A summary from Review by Gert Korthof
Fred Hoyle was an important scientist who worked at the frontiers of astronomy and theoretical physics. In 1983 he published a well illustrated popular book for nonscientists in which he attacked the whole idea that life originated and evolved on Earth and replaced it by 'intelligent cosmic control'.
Foreword:Hoyle places Darwin in a cultural context. The foreword contains religious and ethical issues such as the 'real purpose in life' and 'moral sense'. Orthodox scientists are occupied by a fight against religion instead of finding the truth. A 'nihilistic outlook dominated science' after publication of Origin of Species. Hoyle's motivation for writing this book is a protest against 'nihilistic philosophy'.
1: Chance and the Universe:
"Could life have evolved at random?" asks Hoyle in the subtitle of the chapter and further on he says "The probability of life appearing spontaneously on Earth". Hoyle describes; a horde of monkeys could type Shakespeare if enough time is given. The chance that even one protein appeared spontaneously is equal to the chance that a blindfolded person could solve the Rubik cube: using 1 move per second. It takes 300 times the age of the Earth. This chapter contains the claim that the chance that the 2000 universal house-keeping enzymes originate from random processes is 1:1040000 (these enzymes are crucial for life).
Are there many possible biochemistries ? If so, then the problem is easier. Hoyle's answer is 'NO'because those 2000 reactions are determined by the properties of Carbon atom, and so our biochemistry is literally universal and alternatives are non-existent.
Hoyle attacks the primordial soup idea. Enzymes are never produced in soup conditions in the lab. Next follows the famous Boeing-747 story. He imagines how molecules could make useful combinations in a primordial soup, and concludes that this scenario would only work if an intelligence made the choices and combinations. If proteins spontaneously originate, they should easily have
been reproduced in the lab! And if the experiment would have succeeded it would have been well known and famous throughout the world!
"In short there is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on Earth." Continuing unconditionally: "life did not appear by chance", however also suggesting that the theories of the origin of life are too geocentric.
2: The Gospel According To Darwin:
This chapter is about the Darwinian theory of evolution. How Darwinism became the dominant theory in biology or even became a superstition. How did this happen? Biology started with the invention of the microscope by Van Leeuwenhoek (1673). "News of Van Leeuwenhoek's achievement quickly reached London, and soon the Fellows of the newly formed Royal Society were at work." The microscopist Robert Hooke was the first to propose links between species. The replacement of the doctrine of special creation by evolution was caused by socio-economic factors especially in France. The popularity of Darwinism in the UK is explained by industrialisation. Hoyle rejects Lamarckian inheritance for the right reasons ('oneway system').
Rejects Young Earth Creationism.
Edward Blyth had a significant role in the origin of the theory of evolution, but accepted 'special creation'. Wallace too had a significant role, he had sharper ideas on evolution and natural selection than Darwin himself did. Darwin was neither the inventor of 'evolution' (the idea existed for two centuries), nor the inventor of the idea of natural selection. However Darwin's Origin was a 'substantial work'. As a teenager Hoyle became convinced that the idea of natural selection was circular (tautology). Further Hoyle rejects the widely accepted fact that mutation frequency is high enough to produces enough mutations for natural selection to work on. The copying of DNA seems to be too accurate. Furthermore advantageous mutations are rare. The most are harmful.
Hoyle compares the operation of natural selection with Maxwell's devil and concludes that in nature there is no similar 'intelligence' ('outside intervention') to do the selection. Lethal mutations are automatically eliminated and large harmful mutations are easily eliminated by natural selection. The negligible effect of small mutations is described with the nice metaphor: a 'signal' which is swallowed by 'noise'. The result is that natural selection is powerless to prevent the accumulation of many small mutations, which add up to a lower fitness of the members of the species. For the same reason natural selection is powerless to pick up the very small beneficial mutations. It's easier to select large beneficial mutations.
3: Life did not originate on Earth:
This chapter is about the study of comets and meteorites. A meteorite caused the extinction of Dinosaurs. Could such objects bring life to Earth? However very small particles down to the size of a virus do not get burned by entering the Earth's atmosphere and can land undamaged on the Earth after months or years and they are coming in huge quantities. Meteorites do contain carbon and inorganic materials in a form that suggests non terrestrial biological origin. Inside meteorites, protected from contamination, fossilised Pedomicrobium-like bacteria have been found. Meteorites cannot contain living cells. The four commonest elements of comets are hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, and these are blown into space. Cometary material contains not only precursors of life, but is fossilised life.
This chapter is about dust between the stars. In the 1960s Hoyle and Wickramasinghe suggested the dust consists of carbon, but this could not explain all observations. In 1979 they discovered that dried bacteria perfectly explain all the observations. Bacteria need to survive a temperature of 390°F = 200°C for a few seconds caused by entering the Earth's atmosphere. Almost like a too short sterilisation procedure. However sea-floor volcanos harbour bacteria that survive 582°F (= 306°C).
Bacteria are small enough not to get burned in the Earth's atmosphere. "There is no possibility, for example, of the eggs of birds passing safely through the atmosphere from space, so that birds must have arisen by evolution here on the Earth" (p91). However eggs and sperms of insects might survive! Hoyle gives a very useful lesson about prediction in science. An astronomer produced a mathematical formula that accurately predicted the number of sunspots over the whole of a century. But the formula failed completely when new data came in. Hoyle concludes that it is easy to find a formula that fits the data, but difficult to invent one that predicts future events. Hoyle's life from space theory predicts resistance to high doses of radiation. Such a bacterium has been found: Micrococcus radiophilus. Another was found living in a nuclear reactor! Bacteria found in the stratosphere up to 25 miles above the Earth cannot come from the Earth (except from exceptional volcano outbursts) and therefore must come from space. The most remarkable data are from air samples from 45 miles (75 km) which contained living bacteria which where subsequently cultured. Hoyle's interpretation of NASA's Viking-mission to Mars is that life is present on Mars.
5: Evolution by cosmic control Cosmic genes:
Darwinism is an Earthbound theory. The information content of life on Earth comes from space. Since the universe is bigger and older than the Earth, the chances are better for the origin of life in space. Mutations are not the driving force of evolution on Earth as Darwinians think. Genes from space are good and don't need any improvement. Anyway mutations are nearly always harmful. DNA is stable. Darwinian evolution is extremely slow. To produce a specific chain of 10 amino acids would take a million generations, assuming a population of one hundred million individuals and the standard mutation frequency. A protein of 100 amino acids long could not be produced. Hoyle concludes that the situation for the neo-Darwinian theory is evidently hopeless ."Large multicellular animals cannot withstand unearthly conditions [-418°F or -250°C] as micro-organisms can, a sure indication of their very different origins." p117
Pseudogenes are genes picked up at random from space waiting for the right conditions to become active. This explains why for example humans have 95% redundant DNA. This explains why genes that produce blood are found as pseudogenes in plants. It seems Hoyle thinks that viruses transport cosmic genes from space to plants and animals to the Earth. His evidence comes from the microgeographic distribution of influenza epidemics.
6: Why aren't the others here?
The cosmic theory predicts extraterrestrial intelligent creatures. They have not visited us, because planet Earth is extremely difficult to detect from a great distance. Furthermore too many stars need to be inspected before an inhabitable planet is found. And it takes too long. So extraterrestrial intelligence is not refuted. Humans are intentionally isolated from other intelligent life in the galaxy.
Panspermia ("seeds everywhere") is the correct theory of the origin and evolution of life on Earth. The co-discoverer of DNA structure, Francis Crick believes in Panspermia, but rejects micro-organisms freely travelling in space. Hoyle replies that a layer of Carbon of 0.0001 cm thick is sufficient to shield organisms against ultraviolet light. Furthermore there are usually some individuals which turn out to have far greater resistance than the average of their species.
7: After the Big Bang:
The Big Bang theory has become the dominant theory in astronomy. Hoyle is a critic of the Big Bang theory. He proposed the rival "Steady State theory": a universe without explicit beginning. A steady state universe is also expanding but matter is continuously created. Ironically Hoyle's research turned out to support the Big Bang theory. However there are still serious and may be unresolvable problems with the Big Bang theory. The textbooks and the majority of astronomers ignore these problems. Each theory had one point right and one point wrong. The sole prediction of the Big Bang is not yet shown to be correct. In the meantime mainstream astronomers are busy repairing contradictions in the theory. "When a pattern of facts becomes set against a theory, it rarely recovers" (p186). "Something went wrong for the Steady State theory in the mid-1960s."
8: The information-rich Universe:
Introduces particle physics and quantum mechanics. On an atomic scale cause and effect dissolve into indeterminacy. Free will and consciousness is explained with quantum properties. Radiation travelling from future to past is compatible with Maxwell's equations. Biological systems are able in some way to utilise the opposite time-sense in which radiation propagates from the future to past. Information necessary for the development of life comes from the future. The information is coming from a source of information, an intelligence, placed in the remote future.
9: What is Intelligence up to?
Our planet seems ideally suited for our needs. Oxygen and carbon are produced in stars in the right proportions to permit life. Is this tuning accidental or deliberate? There are too many of these odd coincidences. Both the anthropic principle and theology are dead-end arguments. The anthropic principle is a modern attempt to evade all implications of purpose in the Universe, no matter how remarkable our environment turns out to be. "The same nihilistic belief that no aspect of the Universe can be thought of as a consequence of purpose underlies both Darwinism and the anthropic principle". The tuning of the universe for life was done by an intelligence.
10: The Intelligent Universe
"Genes from outside the Earth are needed to drive the evolutionary process". "Even after widening the stage for the origin of life from our tiny Earth to the Universe at large, we must still return to the same problem that opened this book - the vast unlikelihood that life, even on a cosmic scale, arose from non-living matter". It is apparent that the origin of life is overwhelmingly a matter of arrangement by intelligent control. Unintelligent natural selection is only too likely to produce an unintelligent result. "If on occasions my opposition to the Darwinian theory has seemed fierce, it is because of my feeling that a society oriented by that theory is very likely set upon a selfdestruct course". "Darwinism with its philosophy that opportunism is all" ... "leading with mounting inevitability to two World Wars". "I am not a Christian".
Extracted from: http://wasdarwinwrong.com/pdf/korthof47.pdf
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- The Intelligent Universe by Fred Hoyle: Fred Hoyle was an important scientist who worked at the frontiers of astronomy and theoretical physics. In 1983 he published a well illustrated popular book for nonscientists in which he attacked the whole idea that life originated and evolved on Earth and replaced it by 'intelligent cosmic control: http://wasdarwinwrong.com/pdf/korthof47.pdf
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