Will Hart

What is Directed Panspermia?

It has been more than three decades since Eric von Daniken had the first of his best selling books published. In the initial three of the series he tirelessly and enthusiastically examined the archaeological and cultural historical records of the world's ancient cultures trying to show that 'ancient astronauts' had visited our planet. His controversial ideas and the fascinating information he presented about our planet's mysterious past were a smashing success. In fact, he has since become the most popular nonfiction writer of all time.

That said -- and credit given to Mr. Van Daniken for pointing out the enigmas of human history -- some very important scientific work was published in this field by several eminent scientists 20 years ago. Nobel Prize winner Sir Francis Crick and astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle weighed in with their theories of the origins of life in the early 1980s.

Their books never made it into public consciousness the way the 'Chariots of the Gods' did and they seldom get mentioned in 'ancient astronaut' literature. However, these works deserve a reappraisal and I highly recommend them to any serious student of cosmology, UFOs or evolution. Crick proposed that an advanced civilization seeded life on earth in the remote past, a theory called Directed Panspermia.

We shall postulate that on some distant planet, some four billion
years or so ago, there had evolved a form of higher creature who,
like ourselves, had discovered science and technology, developing
them far beyond anything we have accomplished…

[Life Itself, Francis Crick, 1981, pg. 117]

This may seem a wide departure from the mainstream for a man who is credited with being the co-discoverer of the shape of the DNA molecule, however Crick's treatment of this topic was mostly from a rigorous, scientific perspective. He did not delve into history's mysteries but into a variety of scientific topics including the nature of DNA and RNA as well as what was then known about when life originated on earth. "The earliest traces of life we can detect at the present time are found associated with rocks dated to about 3.6 billion yeas ago…but the fossil record, formed by simple animals whose hard parts have been preserved, is only 0.6 billion years old." (1)

In his book Crick pointed out that it took the simplest, single cell organisms about 1.4 billion years to evolve. The next decisive step up in complexity to multicellular organisms took almost 2 billion years more. Mammals appeared on the scene about 200 million years ago and complexity took a quantum leap. It would seem that the process of biological evolution on the earth is counter-intuitive. We would expect that it should have taken a shorter time period for the simplest life forms to evolve and much longer for the most complex organisms yet mammals took only a fraction of the time to develop compared to the earliest and simplest organisms.

We have to keep in mind that the book was published more than 20 years ago, decades before the Human Genome Project (HGP) finished decoding the DNA blueprint. However, at the time one of the central mysteries that puzzled Crick was "Such an astonishing degree of uniformity was hardly suspected as little as forty years ago." (2) He was referring to findings that showed that all living things use the same four-letter DNA language to transmit genetic information. This seemed to point to the probability that all life on earth arose from one very primitive population, which developed the singular, genetic code.

At that time it was believed that the human gene count, and that of other higher animals, would naturally be greater than the lower plant and animal species. It was also assumed that humans had branched of from the great apes but no one specifically singled out the chimp. Both of those assumptions were based upon a Darwinian view. However, the HGP and other more recent studies have shown those predictions were incorrect. The human gene count turned out to be less than the rice genome and only double that of the lowly roundworm and Homo sapiens DNA is 98.5 percent the same as the chimpanzee. These results surprised and mystified mainstream scientists.

The HGP did confirm that all of life is very closely related on the genetic level and we can accurately refer to earth's biological system as the 'Genetic Tree of Life'. Crick alluded to the underlying issue raised by this finding with the following statement: "We see, then, that one way to approach the origin of life is to try to imagine how this remarkable uniformity first arose." (3) The question is how could the primordial earth have randomly synthesized the first nucleic acids or proteins from the chemical soup that existed billions of years ago?

It might appear that the recent genetic findings support Darwinism, the theory that life originated on earth through blind chance. On the surface it would seem that the very uniformity that the genetic code displays argues for life originating on this planet on its own. However, that is not necessarily the case; the scenario poses problems. For starters, if Nature was operating via a long series of random events that eventually clicked and produced simple one-celled organisms, why weren't there a variety of these random combinations that resulted in numerous DNA codes instead of a single branching genetic tree?

It can be argued that the very uniformity of the genetic language seems to imply that this process had been tested and packaged before on some other planet and then transplanted to the earth. The one-pass-through success of life on our planet would seem to indicate that a high degree of intelligence and bio-engineering was involved because whoever conducted it bet everything on one roll of the dice, a single genetic pathway as if on a sure thing. A purely random process should have produced at least several genetic lines with varying bases and languages in order to insure that one would succeed.

Crick later posed the following question:

" Can we marshal any convincing evidence which might support or refute Directed Panspermia? One possible line of evidence is contained within the organisms we have today. In spite of the great variety of molecules and chemical reactions produced by evolution, there are certain features, which appear common to all living things. We can begin to piece together the family trees of certain molecules - transfer RNA molecules, for example -…the one feature, which is so invariant that it immediately attracts attention. This is the genetic code…

This would not be surprising if there were an obvious structural reason for the details of the code; if certain amino acids had necessarily to go with certain codons because, for example, their shapes neatly fitted together. It seems most improbable…that all the details of the code were decided by purely chemical reasons…One is mildly surprised that several versions of the code did not emerge." (4)

He later summed up his interpretation of the evidence: "the fact that the code is so uniform lends a small measure of support for Directed Panspermia." (5) Crick also pointed to the element molybdenum, which is more abundant in living things than it is in rocks, as another support for extraterrestrial intervention. Stronger evidence in support for Directed Panspermia came in the fossil record. According to Crick his theory predicted that microorganisms should appear suddenly, "without any evidence of prebiotic systems or very primitive organisms." (6) This, in fact, is what the fossil record shows and we would suspect if an advance civilization had suddenly decided it was time to 'seed' the earth.

Directed Panspermia offers a better explanation for the gaps in the fossil record since 'missing links' could have existed solely on the 'sender' planet and never on earth. Darwinism is actually crushed by the 'missing links' problem. Crick raised another very good point about the sudden emergence of a type of blue-green algae dated to a very early time in the life of the earth. The problem for mainstream evolutionists is explaining how this primitive plant evolved to a fully formed stage so quickly. This would suggest that the plant went through an earlier evolution on a planet similar to earth and was transplanted here by a technically advanced civilization.

Crick's theory could also explain the abrupt appearance of flowering plants (angiosperms) and the lack of transitional species in the fossil record between the primitive non-flowering plants (gymnosperms) and the angiosperms. Darwin referred to this gap as the "abominable problem". From the above we can see that the mechanisms of Directed Panspermia pass some basic scientific criteria in several regards, the available evidence conforms to its predictions and it appears to explain some phenomena better than currently accepted theories.

Much stronger support for this theory has actually been collected in recent years, long after the book was published so Crick was unable to present it in his arguments. Mainstream scientists long believed (some still do) that life could not survive the rigors of outer space because it was either too hold or too cold. However, that belief has been challenged by a number of recent findings.

On December 20, 2001 NASA announced that a research team had discovered sugar (carbohydrate molecules) and several related organic compounds on two meteorites. This provided the first solid physical evidence that another fundamental building block of life on Earth could have originated in outer space. It also pointed to the likelihood that life has formed on other planets.

Carbon based compounds and amino acids like carboxlyic acid had been found on meteorites previously but this was the first time carbohydrates had been identified. The recovery of one of the early Lunar-landing modules has also dispelled the notion that life could not survive the radical conditions of space. When the module was recovered a form of streptococcus bacteria was found on the craft; and it had survived for more than a year on the lunar surface! So life has adapted to the extreme conditions of space, which also tends to support the theory that it evolved in and has traveled through space.

Obviously, the theory of Directed Panspermia predicts that life exists elsewhere in the cosmos, actually began somewhere else and was deposited here, so these findings are very important. Now, we turn to Hoyle's book Lifecloud: The Origin of Life in the Universe where we find a simpler version of Crick's theory, which is simply Panspermia. Like the biologist, the astronomer did not think that the evidence supported the notion that life originated on earth via Darwinian mechanisms but out in the cosmos instead; Hoyle envisioned the basic molecules arriving on comets or being pushed here by light waves without the aid of an extraterrestrial civilization.

The late astronomer presented a wealth of astronomical data in support of the idea that life did not have enough time to evolve on earth and that it probably developed in the cosmos. In 2002 Space.com reported, "a controversial finding last year of microbes high in Earth's atmosphere and thought to have come from space gained another scientists support this week." (7) Hoyle's co-author and fellow proponent of the panspermia theory, Chandra Wickramasinghe was the first to study these organisms, which he claimed, rained down on the earth every day.

Clearly all these recent findings tend to support the theory of panspermia whether directed or not. Most leading researchers now widely accept the idea that life could travel between planets embedded inside rocks, kicked up by asteroids or comet collisions. The sciences of astrobiology and exobiology are still in their infancy and yet they are showing that life is out there and it is very hardy!

What we have embodied in these two panspermia theories are the embryonic formulations of a valid scientific theory about the cosmic origins of life on earth. As the author has shown in prior articles, we have a wealth of historical enigmas, pointing to 'missing links' in the archaeological and agricultural records that cast doubt on the theories of mainstream anthropologists and historians. It would appear that an advanced civilization has intervened in earth's evolution; and through a series of transplants, implants and genetic insertions initiated, altered and controlled the course of biological and cultural life.

In fact, all ancient civilizations tell of a time when 'gods' descended to earth to bring the gifts of agriculture, tools and law to primitive humanity. So our own cultural records also support the theory of Directed Panspermia, as do the mysterious artifacts that dot the landscape in Egypt, Mexico and Peru. Yet the clincher is our own development as a species along technical lines that have led us to embrace the twin technologies of space exploration and genetic engineering. How do we explain our 98.5% identical genetic makeup with chimpanzees as our astronauts travel in space and chimps still swing from limb to limb? All of this goes on while our geneticists insert the genetic materials from bacteria into the genes of a corn plant to create a new hybrid species.

I would explain it this way, we have inherited the genes from the advanced race that seeded life on our planet and genetically engineered our species 'in their image' and we are recapitulating that genetic heritage.

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