The Thermians of 'Star Trek' spoof 'Galaxy Quest'

The Thermians of ‘Star Trek’ spoof ‘Galaxy Quest’

Have you ever looked at octopuses and wondered how such a complex creature unlike any other evolved?

You’re not alone.

Dyed-in-the-wool evolutionary scientists have the same problem.

And when 33 of them got together to come up with a new peer-reviewed scientific study of the mystery, they determined octopuses could just be aliens from outer space.

That doesn’t mean the idea is being taken altogether seriously by the rest of the scientific community, yet, so far, there’s been no call to ex-communicate the 33 credentialed scholars from the academy. Apparently, that is a distinction reserved only for those who question the dogma of evolution as the only acceptable explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.

However, the paper, published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, has been scoffed at as hair-brained and unscientific – as one might expect.

The extraterrestrial claims not only apply to octopuses, suggests the study, but other life forms that seem to have appeared suddenly in the annals of Earth’s history during what is called “the Cambrian explosion,” a somewhat uncomfortable discovery for evolutionary science.

The discovery of the “Cambrian explosion” – a sudden burst of sophisticated life forms – has always been a challenge for evolutionary science, which requires eons of time to explain not only life forming from non-life, but also the diversification of animal life. To solve part of that problem, evolutionists set the epoch some 500 million years ago, based on geological strata and the assumption that the Earth has not witnessed major catastrophic changes and upheavals, such as a global flood, in that time period.

But even with that self-serving, non-scientific, philosophical and, dare I say, “religious” assessment, the “Cambrian explosion” remains a troublesome and disturbing period for evolution.

In fact, during this period, virtually all animal kinds appeared simultaneously – and they resemble the animal kingdom we are familiar with today. There’s been diversification, of course, but not new animal life forms that cannot be explained through adaptation rather than what we think of as “macro-evolution” – one kind, or species, changing into another kind.

That’s why octopuses are a concern. Let’s face it, they’re not like any other animal – not even close.

So, this new study actually suggests a kind of wholesale invasion from outer space precipitated the “Cambrian explosion.” The paper, thus, asks whether this event, which saw the rapid emergence of most of the main animal groups that still exist on Earth today, was “terrestrial or cosmic.” Their conclusion is the latter.

Specifically, the researchers propose the idea that alien viruses crashed to Earth in a meteor, infected a population of primitive squid and caused them to evolve into octopuses. But, hedging their bets, they also offer another theory – that fertilized squid or octopus eggs were delivered to Earth by a meteor.

Why the focus on octopuses?

Octopuses are hard to explain from an evolutionary point of view. First, they are considered mollusks, like snails, yet they are seemingly very intelligent, with large brains and the ability to camouflage themselves from predators in the blink of one of their large eyes by changing color and shape. Their central nervous systems are incredibly sophisticated. And, let’s face it, they’re just plain weird looking in an other-worldly way – you know, like we imagine creatures from other planets.

The authors put it this way: “[I]t is plausible then to suggest they seem to be borrowed from a far distant ‘future’ in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large.”

They admit, in an understated way, however: “Such an extraterrestrial origin as an explanation of emergence of course runs counter to the prevailing dominant paradigm.”

It’s all a throwback to another somewhat embarrassing evolutionary theory of “panspermia” – which suggests that life on Earth was “seeded” by space dust or asteroids crashing into Earth. Not surprisingly, one of its proponents, Chandra Wickramasinghe, is an author of the new paper. Panspermia is the hypothesis that living organisms or genetic material can travel between planets in our solar system, and even between our solar system and nearby stars.

Last year, philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith wrote a book called “Other Minds” in which he compared octopuses to aliens because of their unusual appearance and intelligence. He characterized them as “the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” But, before that, the 1999 “Star Trek” spoof “Galaxy Quest” turned the Octopus-like Thermians into a benign, friendly, innocent and sophisticated species that visited earth for aid in fending off extinction from a warring, villainous empire.

“Evidence of the role of extraterrestrial viruses in affecting terrestrial evolution has recently been plausibly implied in the gene and transcriptome sequencing of Cephalopods,” the researchers write. “The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens.”

Like creationists, the scientists don’t seem to have enough faith in evolution to allow that modern cephalopods could have evolved to their present form. So, the latter propose the possibility that octopuses are the descendants of creatures that arrived on Earth frozen in an icy comet.

“Its large brain and sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible bodies, instantaneous camouflage via the ability to switch color and shape are just a few of the striking features that appear suddenly on the evolutionary scene,” the paper says, pointing to the possibility that this “great leap forward” in complexity was due to “cryopreserved squid and/or octopus eggs” crashing into the ocean on comets millions of years ago.

Call it yet another “crisis of evolution.”

I don’t know about you, but, just saying, I prefer to accept that God created the octopus, like all other life forms.

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