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Space Science

No, Life Has Not Been Found In a Meteorite 68

The Bad Astronomer writes "News is going around the web that a scientist in the UK has found life (in the form of microscopic diatoms) in a meteorite, and has even published a paper about it. However, there are a lot of reasons to strongly doubt the claim. While the diatoms appear to be real, they are certainly from Earth. The meteorite itself, on the other hand, does not appear to be real. Many of the basic scientific steps and claims made in the paper are very shaky. Also, the scientist making the claim, N. C. Wickramasinghe, has made many fringe claims like this in the past with little or no evidence (such as the flu and SARS being viruses from space). To top it off, the website that published the paper, the Journal of Cosmology, has an interesting history of publishing fringe claims unsupported by strong evidence. All in all, this claim of life in a space rock is at best highly doubtful, and in reality almost certainly not true."
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No, Life Has Not Been Found In a Meteorite

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  • This IS important (Score:4, Insightful)

    by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @06:54PM (#42597543)

    There have been too many sloppy science news the last decades.

    Please, recall when president Clinton was fooled into saying they had found a rock from Mars, on Earth!!! A few days ago, there was another rock from Mars, also found on Earth. The arguments why these terrestrial rocks were from Mars is sadly weak.

    Another Clintonian Mars or even a Piltdown Man ( is what we all should dread.

    Pushing the barrier between bad towards dishonest science is NOT good at all.

    If we can once again ascertain that NO extraterrestrial life has been found, the better.

  • Re:Ad Hominem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shimbo ( 100005 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:23PM (#42597851)

    Pure Ad Hominem attack. No content here. Invalid content is invalid innately regardless of source, similarly valid content is valid regardless of source. It doesn't matter if the guy stands by the subway station carrying a sign that says magical leprechauns whisper in his ear it has no impact on the validity of his statements.

    Not at all, the guy has a history of making dubious claims. It's perfectly reasonable to assign him a low a priori probablity of being correct. Sure, you could look at the evidence but life is too short to follow up every crank. It's not worth wasting the time reading if it can't even get published in a respectable journal.

  • Re:Ad Hominem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @07:44PM (#42598075)
    Pointing out past history is not ad hominem; it's part of how we judge reliability of sources. An ad hominem attack is when your retort sounds more like, "Yo momma!".

Put no trust in cryptic comments.