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In this book the authors attack the Earth-centric view that life originated in some virus-like form and simply evolved by natural selection. Arguing from the evidence of virology and epidemiology, they show that it is overwhelmingly likely that life originated outside the solar system, and propose that life-forms from space are constantly arriving to mingle with our own biosphere.
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"We are stardust" chorus the Woodstockers, and Hoyle emphatically agrees. The gadfly of astronomy--despite the displacement of his Steady State theory by the Big Bang model--here challenges prevailing views about the origin of terrestrial life. Darwinian finches and Mendelian peas rule the evolutionary roost in defiance, says Hoyle, of the geologic record, cosmic chemistry, and logic. Sedimentary rocks, of course, are classified according to the fossils they contain, with huge differences at the Cambrian and Tertiary boundaries. Since science doesn't conclusively explain such drastic changes, the authors offer theoretical room for their idea: cometary debris rains down on earth bacteria, viruses, and organisms as large as bees. If a complete bee is hard to swallow, the ruminations on the hardy bacterium is easier to take. If a spore can survive on the Moon for two years, why can't one live inside a watery comet for eons? Hoyle spreads his argument among numerous topics: pandemics such as the Black Death; the chemistry of catalysts; and natural selection notions. While the authors are not the graceful science writers that the popular Stephen Gould and John McPhee are, Hoyle's heterodoxy still bears a hearing. Gilbert TaylorFrom Publishers Weekly:
The success of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time continues to exert a strong gravitational sales force, drawing into its orbit the efforts of other cosmologists. "Life did not begin on earth--it arrived from space and is still arriving," proclaim Hoyle and Wickramasinghe ( Cosmic Life-Force and Evolution from Space ), a well-known scientist/writer team in the U.K. Evolution, and to some extent Darwin himself, are set up as straw men for an attack on the tenacity with which biologists cling to the theory of natural selection in the development of organic life forms. While a strict definition of "organic" is central to the authors' thesis, Hoyle's dominant voice is nonetheless eloquent when arguing that current science is still subject to the dogmatism that marked 16th-century reactions to Galileo and Kepler. The pre-Copernican theory of panspermia--that life was originally fertilized by meteors from outer space--is bolstered here with some 20th-century microbiology and a bit of righteous indignation. Few working cosmologists would entirely rule out the possibility, but not many popular science readers will be able to evaluate the case as presented here.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description J.M. Dent & Sons, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110460860844
Book Description J M Dent & Sons Ltd, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0460860844