Four Theories on How Life Started On Earth
How did life start on Earth? Where did the first animals, the first plants, the first single-celled organisms come from? Some believe that it all started with Adam and Eve sent from the heavens, others believe that life was created by Gaia, Uranus, Cronus and Zeus.
But did you ever take the time to investigate the vast plethora of extraterrestrial theories on the origin of life out there today?
The list below includes just a few of the most popular theories, ranging from really-out-there to scientifically accepted.
1. Raëlian theory of origin
Raëlians hold one of the more peculiar theories of origin of this list. According to Claude Vorilhon (aka Raël), "thousands of years ago", when Earth was a land of only lifeless water and clouds, scientists from an extraterrestrial humanoid race called the "Elohim" brought genetically engineered flora and fauna down to Earth. They broke up the clouds, formed fertile land, and left them to grow autonomously on Earth as an experiment, with the occasional intervention from a Human-Elohim-hybrid messenger created to help guide humanity in times of crisis.
According to Raël, these messengers match up with the historical religious prophets as we know them around the world, including Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Buddha, and Joseph Smith. And Claude Vorilhon, or Raël, actually claims to be the most recent in this line of half-Elohim messenger prophets. He claims to have been born by immaculate conception like Jesus, and later contacted during the 1970s by an 'Eloha' (singular of the 'Elohim') descended from the heavens. This 'Eloha' explained to him the real origin of human life on Earth:
"A long time ago on our planet, we had reached this age, similar to the one you are in now. Our scientists were beginning to design life with the synthesis of DNA. The whole of our society watched with fascination as they created more and more sophisticated organisms until one day they made a mistake. From then on, public opinion turned against these scientists and they were forced to take their experiments elsewhere. They finally found a planet suitable for the creation of life. It was your earth, and at the time had no life on it at all. It was completely covered with water and clouds."
The video above is one of four official videos featured on rael.org. If we could make God/the Creator of life on Earth look like whatever we wanted, we would definitely make him/her look exactly like they did— a bit of Peter Jackson's elves of Rivendell, a bit ofVan from 'Escaflowne', and a touch of Evanescence. Good job Raëlians, you really nailed it!
2. Alien Garbage Theory
First proposed by Cornell's Thomas Gold, the alien garbage theory suggests that life on Earth initially began with extraterrestrial waste products coming into contact with Earth after alien visitation. Gold's theory has been expanded to suggest that when the alien visitors discovered the consequences of their littering, they decided to take the moral route and nurture Earthly life towards enlightenment by introducing the tools of science, architecture, art, religion, philosophy, etc.
3. Directed Panspermia
The hypothesis that life was purposefully sent to earth from somewhere else in the universe by means similar to those of panspermia (see below). Belief in Directed Panspermia lies on a vast spectrum. Some versions of the theory suggest that Ancient Astronauts visited Earth and implanted evolved life on our planet, before returning for regular visits to check our progress, most notably during the blossoming of Ancient Egyptian culture. Others believe single-celled organisms were sent to our planet by an advanced civilization to either avoid extinction or to simply expand that species' inhabited borders. The latter certainly garnered more attention among the scientific community with Carl Sagan and Iosif Shklovsky dedicating a not insignificant amount of time to addressing the theory in their 1966 work 'Intelligent Life in the Universe'. Some other notable proponents include: Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, Leslie Orgel
Directed Panspermia has also been suggested as a way for humans to seed life on other potentially habitable planets, so who knows, maybe one day we'll be talked about as the ancient astronauts...
Panspermia is a term for the blanket hypothesis that life was spread to Earth from somewhere else in the Universe by means of microscopic 'extremeophile' organisms nestled well within roaming meteors, comets, or asteroids. According to our current understanding of the cosmos and of life, this theory is more scientifically likely than any of the theories mentioned above. In fact, it is widely accepted by the scientific community the world over.
There are two primary branches off the scientific panspermia hypotheses: Ballistic Panspermia, and Lithopanspermia. Ballistic Panspermia - the most widely accepted Panspermia theory - suggests that microbial life forms were brought to our planet via another planet within our solar system. Lithopanspermia, on the other hand, suggests the life was brought onto our planet from outside of our solar system.
credit: NASA/ Jenny Mottar