Earth is the unofficial name given to the theoretical birthplace of humankind-be it a single planet, single solar system, constellation or any other location, either in the New Eden cluster or elsewhere in the cosmos. It is supposed by some to be located on the other side of the EVE Gate. The stories of Earth among disparate people in New Eden is the main inspiration for the common origin theory.
Common Origin Theory
Common origin theory posits all life in New Eden has a single, external point of origin. The idea of a common birthplace was first put forth by members of the Amarr clergy during the Reclaiming. It enjoyed great acceptance until the beginning of the Moral Reforms, when the theory fell out of favor. Gallente scholars in the field of Amarr studies rediscovered the theory, and it is they who are responsible for its renewed popularity. Removing the religious overtones and conclusions of the initial theorists, they crafted the common origin theory as it is known today. While it is still heavily debated, no one can argue the enormous impact this theory has had in various fields of study, including spawning one of its own called Earthology.
Earthology is an attempt to define as much as possible about the common origin theory. Despite requiring vast knowledge in a wide array of subjects, bringing together portions of almost all fields of historical study, including mythology, linguistics, archaeology, and genetics, Earthologists seem to get little respect from the rest of the scientific community. The stated purpose of the field is to prove a pre-existing hypothesis, which doesn't sit well with scientists who regard the field with some skepticism.
On their own, the myths of each of the races in New Eden didn't hold much weight with scholars. In recent years however, the accelerating flow of information between the empires has reinvigorated the field of comparative mythology, and some startling discoveries have been made.
Almost every race in New Eden can claim somewhere in their history a tale of arrival; of being from somewhere else. Many of these stories came to be replaced with other creation myths in various cultures, but the underlying trend of different people on different continents sharing these stories had been noticed and commented on by scholars in each culture for some time. With the increasing ability to compare myths from almost all settled planets in New Eden, the continuation of this trend across planets has been latched onto by Earthologists. While some of the similarities between these myths are quite striking, the scientific community holds there are many reasons why myths may be similar across cultures, not the least of which is the function of myths themselves.
Cyrptozoologists have long claimed that cryptids, or mythological creatures, were real animals from the past. There was a resurgence of interest in this field with the introduction of the common origin theory. Earthologists began comparing the descriptions of the mythic animals of all cultures in the New Eden cluster. Currently, the list of cryptids described in myths of all four empires stands at fifty-six, while those described in at least two empires number well over a hundred. While this seems to hint heavily at the existence of a shared ancestry, others point out that, with thousands of mythological creatures described in various cultures, similarities are inevitable and prove nothing.
The field of etymology suffered a huge blow when scholars of all empires began communicating more openly with each other. While the main languages spoken in New Eden today vary greatly from each other, it was put forward by Earthologists that many of the languages spoken in the past may have shared some similarities across planetary boundaries. Many pioneers of the field had their findings called into question when certain words given a uniquely local point of origin turned out to be shared with long dead languages on other planets. Scholars of comparative linguistics enjoyed new prominence, and potential cognates, words believed to have evolved from the same source, were being discovered almost daily, particularly among dead languages. Attempts to recreate a common root language were soon frustrated by this rate of discovery. Phono-semantic matching alone produced thousands of potential cognates, though many of these are likely to turn out to be false cognates, or coincidences.
The sheer number of potential cognates has allowed Earthologists to begin defining the broad outline of seven different ancient proto-languages. Common origin theorists claim these possible shared root languages as proof of a shared birthplace, though the work has yet to be subjected to independent peer review, nor has it been published. It is the belief of the main scientific community that just like myths, language evolves in a convergent manner. Additionally, with the somewhat limited number of sounds a human being can make, it is inevitable that there would be similar-sounding words in different languages, and that some of these would have similar meanings, especially when taking into account the large number of languages spoken in New Eden.
Interstellar archaeologists noticed a curious pattern when they began investigating and cataloging the remnants of ancient jump gates. Spreading out in a web with the system of New Eden at its center, all the jump gates appeared to have been constructed within the same hundred-year period. Despite this relatively short timespan, differences in construction led scholars to believe they were constructed by different peoples.
Whether one or all of these peoples are related to the civilizations of New Eden cluster is still hotly debated, but with the lack of any record of any civilization predating the EVE Gate, archaeologists firmly point to the New Eden system as the place where all roads lead. As a result, the sole planet in the system has been subjected to much scrutiny. To date, nothing has ever been found on the barren, moonless planet save some simple micro-organisms. Based on this, combined with the fact that the EVE Gate appears to be the oldest structure in New Eden, Earthologists claim our origins are on the other side. The main scientific community accepts only that the first technologically advanced civilization to settle New Eden may have originated in that system, if in fact the EVE Gate is the oldest structure in the cluster, and that there is no evidence to suggest they were the ancestors of any modern peoples.
According to Earthologists, the strongest evidence of the existence of a common planet of origin comes from the field of genetics. As with linguistics, and mythology, it is comparative genomics that has seen the most advances in recent years, and it is here the Earthologists have seen their theories gain the most traction. The discovery that the DNA structure of all human beings, regardless of planet of origin, is extremely similar at a base level, set off a firestorm of debate. While leading to vastly different interpretations amongst geneticists, seemingly along political lines, many are coming to agree a shared point of origin does seem likely. Others point out that some animal and plant species also share a percentage of this DNA, and are of the opinion this is simply a further example of dominantly held theory of convergent evolution.
The Jove Question
Earthologists seem obsessed with learning the secrets of the Jove, as they are believed to be the oldest civilization currently in the New Eden cluster. It is here beliefs veer mostly into the realm of the 'conspiracy theory' with some even claiming Jove history predates the EVE Gate opening. No proof has ever been shown regarding any of suppositions regarding the Jove, and Earthologists remain frustrated at their lack of access to that race's culture.
Despite the growing popularity of the common origin theory among such renowned individuals as Alain Topher, it is still considered to be an undetermined theory. The greatest challenge is presented by two competing theories which rely on the same evidence. Both the syncretism theory and the mold theory draw vastly different conclusions, and for this reason, brief summaries of these fields as they relate to Earthology are presented below.
Rather than seeing the perceived similarities in myths, languages, and genetics among the peoples of New Eden as proof of a common origin, syncretism theorists point to the ancient races. Space-faring races existing prior to modern civilizations proves the possibility of inter-mixing between planets at some point in New Eden's history, and every similarity pointed to as evidence for common origin, the syncretism theorists claim as well.
Syncretic theory acknowledges the scientific community's commonly held view that more studies on the nature and purpose of myths are required before any definitive conclusions can be made. Even so, they believe the supposed similarities found by Earthologists prove only there was communication between our ancient ancestors, either directly or through intermediaries, discrediting the idea that similarities are proof of common origin.
Syncretic theorists are among the rare scholars who give credence to the work of Earthology linguists. They often quote the seven proto-language fragments as further proof of distant connections between our ancestors, again, either directly from, or through the intermediary of, one of the ancient races. Furthermore, they point to the proto-languages as proof of influence in many other languages across planetary boundaries, rather than a myriad developing from a single source. Most of the scientific community agrees this is a much more plausible theory if in fact the work on the seven proto-languages is ever completed and is determined to be accurate.
While many dispute genetic similarities indicate a common ancestor, syncretism theorists do accept parts of the notion. They believe there may be many species today that did not originate on the planets they are currently found on. The current confusion geneticists experience in attempting to explain why humans seem to share so little DNA with the majority of the flora and fauna in New Eden, yet do share some with some species, is claimed as further proof of the 'mixing-bowl' ideology of syncretic theory. Syncretics subscribe to the commonly accepted convergent evolution theory, and claim there is nothing in the field of genetics to suggest a common origin.
The EVE Gate Question
Backed by mainstream archaeology, Earthologists point to the EVE Gate as the oldest structure in New Eden and are frustrated on an almost daily basis by its closure. The difficulty of studying the gate, and of course the fact it no longer functions as it once did, means every avenue of investigation leading to it is effectively a dead end. Syncretism theorists argue that, given the limitations of modern dating methods, having all been built in a 50-100 year period 15,000 years ago, there is no way to reliably determine which of the gate structures are the oldest. That archaeologists can't agree whether it was a fifty-year period or a one-hundred-year period taints their conclusion that EVE is the oldest of the gates. Syncretics further argue it is highly possible the EVE Gate was used to leave New Eden by whatever civilization, or civilizations, constructed the gates, and that they simply closed the door behind them.
Mold theory, also referred to as bootstrap theory or convergent evolution, is one of the most accepted theories of origin and evolution in the scientific community today. This school of genetic thought holds that, for life to be successful, it must conform to a specific model. Mold theory states that human beings share such genetic similarities not due to evolving from the same place, but from evolving to the same place. They believe there are various successful models life can evolve toward and reject the theory that either similarities or differences on a genetic level is any indication of origin, common or otherwise. While mainly a genetic theory, it also holds that any similarities in myths or language are also evidence that certain models just work, be they genetic or social, and so they are repeated. Like syncretism theorists, mold theorists dismiss the possibility of a common origin planet, however, they have also claimed that if there is life on the other side of the EVE Gate, like successful species found anywhere else, they too will have all conformed to the same mold, and will have the same various genetic models found on planets in the New Eden cluster.