I have collaborated with Gensuke Tokoro of the Institute for the Study of Panspermia and Astroeconomics, Gifu, Japan to produce this paper.
A major paradigm shift with potentially profound implications has been taking place over the past 3 decades at a rapidly accelerating pace. The Copernican revolution of half a millennium ago is now being extended to place humanity on the Earth in its correct cosmic perspective – an assembly of cosmically derived viral genes, no more, no less, pieced together over 4 billion years of geological history against the processes of Darwinian natural selection. The evidence for our cosmic ancestry has now grown to the point that to deny it is a process fraught with imminent danger. We discuss the weight of modern scientific evidence from diverse sources, the history of development of the relevant ideas, and the socio-economic and historical forces that are responsible for dictating the pace of change.
In summary we conclude : A paradigm shift of the kind we have discussed in this article may be stalled for seemingly rational reasons based on either prudence or pragmatism:
- The proposed paradigm shift from Earth-centred life to cosmic-centred life might be perceived as a threat to national security. People may become so scared and emotionally unsettled that even the enforcement of law and order might pose a problem.
- To admit that we have supported a wrong paradigm may have economic repercussions in regard to the many large funding commitments already in place for exploring ideas based on a wrong premise.
- An inevitable demand that would follow for re-orientation of existing space programmes would have serious fiscal implications that would need to be kept in mind.
- It would have to be deemed prudent to monitor the stratosphere for potentially lethal incoming pathogens, and such a world-wide programme would require large budgets as well as new strategies in world health economics.
I am planning a BLOG post in the fall which offers a positive vision for the way forward.