Scientific Censorship and Evolution

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Wed Apr 5 23:09:28 EST 1995

On Mon, 3 Apr 1995, Kevin O'Donnell wrote:

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

  A statement by anyone that they had found a _virus_ floating about in 
space (which goes along with meteor hitchiking) is automatically suspect. 
A virus cannot exist BEFORE a host exists.  A virus cannot exist WITHOUT 
a host.  A virus must develop AFTER a potential host already 
exists...where is the host for a space-floaty virus?  How would it be 
produced so as to be planted on a space rock?  More importantly, how 
could a proteinaceous/nucleic acid containing virion survive the several 
thousand degree temperatures of atmospheric entry?  DNA and RNA are 
actually rather fragile, particularly without repair systems up and 
running.  Even if a virus was dessicated (as it would HAVE to be) in the 
vacuum of space, this wouldn't preserve it.  The ionizing radiation 
levels in space are much higher than they are on earth, and so most 
protein and nucleic acid structures would be ionized out of any useful 
structure or function in rather short order.

Finding a virus or bacterium on a meteorite would be BIG news and you 
would hear of it, as would we all.  It would be on the cover of Nature, 
Science, PNAS, etc, as soon as it was confirmed.  MOST LIKELY, any such 
discovery from a meteorite would be due to CONTAMINATION AFTER IMPACT.  
For it to have any real meaning and value as evidence, it would have to 
be brought back from the vacuum of space under VERY clean, sterile 
conditions to prevent any possibility of contamination.  

Amino acid remnants and, perhaps, nucleic acid remnants, have been pulled 
from meteorites, just as amino acids have been detected by spectral 
studies of interstellar nebulae.  As someone else has stated in this 
group, that is a LONG way from life.  It merely goes to show that the 
building blocks for life are not hard to come by...supporting evolution 

A space virus...pah!


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