Making, Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius named the process “panspermia.”
Panspermia is the notion that that life on Earth began when a meteorite or comet containing simple organisms landed here, billions of years ago and perhaps more importantly, that there’s life elsewhere in the universe.
While it is remarkable news, it seems that more we edge closer to the possibility of the idea of exo-creationism there are many others willing to silence it in favor of more primitive thoughts on the origins of mankind.
The secrets of the creation process are revealing themselves and perhaps it is time that we realize that there may be that halfway point between the romanticism of the religious story of creation and the scientific method in which creation manifests and data confirms.
This opens the door to an even greater discussion as to what or even who is responsible for why we are here, where we are going, and how and why we exist.
You may not believe in powers that exist beyond earth and beyond man’s comprehension, but it is evident that religious organizations now believe or at least have their ideas about the probability of exobiology, space agencies around the world are entertaining the ideas of life out in space and that the United States Military, NASA and other black ops organizations have sensitive information that they have kept from the American people regarding strange anomalous activities in space.
It is getting to the point where NASA is no longer capable of keeping everything “top secret.” Some things cannot easily be explained by science.
As recently as 2009, Stephen Hawking speculated that “life could spread from planet to planet, or from stellar system to stellar system, carried on meteors”. Prestigious backers notwithstanding, panspermia has not found widespread acceptance, although many biologists accept a weaker version of it. Most biologists will agree there is a contribution to the origin of life on Earth from cosmic sources.
An enduring mystery regarding the origin of life is how biology could have arisen from non-biological chemical processes. DNA is the template for life, carrying the instructions for how to build and operate a living organism. However, RNA also carries information, and many researchers think it evolved first and was later replaced by DNA.
This is because RNA molecules have capabilities that DNA lacks. RNA can make copies of itself without “help” from other molecules, and it can also initiate or speed up chemical reactions as a catalyst. The new work gives some evidence to support the possibility that RNA coordinated the machinery of life before DNA.
The study also gives more evidence that astrobiology or exobiology is certainly a science that needs its comeuppance and should become part of the mainstream curriculum not only in the various colleges and universities but also in the public school system.
The debate has always been whether or not to have equal time in the school curriculum for a faith-based explanation or “Creationism” as an alternative to the more “Evolutionary” explanation for scientific discoveries.
These ideas sometimes are bordering on, or are fully, a delusional response to the phenomenon.
Those who wish to persuade the teachers and school authorities to teach creationism are at times militant and at the same time really do not have a definition of just what entails the creationism story. Is it all summed up with “Once upon a time” or even “In the beginning”?
It is not exactly clear as to exactly what the militant religious want taught in the public schools; however, there seems to be this halfway point where both the religious and scientific can find the satisfaction that a well-rounded curriculum of both science and intelligent design resides without all of the dogmatic militant religiousness in the matter.
Believing there’s something else “out there” (where ever that may be) that is largely unknown is one thing, but faith in specific attributes about that unknown thing, especially relating to the typical cataclysmic model, is quite another.
The cataclysmic model worked for our ancestors and a possible doomsday on the horizon seems to be working again for things like climate change and the fear of overpopulation of the planet.
The cataclysmic model has been used as a tool for the religious to show that acts of God are merely part of his wrath in matters of sin and godlessness, and in times where oppressed people like the Hebrews can find freedom by adhering to certain habits that keep them from being erased from existence.
However, it takes science to try and explain the natural methods of a power or a force that religious just call ‘God’.
Astrobiological explanations are now gaining validity lately giving us hints and clues that the probability of life everywhere in the Universe is highly likely.
There are still the rigid scientists that want some of this speculation to go away. It seems that the universe is beginning to become less mysterious and more indicative of how we became living breathing beings on this planet.
Pennsylvania State University is now offering its first-ever graduate course in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
That initial class was an experiment, but it is now in the school’s official course catalog and represents the university’s first small step in boosting SETI research. The giant leap will be the creation of the Penn State Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center or PSETI Center: a formal academic hub that aims to fund research, host conferences, educate students and raise up the next (and next and next) generations of scientists looking for space aliens.
Now they will be raising their own graduates that can say “I’m not saying it’s aliens but”— you know the rest – and soon there will be qualified graduates that can speak about exoplanets, biological signatures, technical signatures, panspermia, and perhaps well-documented histories about mankind’s relationship with anomalies in the skies.
Unidentified Flying Objects have a surprisingly ancient history. The earliest UFO sightings were reported by Roman historians Livy, Orosius, Seneca, Plutarch, Pliny, and Josephus. The ancient sightings have been classified by a NASA scientist according to the standard UFO categories devised by astronomer J. Allen Hynek: Close Encounters of the First, Second, and Third Kinds.
The parallels to modern UFO sightings are eerie. For example, in 217 BC, numerous witnesses in Rome watched a group of “shiny round shields of polished bronze” moving across the sky. At the same time in the countryside east of Rome, many people reported seeing mysterious “forms of men completely dressed in shining white.” Three years later, people in northern Italy saw something like a large white marble “altar in the sky” accompanied by human shapes clothed in brilliant white.
In 154 BC, more “flying shield-like disks” appeared. One night in 104 BC, people of two Italian towns watched as “flaming spears and oblong-shaped shields rushed at each other” in a kind of aerial “battle.” In 100 BC, a very large, round shield-shaped object traveled across the sky. In 91 BC, a huge fiery disk was accompanied by sonic boom-like sound. Later that same day, people in Spoleto watched a UFO’s vertical approach and take-off, as a great “gold-colored ball rolled down from the sky toward earth, then rose up again.” In 74 BC, thousands witnessed a large, flaming object of “molten silver” crash land between two armies on a Roman battlefield in Turkey.
The object was shaped like a large storage jar with a pointed bottom, something like a nose-cone. In Rome, 43 BC, “a spectacle of missiles and weapons and shields was seen to rise from the horizon up to the sky, with a loud clashing noise.”
The astronomical meteorologist who analyzed these Roman reports in Classical Journal (2007) notes that the “UFO phenomenon, whatever it may be due to, has not changed much over two millennia”: disk, elongated, or sphere shapes; metallic, brilliant colors and materials; smooth, erratic, or hovering motions; the object often vanishes. Whether these are extraordinary atmospheric effects, astronomical phenomena, or extraterrestrial encounters, the persistence of consistent details over thousands of years seems to point to something real observed by many witnesses over time, something that we do not yet understand.
Analyzing histories and accounts in an academic curriculum could provide clues as to what the ancients were dealing with and whether or not any or all of these encounters sparked the original religions.
Making this part of college and or public school curriculum would prepare students for the future and would give the indication that science is in for the long haul with regard to studying what is out there in the cosmos.
No one knows what the future holds—what discoveries will be made, what innovations will be schemed, what signals will be dissected. But even if astronomers make extraterrestrial contact someday, it would be wise for us to begin teaching the basic theories and proven hypothesis with thin the curriculum of exosciences.
It has been noted cynically, but not untruthfully, that NASA eagerly spends billions of dollars to search for extraterrestrial life passively waiting to be found, but will spend almost nothing to look for the intelligent life that might, after all, be trying to get our attention. This is especially strange since the discovery of intelligent life would be a much more profound and important scientific discovery than putting our budgets into climate science that is doing absolutely nothing to further science but seems to fill the pockets of technocrats that want to use political clout to push us all into world socialism.
Bio-signatures are eagerly waiting to be confirmed as disclosure of biological life would be a major breakthrough and technical signatures will ultimately lead to one of the most profound discoveries in human history—intelligent biological entities that would certainly invigorate NASA and making it more relevant since the Apollo era.
It would perhaps cast some shade on the military race for space dominance –which is now a top priority of the Pentagon.
The United States and China are rapidly building space warfare capabilities as part of a race to dominate the zone outside Earth’s atmosphere.
Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of the Pentagon’s new Space Command, said last week that the threat of attacks against vital American satellites is real.
China’s strategy for dominating space was detailed this month in the annual report of the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The commission report warned that China wants to dominate the zone between the Earth and the moon, known as cislunar space, as part of what the ruling Communist Party of China calls the “Space Dream.”
China is planning a permanent base on the moon as part of the dual military and commercial program.
The Pentagon is also concerned about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the threat that this may pose to our military.
The healthy focus about the future in space needs to be taught in schools. This new school curriculum should be offered to students K-12.
This should be talked about now as it is obvious that we are actually edging closer to becoming a full-time space-faring species.
The pop culture has been using fiction to expose everyone to the possibility that we are not alone and since a majority of people think that we are not alone – don’t you think that the time has come to take seriously the notion that there is life out in space and that it certainly expands the possibility for mankind to travel through the cosmos seeking out that life and learning about it on an academic level?
Many states have adopted a controversial core curriculum. The rise of standardized tests and the academic expectations of many colleges and universities have led school administrators to see the value in requiring that students demonstrate competency before they are handed a diploma.
Science standards often require that students show an understanding of evolution. Religious fundamentalists have been very uncomfortable about this but up until now there really has not been an alternative to explaining the foundation of modern biology.
The question is whether or not fundamentalists would approve of the teaching of astrobiology in the public schools as it offers a more realistic approach to where we have come from.
In lieu of creationism or intelligent design, astrobiology gives a perspective that all things were made in the universe and that humans and animal species were all put on the earth through the scientific method of panspermia.
All living things in the universe were seeded in this manner.
The question is, by whom?
This, of course, would be an opportunity for parents to teach a religious perspective on these matters.
The unfortunate thing is that many people conflate demons, angels, UFOs, science fiction movies and cults to all of this discussion and while many of these topics are valuable form a sociological standpoint, there needs to be some sort of dignified plan to move us forward intellectually towards the stars or our future will remain here on Earth, never knowing the truth about what is out there.
Humans operate by means of uninformed emotion. Actions of mankind can always demonstrate irrational behaviors when confronted with their mortality and their place in the universe. Take one moment and contemplate the arrival of aliens, seriously think about what that means to mankind. Now put all of the anthropomorphic ideas of aliens out of your head and try to picture them as you would most of the prominent species of this planet. Picture them as mollusks or cephalopods. Picture them with exoskeletons like beetles or lobsters.
Chances are you would react to these entities the same way you do if you saw a spider or a snake.
Would we then continue to conflate the substance of demons and angels with the sciences pertaining to extraterrestrial biological discovery?
This is another reason to teach about what we can expect if we find life elsewhere in the universe.
The existence of rational, sentient beings on a planet other than Earth is no longer a fantastic, remote possibility conjectured by imaginative and unrealistic minds. It is declared not a possibility but a probability by an ever-growing chorus of distinguished astronomers and eminent scientists in all fields.
We are now seeing the establishment of a new science – “exobiology,” which is the study of forms of extraterrestrial life.
There is no need to worry about whether or not religion supports it but it certainly gives us a reason to think that mankind was formed in the heavens and was later sent down to be a caretaker for the planet.
It is quite possible that Homo sapiens on this planet and other equivalent races elsewhere represent the interpenetration of the natural and the supernatural. Whether the idea of “the divine Image” is interpreted rationally as intelligence, or anatomically, there is nothing really in biblical doctrine and history that insists upon man’s singularity.
In fact, scripture passages in Genesis and in the Book of Enoch suggest that man has been always in contact with engineers, teachers, and guides that come down from the sky.
If the image of the Absolute One God can be impressed upon the assorted individuals within the human race, it can be similarly bestowed upon a multitude of races that will eventually be found in outer space.