The Tusk tossed the following question to the Dark Horse Podcast in hopes that the dynamic duo of Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein will address Panspermia in an upcoming show. They are the PERFECT intellectuals to investigate and speak to the work of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe. I have submitted the question to them on Patreon and Twitter.
June 10, 2022
Dear Heather and Bret,
I love you two and have been a regular listener of the Dark Horse Podcast since Ep. 1. You are my favorite science communicators for too many reasons to mention.
I have also been a $24 Monthly Patreon Sponsor all year, and want to cash in on my generosity with a short question and a little homework for your consideration. Please summarize as you like.
To whit: Exactly what do you know of, and what are your thoughts regarding, Panspermia? Specifically, the radical flavor of the greater hypothesis presented in the literature by the late Sir Fred Hoyle and the living Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, MBE. I have never heard you address the biological and astronomical insights of these giants of heretical science, but ask that you do so now, since I give you $24 dollars a month 😁
In Nature alone, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe published more than 75 papers arguing a full-throated thesis of omnipresent extraterrestrial life in the universe — including our solar system. Yet shortly after inventing “astrobiology,” they were rejected from its discourse like a cosmic virus.
In the early 1970’s H&W were the first to describe interstellar “dust” clouds as having organic chemistry. They were right and that once radical hypothesis is still supported by the mainstream. Nonetheless their work has been dismissed or ignored, including the spectral match of that first dust cloud with desiccated E. Coli.
H&W went on to make the peer-reviewed case, given little data relative to our modern abilities, that the available evidence suggested that: Comets are seething with microbial life and viruses; viruses and frozen microbes are entombed in and protected by larger cometary particles raining constantly on earth; the origin of (most) novel viruses is historically and currently cosmic in origin; and the confusing genetic evolution of earth’s biota is best explained by the occasional transfer of viral and biological material from above.
None of H&W’s hypothesis were properly tested or adequately refuted. In fact, their ideas have found multidisciplinary, if inadvertent, support. As genetic evolution becomes more ‘mystifying,’ and we are increasingly ‘stupefied’ by the rigorous tolerance of life in space and every other tested environment, these geniuses are being repeatedly confirmed, without acknowledgment.
As you consider the surprising work of Sir Fred and Dr. C, reflect on the curious fact that more humans believe that alien beings dart about in spacecraft, and probe ansus in bedrooms, than are willing to accept — or are even aware of — the prefatory evidence that hardy life particles and occasional nasty viruses arrive on earth inside tiny bits of comet millions of times larger than they are.
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe are dead right (and half dead). But they will be understood soon as Copernican in their intellectual insight and dismissal. Aristotle was simply wrong with his narcissistic “warm pool,” just as he was about that sun/earth thing. It has taken 479 years, and counting, to disapprove both the first and second of his flawed ideas.
Please do not rush to address my question or subject. It has been several billion years. Take your time, enjoy a careful if not comprehensive read of the actual H&W story and published work (old and new), and get back to me however you like. No one could possibly be better to communicate the cosmic ancestry of life than you two. Or to refute it.
PS. Chandra and I are good friends. I’d love to put you in touch as needed. He does a great interview with the right host.
PPS. I’d also be pleased if you directly addressed the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis at some point, which is my main gig. Lol.
Kind regards, and many thanks for your intellectual bravery.