They go on to argue that their detailed analysis that the human genome (map here) displays a thorough precision-type orderliness in the mapping between DNA's nucleotides and amino acids. "Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language." They say this includes the use of decimal notation, logical transformations, and the use of the abstract symbol of zero. "Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing," they assert.
ANALYSIS: Are We Living in a Hologram?
This interpretation leads them to a farfetched conclusion: that the genetic code, "appears that it was invented outside the solar system already several billions years ago." This statement endorses the idea of panspermia, the hypothesis that Earth was seeded with interstellar life. It's certainly a novel and bold approach to galaxy conquest if we imagine this was a deliberate Johnny Appleseed endeavor by super-beings.
However, there are other possibilities too. I've previously written about the far-out notion that the universe we observe was built just for us and exists inside a computer program (with apologies to The Matrix film trilogy). Therefore the idea that some programmer somewhere wrote the genetic code for life in their model universe is consistent with the authors' suggestions.
Biological SETI inevitably smacks head-on into an idea that is completely antithetical to science: the concept of intelligent design (ID). The proposition of ID is that our biology is so complex it must have been engineered by a higher power.
ANALYSIS: Space Algae Invasion? Probably Not
To date, ID has been nothing more than biblical creationism in sheep's clothing. Christian fundamentalists use it to push the teaching of creationism in schools as an alternative to "secular" evolution. (Which, by the way, is now being battled in school systems in four states.)
Can the claim of an alien signature in our genetic code be any more believable, or provable than biblical ID?
We know so little about the origin of life on Earth it seems presumptive to identify genetic structure that supposedly defies a natural explanation. Even the discovery of life elsewhere in the solar system would not provide an independent test of this idea. Panspermia could have naturally occurred among the planets and moons.
And, even if the genetic code is ultimately considered the handprint of an extraterrestrial grand designer, then who designed the designer?
Image credit: NASA, DOE