In September 2015, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Raelian Movement, an academic paper presenting the Raelian hypothesis from a scientific point of view was published in the book "Star Trek: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Theory and Practice". This book contains the proceedings of the first academic meeting devoted solely to Star Trek, which was held in Malta in July 2014. The article "The Raelian hypothesis: Star Trek-like origin and spread of intelligent life in the galaxy" is one among the 12 presentations that were selected to be included in this book. This is the first time the Raelian hypothesis is investigated as a scientific hypothesis, and its plausibility examined under the light of today's scientific knowledge.
The Raelian hypothesis: Star Trek-like origin and spread of intelligent life in the galaxy
Damien Marsic, PhD
University of Florida
Department of Pediatrics
Gainesville, FL 32610, United States
In the Star Trek episode "The Chase", the protagonists learn that all humanoid life in our galaxy (Humans, Romulans, Klingons and Cardassians) share a common origin: they are all the result of genetic engineering by the first humanoid species in the galaxy. The exponential nature of technological progress in our terrestrial civilization suggests that habitable planets in our region of the universe might become populated by our own creatures in the distant future, making us Founders of new intelligent life made in our image. But what if we are not the first intelligent life in our galaxy?
Is it possible that life on Earth is the result of a scientific experiment by an advanced extra-terrestrial civilization? In this presentation we will explore this fascinating hypothesis, first proposed by the Raelian Movement 20 years before "The Chase" episode, and examine how it could be reconciled with modern science, from paleontology to genomics.
The Star Trek Expanded Universe web site lists 84 “hybrid characters” (“Hybrids”), defined as humanoid persons with “two or more different species in their ancestry”, that have appeared in one or more Star Trek episodes. In many cases, these so-called hybrids are perfectly fertile and have their own offspring, which, to a modern biologist, is a clear sign that they are not actual hybrids, and that the supposed different species are in reality sub-species of a single human species. Despite sharing 98% of their genome, as 21st century terrestrial science has discovered, gorillas, chimpanzees and orang-utans are not interfertile, which indicates that a high level of genetic identity is necessary for succesful interbreeding, an extremely unlikely outcome of life evolving independantly on different planets.
Indeed, during the Chase episode (Frakes), the Enterprise crew discovered that terrestrial humans shared a common ancestry with Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and other humanoids. They learned that they were the products of a genetic experiment by the first humanoid species in the Milky Way laxy, which had seeded several planets with its own DNA. The seeding likely involved not mere primitive life, but the human genome itself, as interbreeding requires a common genetic program, which does not exclude the possibility of large phenotypic variability. Therefore, morphological differences between Terrans, Romulans, Klingons and other humanoids are of the same nature as those between Chinese, African or European individuals on today's planet Earth for example. A common genetic program is shared, but implemented using different parameters.
Are we living in a Star Trek-like universe?
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