viruses in meteorites (was Sci censorship)

Wolfgang Wuster bss166 at
Fri Apr 7 03:22:56 EST 1995

> A snippet from the Scientific Censorship and Evolution thread
> >>: Fossil micro-organisms have been found in meteorites, 
> >>: indicating that life is universal -- not a lucky break in the 
> >>: primeval soup. This view is shared by Sir Francis Crick, co-
> >>: discoverer of the function of DNA [11]
> >>
> >>Not fossils.  Amino acids have been found on meteorites which are
> >>skewed in their entiantomeric distribution, but not fossils.
> >I'm afraid your homework is defective again. 
> >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

Incidentally, Pedomicrobium is a bacterium, not a virus, which again 
shows the lack of homework behind Richard Milton's writings.
> Let's hear it, folks - is there *any* decent reason to think
> that these viruses were not simply contamination?  I've
> never heard of this, and I would have thought that the story
> would have been widely publicized...  If you know of such
> a reason, let's hear it.     This sounds like a really good one
> for Occam's razor.
No such paper was published by Pflug in a reviewed journal in 1981 or 
anytime since. There were letters to editors and conference abstracts 
about such life in space, but the Science Citation Index contains no 
paper from a peer-reviewed journal reporting the discovery of 
microorganisms in meteorites.  

Those Pflug articles concerning possible life from space have not exactly 
set the world alight, judging by the numbre of citations. As has been 
said before, if there were genuine evidence of life in meteorites, then 
I'd expect to read about it on the front cover of Nature.

Unless of course it's all just censorship...
Wolfgang Wuster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor

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