Editor's Introduction -- Richard C. Hoagland
Late in 2003, Dr. Mike Heiser and I collaborated on a one-day "Intelligent Design Conference" at the Kenosha, WI Parkside Campus of the University of Wisconsin.
Mike at the time was a doctoral candidate in "Hebrew and Ancient Semitic languages" at the University of Wisconsin (he received his PhD. in 2004). He was also the most recent non-NASA scholar expressing serious academic interest in my 25+ years of research into the possibility of "an ancient civilization on the planet Mars!"
After much discussion (especially, re the overwhelming religious implications of such evidence ...), we decided the research was mature enough (after over 20 years ...) to gather a number of other scholars together -- ranging from mainstream theologians to philosophers, and even a fundamentalist Christian mythologist! -- and spend an entire day presenting to and discussing with each other (before a public audience, no less ...) not only the very robust evidence now existing for "a former, ancient, ET civilization on the planet Mars ... which may somehow be connected directly to the human race ..." -- but also the larger possibilities (and even greater implications) surrounding the existence of past and/or present ET civilizations far beyond the solar system.
We chose as our Conference title: "God, Man and ET."
One of the many subjects we discussed in our ~13-hour, free-wheeling deliberations (now available on six DVD discs, here), was the thorny problem, "just how would one recognize a genuine 'ET intervention' on Earth, or in the larger solar system ... as differentiated from 'a genuinely Divine Creation/Intervention Event' ...?"
While we vigorously debated these seminal questions (and many others ...), we did not reach any firm conclusions. We did, however, share a LOT of new, enlightening and cutting-edge scientific and theological information in the process -- as the DVD record of "God, Man and ET" amply reveals.
Some years later, when I found the fascinating and thought-provoking article by Remi Cornwall, below -- "How Can We Take the Intelligent Design People Seriously?" -- I realized it would be the perfect (if somewhat belated ...) introduction to the deep, complicated but religiously crucial controversies we grappled with at the University of Wisconsin in 2003 -- as we explored the awesome implications of discovering a mile-long image of ourselves next door on Mars (And God said, "Let us make Man in our own image" ...):
The first demonstrable, scientific evidence beyond Earth of "ancient extraterrestrials" (or "Someone"...) doing "something" truly extraordinary on the nearest, "Earthlike" planet ... and in the image of Mankind!
Who now -- from the scientifically testable evidence (above) -- may, indeed ... have reached out and, somehow, even had a hand in "Designing" Homo Sapiens on Earth!
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How Can We Take the Intelligent Design People Seriously?
"How I learned to stop asking awkward questions and learnt to love religion ...." 
(Reprinted, with slight formatting alterations, from Infinite Energy Magazine -- Volume 12, Issue 70, 2006)
Over the years there has been a disturbing trend, lead primarily by the Christian Fundamentalists, to cast out Darwin's Theory of Evolution from schools. Religion may have served some purpose in early societies with a primitive, ad-hoc moral code, but advances in Western epistemology and philosophy ask us "to question" -- and not take things "on faith."
Witness through the Ars-nova, the Rennaissance and the Enlightenment the progress in the human condition on all fronts: morally (save wars and avarice); wealth-wise; and health-wise. It is fair to say that where "religion" has been taken seriously, disasterous consequences have arisen -- people divided along lines of race, creed and class, usually with civil unrest and wars as the end point.
Intelligent Design is dangerous on many fronts, then; the replacement of reason by superstitution, the denial of the scientific method, the replacement of the democratic structures of scientific inquiry by fiat and decree. I'm sure more examples could be thought! Insidiously, the end point for this agenda in our schools is the destruction of rational, secular, democratic society and the installation of a Theocracy.
However, does it all have to be negative? Could anything [positive] come out of the Intelligent Design program?
The answer, shockingly, is "yes" ....
In this essay, we shall see through reason, application of the Laws of Physics, reasonable extrapolation, and statement of proven facts that, ironies of ironies --the Darwinists are just as bad as the Creationists! They too require several "acts of faith."
To give a quick flavor (before you switch off, mentally) -- breeding, genetic modification, and the construction of artificial life is ... Intelligent Design!
So, at least we must claim back the name "Intelligent Design" from the Divine. The outcome of this inquiry seems to extend extend the concept of Evolution, and surprisingly keep both Creationists and Darwinists happy. In a framework that can fit both concepts -- one just has to insert the Divine spark ... or, "random chance." It also, constructively and magnanimously, gives the Creationists a chance to design experiments to prove their point (even though some of us wouldn't even entertain [the results]).
This essay came out of a discussion on an e-mail list server noted for its bonhomie and thought-provoking discussions. Primarily, my thoughts are presented, extended, written down properly and given some exposition. It is NOT an attempt at a [formal] research paper -- in the academic sense, with proper citations, But [it is] somehting of a starting point, if I had the time to do [the latter]. It may grate [on some] people, that similar things have been said over the years.
But, as I say, this is not a "research paper" -- but a personal essay.
May I add thanks to the server list moderator, Bill Beaty ("vortex-L"), and his list -- which has been a gathering over the years of real experts, down to amateurs who are given a democratic forum to discuss pretty much anything ....
The Scope of the Argument
I wish to construct an argument, ranging over geological time, the definition of Life, civilization and technology, and the Laws of Physics -- to construct an argument [around "intelligent Design"] based on Reason. To show that, Darwin's Theory gets [itself] in knots, and the only way out of it is to admit an element of "Intelligent Design/Accidental intervention -- not by God -- but by "advanced technological cultures!"
To give a hint: we've been doing "Intelligent Design" for millennia -- through [selective] breeding, and now we are beginning to manipulate Life at the [much more fundamental] genetic level. In the cards, too, is the [eventual] creation of "artificial chemical life."
What if we'd been the result of such processes, ourselves?
"No," you say?
Then, are you sure that [answer] is applicable to every Life system you find ... throughout the Universe?!
We find the [current generation of] biologists guilty of [a demonstrable] lack of imagination -- in not applying the very principles they espouse [on Earth], and also of "loose definitions" of [some very basic] concepts.
Act of Faith #1: What is Life? [And] is a biologist the correct person to ask?
Most biologists feel sure they know what Life is: it is "chemical" in basis; came about by "random chance"; evolves by "Darwinian Natural Selection"; has a "genetic code" (indeed, has generations [of such code within it ...]); and probably exists throughout the Universe by the same general mechanisms.
However, "feelings" are not good enough when it comes to Science, and a more rigorous definition [of Life] needs to come from Information Theory  (the application of thermodynamics to computing and information), as announced by Erwin Schrodinger in his treatise, "What is Life?"  This was the result of ideas current at the time, not least the elucidation of the [chemical] structure of DNA. 
"Life" seems to contain information necessary for its construction and propagation, that persists [even] against the general trend of "entropy increase" in the Universe.
This seems a rather dry definition, endowing [if taken to the ultimate, even] computer viruses and self-repairing/replicating robots with "life." Take a look at real viruses and prions; a person from the mathematical sciences or engineering background is often impressed by the "machinery" of the cell -- the DNA/RNA system and three base-pairs coding for amino acids. "It looks like a computer program!" Further to this, some groups are [close to] creating chemical "life" from scratch ... not using the DNA/RNA system.
Why do we ask "What is Life?" Surely, for a philosophical debate, one must get the definitions correct before proceeding. By the end [of this essay], you might find yourself questioning whether you are artificial -- [because] even if one base-pair is altered in your parents' "germ-line" in an artificial manner, you are artificial!
You cannot be "a bit pregnant."
A similar problem arises from trans-genomic animals or plants. At what point is it a "plant" or "animal?" Or "you," for that matter -- if such treatment was done on you? Unaltered people might feel they are "normal" (I wasn't created or altered -- I evolved!).
Are you sure?
How do you know?
Were you there ... viewing [all the genetic changes that led to "you"] for all geological time? Are you certain your [current] experimental methods could detect any "non-random alteration," no matter how subtle?
Act of Faith #2: Did life start here on Earth, or was it seeded from without?
Some biologists want all Life on this planet [to have] started here, and this is the fashion for [many] still. The famous S.I. Miller  experiment, with electric discharges in a simple atmosphere, leading to complex molecules, seemed to light the blue touch-paper [used in the detection of organic molecules]. Others argue that "clays and natural zeolite" could act as templates and catalysts for RNA precursor[s].
Space travel has given us another fashion:
"Seeding by meteorite" of essential precursor organics [on Earth].
Some even entertain the idea that Life could have occurred elsewhere ... and was seeded here by chance -- via meteorites. [Alternatively] we might entertain that it was done [deliberately] by intelligent life. Excluding "intelligent life" from doing this is an[other] "act of faith." As -- why should all intelligent life evolve to the same time sheet [i.e., why can't other intelligent life have biological technology far beyond our current capabilities -- if we can truly comprehend the capabilities of intelligent life "elsewhere" to begin with ...]?
Act of Faith #3: The laws of Physics apply universally
Astronomy is done almost exclusively by observation. We can observe, for instance, spectra ... and infer the same laws apply throughout space. Although eminently reasonable, one must be fair and say that Cosmology requires an[other] "act of faith," as to some extent must all Science in the reasonable; if I turn my back on the tree in the quadrangle [even though I can no longer see it, I infer...] it is still there!
We could conclude then that the Universe should be teeming with Life, and some of it might be "intelligent" -- if life, or some things we are used to calling "life," is just "chemistry." We need to construct artificial chemical life from first principles to drive this home, but most "right thinking people" know the outcome.
Act of Faith #4: All life in the Universe must start in the same manner
Die-hard Darwinists want the same mechanism for the "abinitio" start of life [everywhere in the Universe] -- random chance. However complete [when discovered], viable life could be seeded (intentionally or un-intentionally) on a planet.
"Random chance" is not the general case.
What if astronauts (from our planet?), in the year 2300, put an artificial, bio-chemical life-form on a sterile but fertile planet? That would buck the idea [of life's "random origin"]. [If such an "artificially spread life" program were begun by intelligent aliens], we could travel through space and find planets with wide and diverse fauna and flora ... but we couldn't conclude [catagorically] that [some of] "it hadn't been created."
Act of Faith #5: Every step of a life-process' progress through time is governed by Darwin's Natural Selection only
In the Darwinist view, natural selection is the process of determining which organisms are fit to survive by "trial of the environment." Thus, "resource availability and genetic fitness" are [soley] important in this simple scenario.
Once again, the problem is one of definitions: what is "natural?" We have seen already that artificial life could be created (even non-chemical 'life"); [but] would that be "natural?" What if the environment is pulled and played around with by another organism -- say, oxygen-producing bacteria in the Cambrian. Is that "natural?" What if the environment was [even inadvertantly] altered by intelligent beings [as we are doing to Earth, even now]?
Is that "natural?'
Also, what of the selection process producing "the fittest?" What of the English bulldog lovingly made a "freak" over the generations so that it cannot be birthed naturally, without the assistance of another (natural?) organism?
What if we accept a broader definition of life, and make [our next example] "intelligent" ... to pull at our heart strings. This lifeform is so robust, it can repair itself so well, that it doesn't really need to "replicate" -- unless damaged in such a severe way that total reconstruction is the only option. It is [called] a "robot." The natural selection pressures are nowhere near as harsh [for such a "lifeform"] as for a chemical life-form.
It seems this central tenant of the Darwinist approach [that environmental pressures soley determine Life's evolution] is straining at the seams.
Breeding, Genetic Modicifation and Artificial Life is "Intelligent Design!"
The ancestor by 10,000 generations of a Pekingese ... is a wolf. Even the most delicious of apple trees started off as "a crabby, small apple" -- and most domestic versions can't even reproduce; they need grafting. Needless to say, the penny has dropped and you've [by now] realized that this activity is "Intelligent Design."
I'm sure a few varieties of plant or animal have [even] come about by Accidental Intervention -- by a human activity, such as "leaving a door open" or "mixing up a batch." This isn't pure natural selection by the environment, yet we feel it to be "natural."
How would a long-haired Persian cat, prone to matted hair and fur balls, fare in the [real] environment? Just what is "natural" about this? Surely we need to extend the definition of natural selection -- what is "natural" and what is the "selection?" Clearly [through current human intervention], not "the fittest" in every case.
This human-mediated "Intelligent Design" has been going on for a long time. Breeding, at least, uses the existing machinery and is a bit like writing a program with a compiler. [In "computerese"] genetic modification is then analagous to hand-crafting the machine code of the compiler output. Artificial life must be like writing for a non-custom processor, perhaps at a level even lower than micro-code, but [like] individual gates -- like a "gate array."
In short, we're getting better at it.
The March of Technology, the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, Ex-Technological Detritus ... and Geological Timescales
Consider now a little tale about this planet. But you could generalize it to anywhere in the Universe (if conditions are conducive), because as a fair bet the same laws apply elsewhere [Act of Faith #3].
About 10,000 years ago, mankind settled down from a nomadic existence, domesticated animals and started to grow crops. We discovered that "cities" were good things -- as was "writing," "numbers," an "educational system" and "technology." Much progress has occurred in the last 300 years, by a succession of brilliant thinkers -- not necessarily because we have grown cleverer, but because there are so many [more] people to think [about innovative solutions to problems ...], living long lives.
All this positive feedback comes from "technology."
[Therefore, based on this historical, accelerating technology curve], could any futurist predict the technological state-of-the-art in ... 10,000 years?
Unfortunately, disease and war sometimes get the better of us and set us back into a dark age.
We splendor at magnificent Egyptian, Greek and Roman ruins. And marvel at Chinese science -- that they could drill for oil and gas, and distribute it, 3000 years ago! Only now is our species taking another great step, comparable to all the other great technological eras of the past -- we have learnt how to manipulate the "stuff of Life" itself, by genetic modification. We may even [soon] make artificial chemical Life "from scratch."
Just as the Romans left the Coliseum, we will leave our mark [on Earth] via "technology" -- [among other items] a pollution layer and genetically modified organisms.
[Now], in our little tale, we fast-forward 10 ... maybe 100 million years into the future -- where there are no humans anymore, and our [past] strata of activity has been deeply buried [beneath the surface]. However, on the surface lurks "Life" ... all mixed in with our [now-ancient] genetically modified pollution. A new race of "intelligent beings" is evolving (Laws of Physics again ...), and they have their "persons" -- who "domesticate animals," "invent the wheel," "discard geo-centrism," discover "Newtonian Mechanics" ... and "Evolution."
This new race of intelligent beings, unfortunately, have invented "religion" too -- and are giving their "Darwin" a hard time: their Creationists say, "I'm too important to be mere chance!" And their Darwinists say, "I'm too important to have been created!"
In their quest to "bring order to the scheme of things," [to understand] their place in the cosmos, [but mostly because of] their trumped-up "importance," they couldn't [begin to] entertain the idea that they might be part evolved ... and part created -- as we know [in this scenario] from all the "created genetic pollution" we left behind ....
What is clear [in our little tale ...] is that both camps have degenerated into a "religion": both require "acts of faith." The irony here is that their "Darwinists" just can't see it.
Between these two extremes lies the truth.
Act of Faith #6: How do you know for sure that at least part of you is NOT a GM organism? Ironies of ironies, the Darwinists are just as bad as the Creationists!
Back to our time and current predicament -- do we really know the following ... without "an act of faith?"
-- Can we say for sure that life evolved here [on Earth, by strictly] "random processes?"
-- Can we say for sure that we know the planet wasn't "seeded?"
-- Can we say for sure [if it was seeded ...] that [the] "seed" was created [solely] by "a random process?"
-- Can we say with certainty that life on this planet has NOT been changed by "intelligent beings" ... throughout history [the central, critical Cydonia debate throughout our entire "God, Man and ET" University of Wisconsin "Intelligent Design" Conference]?
You may laugh at the last point, but it is reasonable [according to Act of Faith #3] to think that the same Laws of Physics apply throughout the Universe, and that over geological timescales ... 10,000 or 100,000 years is "a blink of the eye."
We have seen the exponential growth in technology of the human species over the last 300 years. Only a fool without scientific training or imagination would say [based on this record] that "colonization of space" would be impossible. We have seen many things thought impossible mastered -- take heavier-than-air flight, fire, or [the erradication of] smallpox. It is reasonable to assert that there are non-earthly, advanced civilizations throughout the Universe, because the Laws of Physics apply [Act of Faith #3] ... [so] why should we all be on the same "progress chart?"
Can you say definitely that part of you (or ALL of you -- if the initial "seed" was not random) is NOT the result of "GM pollution?" Going back to the first discussion: does that make you feel any less "natural" ... if you are [actually] part "artificial?"
We might scientifically find a "smoking gun": say [a conclusive, replicable process] that gave rise to a precursor RNA molecule. Or, interplanetary exploration might find that the initial "seed" [for Life] on Earth ... came from Mars.
But, just how is that case applicable to all life systems in the Universe?
It is logical to say that every bit of life in the Universe was started by a random process, and evolved by pure natural selection -- accordinmg to Darwinian "Articles of Faith" 4 and 5?
In the year 2050, we might contaminate Venus with artificial, chemical life ... and find that in a billion years that intelligent life evolving from this [accidental mistake!], insisting it wasn't "created!"
So, not "Divine Intervention," but "Intelligent Design/Accidental Intervention and Evolutionary Processes" --together -- seem the most general and statistically likely (over geological timescales).
If you dpn't believe it, we've been doing it for millennia -- breeding animals and plants. And now, we're just beginning with genetic modification.
A More Complete Statement of Evolution
Darwinism, as taught, ascribes selection pressures to "simple" things -- like "resource potential" (food, water and climate), and "genetic fitness." This might be called "Type I," or, "1st Order Natural Selection."
A "Type 2" effect would be the environment ... modified by other organisms. An example is [photosynthetic] bacteria in the Cambrian [Era] -- setting a bias for oxygen breathing life on Earth [billions of years later].
"Type 3" effects would be "symbiotic life forms," like gut bacteria in ruminants -- where, in effect, they are "picking one another."
This is beginning to look like UN-natural selection ... though, what is "natural?"
"Type 4" effects -- Intelligent Intervention or Design. These should include the possibility of intelligent organisms modifying Life itself -- or, creating [genuine] "artificial life"; the act may be intentional ... or the result of accidental contamination.
The last includes the possibility of "extraterrestrial seeding [of] even God" -- over the traditional rationalist thought, if an experiment can be designed and data gathered to prove it.
Still, the "God question," "immaculate conception/divine intervention," "denial of the fossil record and literal reading of the Bible" [ultimately] comes down to "faith" ... and a matter of opinion. The comedian Bill Hicks had it that God was "fooling with us" -- when he put fossils in the ground!
Though some people aren't born with the knack to do science, scientists have a fair amount of faith in what they know and have seen: "I've never seen a pink elephant, ergo 'pink elephants' don't exist!"
We have seen Darwin's Evolutionary Theory get [tied in] knots in the light of modern developments in technology and science, and the right to make "totally reasonable extrapolations."
The biologists' definition of Life is so slack (being based on feelings of "naturalness"), that a germ-line-engineered-person could find themselves defined as "unnatural" -- if the concept of "life" couldn't include things right on the borderline of a "life process" ... such as viruses and prions, or even manmade chemical life and electronic[s].
Knowing what we do about the Laws of Physics and their lack of bias for time or place, we can conclude that the Universe must be teeming with life ... and intelligent life too. Even if we prove that our little piece of rock, called Earth, was pure with life initiated here by [only] a "random process," it would not be the general case for life-systems Universe wide. To that we must add an element of Intelligent Design/Accidental Intervention (from poor quarantine or genetic pollution) to the mix of Evolution.
Even then, the central tenet of Natural Selection by the environment, in a simple manner must be modified to include "feed-back effects of environmental change by life-processes, symbiotic regimes"--
And ... "the modification of Life itself -- by Intelligent Beings."
Thus, Darwinists should embrace Intelligent Design or Accidental Intervention -- by intelligent beings --, as part of the [overall] picture -- with Divine Input at any stage of the life process (initiation, main sequence and death of a genetic line ...) as a matter of opinion, probably unprovable by experiment ... and hence, "not scientific."
1. 1984 by George Orwell. Or, the film "Dr. Strangelove." We live in dangerous times.
2. Shannon, C. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Information, University of Illinois Press.
3. Schrodinger, E. 1956 What is Life?, Cambridge University Press (reprint, 1992).
4. Crick, F. and Watson, J. 1953. Nature, 171,pp. 737-738.
5. Miller, S. 1959, "Organic Compound Synthesis on the Primitive Earth," Science, 130, 13370, pp. 245-251.
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In my opinion, ever since it was discovered over 30 years ago, the central (if ill-concealed) question behind every denial, discussion or blind acceptance of "the Face on Mars" has really been about one thing:
Is The Face "a message to Mankind" ... as Remi Corwall so carefully described in his provocative essay, regarding nothing less than the Creation of Humanity itself?
In my opinion, this has been the single, unacknowledged, overwhelming obstacle to the simple acceptance of the reality of "the Face" ... for over 30 years:
No one, ultimately, seems to want to hear "the Message."
But in November, 2003 -- a small group of experts, for the first time, publicly attempted to grapple with the Meaning of that potential "Message of Cydonia."
A unique conversation everyone may now enjoy -- on Humanity's "Ultimate Question" of Intelligent Design--
Richard C. Hoagland,
The Enterprise Mission