NASA Scientist Claims Evidence of Alien Life on Meteorite

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  • #2
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I was not entierly surprised by this, I imagine the space in our galaxy to be dirty and full of the matter remnants from other burned out or wrecked solar systems. The claims are being reviewed by the journal of cosmology.
 
  • #3
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FoxNews.com:
A photograph taken through a scanning electron microscope of a CI1 meteorite (right) is similar in size and overall structure to the giant bacterium Titanospirillum velox (left), an organism found here on planet Earth, a NASA scientist said.
That's a very tiny photograph. Do you have to use a microscope to see the meteor?
 
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At least, it will take some load off Agent Mulder's chest!:wink:

Seriously, how to prove that something that has been around from 1864. is not contaminated here on Earth? Do bacteria or spores penetrate rocks, or they can end up inside only through sedimentation? Can DNA be extracted from such fossil? Lots of questions, not single one for this forum.....
 
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The article seems to suggest that the sample has no appreciable amount of nitrogen. This would seem rule out RNA/DNA but...

This is all very speculative, of course, but what sort of environment would drive off the nitrogen leaving carbon behind? I can put a piece of wood in a hot stove, and after a while I'm left with charcoal. I assume the charcoal after being heated red hot has nearly no nitrogen left. Does it?
 
  • #9
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Perhaps it is a stretch... Even just considering our own solar system, the ratio of organic matter to inorganic matter is very tiny indeed. So even if earth were hit by a 100 mile asteroid there wouldnt be much surviving organic matter that would be launched into space. And after spreading all around the depths of space it would be even further diluted, so perhaps there is very small odds after all of there being any precious little life forms in the one carbonaceous chondrite rock that lands here... That is unless the organisms could find a way to multiply in the cold dark vaccum of space on one of those icy carbon rocks they have out there?
 
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  • #10
Chalnoth
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Perhaps it is a stretch... Even just considering our own solar system, the ratio of organic matter to inorganic matter is very tiny indeed. So even if earth were hit by a 100 mile asteroid there wouldnt be much surviving organic matter that would be launched into space. And after spreading all around the depths of space it would be even further diluted, so perhaps there is very small odds after all of there being any precious little life forms in the one carbonaceous chondrite rock that lands here... That is unless the organisms could find a way to multiply in the cold dark vaccum of space on one of those icy carbon rocks they have out there?
Well, here on Earth, every single cubic centimeter of topsoil is absolutely teeming with microbes. So if it hit the Earth with enough force, the chances of microbes blasted into space wouldn't seem that small to me.

Obviously there are many fewer microbes, say, far underground, but that hardly matters.
 
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Here was a pretty good blog post on the subject by Phil Plait:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/05/has-life-been-found-in-a-meteorite/

The basic punchline: this sort of claim requires extraordinary evidence, and all we have here are suggestive images. More evidence is required.
I heard this several times, but the demand for extraordinary evidence seems quite disconnected from what is going on. The researcher who claims evidence of extraterrestrial life has indeed presented evidence which if valid would be extraordinary--he claims to have found fossils in a meteor which couldnot be from Earth since they dio not contain nitrofen.

I do not know whether or not the researcher is correct, but clearly ALL of the criticism of him is devoid of scientific substance and is made solely because the deniers do not like the result.
 
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Seriously said:
The supposed fossils do not cojntain nitrogen, thus they could not possibly be contamination from Earth.

Also, some of the supposed fossils do not look anything like Earth creatures.

It is so disturbing to me that the objections are so easily disproven. As I said in a pprevious post the objections are easily seen to be scientifically invalid--the deniers are not seriously concerned about whether they are doing a fair analysis.
 
  • #13
Chalnoth
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I do not know whether or not the researcher is correct, but clearly ALL of the criticism of him is devoid of scientific substance and is made solely because the deniers do not like the result.
The criticisms are hardly devoid of substance, as Hoover has apparently done nothing more than post some suggestive images. Pointing out a lack of rigor is at the heart of the scientific enterprise, as the number of false positives in science is absolutely tremendous.

Basically, if you start getting into the details of science much at all, one of the first things you notice is that nearly every single time something "suggestive" comes up, it turns out to be a false positive. So any good scientist will, upon seeing something suggestive, really dig into the details and find out whether or not it is what they think it is.

So by not going into the details and really being careful about the examination of this meteorite, Hoover has been blatantly irresponsible and is almost certainly wrong as a result of that.
 
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Chalnoth writes <<The criticisms are hardly devoid of substance>>

Actually the criticisms are way worse than just being devoid of substance. Most of the critics claim that the organisms could be Earth organisms. But that claim cannot be made flippantly--the organisms according to Hoover did not have nitrogen. So instead of just thoughtlessly saying they were Earth organism contamination the critics need to focus on the nitrogen question. They of course did not do that, because they do not really care whether they are making sense.

<<as Hoover has apparently done nothing more than post some suggestive images.>>

What would you have wanted him to do?

BTW, do you make such objections when astronomers present claims?

<< Pointing out a lack of rigor is at the heart of the scientific enterprise,>>


But you do not seem upset about the lack of rigor in saying the organisms were Earth organisms when such a claim does not made sense if they lacked nitrogen.

<< as the number of false positives in science is absolutely tremendous.>>

I think you just revealed the bias that I was certain you deniers have.

<Basically, if you start getting into the details of science much at all, one of the first things you notice is that nearly every single time something "suggestive" comes up, it turns out to be a false positive.>

So you think that the Principle of Equivalence suggesting General Relativity led Einstein down the wrong road? Do you think that the fact that the speed of electromagnetic waves implied by the composite Maxwell's Equations led Maxwell to falsely believe light was electromagnetic radiation? So you think that the explanation of thermodynamics in terms of molecules led Boltzmann to falsely believe matter is made of molecules?

<<So any good scientist will, upon seeing something suggestive, really dig into the details and find out whether or not it is what they think it is.>>

It seems to me that Hoover DID look into the details. In what way do you think he was deficient?

<<So by not going into the details and really being careful about the examination of this meteorite, Hoover has been blatantly irresponsible and is almost certainly wrong as a result of that.>>

Again, please state a specific detail deficiency.
 
  • #15
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I have a BIG problem with this claim, and an even bigger problem with discussing the claim at this site. Hoover's paper failed peer review for publication in a respected journal. Rather than address those claims, Hoover chose to publish without NASA consent in the Journal of Cosmology. You will not find this journal listed at http://scientific.thomson.com/index.html, which is the list of publications approved for use at this site. There's a good reason it is not listed there: Journal of Cosmology is a crackpot journal.
 
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I think you just revealed the bias that I was certain you deniers have.
A strong statement, but I think there's some middle ground to be had.

If I were a betting man I would place all bets against extraordinary claims in science and come out ahead. I get to be right the majority of times. On the other hand, a universal dogmatic dismissal of all new claims stagnates science.
 
  • #17
Chalnoth
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Chalnoth writes <<The criticisms are hardly devoid of substance>>

Actually the criticisms are way worse than just being devoid of substance. Most of the critics claim that the organisms could be Earth organisms. But that claim cannot be made flippantly--the organisms according to Hoover did not have nitrogen. So instead of just thoughtlessly saying they were Earth organism contamination the critics need to focus on the nitrogen question. They of course did not do that, because they do not really care whether they are making sense.
Without the details of how he cleaned the sample and how he did the specific elemental analysis, it is not possible to conclude that these tests were in any way rigorous.

<<as Hoover has apparently done nothing more than post some suggestive images.>>

What would you have wanted him to do?
I would have wanted him to apply basic scientific rigor, first of all, by fully explaining his process (how the sample was prepared, what chemical detection methods were used). Secondly, I would have liked to see a full chemical breakdown of a couple of these filamentary structures.

BTW, do you make such objections when astronomers present claims?
Huh? There aren't any serious astronomers claiming to have found life as of yet, and rightly so.

So you think that the Principle of Equivalence suggesting General Relativity led Einstein down the wrong road? Do you think that the fact that the speed of electromagnetic waves implied by the composite Maxwell's Equations led Maxwell to falsely believe light was electromagnetic radiation? So you think that the explanation of thermodynamics in terms of molecules led Boltzmann to falsely believe matter is made of molecules?
Really, you're not doing a very good job of comparing the work of solid, theory-driven science to this pile of dreck.
 
  • #18
Chalnoth
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On the other hand, a universal dogmatic dismissal of all new claims stagnates science.
But that isn't what ever happens, though. Instead the claim is, "Insufficient. More evidence required." That isn't a dogmatic dismissal, nor does it stagnate science: this sort of demand for better evidence is what pushes science forward.
 
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I have a BIG problem with this claim, and an even bigger problem with discussing the claim at this site. Hoover's paper failed peer review for publication in a respected journal. Rather than address those claims, Hoover chose to publish without NASA consent in the Journal of Cosmology. You will not find this journal listed at http://scientific.thomson.com/index.html, which is the list of publications approved for use at this site. There's a good reason it is not listed there: Journal of Cosmology is a crackpot journal.
I agree that the journal he published in might be a crackpot journal. However failing "peer review" at an established journal not only does not call his work into question, but actually is what one would expect to happen if he were correct.

Physics journals tend to publish the same thing over and over again with superficial modifications. How many times have you seen a paper describing an SU346 x E7 x Su45 gauge theory in 893 dimensions with a Higgs boson field added because the actual theory gives wrong predictions, even though experiments make it almost certain that these
Higgs bosons do not exist?

Indeed, very few important things in physics *have* passed peer review. Newton's work, Maxwell's work, Boltzmann's work, and Einstein's early work were not peer reviewed. For example, at the time of Special Relativiry, almost all papers submitted to a physics journal were accepted, and Einstein's paper was only looked at by Planck (the editor) and Planck's assistant, neither of which even worked in the field (of electromagnetism etc). Peer review is actually relatively new.

And many papers now considered important were REJECTED by peer review, for example Fermi's paper explaining that "neutrinos" carried off energy-momentum on beta decay. It is a strange irony that journals love Higgs bosons that do not exist, but were unreceptive to neutrinos that do exist.

If you can discredit Hoover's paper on the merits then you have discredited his paper. But an appeal-to-authority argument is not valid.
 
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Chalnoth: <<the claim is, "Insufficient. More evidence required." That isn't a dogmatic dismissal, nor does it stagnate science: this sort of demand for better evidence is what pushes science forward.>>

I keep asking you what evidence you specifically want to see, but you never give an actual answer.

He claims to have found fossils. What sort of evidence do you ask for in such cases? What sort of thing is standardly done by people claiming fossil evidence that he has *not* done??? Again please be specific, rather than just repeating your claim about his evidence being insufficient.
 
  • #21
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Oops, you actually did give some specific claims--I should have looked at all the posts before responding to your other posts. I'm sorry.

However I did not find your arguments convincing

<<Without the details of how he cleaned the sample and how he did the specific elemental analysis, it is not possible to conclude that these tests were in any way rigorous.>>

I don't know the details of what he wrote. Perhaps he should have done that, but it does not seem especially logically important. He claims to have found things that do not exist on Earth. If his visual observations were correct, then the "creatures" would not have gotten there due to improper cleaning--his lab was on Earth!


<<I would have wanted him to apply basic scientific rigor, first of all, by fully explaining his process (how the sample was prepared, what chemical detection methods were used). Secondly, I would have liked to see a full chemical breakdown of a couple of these filamentary structures.>>

Again, I agree that this has some merit, but you are overemphasizing the importance because of your bias.

Me <<BTW, do you make such objections when astronomers present claims? >>

Chalnoth's reply <<Huh? There aren't any serious astronomers claiming to have found life as of yet, and rightly so.>>

You are betraying the fact that you have the prejudice I claimed you have. Your objection is really due to him reaching a conclusion you do not want to accept.

Hoover claims to have observed something under the microscope. Astronomers claim to have observed things with telescopes. You accept telescope data as valid but not microscope deata as valid, at least in *this* microscope situations. Had microscope data agreed with you I doubt you would be using your current standard.

I do think though that his work should be given greater scrutiny being that it is an unexpected result and he is the only one who claims to have observed it. But you just seem bent on rejecting it. Instead, I think other researchers should be asked to try to reproduce his result.


Really, you're not doing a very good job of comparing the work of solid, theory-driven science to this pile of dreck.[/QUOTE]
 
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Chalnoth <Basically, if you start getting into the details of science much at all, one of the first things you notice is that nearly every single time something "suggestive" comes up, it turns out to be a false positive.>

Me <<So you think that the Principle of Equivalence suggesting General Relativity led Einstein down the wrong road? Do you think that the fact that the speed of electromagnetic waves implied by the composite Maxwell's Equations led Maxwell to falsely believe light was electromagnetic radiation? So you think that the explanation of thermodynamics in terms of molecules led Boltzmann to falsely believe matter is made of molecules?>>

Chalnoth <<Really, you're not doing a very good job of comparing the work of solid, theory-driven science to this pile of dreck.>>

Your response does not address what we were discussing--you claimed that sufgestive things are always wrong, and I showed you that was hardly the case. Rather than addressing my actual response, you just took a hit at Hoover.

You are "proving" Hoover's work is not solid by simply claiming it is not solid. Being that neither you nor I have examined his samples, neither of us really knows.

And as far as "dreck" is concerned, Boltzmann's work was not held in high regard. People just did not want to accept that molecules exist, much like people do not want to accept that extraterrestrial life existed on that meteorite. People should be wanting to examine the meteorite rather than just prejudicially dismissing Hoover's claim.
 
  • #23
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Me, to another poster <<I think you just revealed the bias that I was certain you deniers have. >>

Phrak <<A strong statement, but I think there's some middle ground to be had.
If I were a betting man I would place all bets against extraordinary claims in science and come out ahead. I get to be right the majority of times. On the other hand, a universal dogmatic dismissal of all new claims stagnates science.>>

Actually, your "middle ground" between me and the other poster is my position. I'm not arguing that Hoover was correct. I don't know whether or not he was correct. I'm arguing that the people dismissing Hoover's claims are not doing so for reasons other than prejudice.
 
  • #24
Chalnoth
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I agree that the journal he published in might be a crackpot journal. However failing "peer review" at an established journal not only does not call his work into question, but actually is what one would expect to happen if he were correct.
No, no it isn't. That's pure conspiracy theory mongering right there.
 
  • #25
Chalnoth
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Chalnoth: <<the claim is, "Insufficient. More evidence required." That isn't a dogmatic dismissal, nor does it stagnate science: this sort of demand for better evidence is what pushes science forward.>>

I keep asking you what evidence you specifically want to see, but you never give an actual answer.
I did. Go back and look.
 

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