Science, Anthropology and Archaeology in The Urantia Book, Part 4
by Dr. Ken Glasziou
Science Topics of Interest in the Urantia Papers
The Birth of the Solar System
An image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows that newborn stars may
emit jets of material as gravitation pulls in gas and dust from a rotating
disk. One jet, HH-47, is about 3 trillion miles long and 1500 light years
away. "Bends in the jet appear to be caused by wobbling of the central
star but its tight focus remains a mystery. Theorists will need new models
to explain the Hubble data." (New Scientist.1)
Discussing the origin of the solar system, The Urantia Book states:
"As Angona more closely approached the sun, at moments of maximum
expansion during solar pulsations, streams of gaseous material were shot
out into space as gigantic solar tongues. At first these flaming gas tongues
would invariably fall back into the sun, but as Angona drew nearer and
nearer, the gravity pull of the gigantic visitor became so great that these
tongues of gas would break off at certain points, the roots falling back
into the sun while the outer sections would become detached to form independent
bodies of matter, solar meteorites, which immediately started to revolve
about the sun in elliptical orbits of their own." (656)
The book informs us that this state continued, "for about 500,000
years until Angona made its closest approach; whereupon the sun, in conjunction
with one of its periodic internal convulsions, experienced a partial disruption;
from opposite sides and simultaneously, enormous volumes of matter were
As described above, the initial periodic internal convulsions of the
embryonic sun may have been independent of the approaching Angona, the
sun's partial disruption occurring only with its close approach. The book
states that the Angona system captured none of the solar matter, but our
sun did capture material from Angona, among this being three tributaries
which included three major planets. It adds, "the impact of the three
tributaries injected new and foreign directional forces into the emerging
solar system with the resultant appearance of retrograde motion."
The Angona system is portrayed as a passing dark giant of space, solid,
highly charged and possessing tremendous gravity pull. At our present state
of knowledge this could be a description of an astronomical system accompanying
either a black hole or a neutron star. In the mid-1930's, both of these
ideas belonged to the realm of science fiction, and even at 1955, the year
the book was published, the concepts were more fictional than scientific
(Novokov, 19904). Evidence for participation of a secondary system in the
birth of our solar system
Evidence for the participation of a secondary system during the birth
of our solar system comes from the studies of meteorites (Dyson, 19922).
In a supernova explosion, a small fraction of its energy may be converted
into the nuclear energy of unstable atoms of thorium, uranium, and plutonium,
and small amounts of these radioactive elements may be injected into the
interstellar gas. This appears to be the only mechanism that can create
the special conditions for the production of such fissionable nuclei.
According to Dyson, the evidence that a local violent environment existed
immediately before the birth of the solar system is contained in the presence
of xenon gas in certain ancient meteorites which has the isotopic composition
characteristic of the products of spontaneous fission of plutonium 244.
It is likely that this violent environment and the origin of the solar
system were part of the same sequence of events. Supporting evidence is
provided by radiation damage in the form of fission tracks that can be
made visible by etching. The meteorites do not contain enough uranium or
thorium to account for either the xenon or the fission tracks. They must
have contained plutonium at the time that they solidified. Plutonium 244
has a half life of only 80 million years, hence the meteorites must be
as old as the solar system and must have originated close, in both time
and space, to the event that gave birth to the sun. A possibility would
be that the Angona system was the result of a supernova explosion, perhaps
one involving a twin star system inclusive of planets, occurring in the
order of about 100 million years before the time of the formation of the
The Urantia Book states that retrograde motion in any astronomical system
is always accidental and the result of collisional impact of foreign space
bodies. In our solar system, retrograde motion is exhibited by Venus, Uranus,
and Pluto, as well as the four outer moons of Jupiter which orbit it in
the opposite direction to its other twelve moons.3
Evidence for the capture of "space bodies" by our planet The
Urantia Book also states that 2 billion years ago our planet captured enormous
space bodies that markedly increased its mass. (659) In The Planets, Henbest
tells us that the peculiar composition of planet Mercury, plus other parallel
evidence, has caused astronomers to now think that the birth of the "rocky"
planets (Venus, Mercury, Earth, and Mars) involved collisions between bodies
we can think of as giant asteroids or small planets.3
The Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered evidence that must cause theorists
to re-think ideas about the formation of planetary systems and the involvement
of jets of material originating from newborn stars. In studying what The
Urantia Book states about the origin of the solar system, readers need
to keep in mind that it remarks that most planetary systems have an entirely
different origin. (466) Readers also need to keep in mind that because
of their mandate, the revelators were obligated to use outdated mid-1930's
scientific opinions but were also permitted to supply certain key pieces
of enlightening information. (1110)
Urantia Older Than the Universe?
One example of key information may be the time given for the origin
of the solar system at about 4.5 billion years ago. (655) In the mid-1930's,
Hubble's measurements of interstellar distances had indicated an expanding
universe having an age of only about 2 billion years. These measurements
underwent major correction in 1952 due to the discovery of two classes
of Cepheid variable stars, a discovery that doubled the estimated universe
age, but still left the solar system as old as the universe. The first
radiometric dating of meteoric material was done in 1955, the result giving
an age of about 4.6 billion years. This finding, now considered correct,
could hardly have been the source for information in The Urantia Book,
since its metal printing plates had been completed long before that time.
To incorporate such information would have required a last minute, major
rewrite of the section on the origin of Urantia, and on the basis of unverified
information supplied by an untested methodology that gave the meteorite
material an age greater than the then current estimated age for the universe.
However, as with all such information, truth is in the eye of the beholder,
and its meaning is a decision for the individual.
- 1. New Scientist No. 1982, June, 1995.
- 2. Dyson, Freeman. (1992) From Eros to Gaia (Pantheon Books, New York)
- 3. Henbest, Nigel. (1992) The Planets. Portraits of New Worlds (Penguin
- 4. Novokov, I. (1990) Black Holes and the Universe (Cambridge University
The Urantia Book (173) tells of "dark islands of space" that
are the remains of dead suns, devoid of light and heat, and their density
is "well-nigh unbelievable." Only white dwarf stars, neutron
stars, and black holes would appear to be candidates for such high density
bodies. Being devoid of light and heat increases the probability of their
being black holes, the remnants of massive stars that have undergone gravitational
collapse when their nuclear fuel has run out. Neither light nor heat can
escape beyond the event horizon of black holes. The Angona system that
helped to give birth to our solar system (655) is described as a "dark
giant of space, solid, highly charged, and possessing enormous gravity
pull." Angona may have been a black hole, or possibly a neutron star
system of some kind. The concept of material bodies of mass so large that
light could not escape from their gravitational clutches arose as a speculative
idea following the discovery of Newton's laws of gravitation. One of the
first to come up with a prediction about this kind of invisible star was
French mathematician and astronomer, Pierre Laplace. Having the profound
conviction that gravitation affects light in the same way as other objects,
Laplace wrote, "A luminous star, of the same density as the Earth,
and whose diameter should be two hundred and fifty times larger than that
of the Sun, would not, in consequence of its attraction, allow any of its
rays to arrive at us. It is therefore possible that the largest luminous
bodies in the universe may through this cause be invisible." A star
of that size and density would have about 64 solar masses, hence a very
short life time, and would end its career as a black hole. British priest
and geologist, John Michell, made a similar proposition in 1783. No earnest
search for black holes (and neutron stars) before 1960
The concept of stars undergoing gravitational collapse to become neutron
stars or black holes was not taken very seriously until well after The
Urantia Book was published. Eminent Russian astrophysicist Igor Novikov,
who worked extensively in this field, wrote, "Apparently no searches
in earnest for neutron stars or black holes were attempted by astronomers
before the 1960's. It was tacitly assumed that these objects were too eccentric
and were most probably the fruit of theorists' wishful thinking....in all
likelihood they never happened. At any rate, if they existed, then they
could not be detected." Today, it is accepted that heavenly objects,
called pulsars, that are the source of intense radio and/or X-ray beams
are, in actuality, neutron stars. However, neutron stars are thought to
be relatively rare compared with black holes that must form from the collapse
of massive stars. The detection of these is difficult, but may be done
through their gravitational effects in binary systems. The first to qualify
was a dead star of about 10 solar masses in the constellation Cygnus, known
as Cygnus X-1. Objects known as quasars are also thought to be huge black
holes at the centers of galaxies. It is reasonably likely that our Milky
Way has a black hole at its center. Black holes might be useful
There are many references in The Urantia Book to dark gravity bodies
that match up with black holes. Some of these may be used by the Power
Directors to improve gravitational stability of many different systems,
and also in the control of energy flow. It should be kept in mind that
the universe described in The Urantia Book is quite dissimilar to the theoretical
universe as studied by astrophysicists. The former is one in which energy
flow is continuously monitored and controlled by intelligent beings. The
latter assumes that there is no intelligent control, and that, overall,
energy always flows "downhill," in the direction of increased
entropy. Perhaps the only exception to this occurred at the beginning of
a theoretical Big Bang occurring at a timeless instant when the present
laws of physics were not operative.
On page 170, the book states, "Some of the dark islands of space
are burned out isolated suns, all available space-energy having been emitted.
The organized units of matter approximate full condensation, virtual complete
consolidation; and it requires ages upon ages for such enormous masses
of highly condensed matter to be recharged in the circuits of space and
thus to be prepared for new cycles of universe function following a collision
or some equally revivifying cosmic happening." This appears to be
a description of a controlled recycling of black holes. Current thought
is that colliding black holes would simply coalesce.
A process that might contribute to recycling of black holes was proposed
by S. Hawking. A black hole is considered to have a boundary, the event
horizon. From the black hole side of the boundary, nothing can escape.
On the other side, escape is possible. Quantum theory allows that pairs
of virtual particles, such as an electron and its anti-electron, the positron,
can come into existence momentarily at the boundary. If one escapes, it
becomes real and will cause leakage at the event horizon.
A phenomenon termed superradiance associated with rotating black holes
was proposed by Y.B. Zel'dovich by which rotational energy may be extracted
from the black hole through irradiation of electromagnetic waves or, if
they exist, gravitational waves. The rate of leakage for large black holes
via the Hawking process is trivial. For superradiance, an amplification
factor of 4.4 percent is predicted for irradiation with electromagnetic
waves, contrasted with about 140 percent with gravity waves. Perhaps the
Power Directors are better at physics and can speed things up a little.
Reference: I. Novokov, 1990. Black Holes and the Universe (Cambridge University
Press) A Galaxy Too Far Dick Bain Using the latest generation telescopes,
astronomers continue to find ever more distant galaxies. The most recently
discovered record-holder was reported to be between 12 and 15 billion light
years from Earth, based on the red shift of light from this galaxy. This
galaxy is apparently five times the size of M31, the giant spiral galaxy
in Andromeda1. Astronomers feel that these most distant galaxies were formed
close to the time of the Big Bang. But if so, there is a small problem.
The telescope is in effect a time machine. The further light travels
from a distant galaxy, the earlier in the history of the universe we are
seeing that galaxy. Since the newly discovered galaxy is perhaps 15 billion
light years distant, we are seeing it as it was 15 billion years ago. The
problem is that this galaxy is fairly well developed. It even appears to
have either old stars or dust clouds from a past generation of stars1.
If the Big Bang happened about 15 billion years ago, then this galaxy would
have to have developed in a few hundred millions of years rather than in
billions of years like later galaxies have. Now someone has to explain
how the first galaxies could develop many times faster than later galaxies,
or another crack may appear in the Big Bang edifice.
1. R. Cowen, Keck "Goes the Distance," Science News, Jan 14,
The Jupiter Problem
Jupiter has always been fascinating to astronomers and non-astronomers
alike. For Gustav Holst, Jupiter was the bringer of joviality in his composition
The Planets. But some solar system theorists may not feel so jovial when
considering a recent theory about the likelihood of Jupiter's existence.
A group of astronomers have found evidence that giant gas planets like
Jupiter may be rare in other solar systems, and this may say something
important about the origin of our solar system. The author of Paper 57
in The Urantia Book informs us that our solar system formed from material
pulled out of our sun by a passing dark giant of space, Angona. (657.)
This theory of origin, known to astronomers as the catastrophic or dualistic
theory, was proposed independently by Thomas Crowder Chamberlin and Forest
Ray Moulton in the early part of this century.1 Another source2 says that
a revised version of the theory was first suggested early in this century
by astronomer Sir James Jeans and geophysicist Sir Harold Jeffreys. The
astronomic community eventually rejected this theory for several reasons,
one being that such an encounter would be quite rare. In fact, we are told
on page 466 that most planets did not have such an origin. The Encyclopaedia
Britannica gives an additional reason for rejection of the catastrophic
theory: "...the realization that hot gases stripped from a stellar
atmosphere would simply dissipate in space; they would not condense to
form planets."1 It seems to me that the idea in The Urantia Book sounds
more reasonable; some of the material pulled out would fall back into the
sun, some would be captured by the body passing by the sun, but some material
would stay in orbit. Perhaps this orbiting material formed a disc around
our sun, and from this disc the planets of our solar system formed.
Another problem was found with the catastrophic theory, namely the distribution
of angular momentum in the solar system. Angular momentum is a measure
of the speed of rotation of a body around a center and its distance from
that center of rotation. Though the sun has 99.9% of the solar system's
mass, it has less than .5% of its angular momentum. Jupiter, with only
a fraction of one percent of the mass in the solar system has about 99%
of the angular momentum of the solar system. This situation would not be
expected if the solar system had a catastrophic origin. Significantly however,
this unexpected distribution of angular momentum is also an unresolved
problem for the other major theory of planetary formation, the nebular
or monistic theory.
In the eighteenth century, the philosopher Immanuel Kant proposed that
our planetary system coalesced from a cloud or nebula of dispersed particles.
About twenty years later, the mathematician Pierre Laplace proposed that
a cloud of dust and gases around a sun would form into rings from which
planets would coalesce.1
In fact, this idea of ring formation is mentioned in The Urantia Book
on page 170. The author does not specifically say that the rings form into
planets, but the entry is under the heading "The Origin of Space Bodies,"
so that planetary formation from the rings is intimated. Astronomers are
now finding many young stars with discs of dust and gas around them, and
this tends to support the idea that planets form from such rings. But in
the case of our solar system, the nebular hypothesis has problems other
than that of the distribution of angular momentum.
One of the unusual features found in our system is retrograde motion
(or more correctly, retrograde rotation) of some planets, and moons of
several planets. If a planetary system formed from a uniform disc of material,
we would expect the planets and their satellites to all lie in the same
plane and rotate in the same direction. If a planet rotates in the opposite
direction from the others, that phenomenon is an example of a type of retrograde
motion. Both Venus and Uranus exhibit retrograde rotation in our solar
system. Astronomers have not found an explanation to account for this retrograde
motion that is satisfactory to everyone.The problem of retrograde motion
in our solar system is mentioned on page 657 where the Life Carrier author
tells us, "Retrograde motion in any astronomic system is always accidental
and always appears as a result of the collisional impact of foreign space
bodies. Such collisions may not always produce retrograde motion, but no
retrograde motion ever appears except in a system containing masses which
have diverse origins." According to the author, the masses which caused
the retrograde motion were captured by our sun from the passing Angona
system. And in addition to the problems already mentioned, the nebular
hypothesis now has a Jupiter problem.
A recent article in Science News3 reported that a team from MIT examined
20 nearby, sun-like stars one to ten million years old and reported that
even these very young stars did not have enough molecular hydrogen in their
vicinity to form a planet the size of Jupiter. The researchers conclude
that either a planet like Jupiter would have to form very quickly before
the hydrogen was lost, or more likely there is only a small chance of such
planets forming in the first place. If, on the other hand, material were
pulled out from our sun as claimed in The Urantia Book, there would be
plenty of material to form the two gas giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn.
The catastrophic origin hypothesis/Angona theory may still have more strikes
against it than the nebular hypothesis, but it looks like the score is
beginning to even up. Perhaps early in the third millennial inning astronomers
will resurrect the catastrophic hypothesis and come to the same conclusion
as the author of Paper 57.
- (1) Encyclopaedia Britannica Macropaedia, 1993
- (2) Preston Cloud (1978). Cosmos, Earth and Man, (Yale University Press)
- (3) "The Importance of Being Jupiter", Science News, Feb. 18, 1995
Mitochondrial Eve and the Origins of Andon and Fonta
Conventional wisdom on the origin of the human species is that, 4 million
years ago in Africa, a little creature just over a meter tall emerged from
the evolutionary melting pot, and stood up.
The first such creature to be discovered received the name "Lucy" later
changed to Australopithecus afarensis. Lucy had knee joints that allowed
her to straighten her legs. Also she made footprints that confirmed that
she stood up. Dating of fossils beyond 200,000yrs old is not easy. It is
generally done indirectly by dating the ground where they are found for
Lucy at about 4 million years B.P. (before the present).
Lucy had a skull more ape-like than human and was probably no smarter
than the average ape. Fossil remains of two other primate-like species
found in Africa, Paranthropus boisei, and Paranthropus robustus are thought
to have been evolutionary dead ends.
Supposedly Lucy and her buddies gave rise to the next step, named Homo
habilis (handy man). H. habilis was a tool maker, may have appeared about
2.5 million years B.P., looked something like Lucy, but had a larger brain.
He/she was about 1.5 meters tall, under 45 kg, probably a scavenger, and
supposedly gave rise to the next evolutionary jump called Homo erectus.
This guy was more advanced so is measured in feet and inches 5ft 6in. to
be precise. He was almost indistinguishable from modern man except for
a flattened forehead, prominent brow ridges and no chin (remind you of
anyone?). Conventional wisdom has him originating in Africa around 2 million
B.P. He was supposed to have taken a long time to get out of Africa and
to migrate to Java (1 million B.P) and Peking. When Java man was re-dated
to 2 million B.P. in 1970, the work was at first ignored. New dating putting
two Java fossils at 1.8 and 1.7 million B.P., is probably reliable, but
was unwelcome as it did not fit conventional wisdom.
Oldest human fossils?
The oldest "human" fossils from Africa and the Middle East
were put at 120,000 B.P. until new, also unwelcome reports from China came
up with a 200,000 year old human skull. Neanderthal man is still in trouble.
Dated from 200,000 - 20,000yrs B.P. he/she is thought to be either unrelated
to modern man, or to have evolved independently into Europeans, or at least
be ancestral to some Europeans. Take your pick.
How does this tie in with the announcement about the recent African
genesis of humans from a single "mitochondrial Eve" 200,000 yrs
ago? (Wilson and Cann, Scientific American, April 1992). And how does that
tie in with Andon and Fonta (about 1,000,000 B.P.) or Adam and Eve (37,898
There are more ways than one of breaking eggs but they may not all produce
the same result. Mitochondrial Eve is based on the concept that the DNA
of little energy-producing organelles in living cells derives only from
the egg. The male part of the fertilization package contributes about half
of the chromosomal DNA but none of the mitochondrial DNA. If we can measure
the average rate of mutation of mitochondrial DNA and get some line on
diversity, then maybe we can extrapolate backwards to when all mitochondrial
DNA was one - or something like that. Wilson and Cann came up with Mother
Eve having spawned the human species 200,000 yrs B.P.
Another way of breaking eggs looked at a different class of DNA, and
combined this with the coalescence theory of population genetics to come
up with the conclusion that all human alleles (variations of the same gene)
date back no further that 400,000 yrs which is twice as old as Mitochondrial
Eve. There are problems with both these methods. Taking the last one first,
the idea is to select "neutral" genes randomly and do much the
same thing as the Mitochondrial Eve job to date back to the ancestral gene.
The problem is whether the genes are truly neutral. To be so there must
be no selective advantage in comparison with other genes. The work that
gave the 400,000 yr. answer was shot down in flames as being a vast underestimate.
Now here's the bit that takes a swipe at Eve:
"In fact, the study demonstrated no such thing. What the authors
did claim to establish although contested by several investigators is that
all mitochondrial DNA variants are derived from an ancestral molecule borne
by a female who lived some 200,000 years ago. This conclusion, even if
true, would not mean that the human pedigree began with a single mother
but only that the extant mitochondrial DNA alleles coalesce to a single
ancestral molecule extant 200,000 years ago."
What this says is that even if the data are correct it only means that
there could have been a large population of Eve's at that time, all with
the same brand of mitochondrial DNA.
Evidence from the human immune system
Of more interest to Urantia Book readers are the other scraps that have
come from these studies. Most of the work has been on the "MHC"
genes of the human immune system concerned with "self-recognition."
These ensure that if you get a skin graft from your neighbor, it will drop
off. But if you get it from your identical twin, it might stick. Besides
telling us that we derive these genes from a cross species ancestry going
back at least 65,000,000 years, it also permits an estimate of the size
of breeding populations that give rise to a species, including the human
species. Klein et al state "The MHC data imply that the early hominid
line split, at some stage, into at least two populations one of which led
to modern Homo sapiens (us). This population consisted of at least 500
but more likely 10,000 breeding individuals who carried most of the MHC
alleles and allelic lineages now found in human populations."
Andon and Fonta were not our sole human ancestors
Many (most?) readers think that The Urantia Book claims that Andon and
Fonta were the sole ancestral parents of all of us. In fact, it does not.
It says: "Even the loss of Andon and Fonta before they had offspring,
though delaying human evolution, would not have prevented it. Subsequent
to the appearance of Andon and Fonta, and before the mutating potentials
of animal life were exhausted, there evolved no less than seven thousand
favorable strains which could have achieved some sort of human type of
development. And many of these better stocks were subsequently assimilated
by the various branches of the expanding human species." (734). Which
would account quite nicely for the present polymorphism of the MHC alleles,
as well as the estimates of the initial size of the breeding population
at between 500 and 10,000. Ain't that marvellous? Reference: Klein, J.,
N. Takahata, & F.J. Ayala. "MHC Polymorphisms and Human Origins."
Scientific American 269 (6) 46-51. 1993.
When Did the Red Man Arrive in the Americas? Prepared from material
supplied by: Dr Edmund Roache, Watertown, N.Y., U.S.A. Clovis, New Mexico
is the home of the archaeological site, discovered in the 1930's, that
has given its name to the people thought to have first set foot in America.
Buttressed by radiocarbon dating, this event was supposed to have been
11,200 years ago. The migration of the first Americans was thought to have
been timed to the rhythm of glaciers. Twenty thousand years ago, glaciers
are thought to have completely blocked routes south from Alaska. Only around
11,200 years ago when the glaciers had retreated sufficiently did a passable
route reopen more or less along the present borders of Alberta and British
Columbia. That is the standard model but it has problems. It appears that
these people had reached the southernmost tip of South America 10,000 miles
away within 300 years! Apparently that is four times faster than the current
world record for pre-historic hunter gatherers. It has other problems.
In 1978, researchers in southern Chile started to excavate a site at Monte
Verde that they claim was occupied 2000 years earlier than the Clovis site.
This site has now been well documented but it appears that the supporters
of the standard model do not want to know about it.
Trouble from mitochondrial DNA
Further trouble for the standard model has now arisen due to investigations
using the mutation rate for mitochondrial DNA as a time clock. Investigations
at Emory University on North American Indians indicate that these people
belong to four distinct groups that diverged from a common maternal ancestor
who presumably walked across the land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska.
The genetic clock places this event at upwards of 21 to 41 thousand years
ago. But that is not the worst blow for the standard model. Another project
using mitochondrial DNA has been carried out on the Nuu-Chah-Nulth tribe
of Vancouver Island by workers from the Universities of Utah and Munich.
This revealed an astonishing degree of diversity - 28 separate molecular
variants in just 63 individuals. Measured by the mitochondrial DNA clock
it seems that the ancestors for these people must have left Siberia up
to 78,000 years ago. The Urantia Book tells us that the actual time was
85,000 years ago. Only time will tell.
An article appearing in Natural History (8/92) indicates that the ancient
North American lemur (Northarctus) was previously thought to be more primitive
than the Euro-pean variety and not to have contributed directly to the
primate and the human lineage. Recent fossil discoveries made at Bitter
Creek, east of the Bridger Basin, Wyoming, have completely altered this
view. Formerly described as a fox-faced little primate similar to today's
ring tailed lemur, the finding of an almost complete skull shows Northarctus
to have had a much smaller muzzle than either extinct adapids or many living
lemurs. Its discoverer states that it may have independently evolved a
few features of the anthropoids, such as the reduced lachrymal bone of
the face, and that, in some ways, Northarctus more closely resembles the
ancestral stock that produced the monkeys and apes than the line that led
to the Malagasy lemurs and sifakas of Madagasca. The Urantia Book states:
"Slightly to the west of India, on land now under water and among
the offspring of Asiatic migrants of the older North American lemur types,
the dawn mammals suddenly appeared. These small animals walked mostly on
their hind legs, and they possessed large brains in proportion to their
size and in comparison with the brains of other animals. In the seventieth
generation of this order of life a new and higher group of animals suddenly
differentiated. These new mid-mammals - almost twice the size and height
of their ancestors and possessing proportionately increased brain power
- had only well established themselves when the Primates, the third vital
mutation, suddenly appeared. (At this same time, a retrograde development
within the mid-mammal stock gave origin to the simian ancestry; and from
that day to this, the human branch has gone forward by progressive evolution,
while the simian tribes have remained stationary or actually regressed.)"
The Origin of Life on Urantia
What is life?
In recent times, the sheer complexity of many viruses, and their counterparts
in the bacterial kingdom (the phages), has induced many scientists to include
them as life forms. At the other end of the scale the simplest of the plant
virus particles appear to consist of a single molecule, a strand of RNA
(ribonucleic acid). Furthermore, under appropriate conditions, some RNA
molecules have the rudimentary capacity to synthesize new RNA molecules.
Hence the extreme view that a single RNA molecule can constitute "life"
is a defensible argument, but brings with it the impossibility of defining
death. The fact is that we do not know precisely what we mean by the word
"life", nor can there be a totally satisfactory definition of
the term. What is of interest to Urantia Book readers is what the book
means by "life," and is there a conflict between the book's version
of the origin of life on this planet and that of current scientific concepts?
Of relevance is this quote: "The material self, the ego entity of
human identity, is dependent during the physical life on the continuing
function of the material life vehicle, on the continued existence of the
unbalanced equilibrium of energies and intellect which, on Urantia, has
been given the name, life." (1229) Life according to The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book tells us that:
"550,000,000 years ago the Life Carrier corps returned to Urantia.
In co-operation with spiritual powers and superphysical forces we organized
and initiated the original life patterns of this world and planted them
in the hospitable waters of the realm. All planetary life (aside from extraplanetary
personalities) down to the days of Caligastia, the Planetary Prince, had
its origin in our three original, identical, and simultaneous marine-life
implantations. These three life implantations have been designated as:
the central or Eurasian-African, the eastern or Australasian, and the western,
embracing Greenland and the Americas." (667)
Much earlier in The Urantia Book we are told:
"The original life plasm of an evolutionary world must contain
the full potential for all future developmental variations and for all
subsequent evolutionary changes and modifications." (398).
For Urantia, this could mean nothing less than that the original "life"
plasm must contain the necessary informational content that would, at some
later stage of evolution, lead to forms of life possessing intellect (1229),
and be responsive to the ministry of the adjutant mind-spirits. Thus, a
simple, relatively small RNA molecule such as exists in some plant viruses
would not qualify, and on the basis of present-day knowledge, the original
life plasm would need to have been an exceedingly complex system. What
then are we to make of the claims of some scientists that life has existed
on earth for about 3.5 billion years? Could there have been some form of
organized protoplasm in existence prior to the time nominated in the Urantia
Papers for the introduction of life to this planet, and could the anomaly
be due to a different definition of what constitutes life?
The term life' as used in The Urantia Book is something very special.
The book tells us:
"Things material may enjoy an independent existence, but life springs
only from life. Mind can be derived only from pre-existent mind. Spirit
takes origin only from spirit ancestors. The creature may produce the forms
of life, but only a creator personality or a creative force can supply
the activating living spark." "Life Carriers can organize the
material forms, or physical patterns, of living beings, but the Spirit
provides the initial spark of life and bestows the endowment of mind. Even
the living forms of experimental life which the Life Carriers organize
on their Salvington worlds are always devoid of reproductive powers. When
the life formulas and the vital patterns are correctly assembled and properly
organized, the presence of a Life Carrier is sufficient to initiate life,
but all such living organisms are lacking in two essential attributes
mind endowment and reproductive powers. Animal mind and human mind are
gifts of the local universe Mother Spirit, functioning through the seven
adjutant mind-spirits, while creature ability to reproduce is the specific
and personal impartation of the Universe Spirit to the ancestral life plasm
inaugurated by the Life Carriers." (403,404) A living system of original
protoplasm on Urantia as introduced by the Life Carriers 550 million years
ago would have to have been activated' and endowed with both mind and
reproductive potential. Could there have been pre-existing protoplasm,
perhaps similar, but not endowed with all of these vital qualities?
In describing "mind," The Urantia Book states:
"Mind such as man comprehends is an endowment of the seven adjutant
mind-spirits superimposed on the nonteachable or mechanical levels of mind
by the agencies of the Infinite Spirit." ( 399).
So, besides the mind endowment derived from the adjutant mind spirits,
there is another form of mind that is mechanical - non-teachable. On page
402 we are told that the spirit of intuition is the only one of the adjutants
to make extensive functional contact with the nonteachable levels of mechanical
mind, and then on page 403 we may read the following:
"These mind-adjutants of a local universe Mother Spirit are related
to creature life of intelligence status much as the power centers and physical
controllers are related to the nonliving forces of the universe. They perform
invaluable service in the mind circuits on the inhabited worlds and are
effective collaborators with the Master Physical Controllers, who also
serve as controllers and directors of the preadjutant mind levels, the
levels of nonteachable or mechanical mind." "Living mind, prior
to the appearance of capacity to learn from experience,is the ministry
domain of the Master Physical Controllers. Creature mind, before acquiring
the ability to recognize divinity and worship Deity, is the exclusive domain
of the adjutant spirits." (403)
These two paragraphs tell us that physical controllers have domain over
a form of living mind' that is non-teachable and mechanical, and compare
the relationship of the mind-adjutants to creature life to the relationship
these physical controllers have to certain nonliving forces. How does creature
life relate to nonliving forces'? There is nothing in these statements
that would preclude the interpretation that nonteachable mind can exist
in protoplasmic material that is nonliving' according to the essential
attributes required for living' systems as defined by The Urantia Book.
Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes
There is a very distinctive difference between the prokaryotic organisms
and those that are classified as eukaryotic that could embrace the differences
required by The Urantia Book statement that the original life plasm of
an evolutionary world must contain the full potential for all future developmental
variations and for all subsequent evolutionary changes and modifications.
Besides having their genetic material, the chromosomes, contained in a
specialized cell compartment, the nucleus, the eukaryotes have a unique
and remarkable system of transcribing genetic information contained in
the DNA of the chromosomes and subsequently translating that information
into the multitude of cellular proteins. This system includes pieces of
apparently nonsensical DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) being inserted into
the DNA of the gene. This strange system is then copied into the messenger
RNA that defines the structure of a protein. However, before leaving the
nucleus, all of this nonsense material present in the RNA message, is snipped
out and the free ends of the pieces of RNA are joined in such a manner
as to give a single molecule that specifies the correct pattern for copying
into a particular protein molecule. The snipped out pieces have been labelled
introns, and the pieces that are rejoined to form the correct messenger
RNA molecule are called exons. A single gene may have as many as 50 introns
that must be snipped out before a correct message' is obtained.
The strangeness and the complexity of the system of introns and exons
quite staggers and perplexes the imagination. But the evolutionary facts
are that the prokaryotes' relatively simple and straight-forward means
of copying genetic information from the DNA of their genes into their functional
proteins must nevertheless be considered as evolutionary failures when
compared to the remarkable advances made by the eukaryotes. One such advance
is that by splitting a gene into segments, the opportunity arises to join
together specific segments from different genes that specify such things
as the binding sites of enzymes and in this way producing totally new enzymes.
Such a system has the potential to increase the rate of evolution by an
enormous factor when compared with a system of accumulating random point
mutations, the system that may have proved to be so restrictive for the
prokaryotes. (One analogy is the way a learner assembles a computer program
one step at a time, whereas the professional often uses sub-routines program
pieces that are already tried and tested.)
If the introduction of eukaryotic organisms marks the point when the
Life Carriers introduced life to Urantia, then the prokaryotes may be a
group that were utilized to prepare the planet for the later introduction
of life plasm that has "the full potential...for all subsequent evolutionary
changes and modifications." One such preparatory task may have been
performed over billions of years by the prokaryotic blue-green algae in
the evolution of an atmosphere low in carbon dioxide and high in oxygen
Some new research findings
Between the mid 1930's and 1950's (the years of receipt and publication
of the Urantia Papers), evolutionists considered that all mutations were
random events, and those that conferred a selective advantage were likely
to be perpetuated by being passed on to progeny that were thus better equipped
to meet the exigencies of the battle for survival. The planned development
of life forms endowed with will are not envisaged in this scheme of things.
New techniques accompanying advances in the science of genetic engineering
are producing evidence that is at least consistent with The Urantia Book
account. For example, genes have been isolated from a number of homeotic
mutations in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. A homeotic mutation
causes a body part to be replaced with a structure normally found elsewhere
in the body. Antennapedia mutants have extra legs where the antennae should
be. In 1983, Gehring and McGinnis found that the Antennapedia gene contained
a DNA sequence that was also present in other homeotic genes, thus indicating
a sequence concerned with development that was conserved in different genes.
The conserved region in each homeotic gene was named a homeobox and the
sequence of 60 amino acids specified by the homeobox was named a homeodomain.
A radioactively-labelled DNA probe was prepared from the Antennapedia
homeobox and used to locate the same DNA sequence in hybridization experiments
with DNA from other sources. Besides being present in other homeotic mutations,
it was also found in DNA from a range of invertebrates including centipedes
and earthworms that are thought to be ancestral to insects. When the Antennapedia
DNA probe was mixed with DNA from a vertebrate, the frog Xenocarpus laevis,
to the surprise of all concerned, it again hybridized with a DNA sequence
which was subsequently isolated and labelled XLHbox 1. The work was quickly
extended to include mice which were shown to have many genes containing
homeoboxes. The proteins that contain homeodomains were found to include
transcription factors that regulate the expression of target genes.
There from the beginning?
This work suggests that XLHbox 1 is an ancient gene whose function antedates
the appearance of tetrapod structures such as digits. The same gene is
functional in the regulation of leg development in the fruit fly and is
present in lower orders thought to be ancestral to insects including earthworms.
Currently (1995), 38 different homeobox (Hox) genes have been identified
in mammals. Interference with these genes can uncover ancestral body plans.
Before about 400 million years ago, the most advanced ancestors of mammals
were fish with inflexible, jawless mouths. Interference with a gene called
Hoxd-4 in mice embryos can cause development of embryos having jaw structures
like their ancestral jawless fish all of which is consistent with the statement
in The Urantia Book that the blueprint for the emergence of man was present
from the beginning.
That something strange happened on Urantia at about the time the Life
Carriers are stated to have introduced their life plasm is indicated by
an article from Time magazine, December 1995: "Until about 600 million
years ago, there were no organisms more complex than bacteria, multicelled
algae and single celled plankton. The first hint of biological ferment
was a plethora of mysterious palm-shaped, frond-like creatures that vanished
as inexplicably as they appeared. Then, 543 million years ago, creatures
with teeth and tentacles and claws and jaws materialized with the suddenness
of apparitions. In a burst of creativity like nothing before or since,
nature appears to have sketched out the blueprints for virtually the whole
of the animal kingdom. This explosion of biological diversity is described
by scientists as biology's Big Bang." Amazing!!
- Cech, T.R. 1986. "RNA as an Enzyme" Scientific American 255 (5),
- Steitz, Joan A. 1988. "Snurps" Scientific American 258 (6) 36
- Struhl, K. 1989. Annual Review of Biochemistry 58, 1051
- Robertis, E.M. de, G. Oliver, and C.V.E. Wright. 1990.
- "Homeobox Genes
and the Vertebrate Body Plan," Scientific American 263 (1) 26
- New Scientist 148 (2001) 30 (1995)
- The Urantia Book, 398, 733.
Computer Analysis of Dates in The Urantia Book
In 1572, a former professor from Bologna named Ugo Buoncampagni became
Pope Gregory XIII; ten years later the Gregorian calendar was introduced.
The Julian calendar, founded 16 centuries earlier by Julius Caesar, was
inaccurate and the need for reform was widely recognized. Its principal
failure was the discrepancy between the mean length of its year, 365.25
days, and the tropical year, then averaging 365.24232 days. This is nearly
eleven minutes and four seconds shorter than the Julian year. This small
discrepancy had continued to accumulate until it was no longer a matter
of minutes but days. By the time of the Gregorian reform, the error had
grown to eleven days. Understandably this was of concern to the Pope. If
the calendar had continued unchanged, Easter would eventually be celebrated
in the summer.
The attempts at reform set off a wide range of debates, both academic
and religious. At one point, excommunication was threatened against anyone
who refused to accept the new calendar. The details about this reform are
to be found in the May 1982 issue of Scientific American by G. Moyer.
In Part 4 of The Urantia Book there are more than one hundred citations
in which a date in the first century is given together with the day of
the week for that date. In the pre-computer days prior to the publication
of The Urantia Book, ascertaining this information was a monumental task.
A number of algorithms that took into account the Gregorian reform had
been published but at least one of them did not give the correct day of
the week for the stated date, being out by one day.
Opponents of the revelatory nature of The Urantia Book have proposed
that the papers were initially channeled and subsequently edited by Dr
Sadler and associates. If the channeled information originated in the subconscious
mind of the medium, then it appears to be impossible that the initial dates
and days would have been correctly stated. It would seem then, that Dr
Sadler or his associates must have undertaken the extremely tedious task
of determining which day of the week corresponded to each date. We might
then ask why would they do it? It was almost forty years before anybody
even realized the difficulty of such a task at a time when computers were
unavailable for its performance.
Using information obtained from Astronomical Formulae for Calculators
by Jean Meeus, Dr Matt Neibaur wrote a computer program to check the correctness
of the calendar data in Part 4 of The Urantia Book and found that for each
of more than 100 instances, the day of the week was correctly assigned
for the particular date quoted. Admittedly there is nothing prophetic or
impossible about this fact. However, along with information that has been
gathered about the multitude of archaeological facts also contained in
Part 4 and listed later in this study, it does illustrate that these Urantia
Papers cannot be less than the work of knowledgeable and dedicated scholars
who have expended an almost unbelievable amount of time and effort in getting
their facts right even to the minutest of detail.
Dr Matt Neibaur. Scientific Symposium 1, published by The Urantia Book Fellowship, 1988
"Beings such as the Urantia races are classified as mid-breathers;
you represent the average or typical breathing order of mortal existence.
If intelligent creatures should exist on a planet with an atmosphere similar
to that of your near neighbor, Venus, they would belong to the superbreather
group, while those inhabiting a planet with an atmosphere as thin as that
of your outer neighbor, Mars, would be denominated sub- breathers."
(561) Prior to the visits of the Russian and American space probes from
1967 and onwards, little was known of the planetary atmospherics of Venus
and Mars other than that cloud could be detected on Venus and that something
resembling ice was present on the polar caps of Mars. The probes determined
that atmospheric pressure on Venus is about 96 times that of Earth and
consists of 97-98% carbon dioxide and 2-3% nitrogen. The cloud consists
of concentrated sulfuric acid. The atmospheric pressure on Mars is about
0.6% of Earth and also consists predominantly of carbon dioxide (95%),
nitrogen (2.7%), argon (0.2%) and traces of carbon monoxide and other noble
gases. The ice caps consist of frozen carbon dioxide. There is one chance
in four of guessing the relative atmospheric pressures correctly.
Dinosaurs in Australia
"The largest of the dinosaurs originated in western North America.
These monstrous reptiles are buried throughout the Rocky Mountain regions,
along the whole of the Atlantic coast of North America, over western Europe,
South Africa, and India, but not in Australia." (687) Although dinosaur
fossils have been found in Australia, as of 1996 it remains true that no
fossil remains of the giant (monstrous) dinosaurs have been found there.
An article in Scientific American has discussed whether marsupials originated
in Australia and radiated to the Americas via Antarctica, thence Europe or
the reverse. It states that marsupials flourished about 50 million years
ago, and comments that proponents of continental drift think that Australia
was connected to the Americas about that time. The Urantia Book tells us
that the ancestors of kangaroos roamed Australia 45 million years ago,
and that 35 million years ago the southern land bridge was extensive, reconnecting
the then enormous Antarctic Continent with South America, South Africa,
Marsupial fossils have been found in Australia in strata designated
as Upper Oligocene (about 35-40 million years ago), and in the Americas
in strata from the Cretaceous more than 65 million years ago. The fossil
evidence indicates that marsupials could not have reached Australia from
Asia or from Africa. Recently marsupial fossils have been found on Seymour
Island in Antarctica.
- Scientific American, January 1985, p. 60
- British Museum, Ed. L.R.M. Cocks (1981)
- The Evolving Earth (Cambridge University Press)
- The Urantia Book pp. 694, 695.
The Radii of the Electron and Proton
A Urantia Papers' "Prophecy," Source: Stefan Tallquist, Finland
"If the mass of matter should be magnified until that of an electron
equaled one tenth of an ounce, then were size to be proportionately magnified,
the volume of such an electron would become as large as that of the earth.
If the volume of a proton--eighteen hundred times as heavy as an electron--should
be magnified to the size of the head of a pin, then, in comparison, a pin's
head would attain a diameter equal to that of the earth's orbit around
the sun". (477)
First, let us check out how this matches up with modern estimates of
the electron radius.
Electron rest mass is estimated as 9.1 x 10-28g 0.1 of an ounce is 2.8g
Radius of the Earth is 6.4 x 106m
Let k represent proportionate magnification. Then
k x 9.1 x 10-28 = 2.8.....................................1 Radius of
electron (re) x k = 6.4 x 106........2
Dividing 1 by 2, we get
Radius of an electron = 2 x 10-21m
The classical radius for the electron (current at the time of receipt
of the Urantia Papers) was 2.8 x 10-15m, a difference in the order of one
million-fold. However modern estimates for the upper limit is given by
Nobellist Hans Dehmelt as 1 x 10-19m and a lower limit is given by high
energy collision experiments as 1 x 10-22m. Hence The Urantia Book illustrative
estimate presented in 1935 falls in between these modern values.
Let us now try out the relative comparison between a proton magnified
to the size of the head of a pin being equivalent to a pin's head having
a diameter of the earth's orbit around the sun.
Let n be the magnification factor for a proton sized up to a pin head
of radius 1 mm. The radius of the Earth's orbit around the sun is taken
as 1.5 x 1014mm. Then :
n x rp =1mm.....................................1 n x 1 mm = 1.5 x 1014mm..................2
Solving for the proton radius gives 7 x 10-15mm which is 7 x 10-18m.
A modern value given in the November 1983 volume of Physics Today estimates
the Bohr radius for a quark system (a proton) as 7.7 x 10-18m.
Thanks are due to Stefan Tallquist of the Technical Research Center,
Finland for going to the trouble of making these remarkable comparisons.
Stefan also has a stab at the upper limit for the radius of the ultimaton
through dividing the electron radius by 5 x square root of 2 giving a value
of 3 x 10-22m. It will be some time yet before a direct confirmational
measurement is made.