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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.

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HOME > Tanoro's Blog  >  Man are from Mars, Critique of Dr. Ellis Silver
Man are from Mars, Critique of Dr. Ellis Silver
Posted by: Tanoro - Sep 7, 2016 4:18pm

Here is a fun little gem. A Dr. Ellis Silver has written a book and given some interviews claiming humans may have evolved for conditions on Mars and were brought to Earth some time in the past. He bases his claims on human physiology. Sounds like fun. Let us dissect.

A new book by American ecologist Dr. Ellis Silver offers arguments, based on human physiology, that humans as species may not have evolved alongside other life on Earth – but arrived from [Mars], brought here by aliens as recently as a few tens of thousands of years ago.

I have a few problems with this claim. First, Silver published a book and not in an actual science journal. I did some digging to see if this guy has ever published in a journal. I found bupkis. In fact, he has no Wikipedia page. I can't find him being employed at any university. Who is this guy again?

Silver, an environmentalist who is currently working with the effort to clean plastic debris from the Pacific...

Really piling on the scientific authority, aren't we? To put it mildly, this guy is an unknown in the scientific community. He has no publication record that I can find. He barely even tries to claim any authority. I want to rip into this man who is making scientifically invalid claims under a false authority, but I'm not sure he is doing that. He is just a dude with some ideas -- perhaps even crazy ones. Let's dissect anyway.

Mankind is supposedly the most highly developed species on the planet, yet is surprisingly unsuited and ill-equipped for Earth's environment: harmed by sunlight, a strong dislike for naturally occurring foods, ridiculously high rates of chronic disease, and more...

There is no "most developed." We are the most developed for tool use, which makes us possibly the most adaptable. Everything else is in relation to the dynamics of the environment in which the species in question finds itself. There is no evolutionary pressure to develop resistance to sunburn if we're sufficiently mobile to find shade. His claim about chronic disease falls short when you understand nearly every plant and animal species on the planet has at least one chronic disease. As for naturally-occurring foods? Yes, we hunted buffalo to near extinction and over-fished the oceans just for the lols.

Dr. Ellis says that humans might suffer from bad backs because they evolved on a world with lower gravity.

A so called "bad back" can be caused by lots of things (i.e. arthritis, lack of exercise, poor posture, too much sitting). We evolved to be relatively active and foraging the land for sustanence. We got really good at it and now evolution is working against us. It doesn't mean we evolved in lower gravity. It means our bodies display the scars of how well we treat ourselves.

He also says that it is strange that babies' heads are so large and make it difficult for women to give birth, which can result in fatalities of the mother and infant. "No other truly native species on this planet has this problem

Nope. Bulldogs also can't give birth naturally in most cases. This is because of us breeding them that way, of course. The point is that if artificial selection can produce a species of dog with this problem (here on Earth), it is conceivable natural selection can do that to us.

Lizards can sunbathe for as long as they like – and many of them do. We can just about get away with it for a week or two. But day after day in the sun? Forget it.

A tiny bit of Googling will fix this. Lizards can overheat under direct sunlight, but will simply die before getting sunburned. Elephants, rhinos, and sheep can also sunburn. Being born on the planet does not give one skin that is perpetually immune to radiation bombardment. As such, being vulernable to it does not make one a Martian.

Indeed, if you can find a single person who is 100% fit and healthy and not suffering from some (perhaps hidden or unstated) condition or disorder (there's an extensive list in the book) I would be extremely surprised – I have not been able to find anyone.

That is an absurd standard. Human genetics is so incredibly diverse that genetic conditions are quite diverse. Most mutations have no real effect, but seriously negative effects illustrate a condition worth naming. We do this to some extent for other life forms, but we have catalogged such an "extensive list" of human conditions that, yes, no human will ever be 100% fit just by our natural tendency to mutate and desire to catalog everything that can go wrong with our biology. If we catalogged any other species for disease as extensively as we do for ourselves, it would be true for them too.

We say that we evolved but, if we truly evolved here, shouldn't we be more in connection with Nature instead of being less and less, to a point that we even harm life around us?

Absolutely not and you don't understand natural selection. Natural selection favors organisms best suited to the dynamics of their changing environment, meaning organisms who once survived effectively can find itself in dire trouble with the smallest of changes. Take, for example, the kakapo -- a flightless parrot which lives on an isolated island in New Zealand. It evolved for a small entirely unpredated environment with relatively few resources. As such, its mating habits are slow, complex, and produce very few new birds every year. This worked gloriously for millions of years until man arrived. While we offered no profound threat to the kakapo, our dogs and stowaway rats were. Even worse, given kakapos evolved for an unpredated environment, they didn't even have the instincts to flee from a predator. Recognizing a threat was foreign to them. As an ecologist, you should know better than me how easy it is to upset a delicate ecology which otherwise works well for the creatures that evolved there. There is no implied "connection." There is no guaranteed survival. There is no plan -- no design. Evolution is a deterministic dice game.

I believe that many of our problems stem from the simple fact that our internal body clocks have evolved to expect a 25 hour day (this has been proven by sleep researchers), but the Earth's day is only 24 hours.

Eh, no. That only applies to people living in isolation with no time cues. Are you suggesting we evolved to live underground on Mars? Otherwise, our circadian rythm adjusts according to our needs for the most part.

Many people say that they don't feel like they belong on Earth, nor feel at home here, says Dr. Ellis Silver. And this fact is not something to see as irrelevant, especially not if the majority of the human population feels like this.

You're making the same mistake young Earth creationists make when they assert evolution doesn't happen because the Earth appears to precisely meet our needs. They "feel" the exact opposite of what you are saying most of us should feel. I could get into why they are wrong and ridiculous too, but let's stay focused.

My thesis proposes that mankind did not evolve from that particular strain of life, but evolved elsewhere and was transported to Earth (as fully evolved Homo sapiens) between 60,000 and 200,000 years ago

Then why are we finding transitional fossils of definitely pre-human ancestors buried in much older rock layers? We find artifacts of ancient humanoid tools going back 3.3 million years. The Australopithecus ancestry to humankind died off 2 million years ago. Me thinks your thesis needs to take current evidence into account. Claims like that are in danger of blowing Giorgio Tsoukalos' mind and I just don't think his hair can handle it anymore.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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