Letter: Martian microbe in the soup

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The Independent Online
Sir: N C Wickramasinghe is being a little less than helpful in his presentation of his and Hoyle's panspermia hypothesis.

While few would disagree with his comments about the primordial soup, the concentrations being too low and the timescales too long, panspermia answers no questions at all about the origin of life. It simply pushes the event farther back in time, locates it elsewhere in the universe and has nothing to say about the nature of that event. Further, it is of relevance only if two separate biologies turn out to possess fundamentally similar biochemistries.

Graham Cairns-Smith's arguments for the mineral origins of life are far more satisfying, eliminating the need for both the primordial soup and any outside intervention.

CHRIS HARPER

Technical Director

Sonnet Internet

e-mail: clh@sonnet.co.uk

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