Researcher Jeremy Vaeni has an excellent blog on WordPress called JayVay This entry on the recent Sirius film, by guest blogger Tyler A. Kokjon, is typical of the blog's high quality, and also offers some excellent and though-provoking insights into Dr. Steven Greer's recent documentary, Sirius.
Evaluating Dr. Greer’s Messages
By Jeremy Vaeni Guest Blogger,
Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph.D.
Getting too far ahead of the data may be risky and few situations illustrate that better than the Atacama humanoid story presented by Dr. Steven Greer. Despite the obviously strange appearance of the remains, recently released laboratory test results do not support an extraterrestrial origin for the entity (1, 2). A preliminary analysis of mitochondrial (mt) DNA sequences has revealed although the entity is not a New World primate, it shares genetic kinship with people indigenous to the area in which the tiny body was recovered (2, 3).Notwithstanding the awkward discord between his initial assertions regarding the origins of the remains and the actual lab results, Dr. Greer continues to hatch still more factually unsupported speculations regarding extraterrestrial connections (3).
Judging ‘Preliminary’ Results
The report issued by Dr. Garry Nolan of Stanford University (2) makes clear his assessments are ‘preliminary,’ meaning conclusions based on the DNA sequences and other evidence should not be considered definitive. Before the Atacama humanoid research can be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal a great deal more work will be required. Dr. Nolan is clearly a competent researcher who has been able to complete investigations and publish quality data in respected journals. However, no primary sequence data from the Atacama entity have been provided for inspection. Until that happens, I will afford Dr, Nolan exactly the same latitude I give all my colleagues; unless the full data appear in a peer-reviewed journal, the information and interpretations, although interesting, cannot be deemed to represent reliable scientific fact.
Although the preliminary evidence argues against an extraterrestrial origin, discovery of a 6-inch tall human would still be extraordinary. However, at this stage the notion that the data reveal the entity is not the vanguard of a new race of humans, but a stillborn fetus is also equally valid. In that case, finding that the entity did not possess any mutations for dwarfism or skeletal abnormalities would be the predicted outcome. The entity is tiny not as a consequence of unusual mutations, but because it never completed prenatal development. Unfortunately, the sequence analyses are incomplete and interpretative statements regarding this point flatly contradictory with independent expert Dr. Ralph Lachman estimating on the basis of bone growth patterns the entity was 6-8 years old at the time of death (1, 2, 3). Reaching any firm, scientifically justified conclusions will clearly take more time and additional work.
Alternative Investigatory Approaches
DNA sequence analysis is powerful, but the information it can reveal does have some limitations. Fortunately, there may be alternative ways to establish the age of the entity at death. The investigators have been provided a huge windfall in that the entity also seems to possess substantial amounts of preserved soft tissues. That potentially provides an internal check of the DNA sequences as well as the chance to have a glimpse at some of the genes that were actually active when the entity died. The type of hemoglobin present in human blood cells changes predictably with development before and after birth. Two forms of hemoglobin, HbE (embryonic) and HbF (fetal) are found during development in utero. These immature forms of hemoglobin have higher affinity for oxygen than the adult form, enabling the baby to ensure adequate levels of perfusion during development. A stillborn human fetus with skeletal development comparable to the entity would harbor hemoglobin F (fetal) proteins and that hypothesis could be subjected to a direct test. Finding a high level of HbF would strongly suggest the entity did not leave the uterus alive, or, if it was living at birth, did not survive long. Examination of the genome alone would not reveal this situation as all forms of the hemoglobin gene (E, F, A, A2) will be present in the nuclear DNA whether or not they were expressed at the moment of death.
If the entity lived 6-8 years, it is also possible careful forensic examination of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract contents might reveal what, if any, food stuffs were in the gut at the moment of death. If the entity was still born, the GI tract would have contained little external matter. In addition, a forensic examiner might be able to note putrefaction of the gut tissues suggesting a decomposition process beginning from within and indicative of a GI tract heavily colonized by microbes as expected for an entity that had lived independently outside its mother.
Questions Concerning Provenance
The details concerning where, when and who discovered the Atacama entity (4) will probably need to be clarified explicitly if the data are to be published in a peer reviewed journal. Not only will they provide scientifically important evidence regarding the nature of the entity, the preliminary data strongly suggest the remains are human. That means the investigators may need to certify they have followed all rules and regulations regarding the acquisition, import and disposition of human remains.
Dr. Greer has now demonstrated that he can establish productive liaisons with respected mainstream academic scientists. To push a slow moving effort forward perhaps he will now emulate the outreach effort he made to get expert help with his investigation of Ata. Recruiting recognized authorities to vet the concepts for the clean ET energy technologies he says will free us from fossil fuel and nuclear power dependence would quickly bolster his credibility.
A search of the US Patent and Trademark Office database failed to reveal any clean energy patents held by Dr. Greer. If he had the foresight to apply for patent protection for the information he possesses and awards have been granted, that would constitute both documentation and validation of the ideas as an independent patent examiner agreed the invention disclosures passed criteria of novelty and utility. If his applications were rejected on a grounds of infringement of existing patents, that might help expose an alleged conspiracy by revealing the specific technologies, their disposition and entities controlling their application or suppressing their use. If no applications have been submitted, that would present a literally golden opportunity to seek motivated collaborators by offering to share a portion of the potentially lucrative future royalties. If Dr. Greer’s clean energy claims are factual he should have no trouble getting expert help getting them documented and reduced to practice quickly.
Dr. Greer has a most unusual problem for a ufologist, all his hypotheses regarding the origin of Ata can be tested directly in a properly controlled fashion. The remains have yielded high quality DNA meaning a complete, high coverage genomic sequence will be available and many unadulterated complete human genomes are now available for direct comparisons.
If the investigators ultimately claim discovery of a novel Lilliputian race of humans, the burden of proof will be a heavy one demanding meticulous documentation, unimpeachable data and publication in the peer reviewed scientific literature. And there is more. The famous Carl Sagan quip about the evidence necessary to prove extraordinary claims has an important corollary; paradigm-busting pronouncements will generate intense, perhaps hostile, scrutiny. As the recent announcement of faster-than-light neutrinos and a swift flurry of responses discrediting the finding revealed (5), such inspection may expose even the most subtle experimental artifacts and interpretation errors. Granted wide latitude for a preliminary report, a scientist’s reputation is at stake with a submission to a peer reviewed journal. It will be interesting to see the nature of the final conclusions regarding the Atacama entity, how they are presented to the scientific community and whether all parties to the collaboration ultimately endorse them.
The scientific evidence may only be preliminary, but considered in the context of prior accomplishments and the complete lack of substantiation provided in his latest efforts, I suggest it possible to reach a reasonable conclusion regarding the astonishing serial claims of Dr. Greer. Caveat emptor.