Microbes on a Moonbeam: Update from the JoC

Two weeks have passed since Richard Hoover’s paper in the Journal of Cosmology, claiming evidence for cyanobacterial fossils in meteorites, broke the news.

The feedback I have received from my report at that time has been most encouraging, and from scanning the popular press, and internet blogging community, I have been warmed by the healthy logical scepticism that dominates now.  To be honest, I thought the matter was settled, and we could all put it behind us as a lesson in overexuberant interpretation and sloppy scientific publication.

But no.  It would seem that the Journal of Cosmology are still thrashing around in a borderline hysterical way, with a tone very much like that of their soon-retracted ‘The terrorists have won’ official statement.  This time, an email sent round to the JoC mailing list, also replicated on the JoC website, seems to blame the Obama administration for slandering Hoover and the Journal of Cosmology.  Republicans, much?  And we are all made to feel like horrible bullies for making poor Richard Hoover ‘terrified’.

The email is copied below.  What strikes me most is the ‘facts’ stated by the JoC, that  ‘The IJA had received a paper by Hoover, but it was never reviewed as it was determined to be too lengthy’, and ‘NASA’s Chief Scientist … brazenly lied’, for example, while being of great import to our understanding of what is going on, actually have no corroborating statements or references to back them up.  A journal, of all places, should see the absolute necessity of that.  You could argue with every point made, but why do I get the feeling you would be beating your head against a brick wall?  Anyway. Here it is, and I’l let you make up your own minds.

Sent: Tue, 22 March, 2011 3:46:32
Subject: Obama White House, Meteors & Microfossils–The Slander Campaign

-In 2007 NASA Approved Hoover Data For Publication: Discovery of Microfossils in Meteors
-In 2011 NASA Denounces Hoover & JOC For Publishing Data
-What Changed?
-Obama Elected President–White House Intervenes on Day 1 of Story
-NASA Threatens NASA Scientist. Orders Hoover Not to Speak to Media
-NASA Chief Scientist Lies to Media 

On March 5, 2011, the Journal of Cosmology published the data of Richard Hoover of NASA, which NASA approved for publication
in 2007: the discovery of microfossils in 3 meteors.  The Journal of Cosmology, its editorial staff, and Richard Hoover of NASA were subjected to a campaign
of slander and defamation by NASA administrators and NASA’s Chief Scientist after the Obama White House became involved.

-2007 NASA administrator Michael Griffin was ordered by White House to Lie About Climate Change.
Now they are lying about the Hoover discovery. Politics and religion have again trumped science.

The Facts

1) In 2007–NASA approved the submission of the Hoover Microfossil-Meteorite data for publication.

2) The IJA had received a paper by Hoover, but it was never reviewed as it was determined to be too lengthy.

3) Hoover wrote the paper submitted to JOC in Sept-October 2010 and submitted it in the first week of November of 2010.

4) The Hoover paper submitted to JOC, and the data it contained, had never been reviewed or rejected by any other journal, but contained the data approved by NASA in 2007 for publication.

5) The Hoover paper was reviewed, and subsequently underwent a major revision and was resubmitted in November, and again reviewed and approved. But it was not immediately published in JOC as is our normal standard procedure.

6) For the next 4 months the Hoover paper was critically examined by a Referee/Editor who went over it line by line, even enlarging the photos to pixel size to search for any evidence of tampering or fraud or anything which would make the data suspect. The data looked solid.

7) We were well aware the paper would be controversial, and were braced for slanders and defamatory attacks.

8 ) Before it was published the Hoover paper was made available to the scientific community for comment.

9) It was published in the first week of March and immediately met with an avalanche of slanderous attacks, led by a NASA administrator at Ames Research Center and a fake expert, and two media outlets with ties to NASA.

10) JOC quickly became the target of these attacks, now led by NASA’s Chief Scientist, who, to our astonishment, brazenly lied about the history of the Hoover paper and about JOC and its review policies. In so doing he maliciously disputed the legitimacy of the work of two NASA Senior Scientists Science Directorates who have published five peer reviewed articles in JOC, and over 30 NASA scientists and 4 NASA astronauts who have also published their own peer reviewed work in this same journal. JOC has in fact been guest edited by a NASA Senior Scientist Science Directorate, and another senior scientist at NASA/JPL. NASA’s chief scientist was willing to discredit anyone and everyone including top scientists at NASA, in order to destroy the legitimacy of the Hoover discovery.

11) Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe spoke by phone with Richard Hoover the weekend the article was published, and reported that Hoover was clearly “terrified”. Hoover reported that NASA officials had been threatening him and “shouting” and “yelling and screaming” at him, demanding that he recant. They also ordered that he was not allowed to speak with the Press.

12) Over the following week we received 24 commentaries on the Hoover article. Most of these were sympathetic.

13) JOC is so confident of the data the editors at Science and Nature magazine were invited to cooperate in an independent review. These editors were uncooperative.

14) To date, there is no evidence the Hoover data is not accurate. The preponderance of evidence is these are microfossils of microorganisms which are extraterrestrial in origin and which colonized these structures and the parent bodies, before this planet was formed.

15) We had anticipated the results would be met with hoots of derision. We anticipated slander and defamation. We believed that much of this would be motivated by ignorance, fear, and religious beliefs. We did not anticipate that NASA’s Chief Scientist would lead a slander campaign and boldly make up easily disproved lies about the Hoover paper and JOC. We frankly wondered why he would maliciously defame the work of numerous NASA scientists who had published in JOC and why he did not fear consequences from officials higher up.

16) On Friday, March 18, 2011, Dr. Rudolf Schild, Editor-in-Chief of JOC spoke at length with Richard Hoover and learned that the White House, i.e. the offices of President Obama, became a party to this issue almost immediately after the story broke. The exact nature of this involvement is unknown to us.

17) We have been concerned that Richard Hoover might be forced to recant. He has not done so yet. However, it is also clear he has been under enormous pressure at NASA by powerful forces which wish him to disavow his findings.

18) The involvement of the offices of the President of the United States in this sordid affair, and with all its power, is most distressing. What the motives are, are unknown to us, though clearly the entire campaign of slander, defamation, intimidation, took place after the Obama White House became involved.

These are the facts as we know them. We believe the data is real. The implications profound.

We have to consider if a mountain-sized chunk of this planet was sheared from the surface and tossed into the abyss, only to land billions of years from now on another planet, that this chunk of expelled Earth would be peppered with the fossilized remains of various organisms. Hoover found fossils of microorganisms which had lived in the parent bodies which may have included planets older than Earth.

The Hoover data, by itself, does not mean life on Earth came from other planets. It simply means we are not alone–and the implications are staggering. However, based on the evidence compiled in an inexpensive book, “The Discovery of Alien ExtraTerrestrial life” and which includes Hoover’s discovery and landmark paper, and the discoveries of other independent scientists, the conclusions are threefold:

We are not alone. Life is everywhere. Life on Earth, came from other planets.

JOC never intended to take the safe road. Our goal is to advance science. We are open to all ideas, even those we disagree with, so long as they are backed up by science and scholarship. This is why JOC, with 15 Million Hits for March alone, has become one of the most read scientific journals in the world.

It takes courage to lead. It also takes intelligence to recognize when it is time to move on. The involvement of the offices of the president of the United States in this sordid affair, and with all its power, is most distressing. What the motives are, are unknown to us.

Our goal is to advance science.

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