Scientific Censorship and Evolution

Wolfgang Wuster bss166 at
Tue Apr 4 05:11:09 EST 1995

On Tue, 4 Apr 1995, Giovanni Maga wrote:

> In article <D6GHnI.JF7 at>, odonnell at (Kevin
> O'Donnell) wrote:
> > In article <322 at>, richard at (Richard 
> > Milton) says:
> > 
> > >Viruses resembling _Pedomicrobium_ and influenza  were
> > >identified by Hans Dieter Pflug in a meteorite in 1981 (see
> > >"The Facts of Life" page 239 for further details). 
Author: R. Milton. Credit where credit is due.

> > This sounds very interesting. Do you have a reference from a 
> > peer-reviewed journal for this discovery?

Couldn't find any reference to any of this in a peer-reviewed journal in
the Science Citation Index 1981-1994. There is no 1981 Pflug article 
with a title relevant to this topic in a refereed journal. Why does that 
completely fail to surprise me? 

Pflug published a couple of pieces on this topic in 1984, as conference
abstracts and "Letters to the Editor" of scientific journals. He did not
publish any papers on this in refereed journals. Incidentally, he did
publish a number of other papers on other aspects of palaeontology
throughout the 80s, in respected, peer-reviewed journals. His publications
of fossil bacteria/viruses from space have not had much influence on later
workers, judging by the lack of citations of these papers. Had he really
discovered fossil microorganisms from space, I dare say it would have
attracted a lot more attention. 

Not that an origin of life from space would undermine neo-Darwinism in 
any way.

> Dear Richard,
> 1) Which kind of virus is called Pedomicrobium? (It's a serious question, I
> do not know. The part *microbium* seems to indicate that this is a very old
> name for a virus, coming from the age when it was not clear the diff.
> between microbes and viruses, so there should be a modern name also).

Pedomicrobium is actually a bacterium, not a virus. Amazing what one can 
discover by spending 10 minutes on an online search system. Pity Richard 
Milton does not seem to have access to one.

Wolfgang Wuster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

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