Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Aliens, evolution and speciation

Let's call life a spark. It is that spark that somehow emerges from matter, making it move, making living creatures.

Using this definition, let's consider something. If you've studied evolution, you know that speciation occurs when a group of creatures become permanently isolated from another group of the same type of creatures. Think Darwin's finches on various islands. The conditions differ and this causes changes in the finches that live on each island. Given enough time, the two groups become more and more different until they can be said to be two different species. That's speciation, and it's the reason there are so many novel creatures on Earth.

Let's combine and stretch these two concepts (life being a spark, and distance allowing for speciation) and apply this to the universe at large. Somewhere out there, conditions are right for life to have occurred on many, many planets. And those planets now host a panorama of life as diverse as the range of life we see on Earth.

From our vantage point on Earth, we would call the resulting creatures "aliens". They would be wildly different from us. But really, if the spark of life that occurred on Earth billions of years ago was transplanted to another planet with conditions suitable for life, it would also have evolved into "alien" creatures.

The important point here is that the "life", in both instances, is the same. It is the spark, the beginning of movement and continuation and purpose. We still don't know how this occurs, but that it does is evident.

What I'm trying to say is that it's all an extended experiment in speciation. That planet is so distant from our own. And the conditions there are wildly dissimilar to those we find on Earth. Therefore the life on that planet conforms to the "alien" conditions it encounters. But really, this is just an example of speciation brought about by isolation.

If this observation is true, all life forms are our brothers. Because all life comes from the same source: the spark that is inherent in matter.