Richard Dawkins writes:
Arthur C. Clarke, who died last month, said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." If we could land a jumbo jet beside a medieval village, would we not be worshiped as gods? The technology of interstellar travel, and the scientific knowledge on which it would be based, are as far beyond us as our present-day knowledge surpasses that of Dark Age peasants.
Indeed. This is why it is significant that looking at the cell is like looking into the future of our own designs. But it also undersores the limitations of Analogy, as we could be using a much more primitive technology (ours) to help us grasp a much more sophisticated technology (life).
Even if our species was created by space alien designers, those designers themselves would have to have arisen from simpler antecedents — so they can't be an ultimate explanation for anything.
Here it becomes clear that Dawkins is not thinking as an investigator, but instead, is focused on metaphysics and the "ultimate explanation." From the investigative point of view, this is not a serious objection, as there is no reason to think all explanations must be an utimate explanation. For example, how do we explain the existence of The God Delusion? Answer "“ author Richard Dawkins. But is our answer a non-explanation without having the ability to further explain the ultimate origin of Dawkins and his consciousness? Sorry, but proximate causes can be completely adequate in an investigation that is trying to account for a piece of history. Those who lean more toward the philsophical or metaphysical perspective are free to incorporate the findings of an investigation into their metaphysics, but I fail to see why they should dictate the direction of all investigations.
The distinguished molecular biologists Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel advanced a version of the notion, probably tongue in cheek, called "Directed Panspermia." Life, they argued, could have been "seeded" on the early Earth by a spacecraft packed with bacteria. Maybe little cellular machines like the bacterial flagellar motor were designed by ingenious nano-technologists from Betelgeuse. But you still have to explain the prior existence of the Betelgeusians and how they became so advanced and god-like. Even if Betelgeusian life was, in turn, seeded by another rocket from Aldebaran 4 billion years earlier, eventually we have to terminate the regress.
Fine. Ultimately speaking, we can credit the blind watchmaker for Betelgeusian life. But it would then be erroneous to insist that this must mean Earth-based life originated likewise, especially if the Betelgeuse did indeed seed the planet. What's strange here is that Dawkins seems more obsessed with maintaining a place at the table for the blind watchmaker than in pondering the radical implications of Earth-based life being a form of technology.