Sunday, 13 February 2011

New Scientist: Humans Should Give Evolution a Helping Hand and Send Bacteria to Other Galaxies

New Scientist suggests that the inhabitants of the Betelgeusian system sent the seeds of life to Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

In a recent article in New Scientist, Michael Mautner of Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that humans should send bacteria to other galaxies and thus fulfil our reason for living:

Life is one big family, and the purpose of life is to propagate. If we manage to seed life on a few hundred planets, we can start many chains of evolution. Hopefully some will evolve into intelligent beings."

It seems that New Scientist has begun to subscribe to the view known as panspermia that sees life as coming to Earth from outer space since an editorial in the same issue proposes that our forefathers might have lived in the Betelgeusian system and sent the seeds of life here four billion years ago.

Betelguese is a red giant in the constellation of Orion.

New Scientist advises us to do our duty and send this cosmic chain letter to recipients in other galaxies, hopefully starting a Darwinian process in new worlds.

This raises an interesting question: Has New Scientist decided, to honour Darwin Day (12 February), to admit that life cannot come about spontaneously but needs a birther or at least intelligent genetic information?

After all, we cannot obtain genetic information by magic clothed in a scientific robe. It will only leave the proverbial emperor shivering.

Outer space can be quite cold at times.

Actually, panspermia only removes the solution a few hundreds of light years further into outer space and some billions of years back in time but it fails to address the issue of the origin of the first life.


Battersby, Stephen. To boldly sow: Seeding the galaxy with Earthly life. New Scientist 2798, 40-43.