With All Due Respect to Richard Dolan: My Take on The Alien Agendas
Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. —Arthur C. Clarke
The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we can imagine. —the same guy
Since I disrobed and returned to non-ordained “normal” status more than a year ago, I am a little embarrassed to confess that I have read a total of one and a half books. I've been busy. I was halfway through the Emperor Maurice’s Strategikon (a Byzantine manual of military operations) at the time I left California, which book I managed to finish, and then I started on Richard Dolan’s The Alien Agendas: A Speculative Analysis of Those Visiting Earth (Richard Dolan Press 2020). My good friend Brian Ruhe, who as you may know devotes much of his time to interviewing alien abductees and alien “hybrids,” sent me the book, and so I read it partly out of consideration for him and partly just out of intellectual curiosity. I do like to read about unusual subjects about which I know little, and the book gives a good idea of the “mainstream” of belief among UFOlogists and researchers into alien visitations.
I have reviewed or otherwise commented on several books over the course of this blog, and this is a rather unusual one because the book was actually recently published, like a year and a half ago. Usually I write about books written decades or even centuries previously, which may seem rather pointless; but if something is on my mind and seems relevant to this blog I tend to write about it, even if nobody wants to read obscure political books by Julius Evola or early 20th-century Christian apocalyptic science fiction. This book is relatively new, and available on Amazon I’m pretty sure, though surprisingly few of the main points were unfamiliar to me when I read the thing.
I will observe before I ramble any farther that the book was a little disappointing to me, which helps to explain why it took me almost a year to read it. Richard Dolan is not stupid, but his thought strikes me as very modern western (stuck in a scientific and materialistic interpretation of reality), and thus somewhat “pedestrian” by my standards. Much like a class on the philosophy of religion that I took in college, my interpretation of the case is hardly even a theory for discussion, even as an idea to be rejected, much less the conclusion at which the teacher or author arrives. That can be frustrating.
Also I will observe that, although Dolan tries to be objective and unbiased, he strikes me as credulous, much in the same vein as another author I’ve had little use for, Graham Hancock. The beginning and part of the end of The Alien Agendas are a case in point.
One of his first arguments in the book is that, about 40,000 years ago, a new allele, the D allele, suddenly appears in the human genetic record somewhere in central Asia, and from there spreads throughout much of the world. This allele is a “critical allele in our microcephalin gene.” According to Dolan this affects certain aspects of human mental capacity, and appears to have conditioned the explosion in human cultural activity, including art, which began to manifest in our species around that time. This allele evidently is not derived from ancestral Homo sapiens itself, nor from allied groups like Neanderthals and Denisovans. From this he jumps to the conclusion that aliens genetically enhanced our species at that time, for reasons of their own—presumably to create a race more potentially useful to themselves, or maybe just out of a disinterested drive to promote intelligence in the universe, much like the aliens who sent the monolith to earth in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dolan prefers the former guess; though I really see no good reason to assume alien intervention.
The way evolution is supposed to work is that genomes are prone to occasional mutations, and though most of these mutations are neutral or harmful, a few are positive, promoting the survival and reproduction of the mutation’s possessors. So I see no reason to assume alien genetic enhancement when ordinary Darwinism explains the case easily: somewhere in the area of Mongolia 40,000 years ago a positive mutation occurred which had definite survival value for humans endowed with it, so it naturally spread from there throughout most of the human species. That Dolan would start his book with such a flimsy (but still possibly true I suppose) theory strikes me as sloppy, and more worthy of someone like Graham Hancock.
Another line of argument that Dolan pursues throughout the book, and which I find inane, is that not only might aliens be genetically manipulating some humans, but they may be hybridizing us by mixing human DNA with their own. I’ve written about this before, I think, but I should emphasize this because so many people don’t seem to get it: Any beings who evolved separately from us on some other world are extremely unlikely to resemble us biochemically, let alone anatomically. The genetic code itself indicates that our DNA and its coding for proteins occurred through random chance, as evolution is supposed to happen. Random mutations occur which are perpetuated if they help an organism to survive and reproduce. So the odds of some alien race, which evolved on a planet light years distant from us, even if we accept the idea of panspermia, having the SAME genetic material as us, namely deoxyribonucleic acid, with the same sort of genetic code even, would be on the order of trillions to one. These hybrids, or “hubrids” as Dolan calls them, are much more likely to be genetically manipulated than they are to be actual hybrids with alien genetic material. It would be much easier to hybridize a human with a crayfish than a human with some form of life that evolved separately on a totally different world. The only way that there are likely to be real hybrids with these beings is if they come from an alternate earth, and are thus closely related to us anyway. Dolan acknowledges this possibility but generally ignores it, preferring the more Star Trek-esque approach of humanoid aliens populating the universe and cross-breeding with us.
And really, what are the odds that virtually all aliens who visit this earth and interact with us are humanoid—that is, being bipedal, with two arms, one head with two eyes (if they have eyes at all), two ears, and a mouth all in the same positions on the head as ours, and so on? Why no tentacles? Why no multilegged creatures with eight eyes like a spider? Dolan actually discusses this and hypothesizes that a humanoid form is just naturally what intelligent beings throughout the galaxy evolve as, but I don’t see it. Again, evolution works through random mutations operating on various forms of life, and the idea that all or even most technologically advanced intelligent aliens are human-like in appearance (though maybe with fur or scales or big eyes or pointy ears or a mantis-like facial appearance) strikes me as highly unlikely. Again I prefer the alternate earth hypothesis to the space alien hypothesis. The view of most alien encounterists is like mass-market science fiction—plausible to most people with limited imaginations, but hardly likely in real life.
But my main criticism of the book is more metaphysical. As I mentioned above, the author is pretty well tied to a materialistic and more or less scientific interpretation of the case. Alternate earths in alternate realities is not mainstream science, and so Dolan apparently lacks the confidence to assume it to the point of preferring it to flesh-and-blood alien beings flying through interstellar space in nuts-and-bolts flying saucers. I am not denying that some reports of interactions with alien beings are true, but I am saying that moving sideways a relatively small distance through probability, say, is more likely than moving light years through interstellar space to interact with a kind of upgraded ape.
Why do these aliens interact with us? Dolan doesn’t know; although one hypothesis that he repeats is that aliens are preparing us for entry into some sort of galactic federation. Another hypothesis of his (and others) is that these aliens are actually worried about our capacity to become technologically advanced while remaining violent and chaotic. This latter guess strikes me as pretty unlikely, considering that these aliens are by all accounts far more advanced than we are. If they can fly through interstellar space, levitate objects as well as themselves, appear and disappear by some kind of interdimensional “phasing,” and also control our minds, then them fearing us would be like a group of well-armed British colonialists fearing stone-age tribesmen in New Guinea, or maybe even orangutans in Borneo. Again, the alternate earth hypothesis would be more explanatory: these beings aren’t preparing us for entry into some galactic federation so much as they are studying a close relative living on an alternate earth (from theirs) not too far away. That would come much closer to home for them, in more ways than one.
So alternate “humans” coming from an alternate earth, or maybe even from the future, for the purpose of understanding themselves better by studying us, is one plausible hypothesis for alien encounters. It strikes me as more plausible than aliens evolved on another planet flying through space to interact with us covertly. But I have another, more radical explanation, which I think may be even more likely to be true.
I have mentioned on several occasions my theory of everything, which I have tried to integrate with Buddhist metaphysics, or rather with paticca-samuppāda or Dependent Co-Arising. That theory is generally explained with the Simile of the Block of Marble. According to this model, Ultimate Reality is infinite, formless consciousness or energy. Because it is formless it is sizeless, and thus it is nondualistic and indeterminate, and neither existence nor nonexistence really apply to it. Based upon this underlying Reality is an infinity of possible and virtual worlds or small-r “realities.” Just as an immense block of stone literally contains within it every possible statue, in potential form—every atom is already there, in its proper place, with all that is required being to remove the excess rock, at least in imagination—just so does the formless Reality serve as a foundation for every possible world. These possible worlds are all overlapping, superimposed on one another like the infinitude of statues contained in the rock. And so we arrive at the strange conclusion, generally rejected by scientific materialism, that there is more than one phenomenal world, and they are all touching and overlapping. One possibility deriving from this is that not everyone in this world of ours is sharing exactly the same version of reality. What is real for some people, and even visible, may be unreal and invisible to others.
This is getting into the realm of the paranormal: and one paranormal researcher who has also studied UFO phenomena is George P. Hansen, author of the truly excellent book The Trickster and the Paranormal (Xlibris 2001); and he theorizes that UFO phenomena and alien interactions are not ordinary physical events (flesh-and-blood space aliens arriving in nuts-and-bolts space ships) but rather paranormal phenomena, like ESP, Bigfoot, and some ghost phenomena just to mention a few types of manifestation. According to him, the phenomenal universe exists according to rules, some of them imposed on reality by conscious minds, yet there are “cracks” or weak spots between the rules, so to speak, and chaotic, practically inexplicable phenomena can arise under such liminal conditions. People who violate norms, like witches for example, or just eccentric people, create greater liminal conditions which increase the odds of strange events taking place in their presence. This does not mean that the events are not real; it does mean, however, that the events are fringe phenomena that evade scientific laws of nature. The mundane events in our lives are equally conditional and quasi-real, but at least they follow known rules and are more or less predictable.
Ever since reading Hansen’s book I have adopted his theory to account for most UFO phenomena, as well as Bigfoot, the “little people” of ancient and medieval forests, magic, and miracles, and other psychic phenomena. Thus I would consider MOST “aliens” to be similar to elves, leprechauns, and some apparitions—entities elicited by subconscious beliefs, archetypes, and liminal conditions. But Richard Dolan, as I say, must make sense of the wide variety of alien encounters with models derived from scientific materialism. Maybe he is right. Who knows? But it is a universal human trait that we try to interpret reality in accordance with our cultural conditioning, and our interpretations are inevitably rejected by subsequent generations in later cultures. I do suspect that scientific materialism will also be rejected someday as a sophisticated yet still crude superstition. Our beliefs seem to make it true and reinforce it, but so have the beliefs of other cultures. The rules we superimpose on the world help to stabilize it and keep the frighteningly unpredictable at bay, but ultimately they are not real. Reality is formless and infinite…or so goes the theory.
|some examples of reported "unorthodox" aliens which don't fit the usual|
human/grey/reptilian/mantid model of extraterrestrial visitants
(from Dolan's book, p.41)