A NEW CONTROVERSY
I have run across a new controversy concerning fossils from outer space, this time about structures that resemble Cyanobacteria. These structures were found in a meteorite by a Richard Hoover, a NASA scientist. His paper was published by the Journal of Cosmology, an online journal. The official NASA word has been negative, apparently, and the same can be said for the opinion of the scientific elite that has gotten wind of this paper. I am very skeptical of some of the claims that the paper’s supporters have made, but I thought that many of my readers might want to take a look for themselves. I am enclosing two items below. One is an open letter to the editors of Science and Nature, the top two general science journals in the world, by the editors of the Journal of Cosmology. The other is a synopsis of Hoover’s presumed discovery. By going to the journal’s website you may also view several commentaries by people with PhD’s in science, some sensible and some not. The materials can also be found in the newsletter
Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol 13,
JournalofCosmology.com March, 2011
Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites
Richard B. Hoover, Ph.D. NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Richard Hoover has discovered evidence of microfossils similar to Cyanobacteria, in freshly fractured slices of the interior surfaces of the Alais, Ivuna, and Orgueil CI1 carbonaceous meteorites. Based on Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) and other measures, Richard Hoover has concluded they are indigenous to these meteors and are similar to trichomic cyanobacteria and other trichomic prokaryotes such as filamentous sulfur bacteria. He concludes these fossilized bacteria are not Earthly contaminants but are the fossilized remains of living organisms which lived in the parent bodies of these meteors, e.g. comets, moons, and other astral bodies. Coupled with a wealth of date published elsewhere and in previous editions of the Journal of Cosmology, and as presented in the edited text, "The Biological Big Bang", the implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets.
Members of the Scientific community were invited to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries or to speculate about the implications. With one exception as it was off topic, all commentaries received were published between March 7 through March 10, 2011. By far, most of the commentaries were positive and supportive of the evidence.
Open Letter to the Editors of Science & Nature
The Journal of Cosmology Proposes a Scientific Commission,
Established Co-Jointly with Science and Nature,
To Investigate & Confirm the Validity of the Hoover Paper
March 11, 2011
Dear Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Philip Campbell:
In 1584, Giordano Bruno published "Of Infinity, the Universe, and the World" and wrote: "There are innumerable suns and an infinite number of planets which circle around their suns as our seven planets circle around our Sun." According to Bruno, we are unable to see these planets and suns "because of their great distance or small mass." On February 19, 1600 Bruno was tortured and burned at the stake by the Inquisition for publishing these claims which contradicted established "scientific" dogma.
The publication of Richard Hoover's paradigm shattering discovery of microfossils within carbonaceous meteorites, unleashed an ugly storm of violent, histrionic invective not seen since the Middle Ages when they burned scientists for making discoveries that threatened the established order. Charlatans and quacks quickly emerged, and the media unabashedly published their ravings, recklessly casting delusional filth upon the reputations of the Journal of Cosmology and its editorial board, and the hundreds of esteemed scientists whose peer reviewed work we have published; a roster which includes two Senior Scientists Science Directorates at NASA, over 30 top NASA scientists, and four astronauts.
How can science advance if the media and NASA administrators promote frothing-at the-mouth-attacks on legitimate scientists and scientific periodicals who dare to publish new discoveries or new ideas? Skepticism is natural. Doubt is healthy. But science cannot progress under a cloud of intimidation and fear.
The Journal of Cosmology (JOC) has reviewed its editorial policies and peer review procedures and determined they are sound. The media has been provided a sample list, the names of nearly 100 top scientists who have served as referees in the past; a veritable "who's who" of the top experts in the world have reviewed papers for JOC.
Hoover's paper was received in November and was repeatedly peer reviewed. After months of careful analysis, it was published on March 5 of 2011. Of the 24 commentaries received, almost all have been supportive of the findings. The results are valid. We have been provided with no evidence they are not.
The implications of Richard Hoover's discoveries are profound. However, given the slanders and paranoid ravings designed to crush all rational discussion of these findings, naturally the public, the media, and the scientific community would be skeptical. They deserve to know with absolute certainty if these findings can withstand the scientific scrutiny of esteemed experts and if his results should be accepted or dismissed.
How can this issue be successfully resolved? Who can the public trust? Science magazine which published the "arsenic-life" study which proved to be untrue? NASA's chief scientist who backed the bogus "arsenic" paper, and has made a number of grossly inaccurate and untruthful remarks about the Hoover issue? The Journal of Cosmology whose reputation has been besmirched by reckless slanders? Nature magazine which has rejected Nobel prize winning research?
Given the ugly climate which now prevails, the validity of the Hoover paper must be resolved as a cooperative effort, through an unprecedented collaborative peer review, monitored and mediated by the Journal of Cosmology and its critics and competitors (Science and Nature), thus guaranteeing a balanced approach and so all points of view are represented. Therefore, the Journal of Cosmology proposes that:
1) JOC, Nature, and Science each appoint an expert-judge who has a background in astrobiology.
2) These 3 expert-judges will appoint and unanimously agree on a panel of 12 esteemed experts who will be guaranteed anonymity if they desire.
3) This expert panel of 12 will have 30 days to review the Hoover paper, ask for supplementary material, and to question Richard Hoover and to call upon the expertise of additional experts, if they so choose. Each of these experts will issue their reports to the 3 expert-judges.
4) The 3 expert-judges will issue their own report(s) summarizing these findings, and issue a verdict on or their opinion of the validity of Hoover's paper as based on the reports issued by the 12 expert panel.
5) Science, Nature, and JOC, will publish the reports of the 12 member expert-jury, and the expert-judges.
6) If the weight of opinion is that Hoover's findings are not valid, the Journal of Cosmology will withdraw the paper.
7) If Hoover's findings are validated, we ask not for a apology, but congratulations.
We believe our proposal is scientifically sound and eminently reasonable. We are completely open to working out the fine details with the editorial boards of Science and Nature
If Science and Nature decline, then any refusal to cooperate, no matter what the excuse, should be seen as a vindication for the Journal of Cosmology and the Hoover paper and an acknowledgment that the editorial policies of the Journal of Cosmology are beyond reproach. The very fact that we have made this proposal, coupled with all our previous efforts to open this issue to scientific discussion and debate, is, itself, testament to the integrity of JOC whose mission has always been to promote and advance science.
Rudy Schild, Ph.D.
Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian
Journal of Cosmology