"The swan occasionally serves as a representative or form of gods; in Greek, Egyptian, and many other cultures the Swan represents purity, light, harmony, and balance. The swan and the goose are interchangeable in the mythology of many cultures, and in Greek mythology the god Zeus transformed himself into a swan to visit Leda, who transformed herself into a goose to escape him. In many interpretations the two are placed in polar opposition and communion with one another, making the swan an androgynous, hermaphrodytic symbol, containing both night and day, darkness and light.
...Swan symbolism opens still further perspectives in so far as a swan either laid or brooded the World egg. This was the role of the 'Nile goose' in Ancient Egypt.' and again, that of the hamsa which incubated the Brahmanda on the primeval waters in Indian tradition; and lastly, there was the egg produced by Leda and Zeus, from which emerged the Dioscuri, each capped by half the egg and figures of its differentiation. Nor is it irrelevant to add that until comparatively recently there was the widespread belief that babies were born of earth and water and brought by the swans."
Could Station Three perhaps have been some kind of behavioural research facility, or one that specialised in genetic engineering? (And while we're at it, where are the other stations? On the island, obviously, but have we seen/have I missed any subtle hints of other stations our castaways might have at some point walked right past?) An enormous electromagnet cranked up too high could certainly crash a variety of planes/ships/etc. by mucking with their navigation, and the conspicuously-skipped bit of the orientation film that began (approximately): "It is important that you do not attempt to use the computer for anything..." could reasonably end with something like "...other than the timer, because if you did, you might call for help and then our experiment might not be nearly so amusing." And loathe though I am to credit Jack with intelligence, he might be half right. Though I can't help but believe the niggling dramatic part of me that believes something really, really horrible will happen if they let that timer run down.
A genetic/psychological experiment gone horribly wrong in an isolated utopia of research scientists might easily explain what looks like a slightly more civilised lord-of-the-flies-esque breakdown of order, leaving disparate groups scattered across the island, setting loose sharks and polar bears, and unleashing a deadly disease that took down a whole crew of French scientists...?
EDIT: If one of their research subjects was math/physics/quantum analysis/time travel/other areas of study that might involve bending the fabric of space-time, it is distantly possible that they actually *did* bend the fabric of space-time. What if the timer was originally supposed to be a behavioural experiment and then it became real, but nobody knew? Maybe they really are saving the world, but they don't know they weren't supposed to be really saving the world, and...
...The more I watch this show, the more I become convinced that no one explanation is the right one, but rather all of them have to be, somehow.
...my head hurts. ;)
I am thinking *way* too much about this. ;)
EDIT OF EDIT: Okay, so the Jack FM commercials are now at the creepy, nerve-grating place beyond annoying and please won't somebody make them stop. >.