"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe."

- Ray Bradbury



Where did man come from?
7) directed panspermia


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

- Arthur C. Clark

"A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature."

- Fred Hoyle

10.22 Evolution theory #3: Directed Panspermia

Francis Crick, Nobel co-recipient for the discovery of DNA, credits Leslie Orgel as having assisted him in developing his theory of Directed Panspermia. This theory does something its two predecessors failed to do: it offers an explanation of the presence of life on earth in a manner that is consistent with the fossil record.

While Crick and Orgel's work on the theory of Directed Panspermia concentrated on the origin of life, modifications to the theory have subsequently been offered by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe. Their modifications round out the explanation of how life forms, such as humans, have come to exist on this planet.

Because Directed Panspermia is the latest non-biblical theory for the origin of humanity, it is not found in many older textbooks and, consequently, is not as widely known as are Darwin's nineteenth century beliefs. Though it may be unfamiliar, this new theory is worth close study because it largely came about due to atheistic scientists' refusal to tolerate the fallacies of traditional evolutionary thinking.


Darwinian evolution and Punctuated Equilibria both assume the origin of life to be the chance result of random chemical combinations early in earth's history. That combination is believed by evolutionists to be some form of DNA - the discovery of Francis Crick and James Dewey Watson. DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is the foundational molecule of every lifeform on earth. Any single human DNA contains the information to direct all the one hundred trillion cells in the human body. It also has the capability of both reproducing and repairing itself. It is a molecular chain of approximately one billion nucleotides (combination strings of four specific chemicals which function like computer code; explained a bit more here.)

Francis Crick's work with DNA afforded him knowledge and observations unavailable to previous evolutionists. Specifically, Crick

He then concluded this about life beginning by evolution:

An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle... 51

Well, Dr. Crick does not endorse miracles or even the slightest belief in God as he declares in no uncertain terms in chapter fifteen of his book Life Itself. This co-discoverer of DNA instead puts forth what he considers to be a more plausible theory for the origin of life and man. Crick explains,

Directed Panspermia - postulates that the roots of our form of life go back to another place in the universe, almost certainly another planet; that it had reached a very advanced form there before anything much had started here; and that life here was seeded by microorganisms sent on some form of spaceship by an advanced civilization. 52 [emphasis mine]

According to Crick, this is the only alternative that satisfactorily explains what Darwinism and punctuated equilibria do not - this planet's absence of transitional forms; transitional forms being the evidence for evolution which, "would only have existed on the sender planet, not on Earth," 53 Dr. Crick then informs us what to expect of the fossil record:

The main difference would be that microorganisms should appear here suddenly, without any evidence for prebiotic systems or very primitive organisms... Now, it is perhaps remarkable that these are all features of the early fossil record... 54

He concludes, "Thus, at the very least one can say that this evidence does not contradict Directed Panspermia but supports it to some extent." 55

10.23 The latest update

Since the introduction of Dr. Crick's version of Directed Panspermia, the theory has been modified slightly by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. These two scientists discount the belief that any alien spacecraft brought life to this planet. They instead propose that complex genes, the genes that appear early and abruptly in earth's history, were manufactured by some intelligence and released into space. Those genes then were set adrift into space like dandelion seeds on windy spring day.

At select moments in history, and perhaps in the future, these genes, acting like highly sophisticated and autonomous computer programs, "rain gently from space into the environment, each fragment being a small program in itself." 56 Those that survive entry into the atmosphere waft across the planet, eventually coming into contact with one or more pre-established organisms. Upon contact, the new gene reprograms the old organism such that, when the organism reproduces, the organism's offspring will exhibit improvements proportionate to the degree of the genetic upgrade installed by the incoming gene.

Hoyle offers that this conjecture, unlike all previous theories, finally explains the total absence of transitional forms in the fossil record. Continuing the analogy to computer programming, Hoyle states:

We saw there that intermediate forms are missing from the fossil record. Now we see why, essentially because there were no intermediate forms. When a computer is upgraded there are no intermediate forms. The new units are wheeled in beside the old computer, the electrical connections are made, the electric power is switched on, and the thing is done. 57 [emphasis mine]

10.24 Problems with directed panspermia: no chance

Life, even on the sender planet, could not have arisen by accident. One of the strongest arguments against Directed Panspermia comes from Hoyle and Wickramasinghe themselves. Their subsequent investigations into the details of this theory are now widely used as some of the more powerful science-based reasons for the credulity of creationism. Here is what they found. Crick had admitted that the evolution of life from lifelessness could never have occurred on this planet, so his conception of Directed Panspermia assumed that conditions were amenable to evolution on some other planet in the universe. He states:

It could be argued that Directed Panspermia merely transfers the problem elsewhere. This is partly true, but for all we know the location was vital. 58

Since "for all we know" is by no means a proper scientific measurement of the probability of life to have arisen by chance, it is worthwhile that Hoyle and Wickramasinghe decided to compute that exact probability. Their goal was to quantify the chances of life being formed by a random collocation of molecules based upon everything known about organic components, DNA, astronomy, physics, and requirements for the existence of life.


Knowing that no primordial soup existed on earth, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe did not limit their calculations to just this planet, but looked at the probability of life to form anywhere in the universe. Hoyle summarizes what they found concerning the likelihood of an accidental formation of the most basic DNA:

The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (1020)2000 = 1040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.

If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court... Even the need for only two enzymes to operate in association is sufficient to make the situation quite implausible... There is no way in which we can expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup... 59 [emphasis mine]

Wickramasinghe concurs in a separate work:

It doesn't follow logically that one can start from an organic soup and end up with a living system. There's no logic that drives you to that conclusion at all... There's not enough time, there's not enough resources and there's no way in which that could have happened... 60 [emphasis mine]

Stephen C. Meyer has more recently broken down the probability along slightly different lines, for a small protein molecule, but to the same conclusion:

1. "The probability of building a chain of 100 amino acids in which all linkages involve peptide bonds is roughly 1 chance in 1030."

2. "The probability of attaining at random only L-amino acids in a hypothetical peptide chain 100 amino acids long is (1/2)100 or again roughly 1 chance in 1030." [only left-handed amino acid arrangements can be tolerated by functioning proteins]

3. "…we find that the probability of achieving a functional sequence of amino acids in several functioning proteins at random is still "vanishingly small," roughly 1 chance in 1065 - an astronomically large number - for a protein only one hundred amino acids in length."

4. "If one also factors in the probability of attaining proper bonding and optical isomers, the probability of constructing a rather short, functional protein at random becomes so small as to be effectively zero (no more than 1 chance in 10125)…" [emphasis mine] 82

What all this means is that one could just go to Crick's planet asking how life there was any better able to originate than on earth, and be forced to conclude that planet was seeded by yet a previous planet, and so on and so forth... ad infinitum. This logical fallacy of infinite regression does not escape Hoyle who points out that, in a finite universe such as ours, any seemingly infinite regression simply must have an "idealized limit".

This limit, this point at which the progression of life actually began, Hoyle tentatively acquiesces to call "God", though not in the biblical sense. He allows the origin of life to be attributed to "God" for the reason that the technical origin of life is logically unknowable because its probability as a natural occurrence is impossible. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe write:

But in that dawn of certainty, in what might have been a moment of satisfaction, we hit a difficulty that knocked the stuffing out of us. No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning... Just as the brain of Shakespeare was necessary to produce the famous plays, so prior information was necessary to produce a living cell. But information from where? 61 [emphasis mine]

This demonstrates that a science-only approach to discovering the origin of life yields an answer which unsettles anti-theists. It legitimately opens the door to the possibility of divine creation. Science has arrived at a God-friendly conclusion on origins. As Chandra Wickramasinghe insightfully observes,

But the universe doesn't respect the boundaries between different disciplines. The differences between biology and astronomy and chemistry and so on, these are man-made artifacts of thinking. I think the whole system is doomed unless one decides that all these barriers are cleared. And I will go further to say that even the interface between theology and the other disciplines in necessary. 62

10.25 Evolutionists on directed pansermia

The origin of life and the origin of the information required to construct life are logically attributed to being the product of an intelligence. However, the possibility of the intentional creation of life and humanity by some alien intelligence is surprisingly not the source of the greatest objection to Directed Panspermia within the evolutionary community.

The chief objection to directed panspermia by evolutionists is that intentional creation reintroduces the issue of purpose, even if by aliens instead of by God. Crick has commented, as have Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, on the prejudice which purpose arouses in scientists. The latter two write:

our writings have been greeted with a wall of silence. The reason very likely is that every expert biologist has seen from the beginning that sooner or later the word purpose would appear, and to involve purpose is in the eyes of biologists the ultimate scientific sin, worse even than to express doubt of the validity of Darwinism. 63

Purpose implies the existence of some form of power and authority higher than any individual. Eighteenth century figure William Paley was an advocate of purpose. Paley likened the universe to a precisely crafted watch with God as its watchmaker. Though Darwinism seemed to knock Paley's beliefs off their perch, anti-theistic evolutionists are beginning to come full circle as they rethink Paley's credibility:

The speculations of The Origin of Species turned out to be wrong, as we have seen... It is ironic that the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner. 64

Modern evolutionary thinking, whether it favors Darwinism, punctuated equilibria, or Directed Panspermia, makes the same mistake as did nineteenth-century determinists.

Evolution is based on what is unknown:

rather than on what is known:

The only belief for the origin of life and humanity which fits all the available evidence is that of some form of intentional creation.



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NEXT: PART 8) Intelligent design theory

See also:

Where did the earth come from?

Where did the universe come from?

What about life on other planets?

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This section explains Directed Panspermia and presents arguments against it from scientists of both secular and Christian persuasions.

1. Directed panspermia
2. Latest update
3. Problems with DP
4. Evolutionists on DP