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Robert Morningstar is so, so wrong

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posted on Aug, 3 2014 @ 05:58 PM
On The Higherside Chats internet radio show, 23rd June, Robert Morningstar said this:

"About three years ago, a few NASA scientists came out and said that they had found a special form of life in Mono Lake, California, which was based on arsenic. It was a cell, or a culture, that reproduced itself and its metabolism and its life cycle was based not on carbon but on arsenic of all things ... And the premise of this revelation was --- her name was Dr. Wolf, and she had a hyphenated name, but I only remember Dr Wolf, or Wolfson. But she said a very interesting thing. She said the important thing about their finding was that the search for life as we have conducted it for the last 40 years ... has been conducted through too narrow a window. We've been looking only for carbon-based life. And this showed that there is another form of life that was based on arsenic."

This is an utterly catastrophic misunderstanding of the work of Dr Felisa Wolfe-Simon, and her discovery of an extremophile bacterium she called GFAJ-1. Wolfe-Simon NEVER CLAIMED that GFAJ-1 was not carbon-based. On the contrary, carbon was everywhere you would expect to find it. What was special about this microbe was that, in the arsenic-rich environment of Mono Lake, it had found a way of substituting arsenic for some of the phosphorous in its DNA backbone.

That is a very, very different claim from what Morningstar stated so confidently in June. What's more, the work has now been discredited by Rosie Redfield of Univ. British Columbia and others.

Read the Rational Wiki to find out what else Robert Morningstar is wrong about.

edit on 3-8-2014 by Asertus because: (no reason given)

edit on 3-8-2014 by Asertus because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 3 2014 @ 06:07 PM
a reply to: Asertus

While you're right that Morningstar definitely comes off as someone who read a few of the more sensationalist headlines around the discovery of GFAJ-1 without bothering to understand the real work that had been done, I also think he has a bit of a point.

The way we determine whether or not there can be life on other planets is based exclusively on our understanding of life on this planet. It's understandable. The carbon-based lifeforms of Earth are our only point of reference so anything else would be, literally, pure speculation.

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that all life out there is consistent with what has developed here on Earth. There may be a planet somewhere where boron-based lifeforms are the standard and that any air with too much oxygen and not enough ammonia is considered to be highly toxic.

Heck, Mars could be teeming with life, but the lifeforms look like rocks and they live life on timescale that we would think of as geological rather than biological.

Still, GFAJ-1 is not "proof" of anything at this point.

posted on Aug, 3 2014 @ 06:28 PM
a reply to: RobertAntonWeishaupt

Of course I fully agree. That was, indeed, the meaning of the initial announcement. All the more of a pity that the work has been discredited.

"GFAJ" has now been decoded. It means "Get Felisa A Job."

posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 12:17 PM
'The Higherside Chats' has been reverse decoded, too. No word on whether THC is a regular part of Robert Morningstar's life -- but there's definitely something amiss with the man's brain.

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