Re: Flu From Outer Space

From: Mitchell Porter (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 23:52:03 MST

Amara suggested that I send this to the list...

>I have before me a 1979 book by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe called
>_Diseases from space_ [...] The quantitative details are in some
>appendices (the customary place to display the equations, in
>works of scientific heterodoxy which get published as popular
>science). In Appendix 1 they look for evidence of cellulose
>in interstellar dust clouds.
>_Current Science_ turns out to be published in Bangalore, India.
> links to a 'preprint'
>of "The Dilemma of Influenza" at Wickramasinghe's website
>The preprint is not very enlightening, however, and the inline
>images are broken.
>Finally, I've just found, again at Wickramasinghe's site, what
>might be a complete list of H&W's panspermia publications:
> [...]
>So their theory is not just that life was brought to Earth
>by comet, but that comets also bring periodic injections of
>genetic novelty. I gather that Hoyle thinks Earth is too small
>for the millions of genes in nature to have all evolved here,
>but such arguments require as many input assumptions as the
>Drake equation in exobiology, and there doesn't actually seem
>to be any *evidence* that the galaxy is a giant bioreactor.

It's quite a visionary idea, though: clouds of quadrillions
of bacteria, free-falling their way around the galaxy, a few
occasionally getting hoovered up by a passing star, and living
off interstellar organic chemicals.

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