Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. 08 Jun '10 01:16
    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/T/Thomson.html

    Thomson and panspermia

    In his 1871 presidential address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science,1 Thomson surprised the scientific community by declaring his support for a version of the theory of panspermia:

    Should the time come when this earth comes into collision with another body, comparable in dimensions to itself ... many great and small fragments carrying seeds of living plants and animals would undoubtedly be scattered through space. Hence, and because we all confidently believe that there are at present, and have been from time immemorial, many worlds of life besides our own, we must regard it as probable in the highest degree that there are countless seed-bearing meteoric stones moving about through space. If at the present instance no life existed upon this earth, one such stone falling upon it might, by what we blindly call natural causes, lead to its becoming covered with vegetation.

    Witty and derisive replies were not slow in coming. That arch-supporter of Darwinism, Thomas Huxley (who ironically had introduced Thomson to the BAAS meeting) wrote in a private letter: "What do you think of Thomson's 'creation by cockshy' – God almighty sitting like an idle boy at the seaside and shying aerolites (with germs), mostly missing, but sometimes hitting a planet!" Thomson, however, continued to argue his case, even urging that he considered it "not in any degree antagonistic to ... Christian belief." Zöllner's attack on Thomson's thesis prompted a rebuttal from Helmholtz, who had independently put forward a similar theory of panspermia. In recent years, with the discovery of meteorites that have come from Mars, the concept of microbes hitching a ride from one world to another aboard impact fragments has become scientifically respectable (see ballistic panspermia).
  2. 08 Jun '10 01:16
    Thomson = Lord Kelvin.
  3. 08 Jun '10 05:43
    I don't know why it seems to be put as opposition to Darwinism. Panspermia doesn't wouldn't contradict the Theory of Evolution in any way - in fact it depends on it.
  4. 08 Jun '10 06:56
    Doesn't panspermia mean etymologically "seeds everywhere"?
    The bacteria from Mars is therefore not a panspermia theory.

    Btw - the bacteria from Mars is still a controversial theory.
  5. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    08 Jun '10 08:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Doesn't panspermia mean etymologically "seeds everywhere"?
    The bacteria from Mars is therefore not a panspermia theory.

    Btw - the bacteria from Mars is still a controversial theory.
    And we just KNOW how much you hate controversy
  6. 08 Jun '10 08:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    And we just KNOW how much you hate controversy
    No no, without controversies, what would these Forums turn to? Nothing.
    Thank god for controversies.
  7. 08 Jun '10 08:32
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Doesn't panspermia mean etymologically "seeds everywhere"?
    The bacteria from Mars is therefore not a panspermia theory.
    Whether or not bacteria from Mars is a panspermia theory depends on the current usage of the word, not its etymology. (I admit I don't know much about what its current usage is).

    Btw - the bacteria from Mars is still a controversial theory.
    The possibility of bacteria from Mars is not controversial at all. ie if bacteria existed on mars in the distant past then it could theoretically have traveled via meteorite to earth. Whether it actually did is not so much 'controversial' as 'unknown at this time'.
  8. 08 Jun '10 08:59
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Whether or not bacteria from Mars is a panspermia theory depends on the current usage of the word, not its etymology. (I admit I don't know much about what its current usage is).

    [b]Btw - the bacteria from Mars is still a controversial theory.

    The possibility of bacteria from Mars is not controversial at all. ie if bacteria existed on mars in the ...[text shortened]... to earth. Whether it actually did is not so much 'controversial' as 'unknown at this time'.[/b]
    Etymylogically 'pan' mean 'everywhere', 'spermia' means 'seed'. The general idea is tht live exists alread between the planets and between the stars. 'Seeds' 'rains' down and fertilize planets. This has nothing to do with transportation of bacterial life from Mars.

    The controversability of the 'bacteria from Mars' hypothesis is that it hasn't been shown without a doubt that the micro-structures hidden in the martian meteorite is a fossilized bacteria, there could be another form of cristallization. Until this question is settled, it remains as a controvery.

    Noone doubts that the origin of the stone is Martian. But there are a great deal of people that doubt the interpretation of the micro structures insid the stone.

    I would be very glad if the structers actually is fossilized bacterial life, and in the future will find living Martian bacterias. I'm very interested to see if it has a DNA type of genetic information storage as Earthly life have. If so, if it is exactly the same as Earth DNA. I would be even more gladder if it has some other alien kind of genetic information storage.

    Bottom line - the question is controversial. The question is not settled at all.
  9. 08 Jun '10 11:30
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    This has nothing to do with transportation of bacterial life from Mars.
    You are correct. I looked it up and it seem the correct word for bacteria from Mars would be exogenesis.

    The controversability of the 'bacteria from Mars' hypothesis is that it hasn't been shown without a doubt that the micro-structures hidden in the martian meteorite is a fossilized bacteria, there could be another form of cristallization. Until this question is settled, it remains as a controvery.
    So you were talking about one particular possible case of bacteria from Mars. You were not clear in your original post.
    I would agree that the hypothesis that certain structures on a particular meteorite from Mars are Martian bacteria is 'controversial'. Though I would prefer the word 'undecided' unless there are major camps rooting for each side.
  10. 08 Jun '10 11:59
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I would agree that the hypothesis that certain structures on a particular meteorite from Mars are Martian bacteria is 'controversial'. Though I would prefer the word 'undecided' unless there are major camps rooting for each side.
    I think there are different groups. One advocating that these structures are bacterial, trying to prove their side. Another advocating that this is not so, and scrutinize the first one's attempts of proofs.

    My opinion is that the structures are not bacterial. But I am also of the opinion that bacterias actually, in theory, could survive a such interplanetary trip.

    I think trips to Mars, manned or unmanned, actually can solve the problem if there is, or has been, life on Mars. I'm eager to see the result.
  11. 09 Jun '10 00:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I don't know why it seems to be put as opposition to Darwinism. Panspermia doesn't wouldn't contradict the Theory of Evolution in any way - in fact it depends on it.
    they don't necessarily have to be in agreement, though, and early on no reason to expect everyone to be on both bandwagons.
  12. 09 Jun '10 06:12
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    they don't necessarily have to be in agreement, though, and early on no reason to expect everyone to be on both bandwagons.
    But as I said, panspermia depends on evolution, so if you are on that bandwagon then you must necessarily be on the other.
  13. 09 Jun '10 06:49 / 1 edit
    Evolution starting from germ plasm cast on the planet by meteors and comets is not the same as evolution starting from random collisions of molecules on the planet. although once started it would be the same.

    consider the time these ideas came up. they were fresh and half-baked then.
  14. 09 Jun '10 09:26
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    Evolution starting from germ plasm cast on the planet by meteors and comets is not the same as evolution starting from random collisions of molecules on the planet. although once started it would be the same.
    Yes, and neither option is part of the Theory of Evolution. Lifes origin is separate from its evolution.