In keeping with the spirit of my last post regarding ancient astr0nauts and the origins of modern religions, it is time to discuss The Raelian Movement. On the origins front, Raelians really outdo those who assert that evolution is the product of some vaguely “intelligent design.” As explained to Rael by an extraterrestrial visitor (known as an “Elohim”) this is what happened:
The messages dictated to Rael explain that life on Earth is not the result of random evolution, nor the work of a supernatural ‘God’. It is a deliberate creation, using DNA, by a scientifically advanced people who made human beings literally “in their image” — what one can call “scientific creationism.”
This fantastic assertion reminds me of a post by John Hawks the other day in which he commented on the physicist Paul Davies’ similar assertion:
Our bodies contain some genes that have remained little changed in 100 million years. An alien expedition to Earth might have used biotechnology to assist with mineral processing, agriculture or environmental projects. If they modified the genomes of some terrestrial organisms for this purpose, or created their own micro-organisms from scratch, the legacy of this tampering might endure to this day, hidden in the biological record.
Professor Hawks analyzes these assertions at length and concludes there is no genomic evidence for either type of assertion. He then hypothesizes about what how it could have been done and what the genomic signal might look like:
By far a simpler sign of ancient aliens would be a massive biogeographic transfer that proved to be inexplicable by the known pattern of plate tectonics or dispersal mechanisms. So far, we don’t know of any such events. Or, of course, a subset of metazoans that differed in some radical way from the rest of life on Earth — different genetic code, lack of common cell machinery like ribosomal RNA, etc. Nothing like that has ever been found.
As for the latter, it is significant that Carl Woese and Norm Pace have been able to reconstruct the entire history of life using ribosomal RNA sequences, which all living organisms not only share but which also differ in systematic ways depending on phylogeny. There is a universal ancestor to all life on earth and we know this from rRNA.
Never mind the contradictory science — back to the Raelians and religion. As Rael explains it, the scientific designers of humanity (“Elohim”) are responsible for the Axial Age religions and all great spiritual messages:
References to these scientists and their work, as well as to their symbol of infinity, can be found in the ancient texts of many cultures. For example, in Genesis, the Biblical account of Creation, the word “Elohim” has been mistranslated as the singular word “God”, but it is actually a plural word which means “those who came from the sky”, and the singular is “Eloha” (also known as “Allah”). Indigenous cultures all over the world remember these “gods” who came from the sky, including natives of Africa (Dogon, Twa, etc.), America, Asia, Australia, and Europe.
Leaving our humanity to progress by itself, the Elohim nevertheless maintained contact with us via prophets including Buddha, Moses, Mohammed, etc., all specially chosen and educated by them. The role of the prophets was to progressively educate humanity through the Messages they taught, each adapted to the culture and level of understanding at the time. They were also to leave traces of the Elohim so that we would be able to recognize them as our Creators and fellow human beings when we had advanced enough scientifically to understand them. Jesus, whose father was an Eloha, was given the task of spreading these messages throughout the world in preparation for this crucial time in which we are now privileged to live: the predicted Age Of Revelation.
This story (believed by approximately 100,000 Raelians) fits rather nicely with the ancient astronaut one, and shares the same kinds of deficiencies — lack of evidence and contradictory evidence. It also fits nicely with the ecumenical idea that all religions spring from a common source and really are not all that different. As I noted in this post, that idea is rather untenable.
If anyone needs more evidence regarding religious differences and the consequences of those differences, it appears that a human was recently sacrificed to the Hindu goddess Kali at a temple in India.