Amazon Review 1
- This major work by one of the great figures of 20th-century science represents a fundamental challenge to established thinking on the origins and nature of the Universe. Fred Hoyle has entered the "creation and evolution" debate with a work of extraordinary, and possibly far-reaching, importance. In a remarkable sweep across the sciences, he assembles the current theories, examines them according to the evidence, and gives judgment. In the course of this sweep, a number of cows sacred to the scientific establishment are comprehensively lassoed:
- Did life start by random processes? No.
"Imagine a blindfolded person trying to solve the Rubik cube. The chance against achieving perfect colour matching is about 50,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1. These odds are roughly the same as those against just one of our body's 200,000 proteins having evolved randomly, by chance."
- Could chance operate on such a large scale? No.
The Universe, as observed by astronomers, would not be large enough to hold the monkeys needed to write even one scene from Shakespeare, or to hold their typewriters, and certainly not the wastepaper baskets needed for the rubbish they would type."
- Is Darwin's theory of evolution still plausible? No.
"The rich assembly of plants and animals found on the Earth cannot have been produced by a truism of this minor order."
- Did life originate on Earth? No.
"There is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on Earth."
- But Fred Hoyle does not merely refute popular doctrine; in its place he presents a startling new perspective on life itself, and on the past, present and future of the Universe.
- "The picture of the origin of the Universe, and of the formation of the galaxies and stars as it has unfolded in astronomy is curiously indefinite, like a landscape seen vaguely in a fog. This indefinite, unsatisfactory state of affairs contrasts with other parts of astronomy where the picture is bright and clear. A component has evidently been missing from cosmological studies, a component involving intelligent design ... “
- In Sir Fred's clear-sighted, controversial and always readable exposition, the nature and purpose of that intelligence form a tantalizing conclusion to the book.
- Fully illustrated throughout with photographs, drawings and diagrams to support the flow of argument, The Intelligent Universe presents to the general reader an astonishing new view of the cosmos.
- Sir Fred Hoyle graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1936 to embark on a remarkable career as both a distinguished theoretical physicist and a highly successful author. In recognition of his work, he was made Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy in 1958, and in 1967 he went on to found the Cambridge Institute of Theoretical Astronomy. His election as an associate member of the American National Academy of Sciences in 1969 brought him the Academy's highest award for non-American scientists, while in Britain his work in theoretical physics and the study of the Universe gained him a knighthood in 1972.
- Sir Fred's ability to describe the ideas of science in a straightforward and engaging way has made his books popular the world over. As well as writing in the realm of science fiction, he has produced many books that reflect his interest in challenging what is held to be science fact, ranging from the causes of the Ice Ages to the origins of disease. Writing from his home in the Lake District, Sir Fred's investigations of the mysteries of the natural world have made him one of the most acclaimed and controversial scientists this century has seen.
Amazon Review 2
- It does not take much time to read this book because half of the space is covered by illustrations. In this book, Fred Hoyle expresses an opinion which is rejected by most other scientists. He claims that all of life on our planet is descended from microbes which arrived in a meteor shower. Although other scientists say that a microbe could not survive the hot temperature which results from entering the atmosphere, Hoyle argues to the contrary.
- If we progressed from microbes to humans, then one would think that life then proceeded according to Darwin's description, but Hoyle argues that such a process would be impossible. What he proposes as an alternative is not quite clear to me. On page 250, the next-to-the-last page of the book, he tells us that the micro-organisms merged to create macro-organisms. However, on page 117, he says that our genes have been granted from extra-terrestrial sources. This leaves several questions unanswered: Is this the same planet that the microscopic meteorite came from? And if so, does this mean that the meteor shower was not a natural phenomenon, but the work of intelligent life on that planet? How can an outside agent donate genes to another species? How can that agent accomplish this while escaping the gleeful discovery of millions of UFO enthusiasts? Furthermore, why would an outside civilization bother populating our planet but want nothing else to do with us?
- If Hoyle had such a great scientific idea, why did he take his idea straight to the lay reader instead of submitting it to peer review? Probably because he knew it wouldn't do any good. On page 242, he predicts, quite correctly, that other scientists would reject his idea. This rejection, he says, would be more "dogmatic" than "scientific." Here on the Amazon site, there are other books arguing against Hoyle's brain child. If you are interested, you can read some of these books and decide for yourself.
- Ironically, unorthodox science has rendered Hoyle as a victim as well as a perpetrator. Creationist Duane Gish has repeatedly quoted Hoyle as saying that the chances of life originating on earth are equal to that of a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and coming out with a jumbo jet. Gish would have his readers and listeners believe that Hoyle has compiled statistics and arrived at a decimal figure. We find Hoyle's statement on pages 18-19, we find Hoyle's statement, and we find that he is making an analogy, not a statistical claim. Furthermore, we find Hoyle expressing resentment at being misquoted.
- In The Intelligent Universe, Sir Fred Hoyle takes his idea of Panspermia theory to a higher level and asks what is perhaps the most fundamental question of all to humanity - who or what is God? While most of mainstream science wants nothing to do with these sort of philosophical questions, Hoyle does not duck the issue, but instead clearly demonstrates that sooner or later scientists will have to face up to the notion of some form of higher intelligence controlling the Universe.
- In the first chapter, Hoyle shows that, mathematically speaking, it is impossible for life to have been formed on Earth by mere random chance. He further points out that "....even the most complex viruses.....are nevertheless unable to reproduce themselves in any form of non-living organic soup".
- Chapter 2 is mainly devoted to showing how Darwinian evolution is wrong namely in that the fossil record shows evolution by major leaps rather than by slow degrees involving minor changes producing intermediate forms.
- Hoyle goes on to demonstrate in chapter 3 that there is abundant evidence that life in viral and bacterial form exists outside the Earth in comets, meteorites and asteroids.
- In the following chapter the author considers the evidence which suggests that interstellar dust is in fact bacterial, and in chapter 5 he takes this one step further by arguing that it is fresh input of cosmic genetic material from cometary sources which produces the main source and channel for evolution. As in his previous publications, Hoyle here repeats his claim that many supposedly infectious diseases originate in outer space and links these diseases with the process of evolution - diseases thus being resultant from a genetic mismatch of the DNA of the incoming pathogen with that of the host organism onto which it falls.
- Hoyle devotes most of Chapter 6 to dismissing the popular idea of UFOs. He clearly explains why interstellar space travel can never be a viable option, but goes on to develop the concept of life's unity arising from its pervasion throughout the cosmos rather than the more generally accepted view of its confinement to isolated planets in isolated solar systems.
- Chapter 7 is extremely interesting in its controversial re-interpretation of the cosmic background microwave radiation. Hoyle dismisses the popular interpretation of the phenomenon as being the result of the Big Bang and instead avers that the radiation is caused by bacteria enclosed within long whiskers of carbon. In this way, Hoyle unites the concept of life's cosmic origins with that of the Steady State Theory.
- In Quantum mechanics1, radiation flows in a past to future time-frame; as Hoyle explains in Chapter 8, this leads to "...degeneration, to senescence, to the loss of information." In grappling to account for the opposite effect in biology where organisms increase in sophistication and complexity, Hoyle suggests a situation in which radiation runs in an opposite time-frame which is from future to past. This leads on to the question as to what intelligence is up to.
- In Chapter 9 Hoyle answers this question by suggesting that the intelligence which is controlling the Universe is constantly adapting life to changing circumstances which may lead to the end of carbon based life at some distant point in the future. He espouses the hypothesis that the exceptional talents found in certain "gifted" individuals such as Shakespeare, Einstein or Mozart may be the result of fresh genetic input from cosmic viruses arriving on the Earth. Hoyle states that these abilities go way beyond the immediate needs of day to day survival within a context of natural selection. He goes on to suggest that these individuals of exceptional abilities "....are markers on the path along which our species appear destined to tread."
- In the final chapter of this book, Hoyle contends that the human drive to "...enquire into matters ....far removed from daily life..." is part and parcel of the pre-programming in humans to reach outwards towards the ultimate intelligence which controls the Universe, an intelligence from which all life had its origin and with which we need to get closer to if humanity is to survive.
- The Intelligent Universe is a highly readable book for both the qualified scientist and the layman. It is most unlikely that anyone will read this book without coming away quite a different person; without becoming someone who is more aware of their connections to the wider cosmos and humanity's place within it.
Foreword – 6
- Chance And The Universe – 11
- The Gospel According To Darwin – 25
- Life Did Not Originate On Earth – 51
- The Interstellar Connection – 83
- Evolution By Cosmic Control – 109
- Why Aren't The Others Here? – 139
- After The Big Bang – 163
- The Information-Rich Universe – 189
- What Is Intelligence Up To? – 217
- The Intelligent Universe – 241
Index – 252
See also "Hoyle (Fred) & Wickramasinghe (Chandra) - Lifecloud: The Origin of Life in the Universe" (and, maybe, "Hoyle (Fred) & Wickramasinghe (Chandra) - Diseases From Space").
"Hoyle (Fred) - The Intelligent Universe: A New View of Creation and Evolution"
Source: Hoyle (Fred) - The Intelligent Universe: A New View of Creation and Evolution
Foreword (Full Text)
- Everybody must wonder from time to time if there is any real purpose in life. Of course we all have immediate aims, to succeed in our careers, to bring up our children, and still in many parts of the world simply to earn enough to eat. But what of a long-range purpose? For what reason do we live our lives at all?
- Biology, as it is presently taught, answers that the purpose is to produce the next generation. But many of us are impelled to persist in wondering if that can be all. If the purpose of each generation is merely to produce the next, does the overall end result achieved sometime in the distant future have any purpose? No, biology answers once more. There is nothing except continuity, no purpose except continued existence, now or in the future.
- If that is so, what is the use of that unique feature of our species, the moral code present in all human societies? Its use lies in promoting our continued existence, the biologist replies. Because humans achieve more by working together in groups, a concern for the welfare of others besides ourselves promotes community survival.
- Even if we grant for a moment that this proposition is true, so what? There are many things that would assist our survival which we do not possess. Throughout the history of man it would often have been an advantage in moments of great danger to be able to run like a hare or to soar away from the danger up into the sky like a bird. But we can do neither. These examples show that the logic is back-to-front. Just as desire does not automatically generate that which is desired, so advantage does not automatically generate that which would be an advantage, either in biology or elsewhere.
- Man's moral sense is a fragile affair. We have to bolster it with a tangle of laws because in itself virtuous behaviour is not predominantly advantageous to survival. In many cases in our daily lives cheating is more profitable than truthfulness, while brutality and aggression are all too often profitable to the survival of nations. Instead it would be easy to build a considerable argument to show that the moral sense in man persists despite all the temptations which constantly work against it.
- I came across the difficulties with which the moral sense in man has to contend quite early in life. My father was a machine-gunner in the First World War, surviving miraculously in the trenches of northern France and Flanders over three long years. He was one of the few who came through the immense Ludendorff attack of 21 March 1918. His machine-gun post was overrun, not by the usual few hundred yards but by miles, so that he found himself far within the enemy line. My father told me afterwards that this was his worst moment of the war, because of his ever-present expectation of encountering a lone German, with the prospect that, without the possibility of verbal communication between them, the two would be committed to fight it out to the end in armed combat.
- It was some years later that I saw the solution to my father's problem. If you were alone in no-man's land, faced by a German with whom you could not talk intelligibly, the best thing to do — unless you had an unhealthy taste for combat to the death — would be to remove your helmet. If the German then had the wit to do the same you would both perceive the fact that, hidden deliberately by the distinctive helmets, you were both members of the same species, almost as similar as two peas in a pod.
- Ever since this early perception I have believed that wars are made possible, not by guns and bombs, not by ships and aircraft, but by uniforms, caps and helmets. Should the day ever come when it is agreed among the nations of the world that all armies shall wear the same uniforms and helmets then I will know for sure that at long last war has been banished from the Earth. So far from there being any prospect of this happening, the first thing that every emerging nation does with its army, even ahead of acquiring physical weapons, is to clothe its soldiers in distinctive uniforms, thereby artificially, creating a new "subspecies" of man, sworn to destroy other artificially created "subspecies". Such then are the odds against which the moral sense in us all has to contend.
- The modern point of view that survival is all has its roots in Darwin's theory of biological evolution through natural selection. Harsh as it may seem, this is an open charter for any form of opportunistic behaviour. Whenever it can be shown with reasonable plausibility that even cheating and murder would aid the survival either of ourselves personally or the community in which we happen to live, then orthodox logic enjoins us to adopt these practices, just because there is no morality except survival.
- If I were called on to defend orthodox science against this unpleasant accusation, I would argue that it is not so much a case of biology influencing the state of society as it is of the state of society controlling the thinking of biologists. I could begin by demonstrating that the ideas of Darwin's theory were already in place by 1830, almost a third of a century before the publication in 1859 of Darwin's book The Origin of Species. But while the ideas were there already, the state of society was not yet ripe. An important change was needed before the ideas were called forth.
- It is easy to see what this change was. By the 1860s, the industrial scene had burgeoned. Companies were competing fiercely in the production of similar products, railways were competing for traffic, nations were competing for Lebensraum. While the latter was not particularly new, the cut-and-thrust of commerce with its threat of ruin on a grand scale certainly was. Improvement of products was the key to survival. From practical experience in commerce it was then a short step to the concept of an improvement of species through natural selection — the Darwinian theory.
- Except for a very few scientists, everybody overlooked a crucial step in the analogy between commercial and natural selection. Commercial selection works only because at the back of it there are human intellects constantly striving to improve the range and quality of their products. Commercial selection is therefore very far from the purposeless affair natural selection is taken to be in biology.
- In reality, natural selection acts like a sieve. It can distinguish between species presented to it, but it cannot decide what species shall be sieved in the first place. The control over what is presented to the sieve has to enter terrestrial biology from outside itself — not just from outside the living world, but from far outside the confines of our planet.
- There is nowadays a mountain of evidence for this view. We shall explore some of it in the first five chapters of this book. Once one admits that terrestrial biology has been spurred on through evolution by a force outside the Earth itself, then the purposeless outlook of orthodox opinion becomes threatened. For just as the human intellect driving commerce is purposeful, so too may be the driving influence in biology.
- This indeed is just what orthodox scientists are unwilling to admit. Because there might turn out to be — for want of a better word — religious connotations, and because orthodox scientists are more concerned with preventing a return to the religious excesses of the past than in looking forward to the truth, the nihilistic outlook described above has dominated scientific thought throughout the past century.
- This book is as vigorous a protest against this outlook as I have ever launched. Frankly, I am haunted by a conviction that the nihilistic philosophy which so-called educated opinion chose to adopt following the publication of The Origin of Species committed mankind to a course of automatic self-destruction. A Doomsday machine was then set ticking. Whether this situation is still retrievable, whether the machine can be stopped in some way, is unclear — a question I shall return to at the end of this book.
- The number of people who nowadays sense that something is fundamentally amiss with society is not small, but sadly they dissipate their energies in protesting against one inconsequential matter after another. The correct thing to protest, as I propose to do here with something approaching mathematical precision, is the cosmic origin and nature of man.
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