Our Place in the Cosmos: The Unfinished Revolution

Fred Hoyle, Author, Chandra Wickramasinghe, With J.M. Dent & Sons $24.95 (190p) ISBN 978-0-460-86084-0
The success of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time continues to exert a strong gravitational sales force, drawing into its orbit the efforts of other cosmologists. ``Life did not begin on earth--it arrived from space and is still arriving,'' proclaim Hoyle and Wickramasinghe ( Cosmic Life-Force and Evolution from Space ), a well-known scientist/writer team in the U.K. Evolution, and to some extent Darwin himself, are set up as straw men for an attack on the tenacity with which biologists cling to the theory of natural selection in the development of organic life forms. While a strict definition of ``organic'' is central to the authors' thesis, Hoyle's dominant voice is nonetheless eloquent when arguing that current science is still subject to the dogmatism that marked 16th-century reactions to Galileo and Kepler. The pre-Copernican theory of panspermia--that life was originally fertilized by meteors from outer space--is bolstered here with some 20th-century microbiology and a bit of righteous indignation. Few working cosmologists would entirely rule out the possibility, but not many popular science readers will be able to evaluate the case as presented here. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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