Exploring abrupt climate change induced by comets and asteroids during human history

Wickramasinghe: Death from Above

Check out this great summary paper from the irrepressible Chandra Wickramasinghe.  Wickramasinghe just keeps going and going and going — even without his side-kick Sir Fred Hoyle.

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe’s decades-old contention that life evolved in space and spreads via comets is convincing to me.  Not only do they have substantial data indicating this to be the case, it just makes common-sense.  The notion that life began on our humble rock is to me as quaint as the belief that the earth is the center of the universe.

I agree with Hoyle and Wickramasinghe: We are the aliens.

Comets and Contagion: Evolution and Diseases From Space

7 Responses

  1. Hi George –

    While H&W’s hypothesis may go a long way toward explaining left handedness, I simply don’t know enough about biology to comment any further. I am extremely sceptical of claims of short DNA chain pathogens developing in comets.

    I notice that over at wikipedia someone put “The Clovis Comet” in the past tense:

    Right up there with:

    Given the usage numbers, someone needs to set it straight, but I am very tired myself.

    Steve, would you want to take on the wiki edit?

  2. Hello

    I also know little about biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, but I prefer to believe in the potential of large meteors explosions in the atmosphere and the contamination of water bodies by its ionized gas, or fires as the likely responsible for the extinction of the megafauna. Virus does not leave craters. Although a biological contamination should not be discarded as any hypothesis.


  3. Hi Pierson –

    It was a “simple” dust loading of the atmosphere and a “nuclear winter” that led to the extinctions.

    Any animal that required large amounts of food daily saw their numbers greatly reduced. Whether the extinctions were immediate, or whether they followed shortlty after due to eh reduced populations is unknown right now, and likely will be for decades to come.

    Trying to resolve features from 13,000 years ago is difficult. Right now we can’t even sort out the dust loads from the initial impacts from those from the fires.

  4. I found this blog entry at WattsUpWithThat that seems to be pertinent here.

    “Seeds of life” or viruses, if one comes from space, so can the other.

    But does either mean that the first ones did? While certainly likely, not necessarily in the way they think.

    At least one astronomer – Tom van Flandern – argues on many fronts against the Oort cloud and for an exploding planet as the source of comets. While he isn’t in the majority, his points do have merit. And like Y-D supporters, the majority demand a higher standard of proof for his points than they demand of their own. The holes in the Oort cloud theory are glossed over, while his are targets for skeptics.

    If van Flandern is correct (he of course did not create the exploding planet theory – it’s been around a very long time), then whatever viruses or seeds of life that exist on comets may have come from that exploding planet. That might make for an even better story, too.

    I can’t see how any solid rock could have formed or agglomerated in the interstellar space region where the Oort cloud is said to exist. Rock does comprise much of the material of comets – they are not simply snowballs that have gotten dirty wandering around the solar system. What forces created the heavier-than-Hydrogen elements? What forces caused the rock to solidify into a mass, rather than just be a loose amalgam of dust? The gravity of the comet certainly could not have done any of this.

    And even the viruses – their component molecules, could they even form in interstellar space? Yes, it does appear that seeds of life and viruses DO exist on comets – but what sequence of steps put them there? Just because they are there does not mean they started out there. After all, I live near Chicago, but have lived other places. Chicago did not create me, even if I gravitated here.

  5. Steve –
    What’s Wrong with This?

    1) DNA and RNA are far longer than the carbon chains found in comets

    2) Despite the BS from NASA, comets and asteroids fundamentally differ in composition, down to an isotopic level.

    3) While some meteorites are gravitationally and pressure differentiated, some are not.

    Despite the LPBEs, not all asteroids and comets came from 1 large parent body.

    4) Fusion and gravity are the processes of creation. At some point spin is generated.

    5) The shape of the Oort cloud is pretty well known.

    6) The YD was witnessed.

    7) Comparing van Flandern’s refuted hypothesis with the YD hypothesis is a cheap shot, which just goes to show the depths to which these folks have sunk.

    Look up t-tauri, for starters.

  6. Ed –

    1) I agree. Finding the “building blocks” doesn’t go past that, unless much mmore is found.

    2) All places at all depths of the Earth are not the same isotopes, either. The volume of all meteors found are so small compared to a possible exploded planet, less as a % than all the samples of pre-human remains compared to all pre-humans who lived. I don’t see this as conclusive evidence, even if it holds up for the next thousand years of meteors.

    3) Please explain what “gravitationally and pressure differentiated” means. I can see more than one possible meaning.

    4a) I honestly do not accept that gravity had any part in creating elements. Supernovas? That argument is on much more solid ground, but is still iffy, IMHO. (Of course, if it wasn’t supernovas they REALLY don’t know….LOL) Direct gravity is so ridiculously weak around comets and asteroids that I can’t accept it as producing the forces necessary. There is only enough to make rock land like a feather – or more softly. The forces have to be several magnitudes higher, but they aren’t. Therefore this falsifies that. I don’t think the current thinking on supernovas will hold up. Note that I do not have to HAVE a replacement. I think those theories will fail on their own, without necessarily having anything – at whatever time they fail – to replace them.

    4b) The “at some time spin happens” thing – I am glad you said it in that way. It suggests strongly that they don’t know a basic fundamental feature of the universe. (I DO assume that if ‘they’ knew it, so would you.) I came up with a genesis of my own one time, long ago (one that still has potential), and one of my sticking points was, “How does spin begin?” I had ideas, but no answer, for sure.

    5) They can assign any shape they want to the Oort cloud, since it is imaginary. The entire Oort cloud is as much a figment of their mathematical imaginations as the ether was. Even Wikipedia calls it “hypothesized.” For that term to not get edited out, someone must accept “hypothesized” as the correct term. The Oort cloud is a conjecture to answer where the comets came from, and because no one came up with anything better, it continues to be accepted. In time, I am confident it will be seen as a dead end, like epicycles and the ether. They add features to the Oort cloud as necessary. Van Flandern points out that ideas that change all the time with new evidence are just people filling in after the fact, not science. I agree with him. Yes, there are things that are interpreted as evidence for it (just as Oort himself had evidence in the first place, else he would not have submitted it in the first place), but the thinking on recent evidence is circular – the new facts come up, and they weave them into the Oort story. But that evidence could apply to other hypotheses, as well. Real science predicts; it doesn’t back-fill. Also, the Oort cloud doesn’t explain short period comets, especially the Jupiter family. It especially does not explain the recently (1996 and later) discovered “main-belt comets, which rotate with the asteroids. See http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~hsieh/mbcs.shtml. There is a lot of guessing going on, about these. Since current overall theory did not anticipate these, they are doing a lot of 20/20 explaining, and not very well. It was bad enough when two sources of comets existed. Now that the main-belt comets are seen to have been even FORMED there in the asteroid belt, there are three sources for comets. This is so implausible that the whole Oort cloud/Kuiper belt hypothesis should be reexamined.

    You also did not address any of my points. HOW did there get to be enough gravitational force to create solid rock (they DO say rocks are part of many comets, do they not), not to mention dust (same objection), and not to mention water ice. I am not asking how these materials found their way into or onto a comet. A am asking where did the material come from in the first place? Supernovas? And just HOW fast did the supernovas spew the heavier elements out? And after that, what slowed them down enough for a comet to absorb them? Impacts? Sounds doubtful to me. Agglomeration requires pre-existing material; I am asking where the heavier than Helium elements come from and how did they slow down to the speed of the comet – AS it all meandered about out there beyond Pluto? My arguments about rocks and dust in the Oort cloud apply to asteroids, too – where did the rocks and dust get the compression force to solidify? There were atoms of iron and nickel just hanging around? Wow. And the Oort cloud is supposed to be a spherical shell, so how did the highly inclined material in that shell get so highly inclined, when all the rest of anything connected with the solar system flattened into a circumstellar disk? How do those circumnavigate the Sun without being pulled down into the disk (i.e., what is special about those)? All these questions have no answers, not ones that I accept as anything more than best guesses, based on the current overall paradigm. So, I think that the current paradigm will prove in the end to be wrong. If they explain the dust and rock in comets as having been picked up during passages through the solar system, it doesn’t explain what the material was doing floating around all on its own.

    6) Of course I accept that you are right on this. At 12.9kya homo sapiens sapiens existed, and definitely had enough of a society to pass the record on. It is right at the time when the first evidence of cities, of agriculture, and of domestication occurred – as the established history has it. Or it is right when something happened and all earlier evidence was erased. One way or another, man had society, and YD happened, so of course it was witnessed.

    7) If your point was that van Flandern was someone’s rebuttal to YD, no. His ideas go back to the 1980s. He published in 1993. But van Flandern is the last person whose work would be thrown at YD folks.

    (I hope that these make some sort of sense. I edited some so much I fear some sentences will be screwed up. If so, my apologies.)

  7. Hi Steve –

    Briefly, the orbits of comets were tracked back to the Oort Cloud.

    U.H.’s hypothesis about the formation of main belt comets is probably very confused.

    Gravity leads to fusion, which creates the heavier elements.

    The old standard is McSween’s “Meteorites and their Parent Bodies”, but now it is hypothesized that there were at least 5 major bodies, and comets as meteorite sources.

    Besides the meteorites, we have asteroids to study optically.

    And there have been probes to comets and asteroids.

    Gravity has been at work in our solar system for more than 4.5 billion years.

    Here’s an introduction:

    CAIs and the t-tauri phase are of current interest. When you’ve read up on all of this, I’ll be delighted to hear your take on these processes, and that you have it all figured out. I don’t.

    I met van Flandern once in 1999 and chatted with him. Nice guy, but wrong.

    Its the cheap shot of association
    by comparison that is irritating here.

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