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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2019
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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The Return of Omega ~ An Exploration of
Human Evolution Going Forward


Carlos Cuellar Brown

Originally published by
Carlos Cuellar Brown, 1 May 2019
REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION


There is controversy and difference of opinion in explaining the origins of life and the necessary pre-condition that enabled it to emerge. The theories that explain the fine tunings of our cosmological constants, do not formulate definitive conclusions on how something emerged out of nothing. On the biological level, the contrasting notions of irreducible complexity and Darwinian mechanics describe opposing views of evolution. Irreducible complexity suggests the possibility of intelligent design which is an idea vehemently opposed by the scientific community and the Darwinian evolutionists. The fine-tuning model of our universe points in the direction of an intentional evolutionary impulse or anthropic force as a necessary precondition for life to succeed.

Random causal law and undirected variability which lies at the core of Darwinian theory, does not unequivocally explain the many factors involved in the successful emergence of functional organelles and new species. Additionally, survival of the fittest as the driving force of adaptability and dominance of one species over another, is not the only nor the most prominent feature of life; this view is contradicted by the triumph of cooperation and symbiosis, present within the cell structure and within all biota, and at large in the balance of terrestrial components involved in creating the right conditions for life to promote itself and exist. This article explores some of these themes and poses questions surrounding fuzzy areas that remain unexplained and could well be inexplicable.


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Gods VIP Club

The evolutionary impulse that sprouted the seed of life is unknowable and unexplainable. If we could reverse engineer this gift of coming to life in form and body, we would be able to know god. Through the ages, we have wondered about the pre-conditions necessary to make the miracle that is you. It appears that the universe conspired in your favor; someone or something had to manipulate the incredible odds that made it possible for life to emerge. The improbable likelihood of brewing all the variables and banging them together to create life, is not well understood, efforts to explain the emergence of something out of nothing remain unresolved and may go beyond the scope of our observed limitations. In this realm of high speculation, we cannot prove unequivocally that we are alone nor is there clear evidence that we are unique to this universe. In either scenario, life appears sparse and scarce, corroborating so far indeed that we are very rare creatures in the astronomical dark night. If we are the only observers out there, we could be riding the omega point of the rendered horizon, providing the software engineers from another dimension with eyes, might they be playing us out as their own avatars in a virtual simulation?

For planets, stars, galaxies and atoms and ultimately biology to exist, we had to endure 13.8 billion years of a rigorous rule set, with infinitesimal fine tunings for all the laws of physics. This suggests that there was little margin for error in that first explosion, for the universe to balloon and inflate and later cool off, it required that the speed of light and the basic constants of physics, to stay the same as we have measured them to be at this time. Had any of these variables been slightly off, the universe would have disintegrated and evaporated into nothingness. These constants have been observed to be consistent in all corners of the universe. Imagine how lucky we are to have existed in the only universe that can sustain us. This would make us very special. The odds of dialing up the prevailing universal constants so that it would be suitable for life is one out of 10 to the 124, which is a number that is for all practical purposes impossible.(1)

Scientists, for the most part, have a problem with this conundrum, and in an effort to eliminate our exclusive VIP pass to the cosmic party, they concocted the hypothetical possibility that there are multiple universes, kind of like a foam bath of which our universe is but one bubble. In each of these bubble universes, the laws of physics are different. That would make us simply just one of many probable outcomes. Given the incredible size of the knowable universe and its incredible mass and density, it would seem inefficient for a designer to blow up such a vast foam bath, with an infinite replicating multiverse vectoring in all directions at the same time. Like in a bubble bath only a few of them stabilize, the vast majority bust, are short-lived and annihilated. Why would the creator distribute so much space to only host us as observers?

It seems inefficient and improbable that in such a giant expanse, life would be selective only to this planet. Why would the designers only put sentient life in this little corner of the Milky Way anyway? Why would we be so special? It would be logical to think that the universe is teaming with different expressions of life. We just haven't found them yet. Perhaps we really are members of a VIP club reserved for the smallest fraction of lucky ones in the immense of space. We have literally won the lottery of sentient life. For the average person, this realization is distorted and hidden in all the noise of the ego mind and our societal baggage. From this perspective, we have forgotten the uniqueness of our species, passengers of this phenomenological journey we are experiencing, spinning through uncharted space.

Loaded Dice

The evolutionary impulse loaded the hand of god with a roll of a dice that intended the creation of all things we can see and measure. With sentient life at its observational apex, the universe renders regions of space for the avatar to navigate. Could this mean that the universe is not fully there until somebody looks back at it? Our evidence of a big bang comes from our ability to look back at the residual light and radiation left some 13.8 billion years ago. But what happens if there are no eyes available to observe the universe, does it still exist? Perhaps it is concealed until there is a measurement? That could mean that the universe waited some 13 billion years cloaked in a causal probability cloud before it reproduced its first photo of itself, through the lens of us as observers. This holographic representation of the universe only needs to render the field that is being observed, and it will only render probability distributions out of a rule set. It would seem then that the patient universal creators, blindly waited some 13 billion years before they could activate their avatars to experience the phenomenological quality of sense perception.

If the universe needed that much time to conjure up the necessary conditions to generate complex life and eventually intelligent observers, I would think that it would certainly make sure that this miracle absolutely happened; therefore a good strategy would be for life to emerge consistently in all galaxies. Otherwise, this universe would remain inhospitable and undiscovered. The universe needs more than a single shot in the dark to make it a feasibility, so I think its logical to admit that we are not alone in the vast cosmos, somebody else out there has a camera, a different perspective, and if humans on Earth don't make it, some other sentient life out there will continue to render the stable heavens that we observe in the night sky, in this case we would not be essential to the existence of this universe and not very special beings either. It makes sense that all galaxies be seeded with spores of amino acids chains and other life building blocks spread out through the cosmic dust of interstellar space. The late Carl Sagan reminded us in his book Contact that: “The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space”.(2) He also reminded us that the Earth is simply a tiny speck of dust in a vast universe that should be teaming with life.

There is a concerted effort to locate exobiology and signs of intelligent life elsewhere in our neighboring star systems. So far we have discovered more than 1,284 alien planets. This incredible feat has been achieved with the Kepler Space Telescope which was launched in 2009 with the mission of scanning some 150,000 stars simultaneously, searching for planetary transits. Unfortunately, the Kepler telescope operational mechanics failed and the mission came to a halt. Within this brief 4 year window of observation, Kepler has located roughly 30 Earth-size exoplanets orbiting habitable zones around their host sun.(3) Based on the Kepler data, The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has statistically estimated some 17 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way.(4) A more recent study from the University of Auckland inflates this number to 100 billion habitable planets in the Milky Way. If we consider the universe has roughly some 500 billion galaxies, this study suggests that there are 50 sextillion Earth-like planets in the universe.(5) Does anybody still doubt that more than one of these 50 sextillion habitable planets kindled the conditions for life to emerge? This habitable zone is referred to as the Goldilocks zone, which is the orbital distance where water can exist in liquid form on the surface of a planet.

Goldilocks

Besides there having to be plenty of water in liquid form, many other factors must precede the emergence of life on a suitable planet. It would also have to be a rocky planet like our own Earth, it would need a melted iron core at its center, that rotated to create a magnetic shield around the planet. This would protect the planet from harmful ultraviolet and gamma radiation coming from its sun. Our Sun which is a yellow dwarf in the main sequence of a star’s life cycle would have to be roughly the same size and the same age for the Goldilocks zone to be of any effect. A habitable planet in a Goldilocks zone would need giant external planets like Jupiter and Saturn within the solar system to shield us from comets and stellar debris traveling through the planetary system. In our solar system, the majority of its planets have stable circular orbits; on the other hand, the planetary systems discovered by the Kepler telescope, have high orbital eccentricity and more parabolic trajectories, these orbital characteristics make it less likely for these planets to host life.(6) Not all planets wobble like the Earth, this tilt generates the seasonal weather changes that provide vital dynamics to the flow of life. A planet in these conditions would also probably need a big moon that stabilized its tilt and played a role in the tidal nature and ocean current flow.

The Earth only became habitable about 3.8 billion years ago, and many factors combined to allow for this very narrow window of possibilities, so narrow that some scientist argues life could have not originated on this planet. Before this time, conditions for life to emerge had remained hostile and unsuitable. Yet, fortuitous events pulled a rabbit out of the hat some 3.8 billion years ago when the conditions on Earth were just right for the most ancient life form, the Stromatolites. These clumpy layered rocks with biofilms of living organisms proliferated in coastal shallow salty water lagoons or ponds. This activity generated the first prokaryotic bacteria or cyanobacteria that literally terraformed the conditions on Earth’s atmosphere with the correct composition of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon molecules for all other life forms to emerge. These life forms dominated the scene for 2 billion years and then mysteriously went massively extinct. Another biological group that suddenly came into the picture some 541 million years ago, was the Cambrian explosion that populated the Earth with an incredible diversity in a relatively short time.(7) Neither of these two biological examples has preceding transitional fossils. These abrupt stops and starts point to a non-linear progression in the evolution of biology. The gradual incremental steps view of adaptation through variation is unreal and unable to explain the discontinuous evolutionary leaps found in the self-organizing biota.

The great astronomer Fred H. Hoyle said it so succinctly when he stated: “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”(8) When he made this statement Hoyle and his team of scientist were calculating the probability of enzyme synthesis out of shuffling amino acids and banging them together in a proto-atmosphere container. Their calculation of this ever happening was no better than one in 10 to the factor 6900. This number is essentially an impossibility. Their conclusions were that life must have been seeded on Earth; their hypothesis was that perhaps interstellar clouds consisting of dried bacteria could have floated into our solar system from elsewhere in the galaxy.The very prestigious biologist Francis Crick suggested the theory of “directed panspermia” as alternative to the assumption that life had evolved on Earth out of inorganic materials.(9) Panspermia means seeded from the elsewhere in the cosmos and “directed,” suggests that we were seeded intentionally by design. Are we ready to take this seriously?(10)

Design?

Even the staunchest of Darwinian proponents describe complex life to be “apparently” designed.   It would seem that these scientists have only observed the surface and macro-form of biological creatures. Our current evolutionary theory does not hold up to a deeper investigation. Molecular biology, bio-chemistry and genomics were tools that Darwin did not have when he made his observations. On a closer look we find that complexity is irreducible and hard to explain in terms of Darwinian evolution as fully functional and detrimental biological systems arise out of nonexistent parts. The irreducible complexity of protein synthesis is hard to explain in a random scenario, where protein and molecules interact and exchange, like the blood-clotting cascade of genes and proteins. These reaction factors are not a product of random duplication and re-combination, it would require incredible luck to reproduce the cascade of protein systems coded by separate gene slices that combine to activate forward actions and backward responses, in these exchanges, quantity, distribution and timing are sequential and of the utmost importance to the survival of biological function. In our blood clotting cascade we have some 30,000 to the 4th power gene parts or approximately 10 to the 18th power.(11)

The odds that any one of these exact forward actions be any different, we would bleed to death, or clot too much, or not have enough fibrinogen to form a meshwork that covers up the wound, any differences in these and many other factors of coagulation, would lead to complications and system failure, or a dead-end in Darwinian evolutionary terms. In this preprogrammed symphony of gene expressions, where new genes and proteins acquire new functions, probably nothing is left to random mutations. Mutations mostly lead to infertility and destroy the genetic makeup. Our medical records diagnose genetic mutations as producing debilitating disability and disease leading to death. A recent study by Dr. Douglas Axe suggests that the probability of new functional protein folds acquired by random mutation is on the order of 10 to the 74. These numbers conclude that causal law and random mutations cannot prove the abrupt genome variability we see in some biological species and protein folds.(12) Another example of irreducible complexity is the chain reaction of molecules and proteins inside our cones and rods of the retina. If any one of these multiple chain factors fails, we would not be allowed to see the world around us and look up to the night sky. Could this astronomically complex optimization of function be left to random variation? Our eyes are the telescopes that observe through the rare planetary transparency of our atmosphere which allows us to discover and render the vast cosmos.(13) Darwinian evolution breaks down when we reach the level of macromolecules, for we have discovered cells to be as complex as galaxies.

Brain in a VAT

And what about the complexity of the human brain with its100-500 trillion synapses. How was it that a step by step incremental process increased size and functionality of nervous tissue? These nervous structures appeared fully integrated from the start with programmed instructions on how to connect and hard wire vital sensory processing. How does the most complex structure known in the universe fit in with the Darwinian evolutionary continuum? How was it that random forces came up with the anatomical modern human in under 2 million years?  Genealogically speaking this represents an incredibly short amount of time, roughly some 200,000 generations for Homo erectus to increase their brains by 50 billion neurons and double in size.(14) The marvelous apparition of the fully functional forebrain outgrowth telencephalon and neo-cortex is a bit of a mystery, especially if we consider that these structures turn on the integrated switch that makes us uniquely cognizant creatures able to be self-aware. Can evolution explain such dramatic changes by simply increasing an organism’s sense stimulus and data integration? Was it perhaps because our most immediate ancestors had a dramatic change in diet and social behavior?(15)

There are no transitional fossils between us and the Homo erectus, so there is no gradual record of cranial comparative anatomy and all speculation points to a sudden anomalous leap of cranial functionality. Could this be triggered by, perhaps a tweak of our genetic genome? Yet the evolutionary record tells us that genetic changes and even minor changes in structure take a very long time. Part of this mystery is that only 60,000 genes code for the 100 billion neurons in our brains which come with specific instructions on how to wire themselves together. The odds of a genetic roulette provoking the increasingly complex timing necessary for neurodevelopment is incomprehensible, like the processes we see in neurogenesis where a controlled and carefully orchestrated chain reaction of cells multiply in specific and timely rates to induce proliferation, differentiation, migration, and programmed cell death, processes that are essential and to the utmost critical for intelligent life to emerge. I could say that for intelligent life to emerge anywhere, nothing would be left to chance.(16)

Simplicity

Irreducible complexity does not accommodate Darwin's claim which is grounded in simplicity and driven by unguided variability and random mutations, and if it were up to Darwinian evolution, chances are we would not be here. The current thesis of evolution predicts abundant and incontestable evidence to support common descendants to all lineages; instead, Darwinian evolutionary links to the apparition of new species are rare and questionable particularly when we look into the explosion in genetic expression and the fore-plan of species specific protein development.(17) Given the necessary conditions, the probability of a single protein forming by chance is roughly 10 to the factor 164.(18) Most of the evidence shows that species with no links to each other show up abruptly. What or who turns on these switches?

Perhaps the laws of quantum biology will someday be explained by the workings of simplicity and this simplicity will generate the complexity we observe on the macro and micro levels of the biological cell. This would explain the evolutionary axiom in which simple organisms give rise to complex networks. I incline myself to say that the evidence proves otherwise pointing to a top-down retro causation that imprints the organization of biology into life, much like a 3D printer executes a programmed design.

Miracle?

It would seem that the emergence of life on Earth and later an intelligent life that was able to self-decode the laws of the universe, is close to a miracle, and could well be a goal ended product of intelligent design. The conservative argument is that we are just one in a handful of sentient beings out-there, and for all practical purposes, so distanced apart that we might as well consider ourselves as alone in the void. The more improbable camp would like the universe to be really teaming with life, and we have not made contact yet. Disclosure pundits claim, we have already made contact, multiple times. The unconvincing and unverifiable evidence of this possibility remains obscure and hidden in secret agencies and private collections but also in plain view.(19)

Perhaps the proof is hiding in our genetic makeup and specifically with the large human chromosome 2 which is the chromosome associated with language acquisition and other characteristics that make us so distinctly human. This chromosome allegedly is the result of the merging of 2 chimpanzee chromosomes, 2a and 2b.(20) Our primate cousins with whom we share over 98% of the same DNA, have an extra pair of chromosomes totaling 24 pairs, how come we only have 23? Could random mutations alone have spliced this gene and fused one out of two? Could this be the smoking gun we are looking for and does this point in the direction of some benevolent act of intentionality? Could we be direct descendants of a faraway species that terraformed and suited themselves to this planet and its genetic pool, cloning themselves in the image of human kind?(21)

Social Darwinism

We could not finish this short discourse on evolutionary theory, without mentioning how the Darwinian paradigm affects our collective behavior. Society has adopted survival of the fittest as its basic motto; this perspective promotes competition, fear and scarcity. The relentless dog eats dog design of our dysfunctional society and its obsession with the accumulation of money at all costs, with all its cognitive dissonance and rotten values, is a refined result of social Darwinism. This runaway socio-economic system is the chosen established course for humanity. This perspective has not been revised or updated and completely discards the new findings that challenges and changes this world view. Competition is not our basic makeup; furthermore it upsets our true nature. We come wired for cooperation and empathy which fosters and fuels connectivity, wired for language and altruistic behavior. If our species had not collaborated with each other in kinship we would have not made it.

Although the violent adaptive behaviors used in hunting groups and in the fight or flight biology of self-preservation are essential in the African savanna where hyper vigilance has a survival value, in the modern world we have conquered the environment, here we are no longer prey to the ruthless forces of nature, our technological clothes and modern shelters compensate for our short comings. If nature wanted robust and sturdy hominids with well suited skin and bone structures, we would not look like anatomical modern humans. The frailty and complicated birth of a human baby and its long childhood is not a good plan suited for the immediate pressures of adaptation in a hostile environment. The baby has zero chances of survival unless it has the intricate support of the close-knit family and community. What makes us different and gives us a survival edge is our capacity for social integration. As conscious observers we also have the ability to reflect on what we experience.

This contemplative behavior comes from our leisure time where play encourages behaviors that promote balance, growth and represent active time for the creative process of intellectual discovery.  Our homeostasis as a complex living system is one where consensual cooperation rules, our social behavior really mimics the complex cooperation inside the cell factory where all parts are connected for the incredibly complex behavior of cell organelles. Our brains which are the most complex system in the universe, resembles a colossal hologram that plots the universe right in front of our eyes, already there, for us to experience. We come wired to communicate telepathically as evidenced by the mirror neurons of mother and siblings firing together and provoking entangled action potentials.(22) We are left with a sense of awe and deep appreciation for all life, when we realize that in quantum biology, all things connect.

Our true gifts have not been expressed, sentient life is so unique and we must recognize this divinity in the other, embracing fear, we have forgotten how extraordinary we really are, appearing to be the workings of an anthropic impulse. Perhaps a universal trickster simulated humankind's appearance on stage created in their own image, providing us with free will, and acts of intentionality as we co-create the life that we want. Survival of the fittest directly contradicts our deepest instincts rooted in cooperation, nurturing each other and nurturing the Earth. Our lives are more than purely about survival; they are more centered on discovery, where purpose and intent seem inextricably woven into our sense experience and into the fabric of reality. The antenna on our cell membranes is the communication device; might our purpose be to define these moments offering a 3D reality for the gamers on another dimension, lowering the entropy of the universe, in the intentional age? Might our forward motion be to meet the next horizon where planetary consciousness comes online?

References

(1) Thomsen, Dietrick E.1985. “The Quantum Universe: A Zero-Point Fluctuation?” Science News, vol. 128, no. 5, Mar. 1985, p. 72., doi:10.2307/3970287.

(2) Sagan, Carl. 1997. Contact. Milano: Rizzoli.

(3) Wall, Mike. 2018. Number of Habitable Exoplanets Found by NASA's Kepler May Not Be So High After All. Space. Retrieved from https://www.space.com/42275-habitable-exoplanets-kepler-discoveries-revised-by-gaia.html

(4) Cowen, Ron. 2013. Small stars host droves of life-friendly worlds. Nature.

(5) Anthony, Sebastian. 2013. Astronomers estimate 100 billion habitable Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, 50 sextillion in the universe. ExtremeTech. Retrieved December 30, 2018, from https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/152573-astronomers-estimate-100-billion-habitable-earth-like-planets-in-the-milky-way-50-sextillion-in-the-universe

(6) Bolmont, Emeline., Libert, Anne-Sophie., Leconte, Jeremy. and Selsis, Franck. 2016. Habitability of planets on eccentric orbits: Limits of the mean flux approximation. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 591, p. A106.

(7) Retrieved December 30, 2018, from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/cambrian.php

(8) “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, Vol. 294, 12 November 1981, p. 105.

(9) Orlic, Christian. 2013.“The Origins of Directed Panspermia.” Scientific American Blog Network, 9 Jan. 2013, blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-origins-of-directed-panspermia/.

(10) Ivan. 2018. Francis Crick-The Secret of Life and an Alien creator civilization. Retrieved from https://www.ancient-code.com/francis-crick-life-alien-creator-civilization/

(11) Behe, Michael J. 2006. Darwin's Black Box: The biochemical Challenge to Evolution. New York: Free Press.

(12) Originthefilm.com. 2019. The Mathematics of Origin. Illustra Media [online] Available at: http://www.originthefilm.com/mathematics.php [Accessed 2 Jan. 2019].

(13) Gonzalez, Guillermo. 2014. Privileged Planet. Place of publication not identified: Regnery Publishing.

(14) Marshall, Brain. 2018. How Evolution Works. Sience. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/evolution/evolution10.htm

(15) McRae, Mike. 2018. New Study Reveals How Our Brains Evolved to Be So Amazingly Huge. Science Alert Retrieved from https://www.sciencealert.com/increased-endocranial-volumes-human-ancestors-evolved-gradually

(16) Yeo, Weeteck. and Gautier, Jean. 2004. Early neural cell death: Dying to become neurons. Science Direct Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012160604005020

(17) Wells, Jonathan. 2014. Professor Exposes Impossibilities of Evolution. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZn7tTdCm6U

(18) C, P. 2017. Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1_KEVaCyaA

(19) Hart, Will. 2017. Ancient Alien Ancestors: Advanced Technologies That Terraformed Our World. Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.

(20) Purdy, Michael. 2016. Human chromosomes 2, 4 include gene deserts, signs of chimp chromosome merger. Retrieved from https://source.wustl.edu/2005/04/human-chromosomes-2-4-include-gene-deserts-signs-of-chimp-chromosome-merger/

(21) Wann, Raenae. n.d. Are Humans Really Aliens on Earth? Gaia. Retrieved from https://www.gaia.com/article/are-humans-actually-aliens-on-earth

(22) Physiology physics woven fine. 2010. Retrieved from https://physiology-physics.blogspot.com/2010/01/mirror-neurons-resonant-circuitry-in.html


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Singularity.Book.jpg
LINK TO THE BOOK
Carlos Cuellar Brown is a New York City media artist and essayist who has written on new media, social theory and metaphysics. His essays have been posted online by Opendemocracy, The Global Dispatches, The Pelican Web, Kosmos Journal, and STARDRIVE.

In 2013 his essay “Intermedial Being” was published by A Journal of Performance and Art PAJ #106 MIT Press Journals. In 2015 Mr. Brown was nominated for the TWOTY awards out of the Netherlands for his essay “Blueprint for Change”. He has been a regular columnist for Second Sight Magazine and Fullinsight.

His book, In Search of Singularity: Reflections and Chronicles from the End of Time, published 29 January 2017, is a series of reflections on the current cultural evolution from competition to cooperation, from patriarchy to reciprocity between humanity and the human habitat.


"Learn how to see. Realize that
everything connects to everything else."


Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

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