Image from Steve Bowers
The glyph of the Grand Progenitor

Movement that seeks to demonstrate that all intelligent species have been provolved. In the beliefs of this movement, all intelligent life-forms were at some point altered or even created by an earlier intelligent race or entity. This regression could reach back to the beginning of the universe (in some verions of the belief, to the so-called 'Grand Progenitor').

Such a memeticity provides a nice order of things: intelligence always originates from other intelligence. And going backward one eventually reaches a comfortable religious explanation. Such 'Progenitist' schools were especially popular during the early Re-Evaluation period.

Progenitism was in many ways a reaction to the Omegism of the empires. The truth was not in the future but in

the past; the AI gods better heed the possibility of the existence of the Progenitors or even Grand Progenitor in their actions. This made it popular among anthropists and AI-worship critics, some of which even assumed a kind of "chain of creation" putting humans slightly above their creations ("images of images", as the progenitist Hauya Hanzoom described the AIs).

Especially the Hamilton Institute of Exopaleontology was for a time a battlefield of progenitist and naturalist researchers; several of the early defections to the Eden Institute of Xenoscience was due to the perceived "oppression" of progenitists at HIE.

The Progenitor Lord, a rogue Archai who spread several hoax species throughout the Sagittarius Arm, may have been attempting to demonstrate that Progenitism was a viable hypothesis; but since all eir hoaxes have been detected, this seems to have been a failure.

Over time the accumulated evidence increasingly forced out progenitism from both institutes, as no convincing evidence for the provolution of the human species or of several other independent races was ever found.

Progenitism is now regarded as a religious belief (or sometimes a pseudoscience) rather than a true scientific theory; in this form it still has many adherents.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 19 December 2001.