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No. 32: Mar-Apr 1984

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An Even Larger Ocean Of Life

Fred Hoyle has written another book, The Intelligent Universe; A New View of Creation and Evolution. The subject matter is irresistible and, to make things more interesting, New Scientist has published a scathing review of it, castigating Hoyle for his doubts about evolution and terming his approach "dispicable." (My! How conventional people hate unconventional people!)

In this new book, Hoyle goes far beyond his previous thesis, which in essence declared that from statistical considerations life could not have arisen and evolved on earth. Rather, life had to come from outer space, probably in the form of bacteria and viruses. Evolution was and is dependent upon new information arriving from outer space on tiny bits of life. Hoyle now greatly extends his theory:

"But where did a knowledge of amino acid chains of enzymes come from? To use a geological analogy, the knowledge came from the cosmological equivalent of a previous era, from a previously existing creature if you like, a creature that was not carbon-based, one that was permitted by an environment that existed long ago. So information is handed on in a Universe where the lower symmetries of physics -- and characteristics of particles and atoms -- are slowly changing, forcing the manner of storage of the information to change also in such a way as to match the physics. It is this process that is responsible for our present existence, and it is the one which our descendants would be fated to continue."

To continue his search for the ultimate, Hoyle recognizes that, contrary to what transpires in the inorganic world, life as-a-whole is actually gaining order and information. He sees life leading the universe forward to a remarkable future:

"That biological systems are able in some way to utilise the opposite time-sense in which radiation propagates from future to past. Biology works backwards in time. Living matter responds to quantum signals from the future, instead of the Universe being committed to increasing disorder and decay, the opposite could be true. The ultimate cause being a source of information, an intelligence if you like, placed in the remote future."

(Halstead, Beverly; "Fred Hoyle's Gods," New Scientist, 100:940, 1983.)

Comment. In most religions, the great act of creation by a supreme intelligence occurred in the distant past. Hoyle sees this supreme intelligence residing in the future beckoning us on. No wonder the the book was treated harshly.

Spectrum of GC-IRS6, similar to the spectrum of E. Coli Hoyla and his colleague, N.C. Wickramasinghe, believe this spectrum of GC-IRS6, which closely follows the laboratory spectrum of the bacterium E. Coli, is strong evidence for the presence of bacteria in space.

From Science Frontiers #32, MAR-APR 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987